I’ve been busy playing two of Fallout 4’s DLC offerings. As I was disinclined to spend $50 for the season pass (or even $30 before the price hike), I decided to wait until the most interesting items went on sale. Steam obliged me during their July-something extravaganza, during which Far Harbor and Automatron had some nominal money knocked off, so I got ’em.
I won’t go into the plot except to say that it involves a conflict among three factions — synths, the Children of Atom, and the residents of Far Harbor township. I would like to say that one of these groups is less annoying than the other two, but that would be untruthful. They’re all equally in need of extermination by the island’s indigenous lifeforms, which include cryptobiological curiosities like gulpers, anglers, and my favorite: the giant hermit crab, which lies in wait for victims by using a seafood catering van as its shell. Otherwise, the fauna is collectively pedestrian. There are wolves, super mutants, and a new raider faction called “trappers,” and that’s pretty much it.
The island is a very large land mass, so Bethesda was telling the truth about that. Unfortunately, it’s mostly deserted. I haven’t seen everything, but I’ve covered enough ground to know that if you’re looking for a new theme park on the order of the original Commonwealth, you’ll be disappointed. Mostly you’ll be schlepping around in dark brushy areas — that is, when you’re not wading through swamps. There’s very little to discover, and when you do discover it, the loot is not worth collecting. The most prevalent feature is the radioactive fog that covers pretty much every square inch of this depressing megabog, so bring your power armor or biosuit or plenty of Rad-X and Radaway.
If anything stands out, it’s how much talking you have to do. Practically every interaction with every NPC involves passing a speech check, so you’ll want high Charisma. I think mine is 7 or thereabouts, and I constantly had to climb out of my power armor and don a sequin dress for the Charisma boost. Not infrequently, this wasn’t enough, so I had to pop a
berry grape Mentat or some other chem to raise the stat even further. It’s a very talky business, especially if you want to reconcile all the disputing factions, which I did. This struck me as the most profitable course because I wanted access to all the fast-travel landing pads I could get. Not using fast travel was unthinkable, at least for me. There was nothing to see and no sense of adventure in walking around this soggy mess. You may feel differently.
I will say that you can get some pretty neat armor. It’s called Marine Recon and comes in three flavors, none of which are distinct enough to worry about. The stats are quite good, though. You can buy the armor at various merchants for a staggering sum, or you can find it by doing a miscellaneous quest, or you can get it for free as I did, but I won’t spoil that. Here’s a pic of the armor:
Rating: 5/10 bobbleheads (would advise waiting for a deep discount)
This DLC was considerably cheaper and, to my way of thinking, far more entertaining. There’s not much of a plot. Basically, rogue robots are committing various depredations and you have to get to the bottom of the mystery. The ending is quite funny, sort of sweet in a non-sappy way, and you get to make robots.
Here is one of the robots I made at Warwick Homestead:
If you have enough Science, Robotics Expert, and certain other skills, such as Gun Nut or Blacksmith, you can make some extremely formidable bots. The process is pretty intuitive and fun, and you can collect lots of spare parts when you kill enemy machines. There’s also a new raider faction called the Dust Devils, who run around with their own bots, but otherwise they’re not very unique apart from their armor, which I did not especially covet.
Rating: 8/10 bobbleheads (again, wait for a sale)