Have you ever found yourself wandering through a vault in the Fallout universe and wondering what it would be like to build one of those vaults for yourself? Have you wondered what it would be like to practice experiments on the vault dwellers within? Now this dream is a reality in the Vault-Tec Workshop, the latest string of DLC add-ons for Bethesda’s Fallout 4. It’s essentially a more fleshed out version of the studio’s mobile game Fallout Shelter, which is novel in concept. Vault-Tec Workshop doesn’t go without its faults though.
The add-on starts you off with a quest calling you to investigate a mysterious cave, a new location added into the game. Inside this cave you find what is seemingly an abandoned vault, although you hear a woman’s voice over the loudspeaker. After defeating the enemies that are trying to break in through the vault door, you open the vault and come into contact with a new acquaintance, Valery Barstow, a ghoul who was meant to become the overseer of the uncompleted Vault 88, the vault in which you discovered. After walking into the main area, you find a huge cave with loads of abandoned construction equipment and some feral ghouls who used to be a part of the crew. After getting to know a little bit about Barstow and her ambitions for Vault 88, she sets you free with the task of finishing Vault 88 and the experiments that it was meant to run. It might seem unethical at first, but that’s the question you will have to repeatedly struggle with as you continue to welcome in new settlers and complete different tasks for Barstow. You can either murder Barstow in cold blood or complete her unethical, and sometimes devious, experiments on the settlers you welcome in. It’s your choice, which is what I like about this add-on in particular.
The settlement space that the add-on gives you to build your vault is definitely the biggest space in the game by far. You have a massive system of caves that you can explore and clear out to make room for your vault. The game encourages players to reach level 20 before starting the DLC, because some of the enemies you will have to clear out are pretty tough. Once you have explored and cleared the cave system, you have a massive cave at your disposal…which you pretty much can’t take advantage of due to the settlement size constraints. You know that bar in the upper right corner in the workshop HUD that indicates “size”? This size constraint unfortunately still applies to your vault, even though it gives you a massive space to work with. If you’re on console (I have been playing on PS4) then you can pretty much forget creating a vault that spans the entire cave system. If you want a vault that’s nice and furnished, then you’re pretty much going to have to stick to the main area for now, until mods come out that allow you to remove the size limitations. It’s a pretty large oversight, but I understand that console limitations prevent you from creating vast vaults. At the end of the day it’s a hardware constraint, but it’s still rather unfortunate, especially when your teased with such a massive building space to play around with.
When you take into account all of Bethesda’s previous workshop add-ons for the game, Vault-Tec Workshop is probably the biggest and best addition to the constantly growing workshop feature set. The add-on gives you a pretty hefty set of new workshop elements that give you the ability to create your very own Vault-Tec vault. There’s a bunch of pre-sets that allow you to build hallways, atriums, dining spaces, living spaces, overseer offices and much more. There’s also a host of new furniture options that relate specifically to what you typically find in vaults around the world. Everything from Vault-Tec posters to diner benches have been included, allowing you to personalize your vault to your liking. Perhaps the most practical addition to the workshop is the Vault-Tec generators, that have the ability to produce 150 or 500 electricity. These generators are powerhouses that will allow you to power up even the heftiest of vaults. You can build all of these elements outside of the add-on’s underground area in any settlement of your choice, which can potentially lead to some unique creations as well.
For all you diabolical folks who want to conduct experiments on your vault’s dwellers, you get a pretty nice array of experiments to choose from. In all, there are four objects that allow you to conduct three experiments each, which totals up to twelve experiments in all. These objects range from elliptical bikes to soda machines to slot machines. These experiments are not as crazy as some of the others that you have seen in other vaults, but they are enough to suffice. You also can’t create your own, so your stuck with what the add-on gives you. There’s a population management terminal that allows you to manage all of your vault dwellers, which provides a nice and easy way to get a glance at what everyone is doing. You can also equip your dwellers with their very own Vault 88 jumpsuits and Pip-Boys, which is a nice touch in itself. The add-on goes pretty far in letting you create what feels like an authentic vault.
Despite the size limitations that inhibit you from creating expansive vault systems, the Vault-Tec Workshop is a nice addition to Fallout 4. Sure, in the end it’s just a console version of Fallout Shelter, but the add-on provides enough items and features to make it worth taking a look at. At the end of the day, I would have preferred a little more story add-ons like the previous Fallout games, but these workshop add-ons will suffice for now. Nuka World, presumably Fallout 4’s final piece of DLC, is coming out next month, but Vault-Tec Workshop should be enough to hold over fans in the meantime.