The Fallout series has been hailed for having some of the best DLC available due to the large, open worlds that they add into the core title. Even though some have been far shorter than others, there is no doubt that you certainly get your money’s worth with each new expansion offered to the player. While most of these add-ons offer new weapons, armor, and enemies to fight, some change the entire concept of how the game is played. However, with 13 wildly different DLC packs, some are bound to be better than others. Whether through design choices, art style, or the story alone, there is not doubting that the Fallout expansions have had some truly great moments.
Yet, it’s important to recognize what a great Fallout add-on actually entails. When judging which is best we are not looking at the sheer map size alone, although that is an important factor. We are also judging these DLCs based on what new content they bring to the table and if those items are useful later in the actual game. It’s also important to note that some of these DLCs actually change the gameplay and tempo of Fallout in general, so we need to assess if those changes were for the best. Finally, and arguably the most important, the quality of the story and characters will be factored in.
Fallout is a series that lives and dies by the fun, intriguing, and often deep stories that are told to us. If a certain expansion has a particularly good story then we need to take that into consideration as well. These are the Fallout series expansions that blew out minds and left us wanting to explore more of the Wasteland.
13) Contraptions Workshop – Fallout 4
It should be no surprise to anyone that this is the lowest ranked additional content for the Fallout series. While it’s not a true expansion, this DLC really only affects those who are interested in pushing Fallout 4’s building mechanics to their limits. There’s no doubt that this community will make some crazy Rube Goldberg creations, but compared to the rest of the DLC content there’s nothing exactly special about this.
12) Wasteland Workshop – Fallout 4
The second settlement builder focused DLC, this only nudges out Contraptions due to it fulfilling our ability to craft fantasy match-ups. Being able to capture and fight various animals and humans throughout the Commonwealth is a fun way to kill some time, as it can add a bit more flavor to your custom shanty towns. Plus, it adds various wall mounts, concrete-based building materials, and a variety of neons lights. While Contraptions is fun, this DLC just has a bigger, more practical volume of items to utilize.
11) Operation Anchorage – Fallout 3
Operation Anchorage is the first expansion for Fallout 3 and one that doesn’t inherently feel like a Fallout game. Set in a virtual recreation of the Chinese invasion of Alaska, this DLC is far more action focused than any other Fallout DLC. For whatever reason, many of the core features and concept of this game was set aside for this expansion, as the scenarios basically devolve into you shooting a bunch of military soldiers again and again. There are very rare moments where you can affect actual change in the story and the only reason this isn’t lower is due to the amazing loot you get after going through this slog of an expansion.
10) Honest Hearts – Fallout: New Vegas
Set in Zion National Park, Honest Hearts sheds more light on the mysterious Burned Man character. While the setting is a nice change of pace, sadly the enemies are ones we’ve killed dozens, if not hundreds of times already. Even though some of the side quests are fun, the repetitive fetch quests bog the pacing and story down greatly. Honest Hearts is a fun getaway for New Vegas, but is by no means the best DLC for this game. Also, giant Cazadors exists and they are the stuff of nightmares.
9) Dead Money – Fallout New Vegas
Have you ever wondered what Fallout would be like if it was a survival horror game? Well, Dead Money has answered that question, but with largely mixed results. The first half of this DLC is fantastic, as you’re given a limited amount of ammo and supplies to survive on. Avoiding combat is usually for the best and it makes every engagement tense and calculated. That is, until Dead Money 180s and decides to go back to a full combat focused story which completely negates the core concepts that this expansion was conveying. Not to mention you have very little in the way of gear, so these segments turn into more of a chore than genuinely fun battles.
8) Broken Steel – Fallout 3
Broken Steel finally offered players the option to pick Fawkes to enter the radiation chamber at the end of Fallout 3 instead of yourself, thus allowing the game to continue after the main story ended. What you get after this choice is a fairly entertaining story involving the Brotherhood of Steel and the greatest robot in Fallout’s history. Seriously, Liberty Prime is amazing. Though there is an actual lack of additional weapons, armor, and in general story offered with Broken Steel. The fact that it allows you to continue after the main story ends, shouldn’t be the best factor of this expansion.
7) Lonesome Road – Fallout: New Vegas
Continuing the story of the mysterious Platinum Chip job, our unknown courier has to travel to a new location dubbed “The Divide.” This is probably one of the hardest Fallout DLCs to date as the world is full of a variety of new, powerful monsters that are looking to rip your face clean off. While the story can waiver in quality from time to time, it’s actually the robot ED-E that steals the show. Despite being less expressive than the new characters, ED-E is quite an endearing addition and you may find yourself investing in his safety far more.
6) Automatron – Fallout 4
This is probably one of the more absurd scenarios that Fallout 4 has conjured up. A “super villain” named the Mechanist has released a robot army upon the Commonwealth in hopes to both kill you and save the wasteland from your tyranny. While this expansion is far shorter than the others on this list, one has to appreciate the amount of charm and zany antics that this story offers. Not only are you fighting an army of angry Mr. Handys, but you get the ability to build and customize your very own robot. This is probably the biggest addition that Automatron makes, as your own custom bot can have a wide variety of skills, personalities, and weapons. Also, this new DLC adds the companion Ada and weapons such as the Tesla Rifle.
5) Mothership Zeta
Fallout has always touched upon the idea of 1950s inspired aliens, but until Mothership Zeta we only got brief glimpses at this. With this DLC we are not only abducted, but forced to escape an alien mothership that is housing a bunch of people from different time periods, such as a samurai. Even though this DLC didn’t offer a ton of variety when it came to story, the new space weapons and fun characters certainly make up for this. Mothership Zeta is very tongue and cheek, playing on the Flash Gordon-esc science fiction tropes that defined the genre. It’s a fun break from the usual gray and brown landscape of the Captial Wasteland.
4) The Pitt – Fallout 3
The Pitt is one of the darkest expansions that has ever graced the Fallout series, as players are sent to a hellish version of what was once Pittsburgh. Now the steel mills have been transformed into fighting arenas and terrifying new enemies roam outside of the defended walls, waiting to prey upon lost travelers. This story is quite brutal and the change in location emphasizes this with the fiery color pallet. Not only does it feature some great combat and new weapons, but there is an interesting story involving the people of The Pitt and their slaves. Unlike the previous DLCs, your moral choice isn’t so black and white here lending The Pitt a deeper and more complex narrative.
3) Old World Blues – Fallout: New Vegas
Hands down the funniest expansion that Fallout has ever scene, Old World Blues places the player in a blown out crater called “The Big Empty.” Thankfully, you’re not alone as a bunch of colorful and unstable brains linked through computers are in need of your assistance. Old World Blues may not offer a ton of new weapons or gear, but it skirts to the top by the sheer quality of the writing. Almost every character as a readily, memorable personality that helps flush both them and the world around them out. Nearly every single joke is amusing in some way and yes, fighting giant robot scorpions is as insane as it sounds.
2) Far Harbor – Fallout 4
Fallout 4’s first massive expansion, Far Harbor sends us off to a new location that is covered by a radioactive fog. The world of Far Harbor is huge, offering a plethora of side quests to finish, new monsters to slay, and a variety of legendary weapons to obtain. Thanks to a compelling story about the nature of synths and their relationship with humans, we are given a ton of world-bending choices to make. Not to mention the religious cult Child of Atom is actually flushed out for once and yes, they are literally as crazy as expected. Just make sure to bring some Rad-X before you go off on this adventure.
1) Point Lookout – Fallout 3
There’s an argument to be made that Point Lookout is aesthetically downgraded version of Far Harbor, but this is an expansion that has perfectly balanced both story elements and gameplay. Offering a variety of new enemies and weapons to try out, there is no shortage of monsters to put down. The story is the real star here, as it does a great job offering both the offbeat humor that Fallout is known for, with a more serious and moral tale. Nothing outside of Old World Blues has surpassed the humor in the hallucination sequence and discovering the secrets in the Calvert Mansion is genuinely intriguing. Point Lookout is the culmination of Bethesda’s understanding for what makes Fallout such an entertaining series. Hopefully, the upcoming Nuka World is just as good.