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What Fallout 4's Automatron DLC gets right

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Fallout 4: Automatron is the first DLC for Bethesda’s big - and, award-winning - title. In this curiously small download (for PS4 it was under 2GB), you’ll find yourself thrust into the middle of a pulpy robo-drama, involving a Saturday morning cartoon villain. This villain, the Mechanist, talks and acts like someone from a Captain Planet episode and fits this charming theme perfectly. The entire tone of the DLC’s missions feel lighter and are better off for it.

Automatron won’t convince people with no interest in the base game to pick it up. But it did reinvigorated my enthusiasm, which died off as I played the original game.

The original game’s stories were variations on a theme of murder, with little exploration or interaction that felt meaningful and, importantly, interesting. In this, you’re trying to stop a cartoonish villain, performed to a brilliant campy degree, who has equally cartoonish plans: to flood the Wasteland with robots of his design. The missions themselves are, in essence, the usual/only missions you get in all of Fallout 4: go Here to collect Item and while Here kill everything, sometimes you will have dialogue options that might expand or offer alternatives, but this is rarely the case. Still, despite this, the tone of the missions really sold it to me. I like that the game wasn’t taking itself seriously and the missions resonated with this. I liked that it utilised pulpy themes and tried to play on the badly written cartoons you’d sleepily watch on weekend mornings.

But the best part is that, in Automatron, you get to build and customise your robot companions.

This is important to me, as you have a direct impact on the world and you see it happening before your eyes. This is beside merely killing people. Being able to customise your current robo companions, like Codsworth (and, exclusive to the DLC, Ada) is a great deal of fun. Codsworth, who you might’ve spent hundreds of hours with in the original game, suddenly becomes far deadlier, perhaps with legs.

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But, you can also create entire robots from scratch! Customising everything from their torso types, their armour, their paint and even their voices. These robo companions can then be used to work in your communities, farming and so on (you can assign the robots the same way you do other settlers). Effectively, with enough resources, you can create your own robo slave army to work your various awful villages.

The ability to customise your robots on the fly is incredible. I love the detail you can go into and it’s something that Fallout 4 has always been good at.

While Fallout 4 brought me many hours of fun, it became stale toward the end. I found the writing uninteresting. In Automatron, the writing hasn’t totally changed, but it’s taken itself less seriously and is all the better for it. It even features small, side missions where you don’t have to kill anyone, which is startlingly refreshing.

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