Like many crazy adventures in Fallout 4, you begin Automatron by tuning into a radio signal from anywhere in the Commonwealth. A frantic, Mayday message emits from your Pipboy – a caravan is being attacked by robots and requires immediate help. While there isn’t anything you can do to help the caravan, you’ll meet one lone survivor: Ada, a robot, and quite a nice one at that – not like the other ones that just slaughtered several innocent people. She tells you that robots are uprising against the Commonwealth, and someone called The Mechanist is behind it all. Allied with a new raider faction called the Rust Devils, Ada foreshadows what will end up being one doozy of a mission.
Similar to my experience with Dying Light: The Following, I had to level up my character to 15 before the game would activate the DLC, except there was nothing that told me this when I started the game. Thankfully, a few kind bloggers pointed me in the right direction and off I went, working diligently to get to level 15.
Unlike the Dying Light DLC, where you can manage to get throught the DLC at a lower level, Automatron is next to impossible to get through at level 15. The first portion of the mission will test your ingenuity and reflexes to the max; robots attack from all angles with relentless firepower, and some of the strongest robots, like the Assultron, are more terrifying than a Deathclaw. The last part of the mission is an arena-style barrage of enemy robots that take a while to kill, but by the end Trash Bots are all that The Mechanist has left to throw at you – easy pickin’. However, all the power armor, stimpacks, and bullets cannot prepare you for how many times you will see a cut-scene of your character dying in slow motion.
It could be my own fault for not preparing well enough, or maybe I’m an awful player, but I would not recommend – at all – playing through Automatron at level 15. Do all the side quests you can, finish the main story, and then go kill some robots. You might find some relief in how you spend your skill points. Hopefully you dumped most of your points into categories like Strength, Perception, and Agility. One of the Endurance abilities that comes in handy later on in the mission eliminates Rads while swimming or walking through water. Dumping the majority of my perk points into Intelligence was a bad idea for a combat-intensive DLC.
Ada will take heavy damage herself and become disabled easily. Fortunately, almost every destroyed robot will yield a repair kit. Stock up on those and you’ll be able to repair Ada often as you proceed. However, the best part about Ada lies not in her ability to be useful, but in her personality. A few times during the mission she laments over her fallen comrades and goes as far to blame herself for their deaths. She says that if she had chosen a different route, maybe the entire caravan would not have been killed. It was sweet. It was human. She currently rivals Strong as my companion preference.
But that’s all the character development players will see. Jezebel is a typical, no-nonsense robot, and the Mechanist turns out to be an accidental villain, which made the ending anti-climactic. What seems to be an intentionally cruel goal of wiping out humanity becomes a big misunderstanding. It humorous, in a way, but the excessive amount of time I spent dying and searching for materials to build two robots required for the mission should have resulted in a satisfying ending. I did get a Tesla rifle and armor, but those things – like giving a kid a sticker after she endures several immunizations at once – were not enough to pacify me after rage-quitting many times.
For those who just want to craft robots, you’ll have to finish about a third of the mission before you can unlock it. The new crafting station is integrated into finding The Mechanist, but from that point on, you can create robots as companions. Crafting enthusiasts will enjoy the amount of control they have over customizing what could be the best companion addition to Fallout 4. This is where I did not regret dumping my points into Intelligence, as I had access to some higher-level customizations.
Automatron feels like something that should or could have been included with Fallout 4’s release, as the story serves as a grandiose means to introduce the robot crafting station. If you are just getting around to playing Fallout 4 for the first time, there is a good chance you will find completing the DLC’s mission incredibly difficult and unfulfilling. But hey – you get to build some intimidating robots.
Reviewed on PC. Review copy provided by the publisher.
Publisher: Bethesda Studios | Developer: Bethesda Studios | Platforms: Xbox One, PS4, PC | ESRB: Mature | Release Date: Available Now | Controls: Mouse/Keyboard, Gamepad/Controller