Picking a faction in Fallout 4 is the most agonizing 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?
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. Settlement quests are the worst quests in the game.
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.
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?
Best quality: The Institute’s scientific advancements could revolutionize 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? Why in the world are we still messing around with FEV stuff?!
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.
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 armor 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’ve 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 exploring the Commonwealth is more fun than thinking about its future, anyway.