The world of Fallout is brimming with amazing characters, and Fallout 4's first DLC has now added one more great character to the list.
Automatron is a curious beast. The bulk of what you’ll play is standard Fallout 4—there are two ‘dungeons,’ both of which are rather straightforward, if not a little boring in their design. The most interesting aspect of the spaces you explore is that they are infested with robots. The more robots you kill, the more parts you pick up, and the more robots you can build back in your settlements. This is where Bethesda seemed to put most of its efforts: in giving the player a buffet of robotic options. From death machines to sexy companions, anything you can think of, you can probably build.
It’s a cool idea, and I’m sure some players will get a lot of mileage out of it. I didn’t, because the primary thing your mechs can do is kill other things, and as you know, I’m pretty over Fallout 4's intense focus on action. I have no desire to build a cool robot and go out into a wasteland I’ve already explored, and the DLC itself is only a few hours long. Still, I’m glad I played Automatron because it meant I got to know the truth about the Mechanist. The Mechanist is now one of my favorite characters in Fallout 4.
The story goes like this: the Commonwealth starts being overrun by murderous robots. Naturally, the sole survivor gets tangled up in the mess, only to find out the robots actually think they’re helping people out, not making things worse. After all, why spend time and resources helping folks out of sticky situations when there’s only a small chance they’ll survive out in the wasteland anyway? It’s much simpler just to kill them, no?
Obviously, something is wrong with the programming there, or perhaps the robots have somehow misinterpreted orders. Whatever it is, you have to track down the Mechanist to put a stop to the madness. When you finally get to that final encounter, I was surprised by how delightful it turns out to be. As I mentioned earlier this week, if you happen to bring your Silver Shroud costume, the game rewards you with memorable special dialogue.
I’m sure most fans were hoping something like this would happen, but still. These are the sort of role-playing details that have defined Fallout in the past, but that Fallout 4 itself mostly seemed to do away with. By including something like this in the first DLC, it comes across as Bethesda telling fans that it is actually listening to complaints. Remember: Automatron isn’t supposed to be the more story-oriented DLC. That’s going to be Far Harbor, which releases later in the year. If Bethesda is putting these sorts of small touches in the more action-oriented stuff, what does it have in store for us later? I’m excited to find out.
It helps that the Mechanist itself is such a fantastic character, too. As you talk to the villain, you realize that the Mechanist genuinely thought of itself as a hero who wanted to make the world better. The Mechanist reminds me of Moira Brown a little bit, actually, except Moira is more of an unrealistic caricature. The Mechanist might be lifted from a comic book, but there is actually a person under there. A person who is shy, a person who doesn’t know how to make things better. A person that got lost along the way and accidentally ended up murdering a lot of innocent people, but hey. Who hasn’t committed murder in the Commonwealth? The point is that you can make the Mechanist see the error of its ways. That counts for something.
The best part about the DLC, though, is finding out that the Mechanist is actually a woman named Isabel Cruz. I was stunned! The voice modulator totally fooled me. I was expecting some dude to take off the mask, but no. I love that Bethesda pulled a fast one like that on players. My only complaint is that I wish we got to see more of Isabel. She would have made an awesome companion. Alas! I’ll take what I can get.