One of the biggest new features that was added into the latest iteration of Fallout came in the form of settlement creation. By allowing players to secure a dilapidated house or remnant of civilization and then create a place for settlers and their companions to live, there was an entirely brand new creation aspect added to the already massive offering that was Fallout 4. Now that we have already seen one piece of DLC, this latest one, Wasteland Workshop, focuses entirely on the settlement but is it worth checking out?
Unlike the Automatron DLC, there is no story or even any type of introduction that comes with the addition of Wasteland Workshop to the base game. This is something of an odd choice to make especially since many players may have ignored the optional settlement creation part of Fallout 4 in the base game and attempting to create some type of narrative around creating an arena for a new character or something else would have been a great way to draw attention to the new items.
Players will simply find that when they enter the workshop mode in a settlement that there will suddenly be a number of brand new items that can be created, with a plus symbol signifying a brand new item that wasn’t in the game originally or part of a previous patch. This means that players can now have the ability to mount literally any type of creature’s head, ranging from a cat head to a Glowing One skull and even a Mirelurk Queen claw can be hung up and those looking for a more survivalist style of lighting will find plenty of new flame oriented fixtures ranging from candelabras, to campfires, to barrels with fire in them. This even includes plenty of neon lettering to create new signs and a brand new fusion powered generator capable of producing more electricity than you’ll ever need is also available.
The big draw with Wasteland Workshop however comes in the form of building an arena and creating cages to capture the many creatures and enemies that roam the Commonwealth. These cages are similar to many things players will build though they often require some sort of unique bait such as a special type of animal meat or vegetable that such a creature would usually eat or an item that would attract a human to walk into an obvious trap. This means that even if you may have prepared for most situations, you may need to go hunt down a certain type of item to capture the species you’re aiming for.
Another aspect of capturing animals comes in the form of the Beta Wave Emitter and herein lays a problem for many people. This item which must be powered to keep captured hostile creatures as docile tamed pets requires a massive investment into the Charisma stat and those who haven’t managed to reach the ninth their will find one of the more interesting aspects of the DLC locked from them until they either start fresh or work on leveling even more.
Once you’ve actually built up a cage you’ll be informed through a pop-up window that it usually takes some in-game time to actually capture anything and that sleeping for days on end is the best way to try and capture something. Once you’ve captured a creature or standard enemy you’ll then have a number of things that you can do with them. All captured human enemies and Super Mutants are hostile no matter while cats, dogs, and Brahmin appear to always be tame regardless of the aforementioned emitter. This means that most of your enjoyment can be found with your standard hostile creatures as you can build arenas filled with special death traps that come in the form of spike traps, spinning blades, and even trap doors. Unfortunately crafting a satisfying arena is still limited thanks to the fact that the settlement building system is still filled with a number of nagging issues that make crafting a satisfying area not only take a large amount of time but also an incredible hassle that often comes with frustrations.
Even setting up arena platforms where players can assign their settlers to one platform of two different colored platforms takes a ton of fiddling to work properly. You see, no matter who is assigned to opposite platforms, whether it is a robot you built with Automatron, a follower, an unkillable NPC, or even a generic settler, they will immediately turn hostile against one another and although it is possible to try and cordon off your combatants, the AI will often simply stand there shooting at a wall rather than actually move into combat. Plus, if your own fighters die in the arena the settlement will immediately lose happiness, meaning that watching a fight take place between your own people does more harm than any good. These fighters will also automatically enter combat against even the tamest creatures as long as they were something that came out of a cage.
This issue persists when attempting to tame more than one type of usually hostile creature at a time. If players don’t feel like pitting a captured creature against one of their own settlers, they can usually keep them as pets that often improve the happiness of a settlement as well as provide defense points. While it sounds fun, this feature is also rather lackluster as players have absolutely no options regarding the creatures roaming their settlements as they cannot be assigned in any way or even taken with as companions like Dogmeat. To make matters worse, if you happen to have a few tamed ghouls and finally want to upgrade to a Deathclaw, you’ll find that even with the Beta Wave Emitter that different species refuse to get along and will immediately enter combat with one another, killing each other until only one species is left standing.
This does create some rather interesting fights at times and considering the types of enemies captured appear to be random, you may find yourself with a Chameleon Deathclaw, Albino Radscorpion, Dusky Yao Guai, and King Mirelurk all battling against one another at the same time in an exciting fight. Unfortunately these free for all battles are ultimately the only real highlight of these battles and more often than not, a creature will test your building abilities by running away through any possible hole, with even unthreatened RadStags bolting off into the horizon.
Visuals & Audio
As mentioned before, Wasteland Workshop adds plenty of new objects that can be crafted by players and while a couple of these items were available in the game before, just not as craftable pieces, almost everything on offer is something new and gives players plenty of opportunity to expand on their settlements and perhaps create a place that they dreamed of and simply couldn’t create before due to a lack of options. This means that what you can create is now simply limited by your imagination, well that and the settlement size limit. It is worth noting that since nothing new has been added into the game in the form of characters or even dialogue players can simply expect the standard animal noises and threats from human-type enemies.
Fallout 4’s Wasteland Workshop adds some fun little pieces to the game’s settlement building as well as the ability to have numerous Deathclaws acting as security guards for your settlers but don’t expect too much more than that. The full brawls between the various species are enjoyable to watch a few times but thanks to the various issues that continue to plague the settlement building systems as well as poor AI responses to combat in a crafted environment these will quickly become tiresome and unfortunately this shallow offering has little more beyond that unless you are a heavy duty settlement designer.
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