News August 3, 2016

Fallout 4's Vault Tec Workshop - is it Worth it?

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Written By: Kenneth Seward Jr.
Date: 08/03/16

One of the major selling points of Fallout 4 was the ability to create settlements out in the wastes. Allowing the modification of weapons and armor was a nice touch for sure. But being able to carve out a space of your own has proven to be a worthy staple; it has to be a series mainstay going forward. With that said, this feature pales in comparison to what was released a week ago…

Fallout 4’s fifth DLC pack and third workshop add-on, the Vault-Tec Workshop, brings with it the ability to create and man your own vault. Just, let that sink in for a moment. Sounds amazing right? I mean, you can construct a vault, invite survivors, hand out Pip-Boys, and become an overseer. It’s the one thing you never knew you always wanted from this series, regardless of how much you like or dislike Fallout Shelter.

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Before you can start tinkering with your own metallic dwellings, you’ll first need to complete a series of missions. I say “need” but in reality you could very well skip them. Doing so, however, would mean that you’d miss out on some interesting tutorials, a smorgasbord of junk to craft with and a new underground vault. That last point is rather important (I’ll explain why in a bit). These missions become available once you’ve downloaded the DLC and hit level 20; after loading your game, you’ll get a distress call on the radio. Raiders are trying the break into a half finished vault called Vault 88, located within/beneath Quincy Quarries. Once they’ve been dispatched, the overseer of this mysterious vault will explain how a Pip-boy is needed to open the massive door.

Once inside, you’ll be greeted by Overseer Valery Barstow, a female ghoul who’s been stuck in the vault for over 200 years. Apparently, the only thing keeping her sane was the previous overseer’s experiments. Vault 88 specialized in making the world a “better” place by doing tests on the individuals living there. Looking to finish what was started years ago, Barstow will ask you to fix the place up before constructing some of the newer craftable items – which is where the tutorial part comes in – and luring survivors to the vault. These include slot machines that control people’s minds, a soda fountain that laces drinks with chemicals and a power cycle (exercise bike) that forces manual labor.

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I won’t go into what happens during your testing phase, though I wouldn’t be spoiling much. Just know that Barstow isn’t concerned about anyone’s well-being and how humane your tests are will affect the outcome of this little aside. There are also some challenging enemies lurking about, including a boss fight and tons of radiation; the place isn’t entirely safe. Really though, this part of the add-on is more about explaining how some of these new items work before allowing you free reign of the place. One of the things I liked about this set up was how much junk is scattered about. This is the first add-on that didn’t leave me wandering around for stuff to use in crafting. Instead, I was able to break down what was around me, making it possible to construct most of everything right away. Not only that, but the allotted space is huge! You can really stretch out, building corridors, rooms, atriums, and menial things like reactors – you can fit a lot within Vault 88.

Speaking of this particular vault, it is the only place that allows you to build underground. You can turn your settlements into above ground vaults just the same, but they’ll lack that below-the-surface smell that permeates the vaults of old. All jokes aside, this is a small complaint given the fact that it would be difficult to allow gamers to drill into the earth at this point; the potential to break the game would skyrocket. Besides, with so many new structures to erect and items to craft, you’ll sure to be overwhelmed regardless of your current location.

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Every Fallout has the protagonist leaving a vault. This time, we’re trying to create one. Makes sense as they were some of the safest places before the bombs hit. Unless of course the overseer was a dictator or a scientist bent on saving the world by using their peers as test subjects. Part of the appeal is seeing what type of overseer you’ll be when given the chance. So far, I’m doing ok!

The Vault-Tec Workshop is available for those who purchased the season pass or sold separately for $4.99. Next up is the Nuka World – an add-on that’s similar to Far Harbor in that it opens up a whole new region to explore. Be sure to check back here for our thoughts on that after it’s released later this month. In the meantime, go here to check out our coverage of all the DLC played thus far (including our review of Fallout 4)!