Fallout 4's Vault-Tec Workshop doesn't make you feel much like an Overseer

I've been looking forward to Fallout 4's Vault-Tec Workshop DLC, and herein lies my mistake: I was focusing on the 'Vault-Tec' in the title and not the word 'Workshop.' And ultimately, this is just another Workshop, and by that I mean it's just another settlement, and I don't know about you but I'm a wee bit tired of settlements.

With the $5 DLC installed, tune into a new radio frequency that will direct you to Vault 88, where a ghoul Overseer will begin giving you quests as she attempts, for some reason, to complete the Vault's construction and turn it into a fully operational facility. The quests, really, aren't much to speak of. There is one excursion to retrieve an item from elsewhere on the map, but the rest involve clearing out ghouls and mirelurks from the depths of 88, and setting up a few experiments on the settlers who begin to move in. 

And hey, it's only $5, so I wasn't expecting a sprawling adventure, but the ultimate feeling I'm left with, quest-wise and experiment-wise, is: "Oh, that's it? Huh."

A ghoul wants you to take an eye exam in a filthy cave, nothing to be suspicious about.

A ghoul wants you to take an eye exam in a filthy cave, nothing to be suspicious about.

The experiments are the biggest disappointment. Build an item in the Workshop, place it and power it up, and tell some poor settler to use it. You can make your subject ride a stationary bike that acts as a generator, serve them chemically enhanced soda, give them an optical exam, and instruct them to play slot machines. Each experiment has three settings, depending on how evil you feel, that can influence the subject's behavior chemically, subliminally, or optically.

And that's it, really. Despite the ever-present Nick Valentine's disapproving synthetic stare, I went full-on evil, trying to pick the least ethical setting for each experiment. A couple settlers got giddy on tainted soda, one got angry after discovering a subliminal message during an eye exam, someone else was tricked into praising the ghoul Overseer even though she should not be praised because she is a jerk. I don't exactly feel like Lex Luthor, you know?

If you were hoping to become a puppet-master, creatively brainwashing your unknowing subjects with wild sci-fi experiments, uh, yeah, that doesn't seem to be included here. I feel like I've been meaner to settlers just in my day-to-day Fallout 4 routine.

I participated in the experiments too but didn't notice any side-effects spider turnip goblin

I participated in the experiments too but didn't notice any side-effects spider turnip goblin

Good news? Yes! There's some of that. 88's underground vault area is tremendously big. Really. It's huge. So, if you're really interested in building yourself a giant kickass Vault-Tec settlement, you've more than enough space to do it. There are all sorts of new Vault parts and pieces to build with, so I know dedicated builders will probably have a great time snapping together their own Vaults, and I'm looking forward to seeing what people come up with.

Another nice little bit of tech has been added, a terminal where you can track all your different companions. So, if you can't remember where you parked Curie or Dogmeat, you can use the terminal to drop a quest marker on them and easily track them down. There's also a terminal that will allow you to monitor your population and—gasp—assign jobs to settlers remotely! No more walking up to people, pointing at them, then walking twenty feet away and pointing at corn! This might be worth the $5 alone.

Or, you know, you could use this existing mod that also does that.

So, I don't feel anything like an Overseer after playing with the Vault-Tec Workshop, which was kind of what I was hoping for. If you want a big giant huge (it's really very large) new underground area to build in, though, this is the place to find it.

Christopher Livingston
Staff Writer

Chris started playing PC games in the 1980s, started writing about them in the early 2000s, and (finally) started getting paid to write about them in the late 2000s. Following a few years as a regular freelancer, PC Gamer hired him in 2014, probably so he'd stop emailing them asking for more work. Chris has a love-hate relationship with survival games and an unhealthy fascination with the inner lives of NPCs. He's also a fan of offbeat simulation games, mods, and ignoring storylines in RPGs so he can make up his own.