An army of killer robots are terrorizing the Commonwealth in Fallout 4’s first DLC Automatron. Will you help stop this menace, or will you just build a bunch of robot companions instead?
We ended up getting into Automatron a bit on the late side, so much that when we finished that DLC the second one (Far Harbor) had been released that night and we inadvertently started playing it. This means there is a large chance that you will see our follow up review of Far Harbor out around the same time this one is out. The Automatron is a standalone DLC, meaning not only will there be no spoilers from Fallout 4’s campaign, there is no need to play much of the main game before jumping over into Automatron. We will be taking a rather in depth look to see if this DLC coming in at around $10 USD is worth the price of admission or if Bethesda hoodwinked us out of some hard earned money. If you happen to be joining us for the first time, we’d recommend you read our Fallout 4 review first as we do elude to some items, non-story related, that may provide some insight as to why we said what we said or rated a certain section the way we did.
There has not been any upgrades since our Fallout 4 review; we have decided to adopt a new ‘way’ of listing out our system specifications in a more user friendly way of finding and reading them:
- Processor – Intel i7 4930k (Stock, Turbo boost enabled)
- Motherboard – MSI X79MA-GD45
- Memory – G.SKILL TridentX F3-2400C10Q-16GTX 16GB4X4GB DDR3-2400
- Storage – Crucial MX200 1TB SSD
- Video Card – PNY GTX 980 XLR8 Pro OC
- Display Monitor – Samsung LS27A850DS 27IN 2560 x 1440
Since we last were in the Commonwealth, there have been several patches released by Bethesda that appear to have improved or fixed various graphical issues we or others were experience in the game at release. Aside from that, nothing has been improved in the quality of graphics, not that they could as all the DLC is adding is additional assets to the game, not a new separate location. The patches do not appear to have improved or optimized load times still, which is disappointing comparing it to similar open world RPGs such as the more detailed Witcher 3.
What would you say that once you have your first settlement that you would be able to build your own customizable companion? All you have to do is have the Automatron DLC and build a Robotic Workstation and this can be all yours. Your very own customizable robotic companion or companions. This lovely new added gameplay feature allows you to build the exact type of companion you want to have to match or support whatever combat build you have chosen for your play through. Do you want your robot companion to have a short ranged flamethrower while having a nuke launcher as the other arm? Well now you can. Tired of all your companions having fairly limited carrying capacity as you are like us, and have to loot every piece of scrap in the Commonwealth as you never know when you might need all those cups? That headache disappears if you decide to build your companion that specializes on having a large carrying capacity.
Say you want a ‘tank’ companion that will be a bullet sponge as you are a ranged build, great a more melee centric robot friend and your enemies will try to engage it first, allowing you to do what you do best with that rifle. Not to mention be the one those pesky melee characters go after instead of your soft flesh. We do want to forewarn you that you will not be able to trick out your robot to be the best right off the bat as you will require schematics that are found by completing the main story and knowing that certain upgrades require you to have different perks (such like with your weapon or armour mods).
Planning on a more gun based robot that will require you having certain levels of the Gun Nut perks unlocked. How about you want that tank robot we mentioned, better have a few points into Armourer for the armour related upgrades and Blacksmith if you want them to be melee weapons focused. Prefer to give your robot some unique abilities such as the Regeneration Field that will heal you (and allies) out of combat, that will require you having not only Robotics Expert (which now makes that perk line more worth putting points into) but some Science unlocked too. There are lots of combinations of robots you can craft as you are not limited to building just one, so if you find that you want different robot companions for different situations, that’s a possibility. The other benefit of being able to build several robot companions is that you can place them at other settlements in order to help better defend them or perform various other settlement chores.
This should come as no surprise that there have been no discernible changes implemented with respect to combat with the addition of the Automatron DLC to Fallout 4. As such is the case with most DLCs for video games that is not a standalone game (such as Wolfenstein: Old Blood), it means our views from the Fallout 4 review carry over to this one, resulting in the same score too.
Side quests…uh what side quests? Sadly, there are very few side quests that were included in the Automatron. We really want to say there was the odd one during the main story, though we can’t really recall any that stand out, the bulk of the side quests are available only after you complete the DLC. This prompts you to have random hunt and kill missions involving the remaining robots that are still under the programming of the Mechanist. It seems that these side quests involve the use of the infinite quest generator Bethesda heavily relied upon in Fallout 4, as there is no dialogue, and the ‘target’ can appear at several locations throughout the Commonwealth. Once you complete the quest, you can turn it in only to generate another one. Bethesda really came up short when it came to adding more substance to the DLC. It would not have been that hard to add in various side quests throughout the commonwealth that tied to the main story but were optional. We can only hope that with Far Harbour they actually put some effort into side quests and make them worth doing in a lore sense.
As we stated in our prologue, you can really start the Automatron DLC almost at any time after leaving the vault, though we have heard there is a level require of 15 in order for it to appear as a quest. As this is still fairly early in the game, there should not be much of an issue being able to do it whenever you chose to. In our case we played it after having beat the game and were already a fairly high level, it does at least seem to scale well to it.
In order to begin the main story, you will need to open up your Pip-Boy, select the corresponding distress signal, and follow it. It will lead you to a scene involving a group of robots attacking a camp of people and a robot that seems to be doing a poor job of defending itself. Once you dispatch the aggressive/killer robots, you find out that the only survivor of the assault is the robot Ada. Ada informs you that the Mechanist is sending out killer robots throughout the Commonwealth that are attacking and killing those they run across. This pushes the story along towards trying to track down this mysterious being in the effort to try to help make the Commonwealth a little safer for all those who inhabit it (by stopping the Mechanist/killing the ‘bad’ robots). If we were to give any more details of the story, well that would cover nearly all of it. There is not a lot of substance to the main story of Automatron, with it lasting about 4 hours. You heard us right, 4 hours. Nothing like paying $10.00 USD to only get so little time out of it (on one play through). Some RPGs have had side quests longer then this!
There is very little replayability in this DLC. Not only did the entire DLC take us less than 6 hours to complete, side quests are virtually non-existent too. The only benefit of doing the main story, with only a 4 hour detour from the main game, is to get the schematics to build some upgrades to whatever robot you decide to build. For us, we only ever used the robot companion for when we had to in the main story, otherwise we stuck with Dogmeat as our build was more focused towards that. A companion build may see the use of the robots more, though that is up to you to decide.
Too Long, Didn’t Read (TL;DR)
A lovely cash grab is how best we would describe the first DLC for Fallout 4, The Automatron. Patches prior and including this have resolved glitches and graphical issues that we were seeing before, making the game more stable than it was at release. In the sense of lore, it adds virtually nothing, only giving us the ability to create and modify robotic companions. To say there are no side quests would not be an exaggeration as the few that exist are ‘go here, find this, kill it’ type quests. Even the main story is rather weak, yielding only 4 hours. Factoring in the extra few hours spent with side quests and looking around making our own robots the total elapsed time spent playing the DLC was 6 hours. That means Automatron is not worth a dollar an hour yet we had to wait 4 months and pay $10 USD to get it. Bethesda offers us up a big screw you to the customer (you and me) as it seems they know they can get away with releasing sub par DLC content as players will buy whatever they release in hopes that it will greatly enhance their Fallout 4 gaming experience.
- Graphics: Patches released before and included in the Automatron DLC seem to have resolved the glitches that were more of an occurrence during launch and a few months after that. Besides that, no improvements or degradation graphically to report.
- Gameplay: Now you too can build and customize your own robotic companion, allowing you to have the ultimate companion provided you have or plan to unlock the correct perks to do so. Fortunately it does make the Robotic perk more useful as it seemed mostly pointless prior to this DLC.
- Combat: DLCs are rarely going to change the combat formula of a game, this is no different. As we already enjoyed the combat system in Fallout 4, we have no complaints with the lack of changes here.
- Side Quests: There are side quests? That’s the question you will be asking yourself throughout the entire ordeal. The ones that are there are hunt and kill quests that are almost as bad as the randomly generated quests of the main game.
- Story: The Mechanist is terrorizing the Commonwealth with killer robots. It is up to you to find them and stop them. That is it in a nutshell. You’re looking at around 4 hours for the main story.
- Misc/Replayability: The only reason to ever replay the DLC in a new game would be if you like having a robotic companion, as it is the main way to gather new schematics for upgrades to them. Total play took us just under 6 hours, hardly worth the $10 USD price tag.