April 18, 2016

Fallout 4 - Wasteland Workshop - Review

Fallout 4 offered up a lot of new elements for players to explore with over the previous entries in the series form Bethesda, the biggest addition was the ability to build up your own settlements and have people come to you, this of course brought in a sub-game that people loved and with Wasteland Workshop, Bethesda delivered more fuel to this obsessive fire.

Right off the bat, it is really important to note that Wasteland Workshop does not offer any new missions, story content or gear for your vault dweller to wear, it is simple a collection of new items in which you can use to build your settlements up. There are perhaps three big additions included within that really change things up for you, first is the concrete building kit, this simple sounding inclusion is perhaps the best, at least for me. What it gives you is a new series of walls, floors, roofs, stairs and other pieces that you can use to build new buildings, what makes them more than just another option over wood or steel is that you can use angular and rounded pieces here. The Angular pieces are more impressive as they allow you to build even closer to the boundaries than before, which can give you more space to fill out how you want to. On top of that, the pieces actually snap together in layers, which means you can bring walls in, rather than having them snap to the very edge of another piece.

Once you have got your new building put together, you will need to light it up, which is where the second group of items come from, lights. Before you only had a few styles of lights to choose from, which meant players had to be very creative when it came to decorating the outside of their settlements and their interiors, but no longer, with things like rope lights, wall sconces and actual light poles, players are swamped with choices on their interior and exterior lighting styles. However, Bethesda decided to have taken things even further with a new addition to the square light box, smaller ones, so no longer does your light up artwork need to be massively tall, but even cooler than that, neon. The look of Neon has always been cool, but here you can able to do just about anything you want, with the only pre-set piece being a giant Open sign, the rest are just letters, meaning you can write whatever words upon a building you wanted to. There are sets of colours, but there are no rules between what colours go against what, so you can make signs as colourful as you want and as long as there is a powerline nearby, they will light up.

Both of those, the concrete and improved lighting options are both cosmetic really, nothing you could not achieve with some creative design and patience, but thing you could never do before was create cages to capture the creatures of the wasteland, or the enemies of the wasteland as well. What this allows you to do is create your own entertainment, in a variety of ways, either through combat arenas or mazes and to top it off, you can let the people of your settlement watch. Creating a cage is pretty simple, you just need steel, screws and something from the creature you want to catch and then once the cage is built, eventually one of those creatures is going to find its way in. Once you have them in the cage, what you do next is up to you, let them out or keep them locked up, the choice is yours and yes it is entirely possible that you can capture Deathclaws, but there is a drawback to capturing anything, keep it in the cage for too long and it will draw in its brethren. So while its awesome to create a death maze, filled with all sorts of traps, spinning blades of death an ending with a Deathclaw, the longer you keep it in its cage, the more that will come, so it’s a real risk/reward scenario and it comes to life, when three or more Deathclaws descend upon your peaceful settlement.

Of course, while adding all of the above is great, you can add more like light sources that don’t need electricity, all sorts of new wall mounts, paintings and such, heck you can even add busses, granting you the ability to do all sorts of fun things. It is a shame that the add on does not fix any issues with the building mechanics at play, there are houses within Sanctuary that I would love to demolish, but the game won’t me, or in a place like Hangman’s Alley, removing the existing building would be great, but again, you are not allowed. The addition of dirt plots is welcome, allowing you to build in more concrete infused locations, but by not allowing removal of items from the existing settlements, it makes it hard to build what you want. Perhaps the most common issue is with the boundaries still, you can build foundations and floors through them, but nothing else, which is frustrating. Additions like the Fusion reactor, show that the team are listening to complaints, having 5 large generators to power your settlement is a pain, when now one fusion reactor can do it, if only they would fix these other issues as well.

Wasteland Workshop is not going to be for everyone, by only adding pieces of content that people can build with, it’s only going to serve a small group of players, but even if you don’t consider yourself a builder, the ability to trap creatures and enemies is well worth the price of admission.

Thanks to Bethesda for supplying the game for review

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