Fallout 4 is the best Fallout game made for the current generation of consoles, but unfortunately, that title doesn’t mean much. Fallout 76 is turning out to be a monkey’s paw of a wish, and the highly anticipated MMO game ranges from being unplayable to massively unrewarding. Fallout 4 contains several dozen hours of exploration, a robust combat system, and scores of interesting NPCs, at least. However, after the spectacle of a current generation Fallout game wore off, many realized that the game lacked the depth of story and expansive RPG elements as previous installments in the series.
Fallout 4 is just so much more limited in the scope of its story and role-playing ability than the earlier games in the franchise or its predecessor, Fallout: New Vegas. Instead of influencing the story by playing your character in a number of different ways, a player is forced to play a rather defined protagonist and can barely influence how story beats will play out. Although, those story elements are of a dubious quality themselves.
Nearly every time Fallout 4 answers one of the many questions it presents in its narrative or through its world-building, it's unsatisfactory. Completing the game will also leave a player with several unanswered questions, and those are frustrating because considering them makes a player realize that the world of Fallout 4 doesn’t hold up under the series’ own logic. Fallout 4 is fun to play if you don’t expect or put too much thought into it, but if a player mulls over these 15 answered and 15 unanswered questions, they may find themselves enjoying the Commonwealth Wasteland less and less.
30 Unanswered: How Do So Many People Have Accents?
Fallout 4 takes place in an alternate version of Earth where 1950s culture endured well into the future, until nuclear war devastated most of the planet and rendered it a shadow of its former self as well as a satire of the real world. In this reality, technology is an odd mix of sci-fi and primitive, with everything bathed in the grime of nuclear fallout. Breaking with this aesthetic, though, are the many characters in Fallout 4 with distinct accents. Global travel is nearly impossible in this universe, yet somehow NPCs manage to have unexplained Russian or Irish accents.
29 Answered: Who Is The Mechanist?
The first story DLC for Fallout 4 featured the Mechanist as the main antagonist. This mysterious, comic book villain created robots that plagued the Commonwealth and played up one of the game’s most fun side quests, pretending to be the heroic Silver Shroud. However, the DLC didn’t live up to its premise when the Mechanist turned out to be a woman named Isabel Cruz, who was only accidentally causing harm to the Commonwealth. Her creations were somehow running amok without her knowledge and this whole confrontation was actually one big misunderstanding.
28 Unanswered: Why Are Mirelurk Kings Frogs?
Fallout 4 has an incredible art direction, but not every element is as cohesive as the last. Mirelurk Kings, one of the strongest variants of the enemy, are frog-like, while every other member of the species is based on crustaceans. Granted, in Fallout 3, Mirelurk Kings were based on snapping turtles, but at least this take on the creature still had a shelled exterior. Why Mirelurk Kings are different than the rest of the species, or even why they now look like frogs, goes glaringly unanswered.
27 Answered: Is The Super Mutant Transformation Reversible?
In Fallout 4, the player helps a newly transformed Super Mutant scientist return to his original form. The scientist succeeds and players finally learn that the Super Mutant transformation is reversible. However, this development undermines what made Super Mutants so interesting. Super Mutants view themselves as superior to the rest of mankind but ironically need to take humans to keep their population up, as the change renders them infertile. It’s a harsh critique of the idea of the idea of genetic superiority and is much less biting if they can turn back into humans at any time.
26 Unanswered: Why Are There Aliens?
A recurring easter egg that appears in each of the Fallout games following Bethesda’s acquisition of the franchise are aliens. While these little green men do help further the series’ science fiction setting, their presence in Fallout 4 is unexplained and unexamined by any characters. The fact that they just exist in the Fallout universe without any explanation is a bit jarring, considering that every other creature has some kind of lore justifying its existence. Maybe someday the series will tackle these invaders with a bit more depth, but that certainly didn’t happen in Fallout 4.
25 Answered: Where Did Nick Valentine Come From?
One of Fallout 4’s most intriguing characters is Nick Valentine. This android detective looks unlike any other person in the base game and his mysterious past also runs counter to the other, extremely defined, companion characters. However, his history as an early model synth from the institute is later revealed in the Far Harbor DLC. While it is satisfying to see Nick get some closure, it also makes him feel less unique. This investigator rose above his peers because he was uniquely ambiguous, and now he’s on par with any other member of the supporting cast.
24 Unanswered: What’s Going On With The Dunwich Company?
Continuing the mystery introduced by the Dunwich Building in Fallout 3, in Fallout 4 the player can visit a mining site known as Dunwich Borers. Here, they can fight off high-level raiders as they progress further into the mine and learn how the workers on the site slowly went mad before seeing a vision of a cult worshiping an obelisk at the very bottom of the mine. This creepy mystery raises a host of questions that, regrettably, go entirely unanswered in the rest of the game.
23 Answered: Why Were You The Only Vault 111 Survivor?
In Fallout 4, your avatar and their son are the only survivors of Vault 111’s cryogenic freezing experiment, as the stasis pods for every other test subject malfunction. However, it’s implied that Shaun, who was stolen 60 years before the sole survivor awakens to the wasteland, returned to the vault periodically and made sure their parent stayed alive. Even if this does somewhat humanize the morally ambiguous adult Shaun, it also implies that he let dozens of innocent people fail the experiment, despite having the means to save them easily.
22 Unanswered: How Are The Children Of Atom Immune To Radiation?
In Fallout 3, 4, and the Far Harbor DLC, there exists a cult that worships radiation and atomic bombs. Known as the Children of Atom, some of the members in this organization possess the “Gift of Atom” which makes them entirely immune to the adverse effects of radiation. This immunity is basically superpower in the highly irritated wasteland, and how they hold this ability is never explained. Maybe they have access to the same perk chart that can grant the protagonist immunity to radiation, but then again most are probably too low level for that bonus anyway.
21 Answered: Is Mama Murphy Actually Psychic?
Although some characters question her abilities, Mama Murphy is a Psyker, the Fallout equivalent of a psychic or esper. Her powers let her see the future and predict what challenges the player is set to face when they embark on missions. While an interesting idea on paper, Mama Murphy’s status as an actual psychic is to the game’s detriment. All her powers do is give the player to end confrontations nonviolently, which is ill-advised because combat is Fallout 4’s strongest element.
20 Unanswered: Do All Robots Have The Capacity For Love?
One of the best companion characters in the game, Curie, is a Miss Nanny robot that transfers her programming into a synth body and can fall in love with the player. This brings about a ton of different questions that the game never spends time trying to answer. Do all robots have the capacity for love, or do they have to have the right programming? Are there any robot-human couples where a partner has an entirely mechanical body? We’ll probably never know for sure, but boy does it make for some great fan-fiction.
19 Answered: What Is The Treasure of Jamaica Plain?
A well-known side quest in Fallout 4 involves hunting for the fabled treasure of Jamaica Plain. After a player sneaks or shoots through more security measures than just about any other dungeon in the game, they find that the treasure was merely a time capsule filled with several unique, but ultimately useless items. It’s a good fake out, but considering that a player had to use several useful and limited items to reach this trick, it’s more frustrating than anything else.
18 Unanswered: What Exactly Does The Institute Want To Do?
The Institute is a mysterious and shadowy organization in Fallout 4 that uses their advanced technology to control the citizens of the Commonwealth. However, their endgame isn’t super clear and their various operations don’t seem to work towards a cohesive goal. They want to secretly direct the progression of mankind, but we don’t know exactly how they want to shape it. A player will either face them as the primary antagonists or align with them over the course of the main campaign, but their goals are so vague that you never really know what you’re fighting against or for.
17 Answered: How Is Conrad Kellogg Still Alive?
A big part of Fallout 4 is tracking down the man who stole Shaun at the start of the game. Despite the passage of decades, Kellogg appears middle-aged when the player confronts him and it’s revealed that this is because he has numerous cybernetic enhancements. This is an odd explanation, considering that no other character in the game uses such technology. Moreover, finding Kellogg long departed and the avatar unable to exact their revenge would have helped further the theme of them being a person out of time and their actions mostly irrelevant in the face of it.
16 Unanswered: How Does The Railroad Choose Who To Help?
The Railroad is a secretive organization that helps sentient synths escape from the influence of the Institute. However, it’s not totally clear who they choose to help and when. Self-awareness is difficult to define in robots and, even if a synth realizes that they are a stand-in for an actual human, they may like the role they are playing. Moreover, less humanoid robots also have overt personalities and self-awareness, but the Railroad isn’t all that interested in helping them lead fulfilling lives. Like a lot of the factions in Fallout 4, their philosophy is rather underdeveloped.
15 Answered: What Happened To Eddie Winter?
A side quest tied to Nick Valentine involves hunting down the mobster Eddie Winter, who was tied closely to the person who Nick’s persona is based on. Traveling across the Commonwealth reveals that Eddie was pardoned for his crimes on the stipulation that he act as a test subject for a secret government experiment. At the end of the quest, the player finds a ghoulified Eddie Winter who is apparently the first person to undergo the transformation. It’s not a bad twist, but does kind of imply that the surprising consequences of nuclear fallout were always going to happen.
14 Unanswered: Why Is The Institute Making Synthetic Gorillas?
Upon first visiting the Institute the player discovers that the organization is creating cybernetic gorillas, for some reason. Seriously, they’re devoting substantial resources and manpower to creating robotic gorillas, and we never learn why they’re doing it. They aren’t native to the Commonwealth, so they can’t use them without people noticing and they can’t use weapons like humanoid synths. Even if they are fun to fight, it seems like a waste and it’s odd that the game doesn’t have much justification for their existence besides it being a pet project for one of the scientists.
13 Answered: Where’s Nuka-Cola Made?
Nuka-Cola plants appear in other Fallout games, but a Fallout 4 story DLC takes a player to Nuka-World, a theme park dedicated to celebrating and creating the soda. While it is a fun parody of Disneyland, complete with the reveal that the founder of Nuka-Cola is a head kept alive in a stasis machine, this expansion is a bit underwhelming. Even if Nuka-Cola is a longstanding staple of the Fallout series, it’s by no means the most interesting part of its lore and it doesn’t deserve this much exploration.
12 Unanswered: What Can And Cannot Become A Ghoul?
Ghouls in Fallout are basically zombies caused by prolonged exposure to not quite lethal levels of radiation. While some retain their sense of self, others fall into insanity and become feral. It’s not exactly clear, though, what living creatures can become qualified. Smarter mammals like humans and gorillas can undergo the transformation, and there are even rumors of a ghoulified whale in Fallout 4. However, other creatures like mole rats and dogs are instead turned into mutated versions of themselves distinct from ghouls. There isn’t much consistency in this process and remains unexplained in Fallout 4.
11 Answered: How To Get Cait Fixed?
Cait is a companion in Fallout 4 that players must help fix up before she becomes romanceable. This is done by attaching her to a device in one of the vaults that removes any trace of substances from her body. This is a bit of a cop-out, and prevents the character growth that would have happened if she instead had to avoid harmful things with the help of the player alone. It also raises the question why a player can't use this technology to help other characters, like Mama Murphy, kick their habit.
10 Unanswered: Why Is Diamond City Idolized By So Many Characters?
Diamond City, a community built within Fenway Park, is described as the “Great Green Jewel” of the Commonwealth. While it is one of the most secure places a person in the game can live, it’s also pretty crummy. Ghouls and other mutated people are banned from the city after the election of Mayor McDonough and few residents draw issue with this. There’s also a large discrepancy between the wealthy and poor in this community. How characters can describe Diamond City as a near utopia in the face of these issues is a big question that never gets an answer.
9 Answered: What Happened To Garvey’s Crew Before You Found Them?
Preston Garvey and his crew are some of the first NPCs a player can align with. Prior to starting the Sanctuary Hills settlement, they are a wandering group who were chased out of their previous home by the mercenary group known as the Gunners. A player can actually visit and clear out Garvey’s previous settlement, but doing so is a bit disappointing. Sure, it gives the player some better gear and the Garvey crew a bit more backstory, but by the end of the game they’re still a bland group that the player has to tolerate more than enjoy.
8 Unanswered: Why Would The Brotherhood Of Steel Rebuild Liberty Prime?
If the player aids the Brotherhood of Steel in Fallout 4, they end up helping the organization rebuild Liberty Prime. This giant robot was destroyed during the events of Fallout 3, which weakened the Brotherhood’s military power. Obviously, they want to restore their organization to its former glory, but it’s not clear why they need Liberty Prime specifically. Above all else, the Brotherhood believes that only they deserve the best technology and survival of the fittest, which makes their pursuit of rebuilding a failed weapon rather odd and out of character.
7 Answered: How Can The Avatar Survive This Wasteland?
It’s implied that the various characters in Fallout 4 are able to survive the irradiated wasteland because they’ve built up a tolerance to small amounts of radiation. The sole survivor, however, comes from a time when radiation levels were much lower and doctors even comment on his low radiation levels. The protagonist suffers no ill effects from stepping outside of Vault 111, breaks from the lore of the series, and makes it feel more superficial than previous games in the series.
6 Unanswered: Why Is The Minutemen Stronghold A Castle?
The Minutemen base of operations is known as The Castle, which is based on the real world Fort Independence and named after its location on Castle Island. These allusions to the real world places help make the games feel more familiar, but the execution here hurts the Minutemen. It’s tonally off that the people’s army would name their home base after something so overtly associated with oppressive nobility. Maybe they’re trying to contextualize castles and make a statement on the solidarity of their movement but, if so, this idea is not made clear enough.
5 Answered: Can You Make Everyone Hate You?
It is possible for the player to betray every person and organization in Fallout 4. Even some of the most loyal characters like Preston Garvey will abandon a player if they do enough evil deeds or help the raiders in Nuka-World. However, you can really only make people dislike your character through hostile actions, rather than dialogue. Sure, some NPCs will attack you if you say something they don’t like, but the only way to make everyone dislike the sole survivor is to attack them unprovoked.
4 Unanswered: Who Designed The Railway Rifle?
The Fallout franchise is unique in that almost every part of its bizarre world has some kind of explanation. For instance, the various Pipe weapons in Fallout 4 are made by people with limited resources in rural areas, and therefore rather crude in design. However, we don’t know who or why someone created the vicious Railway Rifle, which fires railway spikes. This rare weapon is extremely brutal, but there’s little explanation on who built it or why. In Fallout 3, the special gun is invented by Seagrave Holmes, but in Fallout 4 it just appears without explanation.
3 Answered: What Happens When You Go Into Other People’s Minds?
In the base Fallout 4 game, you travel into the memories of Kellogg for clues on where to find Shaun. In the Far Harbor DLC you do the same thing for the android DiMA to recover information about his forgotten past. This time, though, a player will have to solve frustrating light puzzles to get the information they need to advance. While traveling into other character’s minds is an interesting idea on paper, these light puzzles clash with the rest of the game’s design and bog down the experience.
2 Unanswered: How Did The Minutemen Lose To Mirelurks?
While fighting wave after wave of Mirelurks to reclaim the Minutemen’s base of operations is one of the best moments in Fallout 4, it does raise a pretty big question. How were the Minutemen run out of their home by Mirelurks in the first place? Mirelurks are some of the most annoying enemies in the game and only a threat when they have high numbers in tight spaces. Even the gigantic Mirelurk Queen shouldn't be too much trouble for half a dozen people while keeping their distance. If they can’t even handle Mirelurks, what’s the point in reviving the organization?
1 Answered: Can You Ever Be The Bad Guy?
Most of the Fallout games allow a player to give their avatar a pretty defined personality and approach characters and situations with those values in mind. You can’t really do this in Fallout 4, though, and the sole survivor is much more defined than previous protagonists. You can play the character as a mean person or someone who’s unnecessarily violent, but you can’t play them entirely as a villain. There aren’t many choices in the game that lets the player be a bad guy and this makes Fallout 4 feel like less of an RPG than its predecessors.