Fallout 4 Wasteland Workshop offers sandbox mayhem and post-apocalyptic feng shui
Just a month after the launch of the robot-building frenzy that was Automatron, we've already got another Fallout 4 DLC to play with at half the price for those buying piecemeal instead of picking up the season pass.
The lower price should tip you off to the amount of content here. At only $4.99 (as opposed to Automatron's $9.99) it's a bit of a trade off: there are no new quests or story lines but lots of extra features added for your settlements.
New Toys To Play With
Wasteland Workshop is primarily a cosmetic add-on, providing more features and options when building your ideal post-apocalyptic town (or dozens of them, if you made the mistake of continuously talking to Preston Garvey...).
Aside from the lack of interesting dialog options in the previous two games, the settlement building feature of Fallout 4 is probably the element of the game that gets the most criticism. While Wasteland Workshop probably isn't going to make you love building settlements if you didn't enjoy it before, it does significantly expand your options.
Of course there's plenty of new aesthetic pieces added in, from taxidermy to add to the walls of your tin can home (you've always wanted a mounted radroach on the wall, right?) to new interior decorations. Concrete walls and floors mean you can craft more sturdy, less broken down establishments - perfect for your own secret lair / death chamber.
More pre-made signs are available, and now we have the added benefit of being able to put up individual letters and numbers to name any of your buildings. You can imagine how this ability is immediately being abused by kids across the world at this very moment.
Commonwealth Catch And Release
Besides the basic settlement additions, now you can build cages to capture all sorts of creatures, from adorable little kitties to angry raiders and even monstrosities like mirelurks and deathclaws.
If you build a beta wave emitter, these creatures will stop being hostile and can be assigned around your settlement, and that's actually a pretty huge change that's tons of fun.
Who doesn't want an army of monsters roaming around your settlements alongside your robotic creations and regular civilians?
There's some of the good ole' post-apocalyptic humor you'd expect from Fallout hidden in these new additions, like how the cage used to catch raiders is just a metal shack with “free caps and ammo” written on the side.
Remember the glory of setting godzilla loose on civilization in those old Sim City titles? If you capture a deathclaw and let him out without taming him first, that's essentially what you are going to get. You can also have your town annihilate itself in a Hatfield and McCoy war of genocide if you build opposing team arenas and assign people to them without first putting up any walls.
With all the new options, you could conceivably spend hours or even days constructing your perfect arena and then pitting your settlers against each other or captured creatures. Even though there's not a new quest line here, these tools are basically letting you make your own.
The Bottom Line
With how different the Wasteland Workshop is from Automatron, I'm at a bit of a loss as to how to rate this one. Considering it on the same rating scale as a full game like Quantum Break seems a little unfair, so it would be better to rate this against other DLC instead.
On the one hand, this is a very limited add-on in comparison to either the previous Automatron or the upcoming Far Harbor, but on the other it does offer up more sandbox opportunities to just have fun designing things (and it is significantly cheaper than other expansions).
If you want more options for turning Sanctuary or Tenpines Bluff into your ideal death match arena / legendary drinking establishment, then this is a cheap and fun little addition to the Fallout 4 experience. If you literally ignored settlements and just went off exploring or following the main quest line, then Wasteland Workshop can probably safely be skipped.
Between last month's expansion and the new additions here, Fallout 4 has really been given a new lease on life. There is one unavoidable thought I'm struck by while playing these new DLCs however: all of this content probably should have been in the base game.
Can you imagine how the reviews would have changed if the robot crafting and extensive home-building options were there from the start? This really is the Fallout 4 we wanted – it just took five months and two expansions to get there.