The notion of a perfectly tamed Deathclaw roaming around your settlement in Fallout 4 is rousing and perhaps a little concerning. Why would you want Deathclaws and other ferocious beats of the wasteland making themselves at home in your settlement? Well, there’s no reason at all. You can have them fight your settlers and each other though! This is the driving force behind Bethesda’s latest add-on for their acclaimed RPG Fallout 4. The expansion, titled Wasteland Workshop, offers some new stuff for your settlements and the ability to house a battle arena…but that’s about it.
Maybe the biggest draw this time around is the prospect of essentially starting up your own wasteland petting zoo. The expansion adds a variety of cages into the workshop mode, the aspect of the game that allows you to customize and build your own settlements. These cages range from small to large, depending on the type of creature you want to capture. You can capture a good majority of the monsters that Fallout 4 has to offer, including Deathclaws, Yao Guais, Mutant Hounds, Brahmin, and more. You can also house sentient beings like Raiders, Gunners, and Ghouls. There’s even cats, although putting a cat cage in the same arena as a Deathclaw doesn’t bode well. Trust me, I learn from experience.
When you initially capture these creatures, they’re hostile depending on their type. This is where the Beta Wave Emitter comes in, a new workshop item that pacifies any and all creatures within its reach. This is the item that allows deadly creatures like Deathclaws to roam around your settlement without the urge to rip your lungs out. Unfortunately, you have to have certain perks like Wasteland Whisperer and Animal Friend to build this item, which is pretty much necessary if you want to have these creatures in your settlement. I often found my creatures out of their cages either because of generator failure or you know, just because. It happened enough that my settlement started to become a littered mess of monster corpses. I would kill them, reset the bait, and then repeat. It started to become tedious. Having creatures locked up in your settlement is also a good way to bring unwanted attention to your settlement. You’ll find your settlement getting attacked a lot more when you have creatures in the cages. It was almost comical how much times I started to get attacked as I built more and more cages. It started to get real annoying after a while and I later just abandoned the settlement…it started to become too much.
Another big feature that Wasteland Workshop brings to the table is arena fights. These fights can involve your settlement’s inhabitants or your creatures…or both. New workshop items let you build your own battle arena in your settlements, which sounded pretty exciting at first. Unfortunately, the battles are a little cumbersome to set up and they’re not that exciting to watch either. There’s a little value to be found in the first couple of fights…but it started to become too much work to be enjoyable. Your settlement’s moral goes down as well if settlers are killing each other so there is really no point in having your settlers duke it out, unless you’re a maniacal psychopath that loves to watch the world burn. If that fits your bill, then this DLC might just be up your wheelhouse. This add-on does a lot more to destroy your settlements then build them up.
Perhaps the best part about the add-on, and maybe the smallest new feature, is the addition of customizable neon signs that you can adorn on your settlement’s structures. The workshop gives you the full alphabet, allowing you to basically light up whatever word or phrase that you want. It’s only cosmetic, but there’s a lot of value. I was littering my settlements with neon signs in no time. You can make some pretty silly stuff with these neon signs, which is half the fun.
Unlike past Bethesda expansions, Wasteland Workshop is a barren wasteland in terms of content…or at least content that matters. The monster cages and arena fights sound really cool on paper but the actual reality of these ideas doesn’t translate the same amount of excitement. Besides the neon signs, there really isn’t that much else. I was hoping that we would get a lot more workshop items but instead we only got a select few. If you’re an owner of a season pass, like me, then none of this really matters anyway. No harm no foul. However, if you decided to play it safe by picking and choosing what add-ons you wanted to purchase, then there is really no reason you should pick this one up. Just wait for their next expansion, Far Harbor.