Fallout 4’s Automatron DLC does one thing extremely well: it embraces the childhood fantasy of building your own super-powered robot and unleashing it upon hordes of enemies. And in this regard, the add-on to developer Bethesda’s latest post-apocalyptic open-world game is a stunning success. Players will battle unique and formidable mechanical monstrosities, scavenge their lifeless bodies for new parts, and build their own abominations to combat the increasingly numerous forces of The Mechanist.
The robots in Automatron only have a few base chassis, but offer dozens of options for customization beyond that, both cosmetic and functional. Some robots have skulls and bones attached to them, and charge the player at full speed, while others are covered with futuristic armor plating and float in the air. The variety of appearances and battle options makes fighting robots a surprisingly diverse experience.
Automatron can be incredibly challenging at times as robots are fast, powerful, and appear in great numbers. Players will need to utilize all of their best abilities and weapons from the vanilla Fallout 4 game, of course, but they’ll have some extra assistance in the form of their very own robot companions. Existing robotic companions can be augmented using the new customization system, including Curie and Wadsworth, which can afford for some pretty hilarious situations. For example, my version of the polite, gentlemanly Wadsworth was a hulking beast with a skeleton face by the end of the DLC, which carries over into the main game.
Although the new suite of robotic enemies and allies is a hugely impressive addition to Fallout 4, the actual story of Automatron is minimal, predictable, and boring. While exploring the wasteland the vault dweller is set upon by robots and discovers that a new foe, known as The Mechanist, is responsible for this synthetic threat. With the help of a few new robot companions including Ada, an assaultron unit, the vault dweller must track down The Mechanist and put an end to the robot army.
The story is straightforward and lacking in any interesting characters or dialogue along the way, which serves mostly as a device for getting the player into as many large-scale robot battles as possible. Ada, the primary new companion in Automatron, doesn’t have the same charm as the other robotic companions in Fallout 4, and The Mechanist feels mostly like a silly gag rather than an interesting character. There is a snarky robot called Jezebel that gets the campaign dangerously close to having at least one interesting character, but is sadly underutilized.
In typical Bethesda fashion, Fallout 4: Automatron is also very prone to bugs. The final confrontation in particular is especially troublesome, as the final dialogue didn’t occur for me after completing a ten minute battle, which meant that I had to start over from the beginning. This happened a few times before I was finally lucky enough to have the final sequence trigger. Hopefully Bethesda will address this (and other bugs) quickly to avoid frustrating their fans.