Review: “Fallout: Automatron” a fun but shallow expansion

A scene from the new robot-themed Fallout DLC, "Automatron," which was released on March 22. (Courtesy/Gamestop)

My biggest complaint with “Fallout 4” was the lack of things to do after the main quest was over, unless you count grinding repetitive search and destroy missions. The new DLC, “Automatron,” actually adds a lot of new content, but it’s a shame that most of it is just throwing junk together and having the resulting mass follow you around.

As the title of the DLC might suggest, this new questline is all about robots, from fighting them to talking to them and even constructing them. In typical “Fallout” fashion, you get an emergency broadcast, you show up and engage in a firefight and you’re off on a new adventure, this time to hunt down a supervillain named “the Mechanist,” who is using their robots to terrorize the Commonwealth.

The new enemies in the game are freaky and fun to fight, not unlike those cobbled together toys from “Toy Story.” There’s a certain artistic value to their hideousness that makes them very unsettling while also being a lot of fun to blow up. The one potential immersion-breaking moment is when you’re forced to take on a sentient robotic companion, and while my character was down with the robot liberation movement, more conservative players might wonder why they’re forced to indulge this robot that thinks it’s human.

I was impressed with all of the new locations in the game, including the Mechanist’s lair and an awesome raider camp full of scavenged robots and bandits with robot pieces for armor. There are even some cool new characters, even though the potential is wasted when some of them show up just to deliver some exposition and then hang out at one of your settlements.

As I mentioned, the new DLC includes the ability to build and modify robots to your hearts content. The customization options are pretty extensive, but it’s also yet another drain on your resources. During my first playthrough, I didn’t have enough scrap to build the robot construction center that the quest demanded, so I had to take time out of the interesting story to go hunt through some more abandoned tunnels and service stations looking for aluminum cans.

I’m not saying that crafting shouldn’t have been a part of the process, but the game drains your resources way more quickly than you can replenish them. The game also encourages you to hunt for different robot designs so that you can unlock more options, but it fails to tell you that that’s all pointless, since all of the mods are unlocked once you beat the quest.

This also isn’t a particularly polished DLC. As I said, the enemies are unsettling, but most players will probably end up making robots that look pretty disturbing themselves when they try to throw a bunch of garbage together. The final battle was also bugged, as I defeated all the enemies but somehow didn’t trigger the next event, leaving the bad guy yelling incoherently and giving orders to robots that no longer existed. Of course, the DLC also ends with another repeatable quest to go out and destroy robots in the waste, effectively turning an otherwise interesting character into a Preston Garvey clone.

“Automatron” is a fun two hours, although I had very little interest in tinkering with the hideous robot designs for any longer than I needed to. It’s by no means a great piece of DLC, nor will anyone likely remember it in a few months, but it’s a good start to what promises to be a solid amount of new content for “Fallout 4.” 


Edward Pankowski is life editor for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at edward.pankowski@uconn.edu.