Fallout 4 is, at best, a really fun ride, and, at worst, a controversial shoot-and-loot game. Many old Fallout fans were unimpressed by the voiced protagonists, the few conversation options, the simplistic kill-and-loot quests, and lots of other things. Other players enjoyed the beautifully developed world, the excellent gunplay, and building crazy complex settlements to store their power armor.
But one thing that everyone can agree on is that the plot…doesn’t always make sense. And we’re talking about the main storyline here, not just the side missions. There are stolen kids who don’t need to be stolen, robot detectives who are defective and then aren’t again, magic newspapers that should have changed the world, and secret technology that the plot totally ignores. It’s sort of a mess, is what we’re saying.
Look, Fallout 4 is supposed to be about a broken, nonsensical, mocking world. That’s sort of the point of Fallout games. But the story still needs to thread a plot that carefully makes sense at a glance. And it would be nice if the DLC did the same thing. Here are the points where Fallout 4 that clash with the story, upend important details, or reinvent the Commonwealth until most quests aren’t even necessary.
It’s okay if you love Fallout. We do too and it doesn’t always have to make sense. But here are the parts that really don’t make sense…and why maybe they could be better (even if they are also awesome). Because we Fallout players deserve the best radiation-filled, crazy world that we can get!
25 Far Harbor Is Awesome: But They Never Explained This One Thing
Far Harbor was just the DLC shot in the arm that Fallout 4 needed. It fixed a ton of the problems that people had with the vanilla game, including making things creepier, giving you quest options based on your skill levels, cranking out a lot of new weapons, and allowing you to interact in complex ways between multiple new guilds to decide who controls the mysterious island. But the key feature of Far Harbor is the fog, which poisons you with radiation, creates Lovecraftian monsters from the sea, and is generally terrible.
It’s been there for at least 70 years
Most of the story is devoted to fighting it or encouraging it…and no one ever tells you what it is. All you find out is that it’s been there for at least 70 years and that it's really bad. For a DLC with so much detail, why is the most important detail never explained?
24 Kellogg Is Trapped Inside Nick Valentine's Head And Everyone Forgets
Early on in the main story of F4, you end up diving into the cybernetic memories of a mercenary called Kellogg. Long story short, you work with a synth detective that everyone loves, called Nick Valentine, and experience Kellogg’s memories from being a boy to growing up and joining the institute. It’s a fun little section of traveling through someone else’s mind, but Valentine had to be your conduit: When you are done, you can talk to Nick Valentine again and he will mutter in Kellogg’s voice about how he should have ended you. This is huge. Nick is one of the most trusted people in the game, and he’s been infected with the guy who eliminated your family? Maybe that warrants a footnote, right? But immediately after, everyone forgets it and Nick goes on being the cantankerous nice guy. Or so we assume…
23 The Ghoul Boy In A Refrigerator Is Fun And Impossible
One random quest in Fallout 4 has gotten more hate than most, and we can’t really blame the befuddling players. Here’s the deal: You come across a random refrigerator, and there’s a ghoul (zombie via radiation) boy inside who says he hid inside when the bombs fell. That was about 200 years ago, which ruins the entire story. Because ghouls aren’t totally immortal. Their brains slowly rot, they have to eat, they appear to need at least some air and water, bullets can harm them, etc.
This whole quest is just ridiculous
But here you have to escort a totally normal 200-year-old ghoul boy who is totally normal for a flayed monstrosity. It violates a ton of ghoul rules, and nobody even seems to care. Even his ghoul parents aren’t surprised, and…you know what, this whole quest is just ridiculous.
22 Can We Talk About Literally Every Building In The Game?
Okay, we just mentioned how those good ole Fallout bombs dropped around 200 years ago according to long-established Fallout lore. Which is exactly why Fallout 4 doesn’t make any sense at all. Think about the first things you discover in the game as you explore the new world: Buildings with rugs, lamps, and carpet still intact. Cars still rusting in driveways. Food still stored in refrigerators. Labs still functional. Literally every building in the game is this way, including skyscrapers that should have collapsed with age. None of this stuff should still exist after 200 years, but here it is, free from time and scavengers. Sure, you could say everyone used magic nuclear paint and metal, and robots took care of things, but at least half the stuff in the game still shouldn’t exist!
21 BOS Acts Nothing Like The Past BOS
If you really want to get a long-term Fallout fan going, start talking about the Brotherhood of Steel. It’s an interesting organization spanning many games, focused on reclaiming old technology and providing a bulwark against…well, anything they don’t like. What they don’t like tends to vary, but especially in Fallout 4. The Brotherhood can be huge jerks, but in lo, e they are generally reasonable and often a force for stability.
Their oath is to salvage valuable technology
In 4, however, they are so bad it doesn’t even make sense. They want to destroy synths, when their oath is to salvage valuable technology. They want to destroy the Railroad, because, uh. well, they have to for the story to work. In the process, everything that makes the BOS what it is gets thrown along the radioactive wayside, and no one even complains, because sweet power armor.
20 What Could The Institute Want, Anyway?
We’re getting even more spoilery here (oh, just wait), but you can find out a bit about the Institute’s long-term goals in the game. Those white-coated scientists want to….uhh….well they sure do….it’s all about….you know what, we don’t really have a clue what the Institute wants. They claim they wish to bring stability and whatnot to the outside world, but none of their projects help do that. They build synths, which are basically a slave race, they create super mutants for no reason at all, they develop killer robots because it’s cool and, well, that’s about it. There are no long-term goals, no big mission statement of “do this,” they just exist and go around being vaguely evil. And let’s face it, if the Institute really did want to help the Commonwealth, they could have cured most of its problems a generation ago!
19 Evil Lovecraft Magic Is Just Totally Commonplace Somehow
Fallout 3 and Fallout 4 are a bit in love with H.P. Lovecraft, New England writer and creator of Cthulhu, plus many other eldritch horrors that have made their way into video games. Fallout 4, with its secret families and Far Harbor sea monsters (and hidden cults), is more obsessed with Lovecraft than most, which kinda breaks the story. Take Dunwich Borers, for example, it’s the most direct reference to Lovecraft in the game, a creepy mine you can delve deeper and deeper down into, uncovering a scary tale of a very occult group that was worshiping something at the bottom of the mine. You are haunted by visions as you explore downward, until you discover the worship site and, if you are thorough, the hidden, giant god-sculpture under water (with one of the most powerful weapons in the game). It’s clear this really exists, which means evil magic exists in Fallout, and no one ever realizes this.
18 The Magical Serum That Could Save The World
While we are one the subject of weird stuff, let’s talk about the Cabot family. It’s your typical ageless New England dynasty with a secret father who’s possessed by ancient aliens. The father’s blood is a magical serum that stops aging and any kind of illness: Just go with it. If you choose the right ending, you get access to this blood, and find out that it makes you entirely immune to radiation for like, a really long time. And you keep getting more of it…which raises the question, why isn’t this the key to Commonwealth salvation? A small amount of it could make everyone immune to radiation. It could save the entire world if you just give a vial to literally anyone in charge of anything, but you never do. World-saving secrets? Not today, Fallout citizens.
17 Spoilers: Father Perishes Of...Totally Curable Cancer?
Toward the end of the Fallout 4 story, you discover that your son, called Father (we know), is afflicted with cancer. Bummer. You can even get a whole passing scene with him, and if you join the Institute, you basically inherit his position (which also makes no sense, but we’re on a strict itinerary here).
He could take some of that sweet serum
Except, uhh, there are about a dozen ways where Father doesn’t have to perish. He could be uploaded into a synth, technology that has been around for decades. He could take some of that sweet serum we literally just mentioned, and be cured. He could use the super mutant virus to survive, just like the Institute experiments wanted. This may be one of the most nonsensical things in a game that doesn’t really pride itself on sense.
16 Synths Are An Evil Plot That Goes Nowhere
Ahhh, back to the Institute. From the outside, the synths are an evil robotic force that can take the place of literally anyone you know, and no one would even know the difference before it would be too late…you aren’t even sure if you’re a synth or not (probably not, though). But from the inside, the synth are a huge plot hole. What are they ultimately doing? Why are they taking the places of random people? How are they supposed to be recalled? How does this help gain the trust of the Commonwealth? The Institute’s answer is, “Mumble mumble, look at our pretty science.” The synths don’t have a goal. It’s probably the most advanced technology on the planet, and the Institute’s plan is to terrorize people and replace semi-important people with synths so that it looks cool when you write it all down.
15 The Famous Villain Timeline Plot Holes That Drive You Crazy
Back to Kellogg. As you search through this mercenary’s memories, you discover that he took your son and stole him away to Diamond City. Then things fall apart so badly, Fallout fans need conspiracy theories to even make sense of it. First, Kellogg doesn’t seem to age in hundreds of years, and even cybernetic implants can’t manage that. Second, Kellogg shows up with a 10-year old kid in Diamond City, which happened recently according to Nick Valentine. This is impossible, because your kid Shaun is currently the much-older-than-you Father at the Institute, and weird, because even if it was 60 years ago, what happened in the 10 years since your son was taken? The best guess people have is that Kellogg was playing decoy with a copy child synth just for, uh, anyone who was watching. It gets worse the more you think about it.
14 So, Teleportation Exists. We Wish It Didn't
One of the main plot quests in Fallout 4 is about teleportation. If you join the Institute (look, the game is several years old, just assume lots of spoilers), then you get the ability to teleport from anywhere, teleport grenades to summon synths, and just teleporty everything.
Teleportation doesn’t really exist in the Fallout world
The problem is, teleportation doesn’t really exist in the Fallout world, and especially not on this level. This single technology could lend instant victory to any of the other groups, In fact, it should have instantly won the story for the Institute too, because there doesn’t seem to be any nearby range on the teleporter, and it seems to teleport living and inert matter easily. All you need is the right code. Remember how Fallout is always a story about people being stuck underground? Yeah, this kinda ruins all of that.
13 The Whole Untainted DNA Plot Makes Zero Sense
Okay, so why were you and your son woken up from cryosleep in the first place? According to the Institute (and your own son), it’s because of radiation. Specifically, they needed pure DNA for their synthy experiments, and everyone up on the surface had been exposed to too much radiation. So the Institute stole your son, kept you in hibernation, and….eliminated everyone else. Wait. Why did they exterminate your wife and neighbors again? They were all in safe, sound cryosleep too. In fact, the Institute had a whole lab filled with people who had pure DNA from before the fallout and then decided to steal the only baby and eliminate pretty much everyone else for no reason. Honestly, we’re thinking maybe all those scientists aren’t that smart.
12 When You Find Your Son, No One Cares, Including You
Many remarks have been made about the dialogue in Fallout 4. Did it need more skill options? Probably. Was everything distilled down to four options? Yes, it was. But one thing it did well was always giving you in-depth conversations with your friends, which changed based on the decisions you make in the world.
It’s like it never happened at all
That’s why it’s so weird that when you find your son (who, again, is called Father), you literally never mention it. Remember, everyone you’ve talked to: your robot butler, your ragtag militia leader, your zombie friend, your other robot who’s a detective, you have told that your only purpose is finding your son out in the wilderness. When the ultimate twist hits and you finally find him, you are almost entirely silent about it. It’s like it never happened at all! Which, for many Fallout 4 players, was actually true.
11 Nuka World Breaks The Entire World
Nuka World was the last and most adventurous expansion for the game, a big event park that had been taken over by several factions of raiders. Fun! Also horrible for the original plot, which sort of depended on there not being any other big factions out near Boston (Far Harbor was a ship’s ride away, remember), and especially not any big factions with weirdly advanced technology. Unfortunately, Nuka World is filled with crazy stuff like DNA replicators, zombie animals, new weapons, and evil raiders waiting to enslave the Commonwealth. But you have to absolutely believe none of this stuff existed before you finished all the other Fallout 4 stories, or it doesn’t make any sense!
10 There Are Real Fortunetellers
Mama Murphy is a character in Fallout 4: She takes narcotics and then she can see the future. Not just “oh vague nonsense” future, but specific words and numbers that you need to complete complex quests in the games. So she’s definitely a real psychic.
That would be the most powerful weapon on the planet
That’s a problem, because Fallout doesn’t really do psychics. Sure, they have psykers, but they have other mental powers, and those that claim to see the future usually have hazy dreams that may or may not be real. But a real psychic? That would be the most powerful weapon on the planet, and everyone would be after it. Instead, you find a dotty old woman whose biggest quest is finding the right armchair. Something about that…doesn’t seem right.
9 Fallout 4 Power Armor Ignores The Careful Power Armor History
Fallout power armor is one of the most famous parts of the game. Sure, Fallout 4 turned it from a special armor into a unique suit anyone can climb into, but that’s only a small part of the problem. A bigger problem is that, according to specific lore, power armor reactors last around a hundred years (not around a hundred steps, as in the game). Also, power armor is supposed to be very rare, not an item you get within the first three quests of the game. Finally, there was some serious retconning of the entire history of power armor, which had T-51 armor being the last made before the war. Until now. There are suddenly T-60 and above armor suits commonly used by raiders everywhere. Was the Commonwealth a power armor factory? Wait that sounds like a good plot point…which doesn’t exist.
8 We Need To Talk About Nick Valentine, Friends
Look, we still love Nick Valentine, because he’s an awesome noir robot detective and he knows it. But his existence (far more than the relatively normal DIMA in Far Harbor) really messes up the Fallout story. The problem is that Valentine was a prototype synth downloaded with the memories of a human. That messes with everything!
Nick Valentine is cool so hush up
Why do the synth-fearing Diamond City citizens even tolerate him? Why don’t perishing scientists (like your son) use the same technology to become immortal? How does he even have memories, since synths are wiped or given new identities whenever they exit? The game never answers these questions except with a vague, “Nick Valentine is cool so hush up” handwave. Which is a good argument, we admit, at least for a little while.
7 Oh Look, Crazy Synth Gorillas That Should Have Changed Everything
The Institute has synth gorillas. Synth gorillas, guys, albeit just in one place and usually behind glass. They act like real gorillas, you can harvest gorilla meat from them under the right circumstances, and, look, everything the Institute does ruins the story. There are no other signs that the Institute can create synth animals, and if they can, there’s no reason for synth humans. Synth animals can spy, sneak, and even attack on command without the need to secretly replace any humans! But you never hear about any other possibilities, because…here’s our theory: The Institute is really a special haven for big dumb-dumbs with shiny lab equipment they don’t really know how to use. That would explain the random gorillas, and how half the lab has been taken over by mad security robots.
6 The Children Of Atom Should Be A Huge Threat
The Children of Atom are on a very clear scale: Either they are harmless idiots (usually deceased when you find them) at on end, or incredibly dangerous nuclear bomb-wielding fanatics at the other end (whenever Fallout needs to spice up the story). But Fallout 4 goes way off the scale with a super powerful sect of the Atom in Far Harbor that has access to a functional nuclear bomb, real magic visions with radioactive switches, and at least two settlements in the Commonwealth (one of which acts differently based on your Far Harbor choices, which means they are definitely related). What impact do they have on the main story? Absolutely none. They completely ignore all the other guilds, despite being crazed extremists in this version, and no one else ever attacks them. What gives?
5 Are You A Synth Or Not? According To The Game, Both
The huge plot hole with you being a synth is that you can choose to be. In Far Harbor, DIMA directly asks you, “Hey, you think you might be a synth?” and you can answer, “Yeah, I guess I am,” and DIMA says, “Hey that’s cool.” But this rather important choice is impossible because you can’t be a synth.
It shatters the plot apart
As we mentioned, the main plot requires that you have untainted natural human DNA, which doesn’t really match the synth storyline. Plus, synth are immune to radiation and disease and so on, and you definitely aren’t, especially in survival mode. Giving players a choice that says, “Oops, I’m a secret synth after all” may sound cool in the moment, but it shatters the plot apart. So…just say no to synths, we guess.
4 Why Does The Railroad Want To Destroy The Institute?
The Railroad is a simple faction: They live to rescue synths and help them live normal human…err, fake human lives. Never mind that they ruthlessly reprogram synths to random identities, they are obviously the good guys (don’t think too hard about it). The problem is, if you follow them to the end of the story, they end up helping to destroy the Institute. That’s sort of a problem, because the Institute is creating the synths. They are happily getting rid of the technology that creates synths in the first place. That’s like rescuing a bunch of slaves and saying, “Oh, by the way, none of you can ever have children again.” What exactly does the Railroad want here? Do they want to treat synths like humans, or treat them like a casual plot point without any value?
3 Gunners Should Be A Major Force, Not Random Enemies
You run into various encampments of Gunners around the world of Fallout. They are like advanced raiders with better weapons and armor. In fact, that’s exactly what they are. There’s no other story, no deep involvement, no explanation or potential treaty. They are called mercenaries (possibly grown from Vault children), but no one hires them. They just go around shooting you, and they are never referenced by any major characters and never involved in the plot except in vague ways. In reality, the Brotherhood of Steel, the Institute, and especially the Minutemen, should all be very interested in who the Gunners want and where they are. But nope, the Gunners are a minor distraction at best and at worst a huge lost opportunity for the story and exciting side quests.
2 The Smart Super Mutant Hides In The Worst Place Possible
Let’s say hi to Dr. Brian Virgil. He’s a good plot point to explain why super mutants are in the Commonwealth (the Institute recreated them because of science), but he’s also a super mutant himself. This introduces a ton of problems, because he fled the Institute for his own safety and hid out in the Glowing Sea, where you find him to do some important plot stuff.
Virgil hides there because he thinks he will be safe
The Glowing Sea is a hugely irradiated wasteland you can't even travel into without serious protection. Virgil hides there because he thinks he will be safe. Which... hahaha. Do you know who some of the most radiation-immune people in the Commonwealth area? Synths and super mutants…the exact soldiers who would be coming after him. So this “smart” scientist super mutant choose a hiding place where only his enemies could search for him.
1 The Newspapers Of Diamond City Should Have Changed The Whole Game
The surprisingly attractive reporter Piper is a recruitable character in Diamond City who runs a newspaper and eventually does a story on you, like the superhero you are. She can join your travels, ask for help in investigations, and occasionally beat up enemies in power armor. But it’s the newspaper thing that’s really the problem. You see, the world of Fallout sort of depends on people not being able to communicate. Everyone who can talk at long distance is a powerful guild, like the Brotherhood of Steel, etc. There are no newspapers, nothing connecting the common man, and definitely nothing to warn them of synths, sudden airships, new heroes, and weird science. That’s why the story works. So Piper with her little printing press and her tell-the-story attitude is breaking apart the whole Fallout universe.