Bethesda”s Fallout titles have always come with tons of great downloadable content after launch, so today we”re ranking their best DLCs.
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Fallout is arguably one of the most influential RPGs ever created. Proper choice, fantastic lore, and engaging combat were all cornerstones of the original games that Bethesda have done their best to carry forward in their titles.
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The more recent Fallout titles have come with downloadable content (DLC for short) to give players a reason to return. New areas, quests, and items make these experiences more refined and interesting than the base game could offer. Most DLCs for the Fallout franchise are incredible and should be experienced by everybody.
Updated March 16th, 2021 by Thomas Bowen: To say that Bethesda doesn”t always get things right would be a bit of an understatement. One area where the developer rarely disappoints though is in its solid DLC offerings. When done properly, downloadable content can extend the life of an ailing title, allowing players to squeeze just a few more drops of fun from it before moving on to the next big thing. The Fallout franchise is a great example of this, with the series” DLC often providing more enjoyment than the games themselves. Not all of them are winners, but the vast majority of them bring an awful lot to the table.
There”s nothing more infuriating than when a developer locks in-game content behind a wall of pre-order bonuses. Worse still, different stores and sites often provide different content, meaning that even if someone does pre-order the game, they”re still going to miss out. Thankfully, Fallout: New Vegas offers a solution.
Courier”s Stash was one of two DLC add-ons to release for the game in late 2011 and is comprised of four item packs that had previously only been available to those who pre-ordered the game. None of the items it includes are particularly game changing, but this was reflected by its fairly reasonable pricing.
Nuka World was the sixth DLC to release for Fallout 4 and is one of the game”s largest. Despite its massive size, however, there”s surprisingly little substance to it all. None of the quests are particularly memorable and although there are a few interesting new characters introduced, the overall package just doesn”t quite hit the mark.
One area where Nuka World doesn”t disappoint though is the amusement park itself. Each and every nook and cranny of the new environment has been meticulously crafted and there are plenty of secrets just waiting to be discovered. There”s new weapons and armor too, as well as a whole host of deadly new creatures to take on.
The Gun Runners” Arsenal launched alongside Courier”s Stash and offers quite a bit more content. Rather than introducing additional quests though, it instead focuses on expanding the Courier”s arsenal with a slew of new weapons and ammo types that are capable of cutting through creatures like a hot knife through butter.
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As well as these new armaments, GRA also offers a slew of new challenges designed to encourage players to test out all of their new gear. It more than justified its low price-tag, although thanks to a pricing error at launch, players in Europe were able to pick it up for around half its intended price making it a fantastic deal rather than merely a good one.
Dogmeat is cool and all, but why settle for flesh when there”s the option of a giant killer robot companion instead? To be clear, that”s not all that the Automatron expansion adds to Fallout 4, but it”s arguably the highlight of this robo-centric add-on.
Automatron adds a little bit more of everything, including a short questline, a whole host of new characters and an army of mechanical monstrosities capable of causing chaos for unsuspecting players. It may not be as substantial as some of the other DLC for the game, but it”s surprisingly sweet in spite of its short length.
There are several settlement related add-ons for Fallout 4, but the Vault-Tec Workshop pack is easily the pick of the bunch. It offers a new underground settlement as well as a veritable feast of new furniture and craftable items to go along with it.
Those who”ve played Fallout Shelter will find this pack to be very reminiscent of the mobile title, with several of the vault dwellers even reusing some of the game”s dialogue. There”s a fairly substantial questline too, although this centers more around unlocking new parts of Vault 88 than it does expanding the series” lore.
Operation Anchorage, the first DLC released for Fallout 3, was met with a mixed reception at launch for being much more linear than the base game. While this is certainly true, the DLC simply wouldn”t work without this rigid structure.
Players find a group of Brotherhood of Steel soldiers trying to pry open a vault that seems filed with pre-war tech. They need someone, which of course is you, to enter a military simulation to take back Anchorage from a Chinese invasion. This DLC focuses much more on combat and linear level design than exploration, which seems jarring at first. If you go into this DLC expecting that, however, Operation Anchorage provides a nice change of pace from the rest of Fallout 3 and its DLCs. The loot from the vault is fantastic, too.
Bethesda gets very creative with most of their DLCs, expanding and iterating on their games in unique ways most wouldn”t have predicted. Mothership Zeta is a fantastic example of this.
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Did anyone ask for a DLC where aliens abducted you? The vast majority didn”t, yet Mothership Zeta remains as some fan”s favorite DLC for Fallout 3. This DLC doesn”t take itself too seriously and focuses more on zany humor than anything else. Fans of Fallout”s gritty and bleak setting will hate this DLC, but those who want to blow off some steam and have a laugh are in for a good time.
Opposite of Mothership Zeta, Honest Hearts is a grounded DLC for Fallout: New Vegas that focuses on exploring The Burned Man, a mythical figure mentioned in the base game semi-frequently.
In Honest Hearts, we learn of his background with Caesar, his plans with the Legion, how religion has adapted to the wasteland, and how humans who are distant from societies live their lives. It gives a humanizing glance at every major character in New Vegas and allows the player to guide Joshua Graham”s moral compass. It is a brilliant narrative addition, although it lacks much side content or a large zone to explore.
7 Broken Steel (Fallout 3)
When players finished Fallout 3″s campaign, most were taken aback by the abrupt ending and minimal slides that display your accomplishments. Fallout veterans wanted an expanded ending slide while newcomers wanted a post-campaign roaming option.
Bethesda tried to appeal to both parties with Broken Steel, an extra fourth act for Fallout 3″s campaign that picks up where the main game left off. The Enclave has taken a massive blow thanks to you, and it is your job to finish them off. You work alongside Brotherhood soldiers in scripted levels to finish off The Enclave in Washington through many adrenaline-fueled shootouts. It”s a fun DLC that is more a fix than the experimental DLC Bethesda typically produces, but it accomplishes its goals in fine fashion.
Fallout 3″s Point Lookout is one of the game”s best DLCs, adding a swampland in Maryland as a new open-world location. This DLC evokes a sense of creepiness and paranoia that few DLCs can match.
The swampland you explore is one of Bethesda”s best locations, hiding frightening monsters and loot in equal measure. You are always on your toes when playing Point Lookout, both for combat encounters and the bizarre narrative that perfectly fits Fallout. Blowing up Mirelurk Queens with a Double-Barreled Shotgun never gets old.
Dead Money is the most divisive DLC in any Fallout title. You love it or you hate it. This DLC strips you of your gear, puts an explosive collar on you, and asks you to infiltrate a casino.
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Oh, and poisonous gas, monsters, and stereos that can detonate your collar litter the city. From a visual and narrative standpoint, Dead Money is one of Fallout”s best. Gameplay wise, it tries to turn Fallout: New Vegas into a survival horror game with mixed results. Enemies are frustrating to fight, and the lower Sierra Madre can blur together with little to distinguish each zone. Even if you hate survival horrors, give this DLC a try. It might win you over with its charming characters and stunning setting.
Yet another divisive DLC, Lonesome Road is the culmination of smaller subplots from Fallout: New Vegas and its DLCs. A mysterious and hyped character, Ulysses, wants to see you live through the consequences of your actions.
Lonesome Road is incredibly linear, has little side content, doesn”t allow for many choices except at the end, and is buggy without mods. So why is this rated so highly? Simply put, New Vegas has never told a story as epic or visually impressive as this. You explore The Divide, the irradiated remains of a once prosperous city. Ulysses answers questions players had about their backstory, and the gameplay in Lonesome Road is some of New Vegas” best. If this DLC allowed for more choice, it would be the best DLC for Fallout ever released.
3 The Pitt (Fallout 3)
Hardcore Fallout fans argued that Bethesda was incapable of replicating Fallout 1 and 2″s dark tone. The Pitt shows that this simply isn”t true.
Slavers take you to Pittsburgh, or what”s left of it. Industrial smog fills the air and turns slaves into savage beasts. The main narrative is also less black and white than the main game, allowing for real choice and decision making. It”s just a shame the zones are so small.
The Big MT is where the world”s smartest scientists have resided, creating advanced weapons and technology to evolve the wasteland. At least, that”s what the player is told.
In practice, Old World Blues is a return to Fallout”s silly and ironic humor that New Vegas lacked. You fire bullets from a minigun powered by a dog”s brain, fight robotic scorpions while a scientist exclaims his love for drugs, and you debate your own brain to return to your body. It is unabashedly ridiculous in the best possible way.
Voiced protagonists and Fallout go together as well as oil and water, as Fallout 4 has shown. Many fans criticized the game”s lack of choices and a predictable dialogue system.
Bethesda could have made a silly DLC like Mothership Zeta and called it a day. Instead, they created Far Harbor, something more akin to a giant expansion than a small DLC. In it, players head to an island off the coast of Maine to explore an intriguing mystery involving Lovecraftian monsters, Synths, and the Children of Atom. Proper choice, factions, and well-written quests finally returned. This was an apology for Fallout 4″s narrative in the best possible way.
NEXT: Ranking Every Fallout Game From Worst To Best
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