Every Faction In Fallout 4 Sucks

Every Faction In Fallout 4 Sucks

Picking a faction in Fallout 4 is the most agonising choice in the entire game. Turns out, deciding the fate of the Commonwealth is very difficult when every group vying for dominance is awful in its own, special way.

Let’s look at them one by one, shall we?

The Minutemen

Leader: Cardboard Cutout Masquerading As A Human

Best Quality: Feeding Mama Murphy’s drug addiction can be pretty useful. Did you know she can tell you the Courser recall code? Now that’s an unusual way to complete a quest.

Worst quality: “I’ve found a settlement that needs our help. I’ve marked the location on your map.”

I wanted to back the Minutemen — they seemed like the most sensible option, given that they want to fight for the average Commonwealth citizen. But damn, I couldn’t stomach all those damn settlement quests. They’re so boring! Why doesn’t Fallout 4 give me a choice in accepting them, either? Preston Garvey just automatically gives me new quests, one after the other, without any input. Noooooo, stoooop.

I found myself getting pissed at how bad some of the locations were, too. Why in the world would you live in a run-down shack that’s right next to a Deathclaw nest AND a Mirelurk den? Cripes. Maybe the average wasteland citizen isn’t worth saving after all.

The Brotherhood of Steel

Leader: Macklemore

Best Quality: That airship is pretty dope. So is the Righteous Authority energy weapon you get when you first help Paladin Danse. Also, the storyline with Danse is pretty good, too.

Worst Quality: The Brotherhood are ginormous dicks. They are insufferable. The Brotherhood acts as if everything in the world is theirs for the taking, and worse still, they have the tech and firepower to enforce that shitty attitude. The Brotherhood can probably secure the Commonwealth and ensure it’s safety…but at what cost?

The Institute

Leader: Dad

Best quality: The Institute’s scientific advancements could revolutionise the wasteland. Holy moly.

Worst quality: You never really get a sense of what the Institute really stands for. I mean, yes, they say they want to help the Commonwealth. But why are they spending so much time making synths? Why haven’t they shared any tech with the outside world? What’s with the kidnappings? Why do they treat synths like such garbage, anyway? Why did they give up so easily on human enhancements, given how great they worked out for Kellogg?

Nothing about this Mass Effect knockoff of a faction inspires confidence, or helps you understand all the shady shit they’re supposedly involved in. Nevermind Father’s bizarre obsession with making a synth of himself.

The Railroad

Leader: Not Deacon

Best Quality: Following the Freedom Trail is one of the best quests in Fallout 4. The Railroad has some pretty cool people in it, too, including Glory, Deacon, and PAM. Lets not forget that the Railroad gives you access to some of the best armour in the game.

Worst Quality: There’s so much build-up to this faction. They are the fearless, mysterious group that saves the synths! They have thwarted the Institute time and time again! Sounds awesome, right? But then you get there, and they’re just a bunch of people hiding in a cave, pretty much, and as it turns out, they don’t really know what they’re doing.

Arguably, that’s interesting in its own right, but no matter how many quests I did for the Railroad, I found myself underwhelmed. Nothing matched the high of finding the faction in the first place. Everything just kinda went downhill from there, and the one-dimensional politics didn’t really help things.

Last month, we ran a poll asking you guys which faction you thought was the best one. These were the results:

Anecdotally, though, most people I know haven’t picked a faction at all, because they don’t like any of the choices. That’s not inherently a bad thing; you don’t want any faction to seem like The Obvious Right One. But there’s no faction in Fallout 4 that feels like it strikes a good balance between pros and cons, either; no faction feels particularly well-written or interesting enough to want to back it. Every faction in Fallout 4 sucks…but that’s OK, because the rest of the game is pretty fun to play, anyway.


  • I thought I was looking for my son Shaun? Why do I have to back a faction anyway?
    Sure, to further my needs I’ll align with one (or all) depending on how I need to roll, but they are a means to an end aren’t they?
    …Oh thats right, apparently the trauma of having your partner murdered and your son stolen somehow loses it’s urgency after escaping the vault.
    What do I actually care who runs the Commonwealth? My snazzy place in Red Rocket is a fortress that can handle anything

    • If you don’t actually want to join a faction, you can just betray the on you’re in and declare war on them all.

  • You’re not wrong. When it came to having to choose, I selected the Minutemen for the sole reason that I needed to go to Sanctuary to pick up some gear before I went anywhere. Not exactly inspiring!

  • My line of logic says the institute is best. They’re power-crazed dicks, but unlike the brotherhood they aren’t all about confiscating all tech they can find and you end up leading them with at least one advisor as an ally, so you could theoretically turn the policies around.

      • You can do that in Fallout 4. I did that in my game. (Except for the yes man route, obviously)

  • I don’t mind swearing , I swear like a sailor.
    But when Patricia does it in her articles , she just seems so desperate to be cool or something. I dunno what it is but it’s really off putting and I don’t like reading any of her stuff.
    Maybe because she’ll drop a swear word every article without fail, where other kotaku writers will drop one for effect sparingly.

      • I do believe that the fine lady said ‘shitty’ in her article and it has tickled the delicate sensibilities of our dear lemonmule here.

  • I noticed all of my mates that have been long time fallout fans rolled with the brotherhood regardless of how much of a pack of dicks they are. I think it just comes down to if you know their back story or not.

    • I feel this. I think a lot of us are still on the high of the sympathetic and compassionate BoS from Fallout 3 and, to a lesser extent, New Vegas. We know that they are misguided at times and can be dicks (see the Outcasts from F3) but we hope that, in the end, the Brotherhood that we back will turn around and take the path of Elder Lyons. Or we hope that we end up leading the BoS in the end.

  • I went Railroad because Minutemen are god damn annoying, Brotherhood are racists and the Institute participate in slavery and never explain what they’re doing or why. After those three the Railroad at least have clear goals and good intentions.

    • They’re a bit myopic though, with that first question about risking your life for a synth regardless of the circumstances. And beyond helping synths, their goals are pretty much non-existent.

      Don’t get me wrong, I like them too. Just wished that (as all factions really) there was more to their story than what we get. I was most disappointed with the institute story – they explain nothing!

      I mean, yes, they’re kidnapping people in order to test more FEV, in order to…. something? Even the notes in the lab say that there’s no point in the FEV tests anyway, so it seems really annoying that there’s no further exposition of that detail. But if they’re kidnapping people, why replace them with synths? To what end? Are they trying to purge the Commonwealth of people so that they can just have only synth slaves up top? Totally not discussed in game at all.

      • Yeah with the Railroad I pretty much just accepted the risking life line to get in and promptly forgot about it – you risk your life just by walking down the road or entering a door anyway.

        I agree with you on the institute, was definitely not explained well enough for me.

        When I first found them the twist really grabbed my attention, I explored every last corner and read every scrap of info I could find. I figured the FEV stuff would be explained by Father later on only as you said it never was. I could understand them not recognizing the Synths as sentient as they created them (Data in Star Trek all over again) but they contradict themselves by selecting Coursers from Synths that show an aptitude for it. If they were machines being created then surely there’s no need to select candidates after, that only applies to sentient individuals.

        Was expecting that to enter the story at some point and for an explanation as to why they plant Synths and replace people. Was sadly disappointed, they never explain their goals, never even a hint at more info. It’s like Bethesda started out with their story in mind and then forgot to give it an ending.

  • On my first playthrough I sided entirely with the minutemen but stole the beryllium agitator for the Institute, as I was continuing to work with the Institute to try and help the Railroad free synths. By doing so I made myself an enemy of the Brotherhood, which I considered no big loss. With the help of the Minutemen and the Railroad I was able to storm the Institute and destroy it, freeing the Commonwealth of their influence. I did this almost by accident, as I simply never reported back to the Brotherhood once infiltrating the Institute thereby never triggered any further quests for them.

    On my second playthrough I used the Railroad to get into the institute via molecular relay by reported my success to the brotherhood because I wanted to rebuilt Liberty Prime. Well, you can’t progress to the mission where you rebuild Liberty Prime without first destroying the Railroad. I decided I was committed, and this meant personally killing the Railroad friends I had been working with them, every line of dialogue dripping with venom as though they were my enemies all along, a bunch of idealistic fools that I never respected.

    My wife on the other hand wound up putting herself in the reverse position, being forced to plant bombs on the Prydwen and personally destroy every Initiate, Scribe, Knight and Paladin on the thing in the process. She had no real love for the Brotherhood but Watching it crash and burn in the ruins of Boston airport nearly brought her to tears with the horrible inhumanity of it all.

    On my next playthrough (or possibly just reverting to a previous save – I haven’t decided yet) I plan to side with the institute. I will probably do it as a new game and play as an Institute sympathiser from the outset rather than change direction like I did in this one. The only way to side with the BoS is basically to hate synths as a technological abomination, which is just not a natural or logical position to take in the context of the game. The Institute might be kidnapping people and experimenting on them, replacing them with biomechanical constructs that take their place and secretly control things from behind the scenes, but the BoS are a bunch of real assholes.

    • That’s quite interesting. I guess the thing from all options that comes through is the sense that everyone is willing to brutally murder anyone who sides with the enemy – like fundamentalist zealots who see no grey areas. And that’s a crime that all sides of a conflict may be guilty of. So that’s nice.

  • Hang on, the Minutemen are sure annoying (well, just Preston really), but they are the only one actually about protecting the citizens above all else.

    I don’t get what makes the Minutemen bad, when its really just one specific Minuteman that is annoying (not bad) that can be avoided altogether after the stuff goes down at the castle.

    • Agreed. Unlike the other Factions who are a mixed bad of meglomaniacs and morons, that one particular Minuteman can be shipped off to a faraway posting.

      And FFS, you get a freaking castle on some prime coastal real estate. Hell yeah!

        • That doesn’t work. Eventually all the non-reported Garvey quests auto-complete and he issues you new ones when you next see him. At least it does slow them down though.

    • I agree. Out of all the factions, I like them the best.

      And I can’t be the only one who wishes I could do this:

      Preston: You’re now the General of the Minutemen.

      Me: Cool. Now what?

      Preston: There’s a settlement out in the middle of nowhere that might offer no tactical advantage to us whatsoever. I need you to help them out.

      Me: Fuck that. I’m a general. You do it.

      Preston: Yes, you’re right. I’ll go right away. Man, what was I thinking ordering the boss to do the shit work?!

  • Holy cow at that poll… why so little love for the Railroad? Good people doing good work, despite the fact that it’s infinitely riskier to live under the constant threat of being actively hunted and annihilated by a superior force that absolutely wants to exterminate you, than mundane concerns such as raiders and ghouls. They’re the most altruistic faction there is, and the fact that they’re keeping their goals small and simple and just trying to make the only difference they can instead of change the world? If everyone was like that, the world would be a better place that didn’t need the ultimately-futile big-picture solutions in the first place.

    • Hear hear. They may not have a long term plan but at least in .the mean time they.are out to.do good.

      And unlike the minutemen actually.have a plan beyond “get the vault guy to solve all our.shitty little problems.”
      I mean, you’re supposed to be the general. Why are you running errands for Preston? Why can’t you delegate the killing of a half dozen level 1 ghouls to someone else?

      • I can kind of get it… I mean, you’re supernaturally good at ghoul/raider-killing.

        For the settlers, it’s more like a situation of coming together with your friends and neighbours and family for decades and facing the very real prospect that some of these people you care about are going to die… or you can scrape together some caps and petition the wastes-stalking human embodiment of the Grim Reaper, the Ender of All Things can take a half-hour to do it for you.

        • Haha, true.
          I guess I.just.wish you could maybe train settlers up.to.be minutemen, outfit them and send them off to do it. Would make both settlements and the minutemen much more relevant.

          • I mean, you do occasionally see the minutemen out there, patrolling and kicking ass and such… so I assume – for the sake of my sanity – that there’s actually a TONNE of anti-ghoul/raider requests coming in from all over the place, all the time, and the other minutemen are pulling their weight but we just can’t see it, and the stuff Preston asks the frickin’ General to do is just ‘pitching in’ in the grand scheme of things.

          • I do remember thinking “what would they do without me? If they can’t be self sufficient, what will they do when I kick the bucket?”
            Then I remembered I have an infinite supply of all natural immortality juice courtesy of a benevolent alien possessed psychopath and the biggest long term threat is probably my character getting bored/sick of their whining and murdering them all.
            Ahh videogames.

          • I re-did that quest three times because I couldn’t decide what was the best course of action.

          • Yeah, I decided my toon was sick of being treated like a mushroom and went with the interesting option.
            And it turns out that serum is pretty handy – lasts for days and makes you essentially immune from rads.

  • I’m going for the Minutemen ending, but the Railroad is my favorite faction. The Brotherhood are giant pricks about everything, the Institute are cartoonishly evil and my god, grinding all those Minutemen settlement quests… At least the Railroad has interesting people in it.

  • Why is defining people as “bad” or “horrible” so important to these articles? Generally speaking, it’s mostly hyperbole and generalisation with dubious links and rationale we wouldn’t accept from perceived opponents (whom would dare attempt a holistic perspective), which begs the question of why they’d continually model this behaviour for everyone to respond to?

    The railroad have so few actual flaws or prejudices beyond underdog status, which I find difficult to relate to their description of; “sucks”. I find these kinds of articles so bewildering, it’s like a collective shaming about something few seem to actually have a reasonable perspective of. It’s almost like the factions require a bunch of generalising and dismissal in order for this article to even happen.

  • first play through i just ran with the institute ending because it felt logical in the game to sort of be intent on finding shaun.
    i wanted to side with the railroad through that play through, felt bad destroying them, wanted to use the recall code on deacon because id never looked at it. felt like an idiot and killed them all anyway.

    I am disappointed that the factions arnt equally appealing with their end game rewards. id like to actually have to think about my choice to side and be torn between them all for at least an hour before deciding. rather than thinking ahhh stuff it ill do what ever it doesnt really matter.

  • The Brotherhood: I have never liked them. Nothing has change in Fo4.

    The Railroad: Rescue a synth and then… wipe it’s memory. Quite possibly the dumbest liberation movement known to man and mutant. When you wipe someones memory you are effectively killing that person. That person no longer exists. The Railroad have Ballistic Weave and that’s is it all it is good for.

    The Institute: They deserve death for being a poorly written and stereotypical shady organisation. My son has turned out to be a total dick as well. Fuck thos guys.

    The Minutemen: You can turn off Radio Freedom – the radio tower has an off switch. And you can send P.G. to one of the settlements next a Death claw nest and need not speak to him.

    Minutemen win by deafult. But yeah, the factions in Fo4 are all apalling.

    • You make a good point re: the Railroad. Granted, the synths escape and want their memories wiped for their protection, but what’s the point? You could upload their consciousness into a new body and destroy the old one and you’re accomplishing effectively the same thing. So all you’re really doing by freeing synths is stealing the hardware.

      Over the course of the game you rescue an escaped synth from the courser you kill to get his chip, and she’s an intact, free synth with her original memories. She doesn’t want your help, she simply takes the capture and rescue as a valuable lesson and will endeavour not to get caught again. That makes a whole lot more sense, just as it would make more sense for freed synths to simply be shipped away from the Commonwealth, far from the reaches of the Institute.

      • Exactly. You go to a the trouble of helping H2-22 escape, and then H2-22 ceases to be anything more than some words on a Holotape. Thanks Railroad!

        Sure, minds need bodies, but bodies are not minds.

        H2-22: “I know I’ll lose all my memories… I know I’ll be happier”

        No, H2-22, you will not be happier after the operation You will no longer exist.

        • The railroad really has no idea what they’re doing.

          On a side note, would anyone argue that the synths aren’t actually sentient, but only programmed to act like sentient beings would? The game doesn’t elaborate how they “think,” or even “hear.” Hell, fake Shaun doesn’t even work properly and he was meant to be a facsimile of Father. He was just a poor imitation of a true thinking process. The railroad treats them like humans, but they’re not.

    • The Brotherhood hasn’t really changed. In previous games we were more sympathetic to them because they were on the cusp of being wiped out and were basically saved by the player, whether the Lone Wanderer or the Courier. Even in FO3 they appreciated the help but were reluctant to let you into their inner circle until quite late in the piece. FO4 is set what, 10 years after FO3, and Elder Maxson has restored them to their full, bigoted, greedy tech-horading glory.

      • *tells me they havent really changed by explaining how much they changed from 3.*
        I preferred the sympathetic lyons headed BOS, a BOS i felt proud to be with. Not the Original/F4 Version.

        • I meant they haven’t changed philosophically. They only reason we sympathised with them in the previous games was a) they were the underdogs and b) the only source of power armor.

  • The factions did disappoint me. And something that really bugged me was that if you side with the BoS then you blow up your son – the whole reason that motivated you to go searching the wasteland in the first place!

    • Well, if you side with anyone other than the Institute, you have to destroy the Institute. The Institute is pretty much set up as the big bad from the outset.

      • So you have the Institute – big bad
        Brotherhood – “good” jerks
        Railroad – good weak
        Minutemen – good annoying

        I would have liked more options/benefits from completing the main quest e.g. being able to recruit your factions troops at your settlements and being able to use their building components.

        Well, there are a lot of things I would like to have in F4. It would have to be one of the best yet frustratingly painful games I’ve played!

        Will just need to get my fix from mods and maybe DLC.

  • Whole game was a disappointment it’s all seemed very shallow compared to older Bethesda games.

  • All the complaints listed in the article about the Institute are answered when you side and complete the game with them. I found them the best faction as they were most likely and clearly able to achieve their goals plus they also don’t make you murder the minutemen.

    • Pretty sure none of the factions make you kill the Minutemen. But yes, their objectives pretty much boil down to “leave us alone.” Not sure why they keep assassinating people though.

  • I always wondered how I was able to I reset the courser in one of those side quests. Haha. Now I know

  • I went with Railroad, but only because I figured Nick Valentine deserved to be free. I almost switched to Institute because they look like they have air-conditioning. Neither reason is particularly compelling, but Fallout 4 didn’t really give me much to work with.

    I was actually looking forward to finding out Shaun had died 200 years before Nate/ Nora was defrosted and them finding their own purpose in the wasteland.

  • BOS, Railway, Institute. No matter which, they all wanna murder the other faction and use you to do it. Rather annoying and really a big let down as the story goes IMO.

  • Oi! Next time say spoiler alert please!!!!!
    I’m trying to forget what I read now!

  • Blanket spoiler alert:
    I stuck with the Minutemen, partly because they were less secretive, partly because they seemed like decent enough folks, but also because they were the only faction not ordering me around. I know, it sounds petty, but the Brotherhood are all about blind obedience to that nutter Maxson, the Institute involved being pushed around by my damn son and Desdemona was so pushy and snarky that I let them have the synth piece and just walked the hell out of there. That’s pretty much it. The MInutemen asked me for help, instead of barking orders at me and expecting me to obey them. In the end, I enjoyed building up a force from scratch. Normally in Fallout games, I just make a beeline for the BOS for the tech. Not this time. It was interesting.

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