Steel Dawn is the sixth major expansion for Fallout 76; the latest to be released in Bethesda’s attempts to make the game worthwhile. It’s fair to say that I haven’t been the biggest fan of Fallout 76, as to me it has never really felt like a “proper” Fallout game. The only people I want to see jumping and spinning through a post apocalyptic wasteland are the NPCs that haven’t been programmed properly (although I have to say, these days things do seem to be a lot more stable than when it was launched), not high-levelled players who may randomly take it upon themselves to shoot you in the face. Now, according to the developers, this is the setup for a two part story involving the Brotherhood of Steel coming to Appalachia, so let’s dive in and see what’s what.
Finally, the Brotherhood of Steel, by far my favourite faction in the Fallout universe, has appeared in the wasteland I’ve been calling home. The story of the mission is an interesting one, as Paladin Leila Rahmani has been trekking her way here for over three months, with her First Expeditionary Force alongside. They have been sent to re-establish a foothold in Appalachia, and to provide assistance to the people living in the region. Now, given the chance, I jumped at the opportunity to sign up, and so made my way from my C.A.M.P. to their new base in Fort Atlas, a former observatory that the Brotherhood have taken over. Of course, if you wish, it is possible to try and resist the Brotherhood and impair their mission, but I chose to play along.
Now, joining the Brotherhood of Steel is never as straightforward as rocking up, knocking on the door, and getting a job. And, as would be expected, it’s not the case here either. Upon arriving at Fort Atlas, we have to speak to a certain Knight Shin – a grumpy Knight who has been put in charge of talking to people and finding out how the Brotherhood can assist them. He seems to feel that this is a job below him, so when we offer to help he is more than happy to let us talk to the plaintiffs and sort the wheat from the chaff, as it were. Basically, we have to speak to the people milling about, find out what they want, then report back to Shin and tell him.
So, with this achieved and the Knight suitably impressed, we then have to jump through further hoops, helping a Scribe for instance, then finally the Paladin will speak to us. She sends us off to clear out a nest of Ghouls on the other side of the map, but luckily the Scribe does provide a cool pistol that fires explosive ammo, so the job of actually shooting squishy ghouls is pretty easy, despite there being a host of them found in a fallout shelter.
With our membership approved, we must then follow the storyline through. I’m not going to go into the storyline any further for fear of spoilers, but basically it appears that the Brotherhood of Steel are looking for new technology to use, and it will come down to us as to how, and if, this new technology can be utilised. Now, once you have got to the end of the new questline (and it isn’t the longest in the world, despite sending you all over the map), what is left for this expansion? Well…
Basically, what we have here is a load of cosmetic items, including bits and bobs that can be added to your C.A.M.P., such as a Brotherhood of Steel watchtower. Obviously the best bit of the Brotherhood of Steel is their funky Power Armour, and luckily there are various bits of armour and unique weapons that can be obtained in the course of your explorations. One of the big additions is C.A.M.P. Shelters, underground, separately instanced spaces that are not attached to your main C.A.M.P. If you complete a certain quest, you can get your first Shelter for free, so having a new space that you can decorate and use is pretty cool, to be honest.
There are a handful of new locations to find and explore too, including the sizeable Fort Atlas and new NPCs in older locations also. If you are lucky you may come across the Brotherhood out and about: I have found a pitched battle between the Brotherhood and a bunch of Super Mutants, so obviously I had to dive in and assist; it’s little touches like this that make Fallout 76 finally start to appear to be a real Fallout game. When the game launched, with no living NPCs at all, it just felt like a shell of a game, but with each additional update and expansion Bethesda have finally started to make the Wasteland live in the way that it should.
In all, Fallout 76: Steel Dawn on Xbox is a promising start to the Brotherhood of Steel’s adventures in Appalachia, but being brutally honest, that’s all it is – a start. The questline is too short, the additions of weapons and armour – while nice to have – aren’t essential, and the cosmetic items, either for the C.A.M.P. or for the player, are wasted on me. I can’t see the point of painting my armour a different colour. Maybe I’m missing the point, but it seems like a waste of time. I’d like to have seen more to be honest, but it at least is a good start with Steel Dawn, if only because that means The Brotherhood are back – now all they need is a storyline worthy of them.