Automatron Offers a Better Playing Experience than Fallout 4
To be frank, I think Fallout 4 was a huge downgrade from the series' previous games. While it had the graphics, the gameplay, and level design that set it miles above its predecessors, the game lacked the content and pizzazz unique to a Fallout title. I bought Automatron expecting it to be just as boring and bare-boned as the base-game — but boy was I wrong.
In Automatron, players are given the ability to create their own robots, encounter new enemies, and are thrown into a story that's short, yet engaging. Ultimately, these simple additions are the three reasons why I believe Automatron is a much more enjoyable experience than Fallout 4. (I'll elaborate more on them later.)
**Please be warned that the following content contains story spoilers.**
You start the events of Automatron by responding to a distress call. After kicking some robot ass and learning the grim fate of those responsible for the signal, you meet Ada — the caravan's robot guard — and set out together to destroy the mastermind behind the evil robot attacks — The Mechanist. Completing a couple of missions will present you with the opportunity to modify Ada to progress further into the story, or build your very own robot companion.
And this brings me to the first reason why Automatron is a better playing experience than Fallout 4:
Compared to settlement building, the robot creation system is a much more immersive and has more of an impact on gameplay.
Settlement building is fun, but it seems to be separate feature of the game rather than a part of it. Creating your own robot, on the other hand, can have an effect on the way the game is played. You can create a robot companion that follows you around for the rest of the game. Settlements don't do much other than pass time. I spent a good amount of time customizing Ada to my liking. My goal was to replace her old and boring Protectotron look with the slim and sexy Assaultron body. And with the robot creator, I was able to do just that.
"Players should be aware of the perks (Armorer and Science) that must be met before you can apply most mods."
Scrolling through the options, I'm amazed to see the degree of robot customization given to players. Players can mix-and-match body parts from different robots to create a unique robot companion outfitted with its own weaponry and taste for destruction. If you want to make a flying sentry bot, you can; feel free to paint it purple and gold, too! However, the system does require a certain amount of skill to reap the most benefits.
After installing a radar beacon on Ada, you are tasked with hunting down various Robobrains across the Commonwealth. Along the way you meet a new group of enemies, the Rust Devils. The Rust Devils are a notch above petty raiders. They're robot-loving lunatics who utilize advanced robot weaponry and are also looking to destroy The Mechanist.
And this brings me to the second reason why Automatron is more enjoyable:
The enemies you encounter in Automatron are a breath of fresh air compared to the enemies of Fallout 4.
Shooting a raider charging at you with a switchblade gets boring after a while. However, have you ever tried shooting at a man fully equipped with robot armor leading a pack of robots wielding power-saws? That's a bit more intense.
In Automatron, you meet new enemies that not only put the base enemies in Fallout 4 to shame, but capture the original silliness and feel of a Fallout title. One of my initial complaints with Fallout 4 was the overabundance of raiders.
"Raiders are annoyingly ubiquitous."
Half of the game involves me either fighting synths, mutants, or raiders. In New Vegas, players fought Legionnaires, ex-convicts, Cazadores, giant ants, geckos — the list goes on and on. Putting that into perspective, the enemy variety in Fallout 4 is disgustingly low for a Fallout game. A Fallout game needs a wide selection of enemies. And you can't call it a Fallout game if it doesn't include a flame-spewing war machine with a Deathclaw skull as its head. I believe that's part of the criteria.
With the help of another robot, Ada is able to gain entry into The Mechanist's facility and lead you to the final showdown with The Mechanist. After a long and grueling fight, The Mechanist steps down and the player is given two options to conclude the storyline.
And this brings me to the last reason:
The story, albeit short, is engaging and memorable.
Simply put, it's a little goofy. The Mechanist uses incredible intelligence to lead robots on a journey to cleanse the Commonwealth. The dialogue you have with The Mechanist and the other characters you meet along the way are quite memorable. Compared to Fallout 4, where I was set on a task with limited choices and end results, I felt like I had full control over what happens this time around.
However, it's not a Bethesda game (or add-on) if it's free of faults. For one, the story is short. I'll say this, though — what the game lacks in story length, it makes up in content. I also encountered a couple of bugs along the way. After constructing a robot, or interacting with terminals, sometimes my character would get stuck on a single plane and I would be walking through walls and enemies. It was solved with a simple reload, but it was pretty annoying nonetheless. Then there were the smaller bugs (people getting stuck in doors, for instance) that were nothing more than mere annoyances.
In the end, is Automatron worth buying? Yes.
For the price of $10, players gain access to a large amount of original, Fallout-worthy content. I thoroughly enjoyed time travelling with Ada and defeating The Mechanist. And if this add-on is indicative of the quality of future downloadable content, I'm very optimistic about the future state of the game.
We need more whacky content like this. So Bethesda, keep it up.