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  • Accidental Innuendo: Nick Valentine gets a particularly good one when you first meet him and clear the first three mooks afterward:
    Nick Valentine: Hard and loud, huh? Well, gets the job done. You gotta feel bad for whoever's cleaning the floors, though.
  • Adorkable:
    • Curie; if her general enthusiasm For Science! didn't clue you in, her general reaction to being brought to the various historical sites in Boston is to have a moment of Squee and wonder if they still do tours. When she first meets Takahashi in Diamond City, she becomes excited that he speaks Japanese and introduces herself to him in that language, only to walk away disappointed after realizing he's broken — repeating one sentence in an endless loop.
    • R.J. has a fondness for terrible jokes and puns, and will occasionally observe that "it's quiet... too quiet" before chuckling and saying "I always wanted to say that".
    • Piper. When you flirt with her, she gets very flustered and stutters a lot. She's also a comic book fan, asking the Survivor to give her back-issues of Grognak the Barbarian should they happen to bring her along to Hubris Comics, claiming she's doing it for "research purposes". This particular claim is shown as a lie if you read her responses to submissions for her paper's agony-aunt column, in which she admits that she unwinds by reading comic books.
  • Alternative Character Interpretation:
    • The Sole Survivor primarily speaks in somewhat halting, short, and uncomplicated sentences: "I'm from before the War." "Yeah, 200 years ago." He/she doesn't respond to much and often only shows emotion about specific subjects (like their son). It's very possible that they're suffering from some sort of stress-related disorder or emotional shock, or even some kind of mental damage from the cryosleep process. Which, given events, is only understandable. It helps that there could be other reasons to contribute to their emotional shock such as the husband being a US Army combat veteran and the wife having some sort of postpartum depression. Relatedly, there's the Sole Survivor's near-constant bitter sarcasm - Is this just meant to be part of the game's writing, or is it meant to serve as an indicator of the Sole Survivor using sarcasm as a coping mechanism after their Trauma Conga Line in the game's opening?
    • Another question about the Sole Survivor is whether they are even human or if they were replaced by a Synth. It is entirely possible that they could have died due to the same cryogenic failure that killed the rest of Vault 111's residents, and the one that wakes up in the pod was a Synth placed there by Shaun and woken up when they were needed. Alternately, some of the Survivor's memories after they woke up were real but they were replaced at some point afterward without anyone knowing. DiMA indicates that it is entirely possible that any or all of the Survivor's memories are fake.
    • Is Arthur Maxson just a kid who is in way over his head? He took power at the age of sixteen, only a few years after the loss of all his mentors from earlier in life. It's only been a handful of years since then. A lot of his aggressive leadership style and decision-making can be explained by him trying to prove he's strong enough to lead to the far more experienced people surrounding him.
    • When you first reunite with Codsworth, at first he appears to be completely oblivious to the nuclear destruction around him, just like almost every other robot in the Fallout series. However, after a brief conversation, he breaks down sobbing, admitting that he was fully aware of the Great War and just pretended that nothing happened as a coping mechanism to his loneliness. Is Codsworth one of the few robots in the Fallout universe cognitive enough to realize the end of civilization, or do all robots put up a similar oblivious façade to cope with the loss of their masters?
    • All of the factions are subject to this and actually is getting dissected pretty thoroughly in fandom. It even gets expanded on with Far Harbor and Nuka-World.
      • For example, the Railroad can come off as Unintentionally Unsympathetic due to the fact that in the process of freeing Synths, their actions potentially destabilize the Commonwealth. They can be played Ambiguously Evil if the player character does not believe synths to be sentient, or see their "solution" of more or less pressuring every Synth they meet into an immediate Memory Wipe makes them little better than the Institute. Equally valid, many players see them as lovable misfits, liberators of synths, and a counter to more destabilizing factions such as the Institute. Still others believe that depending on the player’s actions there is room in the Commonwealth for both human- and synth-focused organizations.
      • Another interpretation is that all these factions having a Grey-and-Grey Morality are done on purpose — not just to give players the option of which side they agree with most, but also to play with the "War... war never changes" theme. Because, if you think about it, it's very rare to have an objectively "bad" side in a war. One usually views their country as the good guys — not just because said country generally mirrors their own ideals, but also because of the propaganda that often magnifies the bad parts of the other side. In this case, however, the player is given the unique option of seeing every side objectively. The end result can be the frustration over the fact that none of these sides want to work together, and usually want to destroy each other — despite many of these factions having similar goals/ideals.
    • When exactly was Mayor McDonough replaced with a synth? Or to be more specific, did he actually do the morally questionable things he supposedly did, or was it all the work of the synth that replaced him, with MacDonough himself being a decent enough person. Even In-Universe Hancock brings this up, wondering if he spent most of his life hating his own brother for something the guy didn't even do.
    • Likewise, Preston Garvey's first response to seeing a disoriented stranger in a vault suit is ask for a favor. His interest in the Sole Survivor rises precipitously when he discovers they may be the only adult in the Commonwealth who hasn't heard of the Quincy Massacre. Running one or two favors for nearby settlements quickly turns into rebuilding the Minutemen, with the Sole Survivor nominally in charge but Garvey calling the shots while doing none of the legwork. It's all too easy to see the Sole Survivor as Preston Garvey's patsy to rebuild the organization he always dreamed of leading.
    • Is Piper Wright a feisty, good-hearted activist who is bringing the truth to the people of Diamond City and helping them stay safe, or is she only preying on and escalating their paranoia? While almost everything she writes about turns out to be true (the mayor being a Synth, the Institute being a threat), her writing is incredibly biased and spends more time casting suspicion than it does presenting straight facts. Her reporting style is the type of Yellow Journalism that is heavily criticized by most credible journalistic standards. And we know of at least one person who is killed due to the intense fear they all have of the Institute, a fear that Piper actively encourages through her writing and only occasionally seems to feel remorseful about.
    • Do Jack Cabot and his family really care about Lorenzo and want to try to help him, or are they keeping him locked up so they can study him and use his blood to stay immortal. Jack repeatedly claims that he wants to help Lorenzo and given the choice he would like to cure his father even if it means giving up his immortality, but that's only what he says; his personal research entries quickly stop mentioning anything about curing Lorenzo and just talk about the family's lives and the difficulties of keeping Lorenzo locked up. To say nothing that the Cabots are covering up the fact that they found proof of an ancient pre-human civilization that has given their father superpowers, and have been able to use his blood to create a serum that halts aging, which they hoard all to themselves. Finally, Jack notes that the family became so detached from following current affairs, he barely even noticed the massive geopolitical crises that precipitated the Great War. Are the Cabots just a family of Upper Class Twits exploiting their father to live forever not caring about anything but their own preservation?
    • It's unclear if Lorenzo is really as violent and evil as Jack warns, or if he's the victim of a controlling and exploitative family. While he's definitely dangerous, the extent to which he's genuinely evil is ambiguous, which is not helped by contradictory evidence either way.
    • Was Danse really ignorant of his identity or did he decide to feign ignorance to illicit sympathy and mercy from the Sole Survivor and Brotherhood? When did he Kill and Replace the real Danse? Before he entered the Commonwealth or while there?
    • When Cait flirts with the other companions (Preston, MacCready, Deacon, Hancock, Piper) during the companion exchange, is it because she is genuinely attracted to them, because she is trying to embarrass or unnerve them for funsies or because she wants to endear herself to them so they would befriend and protect her in case the Sole Survivor dies or leaves her?
  • Americans Hate Tingle: While Cait is very popular among the general fandom, she had drawn the ire (pun intended) of a few Irish fans who are annoyed by her being a stereotypical bloodthirsty dimwitted drug-addicted alcoholic brute with an abusive family background and dubious accent.
  • Angst? What Angst?: For a character who is a Fish out of Temporal Water, the Sole Survivor speaks surprisingly little about their life in Pre-War years and how it is gone. Even meeting their son who has become an old man due to taking The Slow Path provokes no great emotional reaction. See Alternate Character Interpretation, though, for another possibility.
    • This is especially so for the Male Sole Survivor. While the Female Sole Survivor has more heart-trending lines referring to Shaun as her "baby" and generally sounding more distressed and emotional, her Male counterpart is not only burdened with less emotional writing, but often comes off as The Stoic.
  • Anti-Climax Boss:
    • Kellogg can be this, if the Sole Survivor does a little bit of searching a few minutes before their showdown. A few rooms before Kellogg decides to reveal himself, a toolbox can be found with an Armory Password. Inside the Armory, after a few Novice-level locks that should provide no resistance, is a Fat Man, with a single Mini-Nuke, more than enough to blast the man who killed their spouse, and kidnapped their son, as well as his Synth bodyguards into a fine, red, radioactive mist. A simple alternative (particularly in Survival mode, where carrying a Fat Man even a few paces can break your legs) is to place a few mines near him. If you shoot Kellogg, then duck behind something, he will trigger the mines and die, without any opportunity to return fire.
    • The Synth Courser later in the story runs into the same problem as Kellogg, but unlike Kellogg, the Fat Man and Mini-Nuke are out in the open (albeit hidden around the final area before the boss fight). Or just bring along Paladin Danse and provide cover fire as he disintegrates the Courser for you.
    • Far Harbor adds the Vim! Pop Factory which is overrun by Super Mutants. Their leader, a behemoth named Grun, was trapped in the loading dock by Erickson before he escaped. At a high level, you'll be fighting through level-scaled Super Mutant Primuses and Overlords who can take a ton of abuse while dishing it back out with high-level guns. Then you get to Grun, who is a simple unscaled Behemoth far weaker with easy to dodge attacks than those you fought through to get to him, feeling like a complete let-down.
  • Base-Breaking Character:
    • Arthur Maxson. His supporters see him as a Well-Intentioned Extremist who truly thinks his decisions on where to take the Brotherhood are the only way to ensure their survival, while his detractors see him as a Noble Bigot who is regressing the Brotherhood back to its roots in the name of upholding tradition and his family's personal pride. That the more xenophobic and isolationist West Coast Brotherhood are the ones that appointed him also plays a role, with some seeing Maxson as a Puppet King.
    • Travis Miles, the DJ for Diamond City Radio, is an interesting case. It all depends on whether you did his quest or not. If he is still a nervous wreck, you either find his Adorkable announcements endearing or annoying to listen to. Likewise, if he becomes more confident, you either think that his character development makes him more interesting than Three Dog and Mr. New Vegas or just a bland generic DJ.
    • Out of all the companions, Strong has gathered a rather mixed reaction from some players. Some hate him for disliking you for things like picking locks or hacking terminals, or because he doesn't distinguish himself from his brothers compared to other Super Mutant party members such as the kind and gentle grandma Lily from New Vegas, well-spoken and educated Fawkes from 3, or All-Loving Hero Marcus from 2. On the other hand, some like him for being darkly hilarious with his bloodlust, or for the fact that while he's a typical Super Mutant, he gives out some unexpected insights towards typical Super Mutants in the Commonwealth and being ironically different from other Super Mutant party members by still mostly acting like all the other Super Mutants you fight.
    • DiMA is either a Necessarily Evil Well-Intentioned Extremist who is prone to making rash, emotional decisions, or a self-justifying monster who commits terrible atrocities and convinces himself it's for "the greater good" and then removes his own memories of the acts so he doesn't need to feel guilty.
    • Preston Garvey is either a selfless hero who never gives up in trying to help the people of the Commonwealth despite his immense trauma and the dismal situations he finds himself in, or a Lazy Bum who forces all his responsibilities as one of the last surviving officers of the Minutemen onto the Sole Survivor. It doesn't help that, as the game's unbreakable story win condition, the player is guided towards sheltering and helping him no matter what kind of character they personally want to roleplay as - unless they choose another path e.g. the player can simply beeline to DC and ignore Concord entirely. Or the player can drag Travis to the Museum, wait until Travis gets into the armour on the roof, then simply leave and never talk to Preston again. Or the player can...
  • Best Level Ever:
    • "Last Voyage of the USS Constitution" is easily the most popular quest out of the entire game, featuring a unique and fun steampunk airship crewed by a bunch of hilarious robots essentially LARPing as 18th century sailors while having multiple skillchecks in a game otherwise lacking in them.
    • While some dislike it, (see That One Level below), for most, The Silver Shroud is the second most popular quest. You get to roleplay as a Superhero while you roleplay as a post-apocalyptic survivor. The voice actors clearly had fun with it, and it was popular enough that you even got a few extra speech options in two of the add-ons while wearing the Shroud's outfit. Notably, the guy who created this quest also created the Last Voyage quest.
    • Similarly, both "Diamond City Blues" and "Blind Betrayal" are two of the most beloved quests in the game, with the former being praised for its impressively intricate branching design and outcomes, and the latter being lauded for its excellent writing, tying together the central theme of the game, and fantastic voice acting.
    • The Salem Museum of Witchcraft is remembered for being a tense and terrifying area with a unique unmarked quest involving a Deathclaw Egg that can earn you either a Deathclaw Gauntlet or a new recipe.
    • The Milton parking garage. Someone — it is a mystery who, and why — turned it into a multi-level maze full of deathtraps and enemies, and the player's reward for exploring it is a choice between two cells of good loot at the end. It's an unmarked location, but nothing else in the entire Commonwealth is quite like it.
    • The HalluciGen building is basically the game's answer to Vault 106 from Fallout 3, but the player witnesses the effects of such hallucinations on Gunners, creating a truly disturbing area with opportunities for sadistic pleasure at the suffering of the enemy. Coupled with company history that reveals one of the most corrupt and cruel companies of the Pre-War era that makes Vault-Tec look pleasant, and it makes for a memorably haunting experience.
    • The Glowing Sea is this for some, with many fans being amazed by the region's Scenery Gorn and sheer atmosphere of desolation and misery. What certainly helps is that it allows for numerous awesome fights with deadly Wasteland critters for those who wish to delve in.
    • From the Nuka World DLC, there is the quest “Open Season”. It’s one of the rare cases in the Fallout series where the option to Kill Them All is a Good-Aligned Choice. Many players enjoy this quest because of the sheer catharsis & satisfaction of killing every last Raider and their bosses in the Nuka-World Park, who all completely deserved it, while also freeing their captives & slaves. It’s also liked for being one of the more challenging quests in the game, even when using Power Armor, since you’re getting swarmed by all these bastards left-&-right.
    • Among the settlements, Starlight Drive-In, Egret Tours Marina, and Greygarden are among the favorites - they're in close proximity to other locations of interest (the marina in particular is very close to the Glowing Sea, making it a prime supply station if playing on Survival mode), Starlight Drive-in has a huge wide-open building area on a relatively flat plain, Egret Tours Marina has an interesting layout, and Greygarden has lots of excess resources that can be shipped to other settlements plus a highway overpass that can be incorporated into your settlement. Particular mention to Spectacle Island — if the player just wants the freedom to build a creative and fun settlement, there's no better place than Spectacle Island, because it boasts the largest build area in the game. It isn't an exaggeration to say that you could build an entire city on the island that dwarves Diamond City, and still have space left. The only drawback is that it's so big with so many pre-placed objects to scrap that players may have to resort to exploits or mods to boost the building limit so they can make proper use of the space.
  • Better Off Sold:
    • By the time you reach the mid-game, Pipe Guns are useless due to their low damage. However, their .38 rounds remain abundant due to their popularity with Raiders and Super Mutants (and/or if you've invested in the Scrounger perk), and can act as substitute caps thanks to the 1=1 exchange rate at vendors, especially so outside of Survival — they have no weight, so there's no reason not to scoop them up, either.
    • Most of the time, looted Legendary items will be low-tier, don't fit your chosen playstyle, or come with a underwhelming effect. Fortunately, they command very high premiums at vendors, so unwanted Legendary loot can be used to aid you in buying something you actually need.
    • Institute lasers are generally unpopular, as their trade-off of lower damage for a higher rate of fire means they munch through ammo rather quickly to boot. However, they're usually found in large numbers along with the Synths carrying them and less weighty than the already light laser weapons, making them relatively useful to salvage and sell on.
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment:
    • After going through Kellogg's memories, Kellogg manages to somehow speak through Nick and taunt the player character. Regardless of the reactions picked, Nick regains control with no idea what happened, and this moment is never mentioned or brought up again.
    • When completing "The Nuclear Option" Quest for the Minutemen, you need to infiltrate the Institute by making your way through the abandoned underground ruins of the original Cambridge Institute of Technology. While doing so, you can find a room filled with the creepy Cymbal-Banging Monkey toys that appear at random throughout the game. No explaination is given, and the monkeys don't even trigger a trap. Maybe a 200-year-old student prank?
  • Bizarro Episode: The three questlines involving the Cabot family. The family already comes off as out of place when the player enters their home and finds it pristine and spotless and looking like it was preserved since before the Great War, which the player character can even comment on. The house is by far the most normal thing about the family: the Cabots have lived since the 1800s, after their patriarch Lorenzo found an ancient city in north Africa that was proof of his theories of an ancient pre-human civilization, and he brought back an artifact from the ruins he explored. The artifact has apparently become irremovable from his skull without killing him, but wearing it has driven him insane (or the crown itself is controlling him), given him superhuman abilities, and halted his aging. The Cabots have been using a serum derived from his blood to halt their own aging while Jack tries to find a way to remove the artifact from him safely. Even for Fallout, which has aliens, mutants, psychics, and more, the story of the Cabots is quite out of left field and rather strange.
  • Breather Level:
    • Dry Rock Gulch in Nuka-World is significantly simpler and easier to complete than all the other parks. It's full of rather weak monsters and the robotic quest-givers give out easily-completed tasks (that can be skipped altogether in a few speech checks/uses of Robot Expert). Most of the fun is just from the opportunity to ham it up as a cowboy/girl when talking to the Protectrons (additionally, if one is wearing the Silver Shroud costume, some characteristically-hammy Shroud dialogue is available). In what must be a deliberate mockery of Suspicious Videogame Generosity, you can find a quad-barrel missile launcher behind a locked door in Mad Mulligan's Mine on your way to face the boss. Said Bloodworm Queen is exactly as tough as all the other Bloodworms.
    • On a meta level, among the storyline DLC (Automatron, Far Harbor, Vault-Tec Workshop, and Nuka-World), Vault-Tec Workshop definitely counts as this. The other storyline DLC often go to rather dark places (with even Automatron telling the sad tale of the Mechanist and her utter failure at helping the Commonwealth despite her best efforts). However, aside from the HalluciGen section, Vault-Tec Workshop is generally lighthearted and relatively easy, instead focusing on helping build an actual Vault to shelter innocent Wastelanders (like Butt-Monkey Clem) from the world above, with the potentially lethal tests completely optional. Even the "villain" of the DLC, Overseer Valery Barstow, falls under Laughably Evil and can easily be ignored or defied.
  • Broken Base:
    • There were people who were furious that the protagonist would be voiced for the first time of the series. They believed voicing the PC makes it harder to immerse with their own character. On the other hand, there are those who loved the idea of a voiced protagonist, since that would make the PC less of an empty shell and more of a person. The Mass Effect inspired dialogue system has also been criticized by opponents for limiting the wide range of possible interaction through dialogue that normally is a staple of the series and accepted by supporters, some claiming that the system is not much different than the choices usually available to the character, the only difference being it's tone based (like Mass Effect) and fully voiced on the player end. After all, the Fallout 3 system was tone-based as well, just not visibly marked as such. Even Todd Howard remarked that the dialogue system was divisive and possibly a mistake.
    • Fusion cores. For some people, the fact that they run out (faster if you sprint) ruins the power armor because you not only can't abuse it, but you also need to be on the look out for more when they run out, even with the Nuclear Physicist perk. Others feel that it's a rational gating measure to prevent power armor from becoming a permanent Game-Breaker.
    • The game features many self-deprecatory Take Thats towards contentious elements of Fallout 3. Those who hated them got a kick out of them. Those who didn't... well, check the Player Punch entry for details, but to make a long story short, let's hope you weren't too attached to some of those setting elements.
    • The Institute has been subject of quite a few flame wars, with one side viewing them as noble Science Hero types who just want to make the Wasteland a better place (ignoring the kidnapping and horrific experiments). Others consider them nothing more than slavers who should be treated no better than those from Paradise Falls. Still others consider them as Stupid Evil morons who, for all their focus on science, can barely accomplish anything. A major point of contention is whether Synths are actually sentient, with the former tending to believe the Institute when they say they're just very good at mimicking sentience.
    • Some players are upset that there is no Golden Ending where all four factions can co-exist peacefully. Some point out that this is to be expected, given the ideological differences between the Brotherhood of Steel, the Institute, and the Railroad; it makes sense that each of the three will not suffer the other to continue to operate in the Commonwealth because it undermines their efforts to control it. However, the players who wish for a Golden Ending point out that the story elements are in place to overcome these problems: the player can become the Director of the Institute, and given that their modus operandi is to perform a Kill and Replace on people of power, such a thing could be done with Arthur Maxson to place the Brotherhood of Steel under covert Institute control, while the Railroad could be dealt with through diplomacy with the player using their influence in the Institute to placate them and make things better for Synths. Cut content even indicates that something like this was considered during development, with an ending for "Blind Betrayal" that had Danse challenge and defeat Maxson and either become the Elder of the Brotherhood or make the Sole Survivor the Elder, which adds weight to the argument that a peaceful resolution to the main quest ought to be possible.
    • Survival Mode. It's pretty evenly split down the middle whether or not fans like the new survival mode. Players who enjoy it will cite the increased realism and sense of urgency to gameplay, while detractors find the lack of fast travel and inability to manually save to be annoying Fake Difficulty, and the disabling of the command line console on the PC version hamstrings self-extrication from bugs or doing modding diagnostics. Not helping at all is the vocal minority of survival mode fans who insist that it's the "correct" way to play, and that anyone who doesn't like it is just mad because it's too hard for them.
    • The removal of Skills to focus entirely on SPECIAL stats and tying all Perks to them. Some dislike them for being too limiting, forcing players to waste points they could use to get Perks into raising their SPECIAL so they can take a Perk they want, and it hampers replay value since there are Perks you'll always want and the removal of the level cap lets you be a Master of All, thus most of your characters end up feeling the same eventually no matter what their initial SPECIAL is. Others like the system for disallowing players to break parts of the game by sinking skillpoints into a single Skill to pump it up ridiculously high early in the game, making SPECIAL feel more impactful to character builds (and removing nonsensical oddities like characters with 1 Intelligence but maxed out Science), and it is actually more difficult to be a Master of All since it takes dozens and dozens of levels to max out your SPECIAL and take all the Perks you want (filling the entire Perk tree out requires reaching level 318 at maximum), while past games (especially New Vegas) let you max out multiple Skills fairly early with minimal effort.
    • The Creation Club can either be described as Bethesda trying to milk the game over actually fixing it, along with Skyrim, a way to get the creators to get paid, or a way to introduce player-made content to the PS4, due to Sony's policies regarding user-made content. From the pricing and bundling, most fans agree with the "milking over actually fixing it" part, though the general quality regarding the items itself has had many fans arguing that it's more just overpriced than genuinely negative.
    • The weapon art design is a major source of contentions. Unlike previous Fallout entries, the weapons in Fallout 4 have a more stylized design that don't resemble real life counterparts note  While some fans like the aesthetics for their personality, others find them absurd and incongruous with the more realistic-looking weapons in past entries.
  • Catharsis Factor: Assaultrons are equipped with a devastating Eye Beam laser attack that can One-Hit Kill a lower level player, and love to get up close and personal so there's basically no chance of it missing. However, the Automatron DLC allows a player to equip the laser head to their own robotic companions — and it's no less effective at reducing unfortunate enemies to ash.
  • Cheese Strategy:
    • The Concord Deathclaw is a legitimately tough boss who can make short work of a low-level and/or less experienced player, even with the suit of power armor and minigun handed to you just minutes before. However, it can easily be defeated with little risk using some good old-fashioned Hit-and-Run Tactics. As it is too big to fit through doorways, one of the easiest (and cheesiest) ways to kill it is to sprint inside of a building (the church directly next to the Museum of Freedom is a good option), take some shots as it chases you up to the doorway and then retreats to cover, draw it back it out, sprint through the doorway, and repeat. Even a basic pipe gun and the .38 ammo looted from dead raiders throughout the museum will do the trick after enough rounds of this tactic. It turns one of the most feared creatures in the wasteland into a Death by a Thousand Cuts pincushion to the chagrin of veteran Fallout players everywhere.
    • Building up and linking settlements can be a powerful tool. Excess crops and purified water can be sold and/or made into Vegetable Starch for easy Adhesive, stores generate passive income that can be picked up daily from the workbench, properly outfitted provisioners can make for powerful patrols, everything scrapped can be used to mod everything you could ever need, having a network of safe places to rest (and thus save) is life-saving in Survival Mode, and much more. The downside are the settlement attacks that come with thriving settlements. Even a heavily defended settlement maxes out at around a 66% chance of defending itself if attacked, leaving a 1/3 chance of damaged crops, defenses, generators, and a happiness penalty to settlers. However, if a settlement has no settlers, it will never be targeted for attack. While crops require settlers to maintain them, water purifiers do not. You can set up a couple of on-water settlements as "water farms" with no settlers or defenses needed. Stop by once in a while, pick up the excess water from the workshop, and sell it for a huge, risk-free profit.
  • Common Knowledge: Father/Shaun never actually dismisses the Sole Survivor's questions about the Institute by saying "it's too complicated for you to understand", although he does mention that the Commonwealth fears the Institute because they don't understand the Institute's true intentions. While he never actually goes in detail on his plans, he does express his wish that the Synths would reclaim the Commonwealth, suggesting he plans to weaken and later conquer the Commonwealth for the Institute.
  • Complacent Gaming Syndrome: Springs up due to the way the game handles weapons and armor compared to Fallout 3 and New Vegas. There are very few "unique" weapons and armor in the game, most of them are identical to the base weapon with a Legendary effect attached, so it's often not worthwhile to track down unique equipment because you can stumble across an identical piece somewhere else. Further, there's a very large pool of Legendary effects and a very large pool of equipment pieces, and Legendary items are found at random, so the odds of getting a good equipment piece with a good Legendary effect attached to it are slim. The net effect of all this is that once you find a few good equipment pieces, you'll probably stick with them for a long time because you won't find anything better.
  • Complete Monster: See here.
  • Creepy Awesome:
    • The Synths are enjoyed as enemies for being very creepy — they have no facial expressions, never blink, have Glowing Eyes of Doom, their "skin" is a series of plastic panels over a metal frame with wires running over their limbs, and they speak in a dead monotone that puts the Accent On The Wrong Syllable. The result is a doll-like robot that stares blankly as it charges at you announcing loudly that it is going to kill you.
    • The Assaultrons have also gotten a lot of praise for falling into this trope. Not only do they all speak with a husky contralto worthy of the deadliest Femme Fatale, they're by far the most dangerous and lethal enemies in the entire game, being terrifyingly fast Lightning Bruisers armed with a deadly eye laser that is all but guaranteed to be a One-Hit Kill and either drill-claws or swords in place of hands. Combine all that with their casually sadistic remarks (e.g. coolly remarking that "Death is inevitable", or KL-E-0 from Goodneighbor suggesting you use her wares to murder a lot of people), the fact that even crippling both their legs won't necessarily save you (unlike Deathclaws), and their unique Fem Bot design, and Assaultrons are among the most memorable enemies in the entire game.
  • Crosses the Line Twice:
    • This game has one of the most cheerfully offensive features outside of outright Grossout Show games: A perk that turns your character into a high-functioning Idiot Savant, in so many words. Every time its effect occurs, it plays a derpy giggle, and its icon is Vault Boy with Fish Eyes.
    • As with all prior Fallout games, a lot of the game's Black Comedy falls into here, with one noteworthy example being Codsworth wailing about the futility of dusting a collapsed and irradiated house.
    • Should Dogmeat be seriously injured in his presence, Strong will ask if he can eat him while he's fresh.
  • Contested Sequel: Fans are incredibly divided about how it compares to Fallout 3 and Obsidian's Fallout: New Vegas. It's generally agreed that the combat system is significantly improved, including a far better sense of challenge, and the equipment crafting system is excellent, while the quest design, dialogue system, and story are all either restrictive and dull, So Okay, It's Average, or decent but profoundly underwhelming; settlement building and management, the voiced protagonist, and changes to the menu interfaces (among numerous other features), are far more contentious depending on who you ask. Some players, especially old school Fallout fans, have argued that while it is a perfectly entertaining, fun, and, even at times, great game in its own right, it is a pretty unimpressive Fallout game. Naturally, this leads into arguments over what makes a game in the Fallout franchise "specifically a Fallout game."

    D-G 
  • Demonic Spiders: Some of the enemies can get downright vicious in this game.
    • Mole Rats with mines strapped to them. These aren't that bad (you'll usually survive the hit if you aren't hurt), but unless you see them before they see you, you more than likely won't realize they're booby-trapped until you've smashed their heads in and they responded by exploding.
    • Super Mutant Suiciders. A suicide bomber that's faster and tougher than average mutants and carries a mini nuke on its fist. They run up to you and punch you with it, which is pretty much a guaranteed kill. The game throws these things at you very early in the game, well before you have the armament necessary to just kill them outright. You know it's bad when there's an achievement from dying to one. To add insult to injury, crippling the arm they're carrying the bomb in will make them drop it, and kill them... but because of the way the game's experience system works, its death (and any collateral damage) count as kills by the AI, and don't provide experience. On the plus side, if you kill them without setting the bomb off, you can collect a free Mini Nuke. You can also spawn within metres of a Suicider when fast travelling to certain mutant-infested locations, giving you pretty much no chance of fighting back before the big kaboom.
    • Radscorpions. In previous games, they were rather small, but annoying to beat. Not in Fallout 4. The regular ones are about the size of a Giant Radscorpion from previous games, and have the health, poison and damage to boot. And it's impossible to run from them once they find you—they can easily burrow to you and pop up nearby, even behind you!
    • Mirelurks. Anything above the baby version has a lot of health, and all except the King have hard shells which reduce incoming damage significantly, which they will exploit. Even the softshell versions can take a fair bit of punishment. Furthermore, they all deal decent damage and cause radiation poisoning. Just downloading and activating Far Harbor will also add Bloodrage Mirelurks into the leveled list. If that isn't bad enough, Nuka-World adds the even stronger Nukalurks with all its variants, Queen and King included.
    • Assaultrons. Fast, can dodge bullets and block melee, very durable, and comes with very painful melee attacks and even devastating painful Eye Beams. And then there's the Assaultron Dominator, which adds on stealth and bladed arms with both insane damage and reach (it can kill you in two hits when you're wearing a full set of modded heavy combat armor). Assaultrons are also one of the few enemy types where it's not a good idea to shoot the head since it's actually more resistant than the body.
    • As if 3's Sentry Bots weren't bad enough, this game makes them even worse. They tend to rush the player very quickly and fire their devastating gatling gun point blank. Coupled with a huge amount of health and a hard-to-hit weakpoint, they're a nightmare to face. Unlike the Sentry Bots of previous games, where you can circle strafe them up close, these Sentry Bots also have very painful melee and ramming attacks. And if all that weren't enough to make you cringe in fear, assuming you do beat them, they go off like a mini-nuke for that final "screw you". Remember the prototype four-legged Sentry Bot you saw in a showcase back in Fallout: New Vegas? Turns out they aren't exactly prototypes in the Commonwealth. These variants are capable of moving left and right without turning so that they could keep their guns pointed at you while strafing. Some variants also have Mortars in addition to their usual miniguns and missile launchers.
    • As always, Deathclaws are hard to kill, and rightly so. That's not what makes them demonic spiders. What makes them demonic spiders is that the game purposely hides them from view in certain locations until you've approached. Without warning, there's now half-a-ton of muscle and claws charging at you. This isn't to be confused with the variant below. There's also Chameleon Deathclaws. If regular Deathclaws weren't bad enough, now there's a variant that can cloak to sneak up on you and murder you more easily.
    • Bloodbug variants that aren't hatchlings or normal ones, such as Infected Bloodbugs or Red Widow Bloodbugs. Not only are they a pain to hit due to flying around and being rather spindly, they also deal more damage than a regular one, swarm in numbers, and worst of all, have a lot more health compared to regular Bloodbugs. They also cause Interface Screw and deal a very high amount of poison damage to the player, even through Power Armor!
    • Stingwings. Just when you thought Bloodbugs are bad enough, these things show up. You then realize that they're this game's answer to the Cazador. They are very fast, hit hard, have very deadly poison, come in groups, and extremely hard to hit without VATS (and even with VATS, they are still hard to hit unless they are very close, in which case they are already in striking range). Despite being rather flimsy and easier to gun down compared to Bloodbugs, they're also much faster and dodge much more often.
    • Yao Guai, once again, are back. And in each new installment, they're more vicious each time. Like Deathclaws, their power attacks often knock you off your feet, and they'll gladly maul you afterwards.
    • The Children of Atom may look like normal people in rags, but they're some of the hardest enemies in the game unless you happen upon them wearing Power Armor or a Hazmat Suit. The reason for this is their Gamma Guns, which deal insane amounts of radiation damage and have an awe inspiring clip size to boot. What makes this so deadly is that the radiation lowers your max health and you can't get rid of it with stims or most food items, only Rad-Away. Even if you planned ahead and brought a hazmat suit, many of them have backup weapons which will punch right through the unarmored hazmat suit. You can wear Power Armor to deal with them, as it provides extremely high radiation resistance and damage resistance, but it's costly to operate and still somewhat vulnerable to the Nuka Grenades they carry.
    • Any humanoid enemy armed with a Fat Man. They'll likely see you before you see them, so the first indication that they're there is the tell-tale bomb whistle of a mini nuke, which by that point it's already too late. Unless you're wearing power armor, it's a One-Hit Kill and if you don't know where the attack came from, you can expect to die to that one enemy over and over again until you find them. What makes this worse is there's level scaling with these guys. You can begin encountering them very early, especially if you decide to help out the Minutemen (see Boomer below).
    • To a lesser extent, enemies packing a missile launcher. They don't have the same area of effect, but you're dead if they hit you all the same, and they can hit you from long distances if they know where to shoot. If you can't snipe them, fighting from an elevated position or uphill is usually the only way to survive, as the angle will make sure their rockets fly harmlessly past you, rather than exploding at your feet. It gets much worse later in the game, when missile launchers can spawn with the "targeting computer" scope. Because this adds lock-on functionality to the missiles, you're all but guaranteed to get hit. As if that wasn't bad enough, if you're sniping from a distance, an enemy can unknowingly mark you with the scope and land a perfect hit without actually detecting you.
    • Vertibirds can become this if you go against the Brotherhood, and they are annoyingly common until or if you destroy the Prydwen. What makes this more annoying is the fact that the pilots actually seem a lot smarter when they fight the player than when they go up against the baddies of the Commonwealth. They'll always keep someone on the minigun now and will focus their flight patterns around you. The best course of action is usually to let other hostile NPCs take them down for you. And when taken down, they tend to give a final middle finger to the player by crashing onto them and exploding for massive damage.
    • While regular feral ghouls are Goddamned Bats, the stronger ghouls can get really tough on their own. Especially the top-tier glowing variants, the Putrid/Bloated Glowing Ones, stand out. They hit like a truck, dealing equally hard physical and radiation damage. If you're not wearing power armor or packing some serious firepower, you'll quickly drag behind healing both types of damage at the same time.
    • The Automatron DLC's customized robots can be hit or miss, but the melee bots behave like Assaultrons and are every bit as dangerous for it. Worse still, these come with electrified or flaming limbs, and some are outfitted with Mr. Handy-style thrusters, making them move as fast as a Stingwing.
    • The Far Harbor DLC adds a few more:
      • Anglers: Humanoid mutant anglerfish. Extremely fast, strong, wield ranged acid attacks, fond of ambushing the player while pretending to be a floating plant with their Lure weed.
      • Fog Crawlers: Basically Chauruses/Chauri on steroids, with attacks that deal poison and radiation damage.
      • Gulpers: Fast, salamander-esque amphibians, considerably larger but similar to the Geckos from Fallout 2 and Fallout: New Vegas.
    • Mister Frothy from Nuka-World. They look just like Mister Handies with Nuka-Cola paint, but they fire powerful explosive squirt guns similar to the modified Thirst Zapper. Their Nuka-Cola misters also dole out a metric fuckton of pain, not only hurting you but also adding radiation damage to make sure it hurt.
    • Nukatrons, Protectrons armed with weaponized Nuka-Cola Quantum, easily the worst robot just below Sentry Bots and Assaultrons. They look ridiculous, being Nuka-Cola machines waddling around on stumpy robotic legs, but their explosive projectiles deal massive damage even through maximum upgraded power armor and have surprisingly long range. Thankfully, they're only slightly tougher than your average protectron.
    • Cave Crickets, giant crickets who're as tough as Radscorpions and can run very fast. Not to mention they often come in packs. What's worse is that, just like Radscorpions, they love to get up in your face, but the Crickets are far, far smaller than Radscorpions and hop around like crazy, making it incredibly difficult to hit them without using melee weapons or V.A.T.S.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • Despite the one member who isn't well liked because he constantly gives you tedious quests, as a whole the Commonwealth Minutemen by miles are the most well-liked faction even though they're actually the least involved in the main storyline, due to them introducing the popular settlement building mechanics in the game, having the most broadly altruistic goals of the four major factions, and proving quite capable despite their limited resources. Finally, completing their questline earns them and the player an awesome headquarters at Fort Independence and the very useful ability to call in artillery strikes. It also helps that siding with them makes it possible for the player to not wipe out the other factions (save the Institute, but at least it’s possible to spare some of its people and/or leave some of their achievements to be retrieved in the Minutemen ending).
    • Scribe Haylen (a Nice Girl medic working at Cambridge Police Station) and Proctor Ingram (a Fiery Redhead Gadgeteer Genius who uses a Power Armor frame as a Super Wheelchair) might be the only two Brotherhood of Steel members that even those who fervently hate the faction rarely have any problem with, with some even wishing that Haylen had been a potential companion (with the fact that she's the only Brotherhood member to stand up for Danse in "Blind Betrayal" certainly helping). Brotherhood Scribes Quinlan and Neriah also have their fans for their quirkiness and some of their experiments (although that fanbase is understandably restricted mostly to those who don't hate the Brotherhood as a whole).
    • Rosalind Orman is about the only Institute member most players actually like for being a brilliant yet Nice Genki Girl, some even wishing that she was a companion or romance option. Clayton Holdren is also one of the better-liked Institute members for having some more genuinely useful and interesting experiments, and being more reasonable and non-malicious than many of the other department heads.
    • The Silver Shroud character seems to be getting a lot of love due to his Large Ham tendencies and being a hilariously awesome parody of superheroes from The '40s and The '50s in the same vein as The Spirit and The Shadow.
    • Cait is one of the more popular companions despite not being that particularly important to the overall plot. This can be chalked up to her Jerkass Woobie nature, Character Development and Dark Action Girl status.
    • The Atom Cats greaser gang have a hefty amount of love among the fandom due to their specialization in power armor, silly dialogue, and being one of the friendlier factions in the game aside from the Minutemen.
    • Magnolia, the singer at The Third Rail. Friendly, charismatic, a non-companion romance option... also helps that she's voiced by Lynda Carter and sings catchy and original songs.
    • Fahrenheit, Hancock's bodyguard in Goodneighbor, has no small shortage of fans due to her tough, no-nonsense demeanor and tomboyish design. There are even mods that allow her to be a romance option as well as a companion.
    • KL-E-0, the Assaultron shopkeeper in Goodneighbor, is surprisingly popular. She has a brief conversation with you, and other than that she acts like any other merchant. But the sheer levels of her hilariously sarcastic and cheerfully amoral personality conveyed therein have won her quite a few fans. Some would even like to romance her.
    • Pickman, an unsettling Serial Killer encountered during a minor side quest given by Hancock, has a significant fan following - likely thanks to his polished, outwardly handsome appearance and oddly charming demeanor. The fact that he only seems to prey on Raiders, making him far more of a semi-sympathetic Serial-Killer Killer, only helps.
    • "The Grenade Guy", an unnamed, unseen NPC mentioned by Raiders in idle dialogue at various locations. He's some kind of delusional Michael Winslow-esque lunatic who escapes from encounters with Raiders by making sound effects, with his signature bit that earned him his nickname being to mime throwing grenades at Super Mutants, complete with the sound effects of pulling the pin and the grenade exploding. It turns out that this is Crazy Enough to Work, since it confuses and disorients the Mutants enough for him to make his escape, which he does while pretending he's on a motorcycle. Many players have expressed disappointment that it's not actually possible to meet "Grenade Guy" In-Universe.
    • Erickson from Far Harbor. Being another nice and intelligent East Coast Super Mutant that you can reason with a la Uncle Leo and Fawkes is probably one of the key things why many like him, with some even wishing that he was a companion. The fact that he can sell dogs to the Sole Survivor's settlements (increasing both defense and happiness) certainly doesn't hurt either.
    • N.I.R.A. from Nuka-World for unexpectedly having a Split Personality between being a cheerful robotic tour guide to a hilariously foul-mouthed, violent, and rude insane robotic raider. Some wish she was more involved with the story.
    • Also from Nuka-World, and in spite of just being The Voice, there's RedEye - the DJ of Raider Radio - who is well-liked for being a Laughably Evil Large Ham voiced by none other than Andrew W.K..
  • Epileptic Trees:
    • The southern areas of the map are rather sparse in comparison to the rest of the map. While there's not nothing there, between Quincy and the Glowing Sea, the map is a sprawling plain of swampland with the Gunners Plaza, Murkwater Construction Site, and Suffolk Country Charter School as the only marked areas, and various unmarked points of interest like a sunken military bunker with a door to nothing but taunting graffiti, several ruined homes prowled by yao guai, and a derailed train. Some gamers find the lack of marked locations in the area suspicious, and theorize that it may have been left untouched to be the site of a future DLC add-on that didn't come to fruition, or that there was more planned for the region in the base game but it got cut.
    • A fan theory posits that Shaun is not Father, and the Sole Survivor was only frozen for an additional 10 years. The theory points out that Shaun's plan to make contact with the Sole Survivor is a massive Gambit Roulette that relies on luck and chance for you to make your own way to the Institute, instead of him contacting you directly. However, this makes sense if Father isn't truly Shaun and was just an opportunistic Institute member who manipulated you into helping them. The Synth Shaun (which terminal entries show Father was oddly insistent on being completed quickly, despite it having no practical use and discomforting the Institute personnel) was meant to be presented to you as the "real" Shaun, but it malfunctioned and Father quickly improvised a lie to avoid being murdered by a vengeful, angry parent. There's no direct evidence for the theory and it mostly hinges on The Reveal about Shaun being unsatisfying and having a lot of plot holes; on the other hand the theory itself also has plot holes that make it unlikely, the major one being that Father is still willing to hand you control of the Institute despite not being your son.
  • Estrogen Brigade:
    • Elder Maxson and Paladin Danse are both immensely popular with the fangirls, thanks to them being bonafide Hunks with baritones. The latter is certainly helped by his character arc turning him into a tragic Jerkass Woobie.
    • Hancock surprisingly falls into this despite being a Ghoul, with his roguish charm and general goofiness certainly helping a lot.
  • Evil Is Cool:
    • The Institute quickly generated a large number of fans with its gorgeous Raygun Gothic utopianism, ruthless Pragmatic Villainy, and genuinely Well-Intentioned Extremist goals.
    • Similarly, the Church of the Children of Atom in the Far Harbor DLC are both utterly terrifying and incredibly cool with both their radiation-based mysticism and providing a genuine challenge in combat along with loads of interesting quests.
    • Virtually all of the different Raider gangs in Nuka-World could count here due to their immensely creative designs, but the Disciples are especially noteworthy in how they're basically an entire faction of Serial Killers.
  • Fanon Discontinuity: The "Kid in a Fridge" sidequest is widely reviled for containing a giant tangle of Fridge Logic in the ghoul child Billy somehow surviving inside a refrigerator for 200 years, climbing out of it physically and psychologically fine, and then going home to find his parents (also ghouls) still living in their old house. While it is made explicit that he really was in the fridge since the Great War, some fans ignore this and say that Billy was in there a considerably shorter period of time, with a common alternate explanation being that he got stuck in there during the Quincy Massacre and thus was only in the fridge for a month or so.
  • Fanfic Fuel:
    • The East Coast Brotherhood of Steel reverting to a "traditional" mindset, plus a lack of concrete details about the current goings-on in DC, leaves plenty of speculation in regards to the fates of both the Lone Wanderer and the Capital Wasteland as a whole.
    • Nick Valentine, a seasoned Hard Boiled Detective and prototype Generation 2 Institute Synth, who's made many friends and enemies across the Commonwealth. An entire game could be made about the numerous cases he's solved working as a P.I. in Diamond City in the century or so between him getting kicked out of the Institute and the Sole Survivor rescuing him from Vault 114.
    • Deacon's extremely ambiguous identity, coupled with his intense amount of consummate lying about his past, leave a lot of open interpretation about how many adventures he's had both before and during his time in the Railroad.
  • Fan Nickname:
    • In lieu of an official nickname for the Sole Survivor(s), numerous fan versions came about. These included "Mr. and Mrs. 111"note  and "Nate and Nora."note  "Howard" was also a common nickname for the male protagonist, as well as a surname for both protagonists, as it was the name used for the E3 gameplay reveal.
    • The incredible popularity of the building system, which greatly distracts many players from the actual quests, led to some nicknaming the game The Sims: Apocalypse and others.
    • There's also "Mayor McDonut" for Mayor McDonough, "Presto Gravy" for Preston Garvey and variations of "Cornflakes" for Kellogg.
    • Paladin Danse is often jokingly referred to as Buzz Lightyear, as he resembles the small toy hero both in appearance (wearing heavy armor with his default Recon helmet being Buzz's "cap"), and personality as a stereotypical heroic champion of an advanced faction. That he also tends to sound like Tim Allen also helps. It extends past appearances, because Danse doesn't realize that HE. IS. A. TOY!
    • Preston Garvey is sometimes referred to as "Preston Taylor" due to his similarity to Jacob Taylor, being a level-headed, military minded black man who joins up early and is fairly normal compared to the more zany companions.
  • Fanon: Several, mostly those regarding Fallout 3 due to 4 being intentionally vague on a lot of the events of 3.
    • Most fans seem to take the Brotherhood of Steel removing a fusion reactor from "an abandoned aircraft carrier" as them sacking Rivet City and scavenging the ruins for parts. In reality, it's likely that the Brotherhood used one of the multiple reactors aboard the wrecked carrier.
    • Underworld being wiped out by the Brotherhood is also assumed to have happened while there isn't any concrete statements one way or another supporting this.
    • For the game proper, it is assumed that the female Sole Survivor had some kind of military experience, such as being in the JAG or even serving as a secret agent, which is how she adapts to the wasteland as well as her husband.
    • It is also commonly assumed that Nick's secretary Ellie takes care of Piper's sister Nat when Piper and Nick are away.
  • Fashion-Victim Villain: The Pack in Nuka-World. They dress themselves in remnants of old animal costumes that they found in the park combined with pastel body paints. Of all the raider factions there, they're by far the hardest to take seriously.
  • Game-Breaker: Check the page.
  • Genius Bonus:
    • The Brotherhood of Steel's airship - The Prydwen - is named after a ship used by King Arthur and his knights while searching for magical weapons from the ancient Arthurian poem Preiddeu Annwfn.
    • It's possible to find two men - Mikey and Moss - having a spirited discussion about the definition of a sandwich. This was the subject of a real life 2012 court case in Massachusetts.
    • After getting bitten by one of his war-dogs, the Raider Lord Crazy Bosco goes...well, crazier than he already was, and discusses plans on his terminal for conquering other Raider gangs. He dismisses taking Libertalia, claiming "There's too much water there." With all that taken into account, it's all but stated that Bosco's specifically suffering from rabies (as a common symptom of rabies is hydrophobia).
    • One of the terminals aboard the Prydwen serves as a letter back home to the family of a fallen Brotherhood Initiate, letting them know that they "should be proud of the sacrifice he made for the sake of his country." This more or less implies that the Brotherhood has evolved into an "Ordensstaat", a little known political concept denoting a military order that has become a sovereign state in its own right. The best, and possibly only examples of an Ordensstaat found in history are the Teutonic Order after the invasion of Prussia and the Sovereign Military Order of Malta (formerly the Knights Hospitaller). One was planned (but thankfully never became real) by Heinrich Himmler after the war. He wanted to create a SS State separate from Germany called "Burgundy" out of the annexed parts of France, Belgium, Luxemburg and Switzerland.
    • The fact that Rex Goodman tried to teach the Commonwealth Super Mutants "culture" through the Scottish Play becomes a lot funnier when one understands how this showcases that Goodman was exceptionally Too Dumb to Live in trying to use one of the bloodiest and most cynical works in the Shakespearean canon to try and teach the Frankensteins how to respect the value of human life.
  • Goddamned Bats:
    • Landmines return and even worse than they previously were in Fallout 3. They beep much faster than in 3, and they're harder to see, making it more likely that players will panic and fail to disarm them in time once they countdown begins.
    • Mole rats, Radroaches, and Mirelurks Hatchlings are now very annoying to deal with since in addition to their normal damage, they also cause radiation damage which lowers maximum health. Thanks to them all being deceptively fast, you'll be relying on VATS to deal with them (which gets old quick). Mole Rats also burrow constantly, and Mirelurk Hatchlings never drop any loot.
    • Similarly, Feral Ghouls have also been beefed up this time to make for even bigger nuisances. Like with the above they can also deal rad damage, move at a lightning pace, like to flop and tumble around to throw you off your aim, and usually attack in large numbers.
    • Bloodbugs and Bloatflies fly around, making it annoying to get a hit on them. The former even causes Interface Screw and radiation poisoning by sucking your blood, then spitting it all at your face. Even worse, Bloodbugs actually have a good amount of health for something so flimsy-looking.
    • For min-maxers or those with OCD, the diseased Mole Rats of Vault 81 are considered this. These aren't hard to kill, it's just that if any of them manage to bite you (considering their speed, numbers and ability to burrow/pop up anywhere, it's highly likely), they transmit the disease to you. Even worse? If they bite your companion, or any Protectrons you activated to help you, you also get the disease for some reason or other. Although it has little to no impact in the long run, said disease is permanent (loss of 10 Maximum HP) unless you decide to make the immoral decision of using the cure on yourself and let Austin die. Hope you learned the art of Save Scumming when doing "Hole In The Wall"!
    • Gunners. This mercenary group are basically better-armed raiders. Though nothing special individually, their bases usually have an Assaultron or two, and as soon as you've hit one of their vaults, they start going after your settlements.
    • Raiders become this after you level up past 20. Even their high-ranking members and Power Armor-clad ones become mere thorns on your path and only serve to provide more loot for you to grab from their corpses due to them suffering The Worf Effect by then.
  • Good Bad Bugs:
    • Dogmeat can even fetch items that are in locked containers, a notable example is the Cryolator in the Master locked case you encounter in Vault 111. Even better is his "Item Duplication" — a little tricky to pull off, but once you get the hang of it, you can easily max out your SPECIAL stats right off the bat, as well as receive unlimited supplies of otherwise rare items, such as fusion cores.
    • Carried over from Skyrim, you can still order followers to pick up items even if they are already carrying way beyond their carry weight.
    • If you pull it off correctly, the aforementioned Hole in the Wall quest can result in both you and Austin getting cured. To do it, tell Dr. Forsythe that you're going to keep it for yourself. He'll ask you to change your mind, but before giving him a response, walk away from him and use the cure. Continuing the conversation from here will let you save Austin.
    • The settlement building mechanics are full of exploitable glitches that let you embed power conduits and wires inside walls, increase the size limit to infinity, stack objects on top of each other without affecting functionality, and more. However, these exploits just work to add more variety to the ways in which you can build structures and don't have much negative impact if you know what you're doing, so they can be quite helpful.
    • The perk that MacCready gives the player at maximum affinity (Killshot) is supposed to add 20% to V.A.T.S. headshot accuracy, but due to a bug fixed in 1.3, it maximized the accuracy to 95% instantly, making it easy to pull off headshots in V.A.T.S.
    • Anybody, not just the player, can enter a Power Armor suit, and the player will enjoy the benefits of the power armor helmet's mod. You can give Danse a Targeting Interface helmet and all your targets will glow a nice red (as will everybody else, the interface does not discriminate).
    • As mentioned below, Stimpaks play an animation of them being injected into you, interrupting combat. However, this animation will not play if you are underwater to the point where you have to swim, and instead, the stimpak is consumed instantly. This seems situational, but several major quest areas are located near water that's deep enough to swim in- for instance, The Castle is on a peninsula, and Spectacle Island, one of the largest settlement locations in the game, is... well, an island. Take this and the Aquaboy/Girl perk, which lets you breathe underwater and prevents you from taking rads while swimming, and you essentially have penalty-free healing.
    • If you romanced one of your companions, going to bed with them nearby results in you sleeping together and a buff called Lover's Embrace. There's been reports that sometimes instead of your lover, you wake up next to Dogmeat. The possibilities are hilariously disgusting. It's also possible to wake up with one of the brahmins.
    • Placing 2 beds side by side in a settlement can result in an animation, after the aforesaid "Lover's Embrace", of your character and multiple companions all waking up together, implying you had a threesome.
    • Less a bug and more an oversight, you can (slowly) farm infinite EXP on a safe that you can lock pick, provided it's hooked up to a terminal you can use that can lock/unlock it. Step one, unlock the safe get the EXP. Step two, use the terminal to lock it again. Keep repeating until you have the experience points you desire. As a bonus, companions that like lockpicking (Piper and Deacon) can have their affinity leveled up by the same method.
    • Proctor Quinlan aboard the Prydwen gives you a radiant quest to bring "Technical Documents" you find to him for caps, and after speaking to him they spawn randomly amongst other junk throughout the Commonwealth. But because of how the game handles randomized loot and containers with it, it's possible to find Technical Documents aboard the Prydwen itself, implying that Quinlan is leaving previously turned-in documents lying around the ship and forgetting about them, and the Sole Survivor is finding them and turning them in to him for more money.
    • There are small physics objects like tires and barrels that you can't put in your inventory, but can pick up and carry. Then there are large physics objects that you can't interact with such as wrecked cars, that only enemies such as deathclaws can move. However there is a bug with the physics that lets you punt around the bigger objects by pushing one smaller physics object into it with another small object. You can use this to nudge otherwise immovable objects into the bounds of settlements to scrap them.
    • The Plasma Thrower mod for plasma weapons turns the gun into a plasma flamethrower. As a fully-automatic weapon, it's supposed to use the Commando perk to determine damage bonuses and secondary effects, but before it was patched it instead looks at whether the gun has a pistol grip or a rifle stock instead and treats it as a pistol or rifle class weapon. Given the better secondary effects of Gunslinger (increased range with pistols) and Marksman (ignore part of the target's defense) compared to Commando's irrelevant increased accuracy while firing from the hip (the Plasma Thrower has a wide area of effect and no recoil, and thus doesn't gain any benefit), this just makes the weapon more powerful.
    • By quickly scrapping a weapon when you attempt to mod it, you can place the scrapped weapon's mod onto the next weapon in your inventory. This allows virtually any weapon mod to be equipped with any weapon, with the effects ranging from quirky fun to seriously overpowering.
    • In Nuka-World, if the player chooses to wipe out the raider gangs, the traders will be freed, and eventually remove their slave collars, along with the rest of their clothes.
    • Several of the Nuka-Cola machines in Nuka-World reset every time the player leaves the area, meaning a player can move back and forth out of the loading area for unlimited amounts of any basic Nuka-Cola variant, including the rare, powerful Quantum and Victory.
    • As mentioned on the "Funny" page, Hancock and Cait have an easily-exploited way to max their affinity - strip down and fast travel.
    • If the player completes all the Nuka-World content before ever meeting Preston Garvey, including raiding all the settlements and such, then completes "When Freedom Calls" Preston will instead of becoming hostile as he does when you do the Nuka-World content demand that you stop working with the Raiders and kill them just as he would when you just started it. This starts the "Open Season" quest, and once the player completes that, they can complete the Minutemen content and raise settlements as normal, allowing the player to complete all the content in a single playthrough easily enough.
    • Radiant quests don't have much in the way of coding to prevent them from giving you the same quests over and over, and it's easily possible to get into a loop where one settlement repeatedly asks for help that sends you to one location over and over again. If it's just a quest to clear the area of enemies it doesn't cause too much trouble; these quests only require you to kill one specific enemy, a new one of which is spawned for the quest's purpose whenever you're given it. If it's a quest to rescue a kidnapped settler, it gets ridiculous, since the enemies actually holding that settler hostage only respawn under normal rules, which takes at minimum an in-game week. In some cases, like a settler from Greentop Nursery being kidnapped by the super mutants at Breakheart Banks, it becomes free money and experience as you run in, talk to the settler who was evidently kidnapped by half a dozen Super Mutant corpses, and run back out to complete the actual objective in two minutes.

    H-K 
  • Harsher in Hindsight: In Fallout 3 and New Vegas, fighting hostile Mister Handies was often a darkly hilarious experience considering how much of a treat it was to see a Killer Robot acting as a Quintessential British Gentleman as it tried to saw your face in half. In this game, though, the Sole Survivor's first potential companion is their Pre-War Mister Handy Codsworth, and talking with him can quickly reveal how he's been putting on a Stepford Smiler act for the last few centuries and was slowly going mad from loneliness. Suddenly, all those past Mister Handies going crazy from their masters being long-since dead now comes across in a far more uncomfortable light.
  • Heartwarming in Hindsight: One of Nick Valentine's passive dialogue quotes, now that the Nintendo Hard Survival Mode is in play:
    Nick Valentine: You good to keep going? I don't sleep or eat or anything like that, but if ya need to, you do it.
  • He/She Can Really Act: As much as players (not unfairly) criticize the game’s use of a voiced protagonist in a Fallout game, most players do agree that the two voice actors for the Sole Survivor do an exceptional job with the character. Both Brian T. Delaney and Courtenay Taylor are able to convey the many emotions of the main character, making their various lines dramatic, intense, funny, sad, upbeat, etc. right when they need to be. So while most fans agree that Fallout really shouldn’t use a voiced protagonist in future games, at least 4 makes it worthwhile.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
  • Iron Woobie:
    • The Sole Survivor themselves. Despite the massive Trauma Conga Line they suffer through in the game's opening, they can become a wandering do-gooder who helps usher in a new era of civilization across the Commonwealth.
    • Nick Valentine's very existence as a Gen 2 Synth simulating the behavior of a Pre-War cop based on memories harvested from his brain under false pretenses is an ethical violation, and he can occasionally express angst over what makes him him and not just either a discarded tool of the Institute or the memories of a Pre-War police officer. Still, he's The Paragon for a good reason and tries to put aside the darkness in his past so as to help safeguard a better world for all in the prersent.
    • As he can later elaborate to his owner, Codsworth's seen a lot of horrible things in the intervening centuries, and had been desperately putting on a Stepford Smiler demeanor so he didn't have to think about how miserably lonely he really was. Nevertheless, he proves to be quite upbeat after joining up with you, and frequently showcases a hopeful attitude regarding the Commonwealth's future.
    • John Hancock (the Ultimate Authority Mayor of Goodneighbor), Deacon (the Railroad's resident breezy Stealth Expert), and MacCready (a Hired Gun you can pick up at The Third Rail) are all able to hide their demons and self-hatred pretty well with their breezy Lovable Rogue charm. Talking with Hancock can reveal that he'd like to die due to still feeling guilt over his past Bystander Syndrome regarding the exiling of Diamond City's Ghouls. Meanwhile, Deacon has a pretty hideous Dark and Troubled Past of being a rabid Synth bigot, and openly expresses disgust for him being in the Railroad since he doesn't think that it even comes close to him making up for his past mistakes. Finally, MacCready has his own suicidal tendencies and self-loathing issues, with him being utterly disgusted with his past history as a Gunner and even remarking at one point that he sometimes thinks it would've been better if both he and his son Duncan had also been eaten by the Feral Ghouls that tore his wife Lucy to shreds.
  • It's Popular, Now It Sucks!: Many longtime fans miss the days when Fallout was more of a cult series, especially since Bethesda's choice to remove the skills and Karma systems was possibly done to make the game more appealing to more casual players unfamiliar with previous installments.
  • It's Short, So It Sucks!:
    • The Automatron DLC adds the ability to mix and match your own robots with all sorts of possibilities, but the actual story content that goes along with it is pretty bare. It also doesn't take very long to complete the four-mission questchain and unlock the full range of crafting schematics.
    • The Vault-Tec Workshop DLC is even worse regarding this. After getting to Vault 88 and beginning its questline, you only have to leave the Vault to go somewhere else one time, and it's not even a very long trip (the HalluciGen building is easily accessible downtown and not very big). Cutting out the trip to HalluciGen and the time you may spend clearing out the Vault 88 cavern and actually building your Vault, the questline boils down to just building a settlement object and letting a settler use it for an in-game hour, meaning the entire questline (even including HalluciGen) can be completed in an hour or so.
  • It's the Same, Now It Sucks!: Quite a few fans were disappointed to see that the Brotherhood of Steel ending is eerily similar to the ending of Fallout 3; Liberty Prime smashing through enemies to reach an enemy base while the player follows in his wake with a BoS squad.
  • It Was His Sled:
    • While the online community was generally great about not spoiling the plot twists of the main story, nobody was particularly secretive about the fact that Nick Valentine is a synth. The game itself actually conceals this fact, and it can come as a (very awesome) surprise to a completely fresh player when he is rescued. Nick is one of the few synths incapable of passing, though.
    • The fact that your son Shaun is the Father of the Institute is known even to those who haven't actually played the game.
  • Jerkass Woobie:
    • Elder Arthur Maxson. After witnessing the death of both his beloved mentor/father figure (Owyn Lyons) and his first crush/idol (Sarah Lyons), Arthur saw the East Coast Brotherhood go through a nightmarish Trauma Conga Line that only really reversed himself when he was essentially forced to take the reins and lead them onto a new path. Combine that with his cabin aboard the Prydwen showing how he's The Alcoholic and him taking no pleasure at all in the Brotherhood's more uncomfortable actions, and it's hard not to feel at least a bit of pity for the man that he's become.
    • Cait is a foul-mouthed, violent chem addict who often dislikes when you act nice or take the benevolent path in quests. However, she was sold into slavery by her physically and emotionally abusive parents, was used for five years as a Sex Slave before she bought her own freedom and then made herself a Self-Made Orphan, and resorted to drinking and drugs to drown the memories of it all. The trope becomes downplayed over time: she's suspicious of the player when they first meet because she's not used to people who are just nice for the sake of it, and she eventually warms up to you as you prove you're legit and can even help her kick her chem addiction.
    • Paladin Danse. On the one hand, the man can be very acerbic and has an unnerving streak of Fantastic Racism a mile wide regarding Ghouls and Synths. However, not only is it clearly conveyed that the man is a Shell-Shocked Veteran suffering from PTSD, but he suffers through a particularly cruel case of Tomato in the Mirror in "Blind Betrayal," resulting in him either getting Killed Off for Real or him being exiled from the Brotherhood - a.k.a., the very organization that has literally defined him for practically as long as he can remember.
    • Conrad Kellogg is a ruthless, murderous man who shows no hesitation about shooting innocent people in the head for the sake of a job. When you learn his backstory, it turns out he's your Evil Counterpart, a family man who tried to have a normal life until some enemies of his employers abducted and killed his wife and child. The incident sent him over the Despair Event Horizon, and he came back out a cold-blooded mercenary who didn't care who he killed or why as long as he got paid. It's hard not to feel sorry for him at least a little bit.
      Kellogg: It was just me against the world... and the world had it coming.
  • Jerks Are Worse Than Villains:
    • The Brotherhood Of Steel. They're intended to be the morally grey faction and in all honesty come off as such, but somehow they get more hate in the fandom than even the near-morally-black Institute.
    • Also a reason why the Railroad is commonly disliked. Despite being more moral compared to the Brotherhood and the Institute, they are disliked due to their members, bar Deacon, being paranoid and standoffish and being hyper-focused on freeing Synths with little care to human casualties.
  • Junk Rare: Their randomly generated nature means that the majority of Legendary items you encounter will be worse than your character's current equipment, or bear useless/overly specific effects, leaving higher value as their only benefit.

    L-O 
  • Les Yay:
    • Cait and Piper have this in spades, lending itself to the One True Threesome interpretation of their relationship (in fact, if you've romanced both and switch from Cait to Piper as your active companion, Cait will even suggest a threesome).
    • There's also Piper's possible Freudian Slip when she compliment's Magnolia's great set... of songs if you talk to the latter in the Third Rail.
  • Low-Tier Letdown:
    • As far as companions go, Dogmeat can be this, what with his tendency to run through your line of fire, getting in your way, and trigger traps because he can't use ranged weapons. He also doesn't have approval ratings so you can't get a free perk unlike most companions and unlike the previous games, you can't use him alongside another companion. All of this makes Dogmeat generally ignored once you get another companion. On the upside though, he doesn't count against the very useful Lone Wanderer perk, which is disabled when using any other companion.
    • Strong is this to many players. He's unable to sneak, can't use normal armor and many weapons, is notoriously hard to please (he dislikes it when you do such mundane things as pick a lock or get in power armor), and his perk is situational at best. About all he has going for him is higher carry weight than other companions and exceptional melee damage.
    • Automatic weapons in general, especially on weapons that have a single fire mode. Being less accurate and dealing lower damage per shot means they're much less effective beyond mid-range and chew through valuable ammo. The latter in particular means you'll likely prefer single shot weapons early on when ammo is scarce... And not switch over even once you have plenty of ammo, because you've invested perk points to increase single shot weapon damage rather than automatic weapons, meaning they won't deal enough damage-per-second to justify the downsides unless you're willing to spend more perk points just to catch them up. It doesn't help that stealth is as powerful as ever, which synergizes perfectly with single shot weapons.
    • Possibly the biggest Low-Tier Letdown of Fallout 4 is the Minigun. The developers had decided to use it in the big Concord setpiece at the start of the game, and so they had to nerf it in order to not put a Game-Breaker in the player’s hands right from the start, a decision that many believe is overkill. Unfortunately, this compounds with the automatic weapons above. In a fit of (unjustified) paranoia, the devs put a blanket damage nerf across all automatic receivers to compensate for the increased fire rate. This was so pervasive that it even reduced the damage of weapons that only have automatic fire. This reduced the Submachine Gun’s damage from 15 to 7, and even worse, reduced the Minigun’s firepower from a measly 5 to a minuscule 3. Coupled with the relative ammo scarcity and cumbersome weight, it’s a neatly wrapped package of suck, massacred by Bethesda’s overcorrection.
  • Magnificent Bastard:
    • Pickman is a charming Mad Artist with a preference for Raiders. Pickman has been luring, outwitting, and picking off Raiders for years, decorating his mansion with elaborate art-pieces he's made out of his victims' bodies, and the Sole Survivor meets him as he's fending off a full-on assault on his mansion. Should the Sole Survivor elect to spare him, Pickman is genuinely grateful to the Player Character and gifts them with a set of directions that, when deciphered, will lead to the knife he chose to make his chosen artwork.
    • Z1-14 is an Institute maintenance Synth who assists Liam "Patriot" Binet in helping Synths escape to the surface. Realizing that Liam does not have to heart to fully turn against the Institute, Z1 cuts him out of the loop and conspires with the Railroad for a full blown invasion of the Institute to free all of the Synths in one go. Recruiting rebel Synths and arranging for Liam to place them on a work detail, Z1 has the Sole Survivor kill the guards so the rebels can steal mining equipment which they can use craft weapons with, Z1 covering up the heist by faking their deaths in a tunnel collapse. After tipping off the Sole Survivor on an imminent Brotherhood of Steel assault on the Railroad's headquarters, Z1 infiltrates the Molecular Relay room on maintenance duty. Once the Sole Survivor clears the Molecular Relay room of scientists and guards, he uses the relay to Railroad agents to the Institute and fights alongside them against his former masters, ultimately blowing up the Institute and granting himself and all his fellow Synths freedom on the surface.
  • Memetic Mutation: Check the page.
  • Moe: Curie, oh so much, especially with that gentle French accent of hers, soft-spoken demeanor, and generally Adorkable personality.
  • Most Wonderful Sound:
    • Many sounds associated with the Power Armor. Most notably, the resounding THUD that happens from landing from a high enough drop. Even getting hit from small arms sounds satisfying, with an ineffectual CLUNG as the bullet bounces off the armor plate.
    • Also, the drumroll when you level up. There's nothing more satisfying than knowing that you are getting stronger.
    • The thunderous, echoing roar of a fully charged six-crank Laser Musket firing, followed immediately by the 'KER-CHING' XP gain sound due to the unlucky target getting vaporized.
  • Narm: The lab where the Institute creates their Gen 3 Synths is a beautiful and unique setpiece, and the process of watching a Synth be created is amazing...but becomes a little silly with the final step when the new Synth steps out of the pool now using the default "bare" outfit of human NPCs. This means that Synth emerges from the pool wearing underwear which has an unmistakable bulge in the front; apparently the Institute makes their Gen 3 Synths fully anatomically correct and well-endowed at that, but still provides them a pair of tighty-whitey underwear for their modesty when they're "born".
  • Narm Charm: Unlike previous games, 4 doesn't have the rest of the world freeze in place when the Sole Survivor converses with other characters. This results in scenes where the Sole Survivor and their companion have deep conversations while the pieces of a destroyed Vertibird fall to Earth around them. However, this doesn't stop the talks with companions (along with other conversations) from being very touching, heartbreaking, interesting, surprisingly deep, and even deliberately funny.
  • Nausea Fuel:
    • Bloodbugs can stab their proboscis into the Sole Survivor's stomach and then spit your now-irradiated blood back in your face. Keep in mind that this also only happens when the first-person camera is being used, by the way.
    • The Robobrain research and production facility. For anyone with a weak stomach, this place will not be fun to explore.
    • The Fun House in Nuka-World Kiddie Kingdom definitely counts for those with motion sickness.
  • Obvious Beta:
    • When the Far Harbor DLC was released, it had much worse performance on PS4 than on Xbox One, mainly because of different handling of the fog effects. This was eventually fixed.
    • The game itself has delicate zone geometry compared to any of the previous Bethesda games or even other mainstream Wide-Open Sandbox, especially in the Boston downtown area, where many of the buildings have multiple levels and non-separate interiors. This, on top of the denser Commonwealth world design (where the Commonwealth lacks miles of open fields commonly seen in previous Bethesda games), larger base texture and addition of new special effects like Godrays, results in an uneven framerate no matter which version you play. Tinkering with the settings of the PC version or installing mods that reduces several clutter objects might help somewhat, but another technique called "Previs" or "Precombine" might cause issue with pre-rendered static objects, which, if wasn't handled carefully, might lead to things like objects popping up and disappearing, appears "stacked" on top of each other, to downright crashes.
  • Obvious Rule Patch:
    • In previous games, you could sit back and let your companions kill enemies while still earning experience. Not so anymore, as the days of sitting back and letting Boone snipe enemies to death before you even knew they were there for free EXP are over. You must now get at least one hit in to earn experience from a defeated enemy.
    • In previous games, with some careful Min-Maxing at character creation and focus in the first couple of level-ups, it was possible to max out any skill within the first couple of levels creating Disc-One Nuke, if not outright Game-Breaker, situations. For example, maxing out your Speech skill allows you to pass any Speech-check in the game right from the start, or maxing out Sneak lets you sneak past Beef Gates for high-end loot or outright Sequence-Break by getting into places you weren't supposed to be yet. Not so here, as Skills have been merged into the Perk system and Perks past the first level have strict level requirements. For example, you cannot max out Sneak until level 38. This hasn't exactly been a popular change and is considered a Scrappy Mechanic by many who dislike this system for removing the ability to specialize in favor of forcing you to spread out your Perk points (or save them up until you hit the level requirements for the ones you want at the cost of being weaker in the meantime).
  • Older Than They Think: The idea of a cryogenic storage preserving Pre-War people failing, with only one person surviving was first seen in Fallout 2. The Dummied Out E.P.A. location would have three people frozen, and the player could only choose one to thaw out.
  • One True Threesome: The Sole Survivor, Piper, and Cait have gotten a lot of support. Not just because Girl on Girl Is Hot but also because Cait and Piper actually appear to be friends despite their vast differences. Likewise, Cait actively tries to get Piper into a threesome with the Sole Survivor well before any romance begins.

    P-R 
  • Paranoia Fuel: It is entirely possible, once you've established a bad relation with the Institute, for Institute Synths to sneak into your settlements and start wreaking havoc. There's no way to know if and when it's happened, other than noticing the population start to slowly decrease, or if you happen to be in the settlement and one of your settlers suddenly opens fire on you.
  • Play the Game, Skip the Story: While some players dislike the move from having to create specific builds in favour of the ever growing power fantasy of the game, most aspects are seen as a vast improvement over the other 3D Fallout games. Gunplay is better, locations are more interesting to explore thanks to improved map and level design, crafting and settlement building have been very well received, and the exploration feeds back into said crafting and settlement building in a natural and fulfilling manner. However, the game's story is generally seen as one of its weaker elements, being at best interesting but underwhelming compared to previous series entries, and at worst outright bad and needlessly confusing through issues regarding quest design, character and faction motivations being needlessly obfuscated, and the switch to a voiced protagonist being seen by a large section of fans as undercutting the game's roleplaying aspects. As such, many have outright noted that they prefer to ignore the story and just enjoy the sandbox nature of the game.
  • Player Punch:
    • As a whole, Fallout 4 is not kind to most returning characters from Fallout 3.
      • Do you remember those Children of Atom guys? How nice they were despite their Cloudcuckoolander tendencies? Now they're hostile to everyone (barring a select few that still threaten to kill you for opposing them) and the only two choices you typically have when encountering them are to flee or kill them all.
      • You know how you spent the last third of 3 helping the East Coast Brotherhood of Steel, led by Elder Lyons, save the Wasteland from the Enclave? As of Fallout 4, ten years later, the BoS has regressed back to a group of selfish technology-hoarding military occupiers.
      • Furthermore, Owyn Lyons is dead, and so is Sarah. And depending on how sympathetic you are to him, it can be hard not to pity Arthur Maxson to a certain extent given how a cute and dorky little kid in 3 went through a vicious Trauma Conga Line in the intervening decade that turned him into a cold, dour, and ruthless cynic by the events of 4.
      • Mayor Robert Joseph MacCready grew up from his position in Little Lamplight, protecting the population of children from being exploited by adults, and he even was Happily Married with an infant son... until his family came to hide out in a Feral Ghoul-infested subway station, where he had to watch his wife get Devoured by the Horde while he ran for his life to save their child. It only became worse for him when his son came down with a supposedly incurable disease and the only chance for a cure forced him to leave his son in the care of others and travel to the Commonwealth, where he had to join up with the merciless Gunners mercenaries to make a living.
    • Pretty much any time your companion gives you a "The Reason You Suck" Speech if your Affinity gets too low with them. Admittedly, some are more effective than others (i.e., Nick Valentine's compared to MacCready's), but it's still hard not to feel like an ass when they give you a lengthy What the Hell, Hero? speech about you being an utter asshat to them.
    • All of the "Blind Betrayal" quest in the Brotherhood questline. The data you gathered from your visit to the Institute reveals that Paladin Danse (your sponser into the Brotherhood and potential companion/romance option) has been a Synth the whole time. Elder Maxson then forces the Sole Survivor to find Danse and execute him to prevent him from being a threat to future Brotherhood operations. After this point, the whole quest basically becomes one proverbial Gut Punch after another; first off, there's the fact that if the Sole Survivor doesn't actually talk with Danse and just leaves his bunker, then Danse will kill himself. Meanwhile, if/when you do actually talk with Danse and agree with him that he needs to be killed, his final talk with the Sole Survivor is just heartbreaking, especially since Danse's last words are him expressing how he's So Proud of You for killing him. And finally, convincing Danse to not commit Suicide by Cop only to fail the later Charisma checks with Elder Maxson, resulting in Danse still getting executed. Really, the only possible way that the proverbial knife can be twisted further regarding this quest is if you've been romancing Danse up to this point.
    • If you join the Railroad, you will have to infiltrate the Cambridge Police Station as one of the ending quests. One of the people you have to kill is Scribe Haylen, the friendly young woman who was nice to you from the start and was the only Brotherhood member to go against Danse's execution. And there's no way to continue the quest without killing her, since you must clear out all the hostiles.
    • There's also another one for the Railroad - Liam Binet's suicide note. By blowing up the Institute, you killed his father and pretty much all who cared for him, and he calls you an ungrateful bastard for repaying him like this after he helped the Railroad free the Synths, tells you that you deserved to lose your son and prays that you never get a good night's sleep for the rest of your hopefully short and miserable life.
    • The ending of the Far Harbor DLC can have this effect due to its grim and bleak tone, especially if you decide to go for the option to try to appease all three factions in which you have to kill the leader of the Children of Atom (though if you have done enough of/all of their quests, the option exists to convince him to leave) and replace him with a synth double. That you end up having to resort to methods that the Institute would approve of really leaves a bitter taste in one's mouth even if the outcome is hopeful.
    • Joining up with the Raiders in Nuka-World will cause Preston Garvey to deliver a vicious What the Hell, Hero? and threaten to kill you if you keep working with them. Like him or not, it stings to hear a character who's normally among the friendliest in the game get so angry at you. Unless it gets patched, there's no way to complete the questline for the raiders (and therefore the main questline for the DLC) without making Garvey and the Minutemen permanently hostile... unless you do all the Nuka-World content before you ever meet Preston, in which case it's relatively simple.
  • Polished Port: The game was one of the first set to receive an FPS boost on the Xbox Series X|S, allowing for a perfectly smooth 60FPS on the consoles, though the resolution is limited to 1080p for performance reasons.
  • Porting Disaster: In shades: the European's PC version was programmed with a QWERTY keyboard in mind so for, example, walking forward while in the building interface is impossible. Modding the game requires to go into the game files and changing them first, the game being programmed with console in mind makes interacting with the Pip-Boy menus difficult and changing the controls is tedious or impossible (for example, changing the pick-up/interact key to a new one makes only the pick-up key change).
  • Replacement Scrappy: Regardless of people's opinions about Travis Miles whether he's nervous or confident, almost no one really likes his replacement on Diamond City Radio if you kill him (Sheng Kawolski) due to his self-advertised comments about his water business and no longer reporting on current events.
  • Rescued from the Scrappy Heap: Mayor MacCready was infamous as one of the most aggravating characters in Fallout 3, epitomizing everything bad about annoying kids in video games. His adult version is generally seen as more likable due to being Older and Wiser (though this hasn't stopped some players from taking vengeance for making them suffer throughout Little Lamplight).
  • Ron the Death Eater:
    • The Railroad. As discussed below they can come off as Unintentionally Unsympathetic, and are demonized as self-righteous moral crusaders who only care about freeing synths even if they have to plunge the Commonwealth into total anarchy to do it. This ignores that the group has internal disagreements on their methods that show they are aware of their flaws, and as was pointed out in Fallout 3, they're the only ones fighting for synths when there are plenty of other people looking out for the Commonwealth as a whole. And despite being hyper-focused on saving Synths, they are quite merciful to the Institute, requiring you to issue the evacuation order.
    • The Brotherhood of Steel, big time. It's common to see discussion of the Brotherhood as fascist conquerors who want to take over the Commonwealth and treat its citizens as their subjects from whom they will seize supplies and recruits to expand their power. Never mind the Commonwealth is full of enemy armies that are slaughtering each other and anyone unfortunate enough to get caught in the crossfire, the Brotherhood is comparatively peaceful in their crusade and don't cause any trouble for civilians, and it is pretty clear that the Brotherhood member (Teagan) who wants you to coerce food from settlements by force is asking you to do it under the table. For all their rhetoric against Synths, Ghouls and Super Mutants, if you bring Valentine, Hancock and Strong near them, all they will do is snarl and insult them (and don't do anything when Valentine and Hancock retort) rather than having them and the Sole Survivor killed on sight, suggesting that, at least for now, the extermination talk is just for hostiles. And while they do unanimously (Haylen aside) turn on Danse and want him dead, he is a double agent in a high-ranking position who gained valuable intel and there's no telling when he replaced the real Danse.

    S 
  • Salvaged Gameplay Mechanic: Settlement Building enables you to bring back a semblance of civilization back to the post-apocalyptic Scavenger World setting while also providing massive gameplay bonuses. However, it came with a massive flaw that turned off a significant portion of players — the settlements needed to be actively defended by the player by completing randomly generated Timed Missions. This was even worse when working with the Minutemen, as Minuteman companion Preston Garvey (and later the Radio Freedom station) would assign you these quests ad nauseam. As such, many players simply said "screw it" and didn't bother with the mechanic while others turned to Game Mods to address the issues. About three months after the game came out, Bethesda released a patch with major overhauls to the Settlement Building system that largely salvaged it. With proper defenses, Settlements now had a chance to defend themselves, and cooldowns/limits were implemented to keep the amount and frequency much more manageable.
  • Salvaged Story:
    • An increasing complaint about the franchise as a whole is that it's been 200 years since the Great War, but civilization is still limited to the same kind of primitive isolated towns that were in the first Fallout, and large government bodies like the NCR and the Legion are outliers. The settlement system allows players to fix up this patch of the Wasteland themselves and build a sprawling network of interconnected communities that can grow into fairly-large towns. In doing so, players also experience the difficulties in creating such a thing; even after the system has been filtered through Easy Logistics and Ridiculously Fast Construction, it takes a lot of time, effort, and resources to build and maintain a town, and the larger it becomes the juicier a target it makes for the likes of raiders and super mutants to attack it. The story also justifies why the Commonwealth in particular is in such a state of chaos: the Institute has intentionally sabotaged the surface's attempts at organizing governments to keep them disorganized, and the Minutemen used to be around to keep the peace, but they've recently fallen apart and the Gunners have swept into the power vacuum, allowing other unsavory types like Raiders and Super Mutants to swell up in power again.
    • Some disliked the depiction of Super Mutants in Fallout 3 as Dumb Muscle Always Chaotic Evil Mooks, a stark contrast to the first two titles (and New Vegas) where they were more intelligent, could be reasoned with, and had goals and motivations. This game's Super Mutants were made from a separate batch of FEV than the Vault 87 mutants, resulting in them being a Composite Character between the Fallout 3 versions and the originals that tries to balance out the two depictions. They're still brutal, violent, and dumb, but are more intelligent than the Capital Wasteland mutants, craft crude weapons and armor, operate turret systems and radios, follow a chain of command, and some of their leaders demonstrate cunning and planning. Strong also explains they have their own code of honor among themselves.
    • A recurring criticism of Fallout 3 was that due to the game being set on the East Coast, there were too few references to the events of the West Coast games, to the point where it barely felt like 3 was set in the same universe as 1 and 2. 4 is still set on the East Coast, but the game also has loads of Call Backs (Wattz Consumer Electronics apparently had a Boston office), Continuity Nods (Elder Maxson got his position thanks to the Lost Hills Elders back in California), parallels to previous games (the Institute is more or less a saner Think Tank without a Dr. Mobius to keep them in check), and Mythology Gags (The Brotherhood now has a zeppelin to use in their travels) to all the games before it. At times, Fallout 4 verges on Continuity Porn levels.
  • The Scrappy:
    • Marcy Long. She's an Ungrateful Bitch who never shows you any respect or gratitude, and almost all of her dialogue is whining, paranoia of attacks, or just being a jerkass. And it isn't trauma or cynicism from Quincy, either; when you get to Quincy, Jun's old terminal entry reveals this is just how she is. With Patch 1.7 (or Patch 1.0.9 for Playstation players), Jun and Marcy have their essential status revoked, letting players put a bullet in her head — and just to hammer home in how much she's hated, no one reacts if you kill her, not even her husband. (Although this may have been patched: while Marcy can be killed, it can also result in the rest of the settlement turning on you.)
    • Preston Garvey himself is this to a fair share of the fandom, since he constantly gives timed radiant quests (rescue kidnapped settler, clear out new settlement, clear out ghouls/muties/raiders) and will immediately provide new ones upon completion (even as you're trying to turn in the old quests or talk about story-related ones), which wears its welcome out very quickly. You can avoid this by not talking to him and exiling him to a far away settlement (radiant quests that you've finished but not turned in will eventually "expire" and be flagged as complete), but that means every time you go to that settlement you're at risk of being bombarded with more quests. It doesn't help that many find his personality bland because he's way too much of a Ridiculously Average Guy. This was somewhat mitigated in a patch, since he now gives out quests far less often and they complete automatically after a certain period of time. For those that really want to do Minutemen quests though, tune in to Radio Freedom and they'll occasionally put out a request that someone go help a settlement that's in trouble.
    • Although it's not really his fault, a lot of players feel a serious urge to bash Drummer Boy's skull in every time they fast-travel to Railroad HQ, as he will immediately run up to you upon your arrival and announce that Desdemona / Tinker Tom / Doc Carrington / P.A.M. need an errand boy for yet another repetitive radiant quest. It's telling that many who side against the Railroad make a beeline for Drummer Boy before they turn their attention to the much heavier armed members shooting at them the whole time.
    • Bobbi No-Nose isn't exactly well-liked, since she refuses to tell you anything about the job she's hired you for, the quest tied to said job is a tedious slog, and she's conning you into stealing from Hancock, one of the most popular companions in the game without providing any sympathetic motivation on her part. Thankfully, some catharsis can be extracted from being given the chance to kill her at the end of the quest.
    • Ann Codman from the Upper Stands of Diamond City seems to be this game's counterpart to Nazeem given her relentless Jerkassery and infuriatingly condescending demeanor whenever she's talking to the Sole Survivor. Thankfully, unlike Nazeem, the player isn't likely to encounter her as much due to her being in a more isolated part of Diamond City than Nazeem was in Whiterun.
    • Wellingham, for much the same reasons as Ann Codman. He constantly treats the player like utter trash. Although a dialogue he can have with Piper shows this is at least to some degree an act to keep the Upper Stands residents happy, he'll never let his rude demeanor slip when speaking to you.
    • Jezebel from Automatron exists for two reasons: Plot-wise, she gives the player insight into why Robobrains are hostile to humans. Mostly, though, she's there to be a complete and total asshole whose primary directives are endless rudeness and uselessness, since she can't serve as a companion and can't be put to work on many settlement duties. Thankfully, she is not and never was essential, so the Sole Survivor can terminate her sorry ass as soon as she's gotten a new body (and if you do so in front of Codsworth after she insults him, you'll earn his approval).
  • Scrappy Mechanic:
    • The new dialogue system was met with overwhelming negativity, with Todd Howard himself even admitting in a post-release interview that the system had problems. The dialogue wheel only has four options on it which give shorthand descriptions of the full lines that will be said for them, disallowing players the direct choice of what specifically to say. The "SARCASTIC" option, in particular, can range from "light-hearted friendly quip" to "scathing personal insult". Also, even though there will always be four choices, much of the time at least two of the responses amount to basically saying the same thing but in a different way. There are also no explicit skill or stat checks in dialogue like in past games, only Persuasion via Charisma, so your ability to influence dialogue is lessened. Because the actual several skill/stat checks in dialogue (i.e., if the Sole Survivor has an Intelligence higher than 8, the dialogue options for convincing Madison Li to rejoin the Brotherhood are made significantly easier) are virtually invisible, it'll take literally hunting through the game's very code to figure out what moments in dialogue supply stat/skill checks not based on Charisma and which don't. Unsurprisingly, mods that brought back the old dialogue system's design along with displaying the responses in their entirety quickly became some of the most popular mods for the game as a result.
    • Healing works like Hardcore Mode in New Vegas, over time instead of all at one, and stimpaks specifically also have an animation of the Sole Survivor injecting themselves before it takes effect. Additionally, Stimpaks heal based on a percentage of your HP instead of a flat amount, and it takes until Level 49 to acquire the perk that makes them heal 100%. This makes stimpaks seem comparatively useless against numerous crafted food items that heal fixed amounts of damage, and can offer stat boosts too.
    • Interacting with followers is very clunky. You first need to face them and press the Talk button to initiate conversation, and then you can either point them towards an item to interact with it, or approach them to open the menu for dialogue and trading. This means it's impossible to issue effective orders in the heat of combat, and you need to track them down if they stray from you. Dogmeat in particular tends to wander off while players are trying to initiate dialogue, and will sometimes run away when approached, forcing players to chase him down.
    • Armor and clothes work differently from previous games. It's now possible to wear normal clothes under armor, but some outfits count as clothes and armor. It's not always immediately apparent which is which, causing you to automatically unequip all your armor if you try on an item that counts as both. To make things even more confusing, some outfits do leave body parts available for wearing armor, but only certain body parts, like dresses allowing you to wear them with arm armor but not leg armor. Additionally, plain clothes can be upgraded with ballistic weave to boost their defensive boosts, but the player has to do radiant quests for the Railroad to unlock this feature and it can only be done to certain types of clothes, with little rhyme or reason why. This means that one outfit that amounts to a plain shirt and pants can be upgraded to be as durable as power armor and then have armor worn over it for more defense, while another outfit with an identical appearance cannot be upgraded or worn with armor at all.
    • Unless you do enough damage to kill them before they fall to 50% HP, Legendary enemies will mutate when they get to that point, causing them to fully heal and get a stat boost. Legendary enemies also tend to spawn randomly and be among the highest level of the enemy encounter, making them a Boss in Mook Clothing. Oh, and watch out for Legendary robots in particular — all Legendary robots explode like a mini-nuke when they die, damaging you heavily, disorienting you, and probably blowing their remains away so you have to hunt them down to loot them.
    • Holotapes, skill books, and notes are all stored in the Misc tab now, making navigating the tab a real pain as you scroll through it to find a specific holotape or note you just picked up. Keys are also under the Misc tab, unlike Fallout 3 and New Vegas where they were just added to a keyring, so the tab is cluttered up even more. And unfortunately there's no option to sort the Misc tab by the order you found things in either, so if you can't remember the name of a specific holotape or note you just got and need to read/listen to, good luck!*
    • Equipment pieces will be renamed to reflect any mods they have on them. This means that some heavily modded weapons and armor can have names so lengthy that they don't fit on the menu screens, which can make it difficult to tell exactly what type of item they are, and if they have a Legendary effect or not, since the star denoting that is at the end of the name.
    • Workbenches only share inventories if linked via a supply route, and they only share their Junk items for crafting. This not only means that you need to take the Local Leader perk to be able to share crafting supplies between settlements, but if you want to exchange other items between settlements, like weapons and ammo, you need to haul them between locations yourself. This is quite painful in Survival mode; one workaround is to use Settlers as pack mules (load the gear onto them, and then use the Move instruction to send them to the desired location).
    • Companion affinity can be very frustrating, especially regarding the three "evil" companions (Cait, Strong, and X6-88). They will dislike it when the player takes the good option for dialogue and quests, and may dislike accepting certain quests at all. Strong in particular dislikes it when you try to lockpick things, punishing the player for doing something that is a requirement in pretty much every single location in the game. This also means it's far easier and preferable to just cheese the system by figuring out what they like and doing it over and over to max out their affinity so you can get their companion perk and be done with the whole mess.
    • NPCs can and will hop into any suit of empty suit of power armor available if they get into a fight. If this happens to settlers, it's mostly no problem, you can tell them to get out of it after — if an enemy does it, you have to fight them wearing your power armor. And to add insult to injury, when an NPC dies in power armor, unless you force them out of it by hitting the fusion core, you can't loot the frame from them, just the individual pieces. This means that fighting an enemy force with an empty suit of power armor nearby becomes a race to kill them before they can get inside so you can use it yourself. And heaven help you if one of your settlements is attacked and the enemy finds your warehouse of spare power armor suits, because if you left Fusion Cores in them, they will hijack them, use them against you, and you're not getting those frames back when you kill them.
    • Settlement building can be very annoying with its inconsistencies on how different pieces of walls, floors, and roofs snap together. You'll often find yourself in a position where Wall A cannot be placed on Floor A because Roof A is in the way, but if you remove Roof A and then place Wall A, Roof A can be placed back into its original position no problem. It will also frequently pop up that an item cannot be placed where you want it to go because the game doesn't think it will fit there, even though a player looking at things can tell there's plenty of room. And if there's multiple snapping points for a tile in view, you'll find yourself fiddling with the camera angle and rotation of the item to make it snap to the place you want. Collision is wonky for both object and settlers, causing things placed on tables to fall right through and your settlers to struggle navigating their through very basic building layouts. Finally, to make creativity frustrating, the five primary sets of building materials the game offers you (Wood, Metal, Concrete, Barn, and Warehouse) have differences in how their pieces snap together and how large they are, so trying to combine them makes things extra-frustrating all-around.
    • The Minutemen radiant quests are incredibly frustrating for a number of reasons. To start, they're always timed, with almost no indication how long you have to complete it (it at least gives fair warning when you're close). They are started automatically whenever you talk to Preston Garvey or listen to Radio Freedom, and Garvey will almost always make sure you have two or three cued up. Finally, the only way to actually get rid of them is to have three completed but not turned in and wait for the timer to run out, which will cause them to automatically succeed. Then you just have to never talk to Preston or listen to Radio Freedom again. A patch thankfully toned down the frequency with which these quests are given.
    • Settlement defense quests, when you're told your settlement is being attacked and you need to go defend it. You're only made aware of the attack by a tiny notification in the corner of the screen, which can easily be missed (especially if it pops up after fast-traveling, when it can be lost in a sea of radio station availability messages and other quest update messages). Like the Minutement quests, they are timed, and if you fail to show up to defend the settlement within the time period, the mission fails and your settlement will be damaged and possibly some people dead. Prior to a patch, player presence was required for the defense to succeed, regardless of how well you built up the defenses or how weak the attacking force was, which made turrets almost useless. For that matter, if you do have turrets, they're not Friendly Fire Proof to you or your settlers, so think twice about building that missile launcher turret. Even with the patch which changes it so that the settlement will have a chance of defending itself should you fail to appear, settlements producing a lot of water and food (i.e., the ones most likely to be attacked), even with a defense score more than double the production score, the chance of success still maxes out around 66%. It gets even worse if the enemy spawns bug out for a specific settlement, whereupon every time you're called to defend that settlement you end up killing one or two enemies and then having to wait twenty minutes for the rest of the group to actually show up so you can kill them too and properly finish the defense.
    • Other than what factions can end up attacking your settlements they don't account for DLCs, meaning that if one starts while you're in Far Harbor or Nuka-World, you'll have very little time to get there.
    • Acquiring settlements is more work than it ought to be. Some of them have specific quests you can complete to earn their allegiance, but many others are received by doing one of the Minutemen radiant quests for them, and of course the radiant quests are chosen at random, so if you want to get that settlement on your side, you basically need to keep getting and completing the Minutemen quests until they send you to the right place. And if you don't want to work with the Minutemen, you're plain out of luck - assuming you do not wish to simply kill and replace the existing settlers.
    • Fake loading on PC. Regardless of how powerful your computer is, the game will take an average of 15 seconds to load when transitioning from one area to another. However, through certain tools, it's been discovered that the game doesn't actually need to spend such a long time loading these areas, with most of the time on the loading screen not serving any point but to pad out the loading screen. It's also been discovered that if you either skip or forcibly end the loading screen, the area finishes loading in as little as three seconds. In other words, the loading time is influenced by the frame-rate. Speeding the framerate past 60 will boost loading speeds, at the cost of broken physics and skipping dialogue. In reverse, limiting the framerate lower than 60 will extend the loading screen.
    • A carryover from earlier games, tutorial messages will appear to explain how to perform new actions the first time you encounter them, such as when picking your first lock. These messages will reset each new game you start, can't be disabled in the options menu and pause the game until you click them away. Normally this would just be annoying, but the low health warning interrupting the timing and flow of combat can throw a player off just enough to get them killed.
    • With Survival Mode's update, there are many factors that make the game considerably more difficult. Among the changes to Survival mode, the two most controversial were the disabling of saving manually — replacing it with using beds as a Save Point — and the disabling of Fast Travel. Due to how buggy the game can be, many critics of the system claim that it's less about being a challenge and more of finding a bed to make sure one doesn't lose their progress.
    • The game has reduced the limit of companions to one slot, whereas previous games had two: one for humanoid companions and another for animal (and/or robots, as is the case in New Vegas) companions. Considering that there are many Nintendo Hard areas in this game (especially in the add-ons), and companions can quickly use up whatever ammunition you give to them, this makes navigating through the game's world more of a challenge than it needs to be. What's particularly confusing is that it was going to be like past games where you could have a normal companion alongside Dogmeat, but for whatever reason it was Dummied Out.
    • The animations that play when you ready some weapons are pretty neat, until you get ambushed suddenly and your character still insists on wasting precious seconds by dramatically, pointlessly working the action or spinning the cylinder of their gun. The game does have much faster animations for simply lifting the weapon up to the ready, but as with all things Bethesda it's hit-or-miss to whether the game will properly recognize when you need that faster animation.
    • The quick-switch slots add to the annoyance because, in the heat of combat where you actually need them, they can become bugged and cause a long delay in switching or drawing weapons. Get ambushed while holding a pistol, press the key to switch to your shotgun or assault rifle, and then sit around for upwards of fifteen seconds, getting constantly shot and stabbed, waiting for your character to bring out the gun you actually need. Worse is that when this happens, you can't even jump until the game properly switches to the weapon and finishes the animation for drawing it.
    • Under the new SPECIAL and Perk system, the player needs Perks to be able to pick locks, hack terminals, and craft better items; and the level requirement for the higher ranks can be steep. This means that to be able to get past higher-level locks and terminals, you need to be Level 18 to get Master-level lockpicking and Level 21 for Master-level hacking, and you need to be around Level 40 to take the Perks needed to craft the highest tiers of weapons and armor modifications. This is not only a contrast to Fallout 3 and New Vegas where if you really wanted or needed a higher skill level, you could just level up once or twice and dump all your skill points into one area, but it also means that you'll be spending perk points on the lower tiers of these Perks just so you can unlock the higher-tier ones, if not on SPECIAL stats to even unlock access to the Perk in the first place.
  • Scrappy Weapon:
    • The Pipe Gun. It's intended to be a Crutch Character-type weapon, with a lot of customization options that don't require a lot of resources or perks to unlock, plentiful ammo in the early game, and in exchange its damage output and other stats are low. But even in the first couple of hours of play, the player can easily find many superior weapons and enough ammo to get good use out of them (the basic 10mm pistol is found in Vault 111, for example, and it doesn't take too long before you can start getting a steady supply of 10mm bullets), so you'll never need to use the Pipe Gun and it never gets to fill its intended niche. What you're left with is a weapon that simply sucks, and even against early game enemies its just too ineffective to fall back on even if you wanted to.
    • One would think the Broadsider would be an epic overpowered weapon, being a smooth-bore naval cannon modified to be portable and fired by hand. It isn't. It's heavy, short ranged, inaccurate as hell and does less damage than a conventional missile launcher or gauss rifle. Which is basically what regular Cannons are on their own, which is a given, and is supposed to be more of a volley type of weapon than a practical singular one. Still, at least it has novelty value...
    • The Cryolator is also this. On paper it sounds like an awesome weapon; it shows freezing ammunition, can be upgraded to fire ice pellets for enhanced damage and can be acquired early in the game provided enough investment is made in the Lockpicking skill. In practice, ammo for it is nonexistent and it chews through it like crazy (as in, it spawns almost nowhere in the game, not in loot containers, not on dead bodies, nowhere) and only Arturo in Diamond City sells any, usually around 151 shots. Those 151 shots will cost about 2200 caps, making this weapon expensive to fire and pointless to scavenge ammo for.
  • Sequel Difficulty Spike:
    • VATS no longer stops time completely; ammunition is much scarcer; Stimpaks are much rarer (no longer found in every bathroom), restore health over time, and only restore health based on a percentage; and monsters like Deathclaws are now able to endure a massive amount of punishment from a minigun. Perhaps exemplified by the treatment of Radroaches. You hunt them with a toy BB gun as a child in Fallout 3, but the Sole Survivor reacts to them with disgust and horror when they first encounter them as an adult with a gun that shoots live ammo. It is eventually possible, however, to undo some of this if you can get to a high enough level; particularly, you can increase the amount of ammunition you find in containers and the percentage that Stimpaks heal you for with the right perks.
    • Several old enemies are a lot stronger, such as Protectrons and Sentry Bots (which are now essentially robo-tanks) who simply have huge amounts of health and damage resistance, and enemies like Mole Rats and Radscorpions have new mechanics that allow them to get the drop on you easily.
    • The radiation system was previously a stat that did nothing to hamper you until it hit certain thresholds, at which point it was easy to fix with the abundant RadAways. In the new system, every single point of accumulated radiation directly lowers your max health. Made all the worse by RadAways being far more rare this time around. There is a decontamination arch available to build in settlements that is highly recommended... if you shell out the cash for the Wasteland Workshop DLC! It's also possible to cook meat taken from mutant hounds, which gives them the ability to take away rads with every serving, but it's a drop in the bucket compared to a single RadAway, especially accounting for how much health you have (and as such, how much you lose from being irradiated) by the time you're regularly fighting mutant hounds.
    • The updated Survival difficulty is essentially this to the Hardcore mode in New Vegas. In Hardcore mode, the player had to regularly eat, drink, and sleep, lest they would receive stat debuffs, as well as items like ammo having weight and healing items only healing over time. In the Survival difficulty of 4, not only does it have all of the above but damage is skyrocketed for everyone, the carry cap for the player and companion is much less, no fast travel, and the player can no longer quicksave or manually save, causing beds to essentially become save points.
    • Settlement defense missions get this treatment in the Far Harbor expansion. In the vanilla game, these quests are rather easy (especially if you've built up the settlement's automated defenses and have equipped the settlers for combat) and really only annoying for how often they tend to occur. However, if you've built up a settlement on Far Harbor's "The Island" and show up for a defense mission expecting a few Raiders or Ghouls, you're in for a world of hurt. Instead, you'll have to face waves of well-equipped Trappers or, worst of all, "Condensers Down", where waves of Fog Crawlers (which are on the level of a Mirelurk Queen or Super Mutant Behemoth) backed up by Wolves, Anglers, Gulpers and/or Yao Guai who are attempting to destroy your Fog Condensers. Much more challenging...
    • If you build Raider Settlements from the Nuka-World DLC, it is possible for them to get attacked by a Brotherhood of Steel assault team with Vertibird support.
  • Sidetracked by the Gold Saucer:
    • In grand Bethesda fashion it is very easy to ignore the main quest for hours in favor of exploring the Commonwealth, building better weapons, and doing favors for NPCs. Why care about Shaun when you can find a robot that makes beer or set up an ammo production line?
    • You will likely end up spending dozens of hours building your settlements and filling them with decorations and things for your settlers to enjoy. It's a testament to how much this is enjoyed that some of the most popular mods for the game are ones that simply add more settlement objects to build, expand settler functionality, or make more locations in the game into settlements. You'll also probably find yourself going out to explore just for the sake of finding more scrap to build with.
    • The Nuka-World DLC includes an arcade packed with mini-games. Who has time to order your Raider tribes around and take over the park when there are high scores to be set in skee-ball and Whack-A-Commie?
  • Signature Scene:
    • The Memory Den sequence where you relive Kellogg's life through a series of fragmented memories. Even the game's detractors concede it's one of the most interesting and best-written parts of the main questline, and it turns Kellogg (previously presented to the player as simply a cold-blooded mercenary), into one of the deepest characters in the game.
    • Both the arrival of the Prydwen above Fort Hagen and the Sole Survivor's arrival in the Institute are easily two of the most iconic moments in the game, with the former certainly aided in how it was featured in all of the game's trailers and advertising beforehand.
    • Relatedly, "Blind Betrayal" has been widely praised throughout the fandom for its clever writing, how well it plays into the game's themes regarding identity, loss, and personhood, and the fantastic voice acting from both Peter Jessop as Paladin Danse and Derek Phillips as Elder Arthur Maxson.
  • Sliding Scale of Social Satisfaction: Categorized as "Hell On Earth". The natural conclusion of "Outside is Burning, Inside is Safe", is that sometimes the fire will enter the inside and downgrade the living standards to something horrible. Nuclear war has taken its toll on the Commonwealth and turned it into a wasted land of Scavenged Punk, radiation, and confused, recently-defrosted people from two centuries ago.
  • So Bad, It's Good: Before completing "Confidence Man", Travis Miles gives a very bumbling and stuttering delivery as a radio DJ, even doing fact-checking in the middle of a broadcast, and the purpose of the quest is to give him a more assertive radio personality. Some players prefer to skip this quest altogether because of the hilarity Travis's clumsiness provides.
  • Squick:
    • You can romance some third-generation Synths - Paladin Danse, Magnolia and Curie - but it results in this trope due to the fact that all such Synths' biological components are based on recombined genetics from your son, making them technically your grandkids From a Certain Point of View.
    • The Bloodworms from the Nuka-World DLC are among the most disgusting creatures in the game. After you see them emerge—no, explode—from the bodies of comatose (yet still pulsating) Brahmin in a huge bloody mess for the first time, you'll never want to see another one again.
    • In the Mechanist add-on, there is a Pre-War terminal in the Mechanist's Lair with an entry detailing how some Robobrain engineers made a brain-shaped birthday cake for their coworker, Halsti. The 'cake' in question wasn't a cake at all, but instead an actual brain that was covered in frosting...Unfortunately, Halsti had to find that out the hard way...
  • Strawman Has a Point: Mayor McDonough is treated as an obstructive, oppressive jerk for kicking Piper out of Diamond City. However, she not only accused him of being a Synth without much evidence (nothing more than the fact that the seat he picked at the noodle shop just happened to be the same one a synth sat at before going on a rampage several years prior), but in general contributes to the paranoia gripping Diamond City and all the Commonwealth about Synths and the Institute, and is just shy of being a conspiracy theorist. He's also treated as a bigot for banning ghouls from the city, but Bobbi No-Nose tells you that he only put the law in place after one went feral and killed people, so McDonough's ban probably seemed reasonable at the time.

    T-W 
  • Tainted by the Preview: One of the criticisms frequently given to the game is that the introductory quests don't properly represent the game as a whole. Your first assignment once you return home and meet Codsworth is to go to Concord, where you meet Preston Garvey, retrieve a suit of Power Armor and a Minigun to fight a Deathclaw, and then Preston and his group head to Sanctuary where they ask you to build them the things they need to survive and Preston asks you to lead the Minutemen and gives you a quest to aid a settlement. All of this can give the impression that the game will be easy since you're starting off with Power Armor and a Minigun that took out a Deathclaw, gameplay will be focused on the settlement system and micromanaging settlers and resources, and you'll quickly rise in the ranks of the major factions and will be doing a lot of radiant quests for them. All of these impressions are false: that Power Armor isn't as strong as it seems because it'll break frequently, needs resources to repair, perks to upgrade, and Fusion Cores to operate; the Minigun is decently strong but has awful accuracy and quickly burns through a rare type of ammo; the settlement system is optional and you can totally ignore it if you don't carenote ; and the other three factions are nowhere near as welcoming as Preston and make you earn their trust, and their radiant quests are optional. The game is actually a Wide-Open Sandbox focused on exploration and environmental storytelling, much as Fallout 3 was, but Fallout 4 throws you into its world in a more misleading way.
  • Take That, Scrappy!:
    • The incredibly rude and infuriating Jezebel from the Automatron DLC is not essential, and can be killed by the player at any time after crafting her a body to progress the DLC's questline.
    • The trailer for the Wasteland Workshop DLC has Preston Garvey being forced to fight a Deathclaw for the player's amusement. Granted, he's at least equipped with Power Armor and wins in the end.
    • The only purpose of the pillory from Contraptions Workshop is to invoke this on whoever you feel appropriate.
  • That One Attack:
    • While Raiders/Gunners/Super Mutants carrying Fat Mans and Missile Launchers are downright dangerous, one must still take heed of those using the weaker non-heavy weapons if they're equipped with grenades or molotovs. A well-thrown one can severely damage you and cripple your limbs, if not killing you outright. Avoiding it can be rather tricky and usually tends to push you out into the open.
    • Enjoying the feeling of power that comes from mowing through hostiles with impunity from within a heavily upgraded suit of power armor? Better keep your finger on the quick Stimpak key, because when you run into someone firing armor-piercing rounds, all that heavy metal is suddenly useless.
    • There's a very good reason why one should bring Powered Armor when facing a Deathclaw. If you're not wearing it, they have a potential One-Hit Kill where they Neck Lift you before gutting you with their claws (if you're above 75% health, it's survivable and they'll slam you to the ground instead). If you have the armor, it makes them drop you since it's too thick for them to pierce. God help you if you happen to stumble upon its Chameleon variant, since if it sees you, it will cloak and then potentially perform its aforementioned One-Hit Kill move on you if you let it come within melee range.
    • Assaultrons are pretty bad, what with being Lightning Bruisers that can literally punch you to death in just a few hits, but you'll be okay as long as you keep your distance... wait, why did its head start glowing? Oh, and this attack is fatal if it does more than graze you for even a second.
    • Any enemy attack that can poison you, which includes the stings from insect enemies and the vomit attack from Mirelurks. There is few things in the game that can resist poison, which means that even in a suit of power armor, poison will likely chew through your defenses at a rate where even healing items at higher difficulties can't heal in time.
    • Mirelurk Queens. While most enemies with poison attacks have to be rather close to you, Mirelurk Queens can spray a highly damaging poisonous fluid which can kill you faster than your stimpaks can heal you, which not only gets sprayed absolutely everywhere, but the effect lingers on whatever it gets sprayed on. This makes the "Taking Independence" quest extremely difficult if you don't kill it quickly, because you'll be fighting one in relatively close quarters, with only the narrow entrances of the Castle's inner corridors for cover.
  • That One Boss:
    • The Mirelurk Queens, especially the one fought at the Castle during "Taking Independence" (though there's also a few others found elsewhere, like at Spectacle Island or the Murkwater Construction Site). A Giant Enemy Crab to the extreme, she's at least five times as big as a Mirelurk, moves quickly, has a shitload of health, deals an extreme amount of damage if she hits, spews damaging acid as a long-range attack, and constantly spawns Mirelurk Hatchlings all over the arena. Even with Minutemen helping you and distracting her during "Taking Independence," she can easily take them out before focusing on you, practically forcing the player to hide indoors and take potshots at her with a convenient missile launcher and flamethrower.
    • In Far Harbor, you will fight a Legendary Mirelurk Queen as part of the "Rite of Passage" sidequest.
    • The Concord Deathclaw is a divisive example, though fits the trope from either end. On one hand, even as the game hands you a suit of power armor and minigun minutes before the battle, many players still suffer repeated deaths at the hands of the beast who can tear through the armor with ease and absorb a full minute of sustained fire from the minigun. Conversely, particularly among Fallout series veterans, it is considered too easy. There are so many ways to cheese the battle (retreating into buildings where it is too big to follow, using the plethora of Disc-One Nuke items available, etc.) that it turns a battle with the most dangerous creature in the post-apocalyptic world into a cake walk.
    • Slag, the final boss of Saugus Ironworks. He starts the fight aware of you so you can't stealth him, charges into melee with a very powerful sword, and is wearing power armor. Combine this with a claustrophobic boss arena and several Elite Mooks backing him up (one of which will have a flamer) and you have a nightmarish situation on your hands. It doesn't help that you can get this quest in the 10-15 range when characters into the 30s can have trouble with it, depending on how you move through the main questline. For a low level character, your best bet may be to take a bunch of consumables, e.g. a dose of Jet + Med-X + stat-boosting food will make it a lot easier to destroy Slag with headshots before he gets too close. Asbestos-lined armor is also a thing.
    • Sinjin, if you're trying to save Kent. Not only does he have a pretty good amount of health, he comes with three strong raiders, starts the fight aware of you so no Stealth, and the very first thing he will try to do after his speech is to shoot Kent in the head to instantly kill him. Unlike the above fights, it's impossible to use the Missile Launcher or Fat Man since the Splash Damage will destroy Kent. Hope you have your criticals ready or a way to knock Sinjin down before he does the deed. And if Sinjin goes down first, Avery will also try to murder Kent! You can scare the raiders off by dressing up and speaking as the Shroud (or a hard Charisma check), but that doesn't stop Sinjin from pulling the trigger. Alternatively, you can talk Sinjin into killing you first with an equally hard Charisma check, but then you have his entire gang to deal with. One way to cheese the fight, though, is to use the Syringer provided in the prior level and craft a Lock Join syringe to nail Sinjin in the head & potentially paralyze him (though it's a coin toss if it actually works or not).
    • Boomer, the Raider leader at Outpost Zimonja. He has a Powered Armor which gives him a lot of health, uses a Stimpak to heal himself up should it drop low, and he comes with a Fat Man which can easily blow the player up. He's not the only one, mind, but his location near the safer areas of the map and lack of good cover make him worse than other examples.
    • Wire, the leader of the gang at the ship-based Libertalia, is not only armed with a Fat Man but is a ridiculously good shot with it. Add in the fact that he has a clear shot at you from a ridiculously long distance away, and you have to either sneak through the whole area until you reach him or try a hail-Mary shot with a sniper rifle. Thankfully, the Institute quest that makes you run through the area replaces him with Gabriel, the quest target.
    • While the Mechanist herself and the final Duelbot fought in the lair before the power fails aren't much of a problem, the turret-bot sent out in the third wave can be a real pain. Unlike other robots, it spams laser equipped eyebots to bust you out of cover, then shreds your hit points very fast with its Gatling lasers. You don't have any real cover to speak of (not that cover matters with the eyebots that can float above it to attack you). Attacking the turret-bot itself is a losing proposition since those Gatling lasers never need to reload while you do - and it can kill you while you are reloading.
    • Shipbreaker in Far Harbor, as if 'normal' Fog Crawlers aren't bad enough. She is always a Legendary which means she will heal to full after losing half their HP.
    • The Assaultron Dominator guarding the terminal housing DiMA's memories in the submarine base will likely be a significant challenge for any player not expecting them. Not only do you have the standard challenge of a cloaking, killer melee robot that can't be targeted in VATS, it always spawns as a Legendary enemy and it has to be fought in a relatively small room that makes it hard to maneuver.
  • That One Component: the game vastly expands item crafting from previous entries and introduces settlement building, both of which require copious amounts of components broken down from "junk" gathered from across the wasteland. A few components in particular stand out:
    • Adhesive is required for nearly every low-level gun and armor mod, and there aren't many sources of it. You'll be tearing apart locations for every bottle of Wonderglue and roll of duct tape just to improve your early game gear. If you bother to build up a couple of settlements (no small investment in terms of time or junk), you can farm corn, tatos, and mutfruit. The surplus of these ingredients can be used to craft vegetable starch, which breaks down into five units of adhesive, but that level of investment turns off a number of players.
    • Oil is needed by plenty of gun and armor mods, as well as many settlement objects including essential defense turrets. Most of the junk items that can be broken down into oil are heavy, which means prioritizing bringing them back over potentially more valuable loot or other salvage. You can craft it yourself at a crafting station from the get-go... but it requires Bone and Acid, two other rare components.
    • Screws. All kinds of weapon mods need them, and some settlement structures need a lot. What makes it worse is that tons of junk items that should logically contain plenty of screws yield none at all. You'll quickly find yourself scanning each office area for desk fans, typewriters, and other relatively heavy junk items just for the one or two screws within.
  • That One Level:
    • The Glowing Sea. Not only is it a highly irradiated nightmarish hellhole of a Bleak Level (without Power Armor, you take 10+ rads/sec), it's also filled with nasty creatures such as Deathclaws, Radscorpions (who are much stronger in this game), packs of Ghouls, high-level Bloodbugs and Bloatflies, and others. Worst of all, you need to venture deep in there for a storyline mission. When the player's level gets high enough, many of the enemies get upgraded, and if you return there then you'll be facing the very deadly Deathskull Radscorpions, Charred Feral Ghouls, Chameleon Deathclaws, Vampiric Bloodbugs, and others.
    • The Revere Satellite Array is this for four reasons: The Super Mutants there tend to have a lot of health; the area around them is very open, giving them plenty of room to see you coming from their extremely high vantage points; there's a Mutant Overlord wielding a Missile Launcher at the highest vantage point, and you have to go through there and exterminate the mutants (or just get away before they can kill you after completing the goal there) to complete the Brotherhood of Steel quest "The Lost Patrol"note .
    • The Financial District is this not because of its difficulty but because of how crash-prone this area is thanks to having two Mutant group spawn points in close proximinity to a raider outpost, which causes the game to load too much too fast which will either cause the game stutter to oblivion or downright crash. The problem was so bad, many mods were created specifically to remove the mutant group spawn points.
    • The Corvega Assembly Plant. It's a very large area with multiple entrances and exits and paths that turn back on themselves and interconnect, making it very easy to get lost if you don't know where the "final" area of the factory is, and is chock full of raiders, turrets, and even some feral ghouls. While the area itself is just a long dungeon with a confusing layout, what really pushes it to this territory is that it is involved in multiple radiant quests for multiple factions, as well as one of the first Minutemen quests and the quest involving the USS Constitution, so it is likely the player will be sent to clear out the Corvega factory over and over. In the early game, the large amount of enemies makes Corvega an extremely dangerous place to go unprepared; in the lategame when raiders are little more than a nuisance, clearing Corvega for the sixth time becomes dull busywork.
    • For min-maxers or those with OCD, Vault 81's underground lab section during the "Hole in the Wall" mission. It contains diseased Mole Rats that, if they hit the player (or anything allied such as followers/Protectrons), causes the player to get a disease that permanently lowers their max HP by 10. And considering the molerats' speed, Zerg Rushing and ability to tunnel/pop up anywhere, it's extremely easy to catch it. The only way to remove it is to use the cure on yourself and let Austin die (which almost everyone will react very badly to), so if you choose to save Austin, you'll be stuck with that disease forever.
    • The Quincy Ruins. This is the town Preston Garvey and his small band of survivors fled from, and he tells you about the Quincy Massacre. When you go there, you will be attacked by a large group of Gunners, including several named ones also wearing power armor. Additionally, there are multiple levels they attack from, including the freeway overpass above the town, which is what the Gunners used to slaughter the citizens of the town along with the few remaining Minutemen. They may also occasionally call in a vertibird for reinforcements ...although this can be inverted: the whole area becomes laughably easy if you simply trail behind Cricket and her immortal guards, who will pick up increasingly powerful weapons as they grind through the Gunner horde.
    • The Massachusetts State House. You go in, expecting some normal raiders, ferals or Super Mutants since it's smack-dab in the middle of Boston. Not so much. Not only is the entire building one big battlefield between Raiders and Mirelurks, but as you try and make your way back out (there are several parts of the dungeon that restrict backtracking), you run into not only extremely high-level Mirelurks, but also a Mirelurk Queen, (see That One Boss above) something that you needed high-explosives, lots of cover, and possibly power armor to kill for the Minuteman quest at the Castle. You have NONE of that given to you in this fight. After that, you're still not done. You have to fight your way through the Raider defensive line, which is more likely than not manned by Raiders in their own power armor, as well as barricades manned by normal raiders and turrets. And this place is just a hop, skip, and jump away from Goodneighbor and Diamond City.
    • Unlocking DiMA's memories in the Far Harbor DLC. It's an Unexpected Gameplay Change that turns the post-apocalyptic RPG into a giant puzzle game for five long levels where you have to escort these little bug things to set locations and protect them from attack drones. It isn't too hard once you get the controls and mechanics down, but is absolutely tedious once you get past the first few easy levels. Special mention goes to the last level, where the goal is placed right at the start to taunt the player while requiring them to build bridges to several other platforms just to get the blocks they need to unlock the goal. On a first try this one section is likely to take hours unless the player has a guide handy. Honestly, the whole thing feels like something you'd be more likely to see in a Ratchet & Clank game and feels really out of place in Fallout. The only saving grace is that it saves your progress and allows you to take a break after each level, and that only the (comparatively easy) first three mission are story-relevant. The other two reward players with some nifty goodies including the most powerful non-powered armor in the entire game, but hoo boy if it isn't frustrating to get that far.
    • Saugus Ironworks is never cleared; even once you've done the story quest mission and killed their boss along with a dozen or so mooks, the Forged will keep respawning there, only a few hundred yards away from one of your possible settlements. Good luck trying to hang back and snipe them- they have an elevated position overlooking the surrounding terrain, they are super good at spotting you, and they will absolutely bomb your ass with molotovs while surrounding you with flamethrowers (yeah, fire is kind of their thing). And then you hear the whistle of an incoming Fat Man nuke...
    • Similar to the above, although not a "level" in itself, is Lexington. As a fast-travel point right next to the Corvega plant, it's handy for the repeated sidequests that take you there; unfortunately it also features an apartment complex where ghouls, Raiders, and turrets will have respawned every time you get near the place. The Raiders are especially annoying since both are heavily armored, one of them carries a Fat Man, and they patrol a narrow upstairs hallway with very tight approaches. And one tends to screen the other making it hard to snipe the nuke-armed Raider before he blows you up.
  • That One Sidequest:
    • "The Silver Shroud" for the most part is fun and easy as it's just shooting certain people and leaving a literal calling card behind... until you get to Sinjin. This Raider boss has your radio buddy Kent hostage and you have to save him but doing so is harder than it seems. He has around three leveled lackeys that will shoot you if you don't scare them off... which means Sinjin will shoot Kent right afterwards. You can challenge Sinjin but then his lackeys will start shooting you too. The only way to save Kent is to pull off a One-Hit Kill headshot on Sinjin, who's definitely no pushover, and even if using V.A.T.S you only have a split second to pull it off.
    • "Hole in the Wall" is even worse. Austin, the Vault kid who has taken a shine to you, gets sick after being bitten by an infected mole rat. Said mole rat is one of many in the closed-off section of the Vault and all of them are going to try and bite you. Mole rats aren't exactly hard to kill, but there's a lot of them, they pop up out of nowhere, and it's very hard to kill them before they get at least one bite in. Worse still, your companion and the allied Protectron in the Vault will somehow infect you if they're bitten, and they aren't competent enough not to get hit. A single hit means you're infected, which in-game means you get a perk that takes a permanent 10 hit points off your maximum. There is a single dose of anti-virus that will cure it, and the good ending requires giving it to Austin. For perfectionist players, the mission is extremely obnoxious. Mercifully, the dialog system can be cheesed to allow you to cure Austin and yourself with the same dose (get to the option, pan the camera to exit dialog, cure yourself, then go back and cure Austin though dialog), but that isn't apparent to most casual players (and also seems to have been patched to make this impossible). Hope you've stocked up on Stealth Boys and/or Frag/Bottlecap Mines on this quest because you're definitely going to need them if you don't want to get bitten for your life.
    • "Long Time Coming", Nick Valentine's companion quest that much be completed to max out his affinity and earn his companion perk. While most other companions let you max out their affinity to get their perk without any hurdles, and a couple have a simple quest for you involving clearing out a single location, Nick's requires you to track down nine holotapes hidden across the Commonwealth in police stations and other areas associated with law enforcement. Even if you know exactly where to go to get them, it's a pain in the ass to track down all of them, and takes considerably more time and effort than any other companion quest. And when you finally do it, you'll learn that the perk you get from Nick for this isn't even particularly useful.
    • "Condensers Down" in the "Far Harbor" settlements is easily the most difficult settlement defense quest, even with a well-defended settlement. Waves of Wolves, Gulpers, Anglers, Yao Guai and Fog Crawlers assault the settlement and you have to either help defend the settlement or repair the Fog Condensers yourself.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character:
    • The Survivor's spouse, who gets killed just a few minutes into the game and the player barely gets to know them before it happens, and subsequently most of the story focuses on their search for Shaun and not addressing the death of their spouse. There exists a mod that allows both of them to survive, and the non-player character one becomes a companion, and the story of the two trying to find their son and rebuild their lives in the post-war Commonwealth is a lot more interesting than just the search for Shaun.
    • Shaun himself. He starts as a baby that you barely interact with, reducing him to a mere MacGuffin rather than someone the player is emotionally invested in. When you meet him as an adult, he just acts as Mission Control for the Institute questline and you're never given the chance to really talk to him and get to know him as a person unless you choose to pursue the Institute questline and he slowly opens up to you over the course of it. The problem with this is that the Institute is so transparently evil and Shaun makes a pitiful effort to convince his parent otherwise, so most players won't get to that point with him. In the end, Shaun is a total stranger to the Sole Survivor and they to him, nothing you say or do can change his beliefs about the Commonwealth, and you can't save him from succumbing to cancer at the end of the questline. You'll probably end up more invested in your relationship with Codsworth, your robot butler, than you will Shaun, since you can talk to Codsworth at length and he demonstrates a lot of emotion and personality.
    • Shaun the Synth. There are numerous interesting aspects of this character: he is a synth, a Replacement Goldfish for your son, "grew up" in the Institute, only remembers parts of his life and isn't going to age normally. Despite all of these interesting facts, all you ever do is give him junk items to tinker with and listen (but never get an opportunity to respond to) his philosophical musings.
    • Preston Garvey actually can be a likeable guy, but his tragic backstory is unfortunately undermined both by his mediocre voice-acting and how his suicidal despair is more directly told to the player instead of being better shown through his mannerisms. You're also given no chance to help him re-take Quincy and get justice for the people slaughtered there, which would finally let him put his Survivor Guilt to rest.
    • Both the potential player characters have this to a certain extent. Unlike previous protagonists in Fallout and Elder Scrolls games they're given a much more clearly defined backgrounds, with the male PC being a ex-military veteran and the female PC being a lawyer... but both of these end up being rendered more or less completely irrelevant, getting barely mentioned after the intro sequence. There's so many potential perks and plot points that both backgrounds could've fed into that it can't help but feel like they were squandered as a result.
    • Paladin Danse. To be clear, his plotline is very enjoyable. Learning that he is secretly a synth, something he himself didn't even know, then trying to save him from Maxson's order of execution, that is all great stuff. The wasted potential is that after you convince Maxson to spare him, his role in the story is now over. Maxson exiles him from the Brotherhood of Steel, and there is nothing one can do to stop that. After this point, if you still side with the Brotherhood, he cannot be used for the rest of the campaign. If he goes anywhere near another member of the Brotherhood, they will open fire on him and you. This means that Danse is basically the only faction companion that gets locked out of the endgame of his own faction's arc. The only faction you can use him in the endgame with is the Minutemen (though any path that involves destroying the Brotherhood will have him refuse to work with you ever again, so you can't become hostile to the Brotherhood either). Dummied Out audio files show that there was going to be an option to have Danse challenge Maxson for leadership of the Brotherhood of Steel, presumably allowing you to use him again with the faction, but this did not happen in the final product note . Even after the Brotherhood exiles him, he would remain blindly loyal to them. It would have been interesting if you could convince Danse to fully turn on the Brotherhood and side with the Railroad, the Minutemen or the Institute to destroy the Brotherhood, or even activating him if you were sided with the Institute. Instead, destroying the Brotherhood will result in Danse refusing to travel with the player if he were exiled, or turning hostile if he wasn't.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot:
    • The Gunners are a mercenary group that serve as one of the most powerful factions in the Commonwealth, control several areas of it, are considered to have training and numbers on-par with the Brotherhood of Steel, and several major characters have history with them. However, there's no real story to them beyond flavor text, they're just like Talon Company from Fallout 3, Always Chaotic Evil enemies that serve as Elite Mooks compared to Raiders, and the player never has any opportunities to have meaningful interactions with them. Since they're the Arch-Enemy of the Minutemen and responsible for their fall from power with the Quincy Massacre, the Gunners could have provided an "evil" faction to side with instead of the Minutemen; their goal is to take control of areas of interest around the Commonwealth and position outposts there, which could have folded perfectly into the player recruiting settlements and expanded their network. Alternatively, there could have been a quest with the Minutemen to strike back against the Gunners and retake Quincy, or to destroy the Gunners' stronghold.
    • Holotapes on a couple of Gunners in the Gunners Plaza hint to a schism in the leadership and Captain Wes acting unusual; the holotapes have him reassigning prominent ranking members of the Gunners to guard duty at the plaza, which they dislike, and for one of them Wes ordered him to retreat from a super mutant ambush, then chewed him out back at the base for retreating, confusing the Gunner with his actions. Whatever is up with Wes' behavior and the dissatisfaction of his subordinates is rendered moot when the player puts a bullet in all three of their heads and only learns about these events from the holotapes looted from their corpses.
    • The outcome of the Railroad learning about Acadia, a Synth colony in Far Harbour, is never explored beyond them sending a single representative. It's a particularly noticeable dangling thread given that the Railroad often mentions their struggles with smuggling liberated Synths out of the Commonwealth, that the Sole Survivor can go out of their way to inform them of Acadia's existence, and that the two anti-Synth freedom factions, the Brotherhood and Institute, have full-blown quests to deal with them (albeit by wiping them out) while the Railroad barely gets a side objective.
    • Siding against the raiders in Nuka-World means doing the quest "Open Season", which involves killing the leaders of all three raider gangs. And that's it. No quest line or alternate ways of driving them out, just run around shooting all the raiders. Once the quest is complete, none of the now-freed slaves do anything besides stand around and thank you for saving them. You can still walk around the park and clear out all the zones, but with no main plot to drive things, it ends up feeling more like a sightseeing trip than anything else. It comes across as the developers assuming players would always finish the questline, and making the quest only to make sure the game didn't have any issues with you killing them.
    • A few of Nuka-World's zones are surprisingly simple to take over. Compared to slowly gaining control over the Galactic Zone and its robots by tracking down Star Cores, unlocking access to the source of Dry Rock Gulch's Bloodworm infestation by completing tasks for the local robots, and flushing out Oswald the Outrageous in Kiddie Kingdom by surviving a series of deadly encounters he's set up to try to kill the Sole Survivor, conquering the World of Refreshment and Safari Adventure essentially boils down to "kill pretty much everything". Cito and his family of Ghoulrillas become irrelevant to the plot after they point the player in the direction of the access codes to enter the heart of Safari Adventure, despite the potential for them to strike back against the Gatorclaws with the Sole Survivor's help.
    • The Institute's ultimate plan. They've realized that they're expanding faster than their energy production, so want you to get a Beryllium agitator for their reactor. After you do so the Institute now has the energy needed to ... keep doing what they were already doing. There's no master plan or end goal, just continuing to dabble their random experiments without the Brotherhood or Railroad to bother them. Many people found this disappointing, especially since the build-up of the sinister workings of the Institute and how Shaun and others have mentioned that the Institute is humanity's best hope and how much their technology is capable of.
    • Strong's motivation for joining the Sole Survivor, searching for the Milk of Human Kindness, doesn't end up getting any sort of payoff, even with maximum Affinity. As entertaining as it would have been to inform him that it was a metaphor, or to get amusingly frustrated that the Sole Survivor is as strong as they are despite not drinking milk of any description, or something along those lines, the entire subplot is almost entirely dropped after he joins up, minus a couple of voice lines when he joins up after some time apart and some environmental dialogue.
    • DiMA's implication that the Sole Survivor may be a synth duplicate without realizing it brings up interesting story possibilities. Is the Sole Survivor an early test model for the new generation of synths? Is Shaun questioning the morality of his actions and decides to bring back his parent to act as a Morality Chain? It also helps explain some of the gameplay and story segregation by making it possible for your character to be making choices that conflict with each other, possibly as a result of the prototype nature of their creation. However, due to both it being a DLC and the obvious Fridge Logic of the Institute accepting a Synth as the Director and Shaun not deactivating you once you betray him if this is true, the idea is dropped as quickly as it is introduced, and ultimately doesn't make sense due to the nature of the story, unless the game was effectively rewritten.
  • Third Time's The Charm: The player can invoke this in the Automatron DLC. If they use the Mechanist's costume and an Automatron companion (or Codsworth), they'll be the third - and most effective - Mechanist in the Wasteland.
    • Could be subverted, assuming the Lone Wanderer made use of the original suit and RL-3, which would make the Sole Survivor the fourth Mechanist.
  • Underused Game Mechanic:
    • The Sole Survivor's followers actually talk to each other, which hasn't been done since Fallout 2. Unfortunately, unless it's related to certain quests, it only happens when the player is exchanging one follower for another. It would've been a great opportunity for them to at least have conversations with one another when they were at, say, the same settlement, or comment on other companions' affinity quests and the like.
    • 4 greatly expanded on security terminals in comparison to both of its predecessors, allowing for a lot more opportunities to use local Protectrons, turrets, and spotlights (among other measures) against enemies thanks to the Total Hack holotapes. However, the game's more realistic level design makes it so that one is most often only able to access the terminals in question after they've already cleared out the Protectrons/turrets/spotlights/what have you, making the aforementioned holotapes pretty useless the majority of the time.
  • Unintentionally Unsympathetic:
    • The Railroad can come off as much darker and colder than intended. They want to free all Synths from the Institute and eventually destroy the organization, both of which are certainly honorable goals. However, for security they strongly encourage all Synths they free to be mind wiped and undergo plastic surgery to take on new identities without the knowledge they're even Synths, an act that DiMA in Far Harbor directly compares to murdering the original Synth and replacing them with someone new. Once a Synth is free, the Railroad offers them no help other than getting them out of the Commonwealth due to their own lack of resources. At least one Synth they liberated turned evil and became a very dangerous Raider boss, and many others have suspicions or vague memories of their true nature; as players of Fallout 3 will remember, it is universally traumatizing for a mind-wiped Synth to learn they're not really human. Finally, they refuse to work with the Minutemen because they believe they don't care about Synths, even if the player joins the Railroad and points out they're the General of the Minutemen, in which case Desdemona gives some very flimsy reasoning why she still doesn't trust your suboordinates. Overall, the Railroad is tunnel-visioned on freeing all Synths no matter the cost, it's arguable how effective and noble their methods are, they can destabilize the Commonwealth worse than ever, and they seem to have little interest in cleaning up their own messes.
    • The Mechanist can easily come off as this. While you explore the RobCo factory, you find ample entries in terminals and holotapes stating where the brains used in Robobrains originated, people raising concerns about "the human factor" in the Robobrains' design being influenced by the type of test subjects they were using, anecdotes about Robobrains creatively reinterpreting directives, and even one or two examples of brains outright declaring homicidal intent. From the Mechanist's own logs, we know she explored the place. Was her use of Robobrains even with all the warnings available, just honest incompetence or downright depraved indifference? And she never even bothered to actually find out what her robots were doing out in the Commonwealth. Wasn't she at least curious about how they were performing? Was this just simple lack of oversight and follow through? Or was it criminal negligence?
    • Oswald the Outrageous in the Nuka World DLC is a Glowing One that has spent the last two hundred years since the war living in the Kiddie Kingdom area with his friends and co-workers who were also ghouls, and they painted themselves and wore costumes to help frighten off people who threatened them. By the time the player finds Oswald, all of his friends have turned feral, but they thought that it was an illness that could be "cured". When you enter Kiddie Kingdom, Oswald assumes you're another invader and uses the same tactics he has on others to try and get rid of you: spraying the area with radiation, luring you into trapped rides, and siccing his friends on you. When you finally confront him, he's furious with you for killing his friends and calls you a monster. However, he's the one to instigate the violence and never tries to negotiate, he spends the entirety of the quest having his friends attack you while he runs away, and his belief that ferals can be "cured" is willful ignorance. Oswald is intended to be a Hero Antagonist who thinks he's helping his friends fight you off in self-defense, but instead comes off as a self-righteous coward who enjoys playing the part of a Card-Carrying Villain, then tries to pull the Good All Along card only once you have him dead-to-rights.
    • Preston Garvey. While the player is meant to sympathize with his previous failures and desire to protect the people of the Commonwealth, in practice he comes off as a Failure Hero, lacking empathy for the Sole Survivor's quest to find their son despite his stated intent of protecting people, and a Jerkass for ordering you around and refusing to help unless you do what he wants despite you technically outranking him in the Minutemen.
  • The Un-Twist: In Diamond City, you'll have the mayor pegged as a Synth just after hearing his speech where he proclaims "I am not a Synth" a la Richard Nixon. Sure enough, he is.
  • Visual Effects of Awesome: While the game is overall quite pretty but still nothing exactly jaw-dropping for the most part, the incredibly fluid and detailed animation for the creation process for Gen 3 Synths in the Institute is absolutely gorgeous.
  • Vindicated by History: While largely considered a Contested Sequel in comparison to Fallout: New Vegas due to various changes to the dialogue system and a greater emphasis on combat, reception towards the game has been more positive as years went on, thanks to positively received DLC such as Far Harbor and the disastrous launch of Fallout 76.
  • Win Back the Crowd:
    • A number of people who were not won over by the game when it was initially revealed got brought back when the new features, like weapon crafting and settlement creation, were shown off.
    • At least a few of those who complained about the limited dialogue choices in the main game were pleasantly surprised that in Far Harbor the dialogue trees are much more complex, despite using the same limited system.
  • The Woobie:
    • While all the Fallout protagonists have Woobie elements, this installment has the woobiest yet. Not only is there the usual tragedy of having to leave home into the devastated world, but your spouse is dead, your infant child has been kidnapped, and you know firsthand what the world used to be like. As is addressed in game in a conversation with the pre-war ghoul shopkeeper Daisy, the protagonist actually knows the difference. Comes off as an Iron Woobie fairly early given their response to the End of the World as We Know It, the death of their spouse, and kidnapping of their son is to become a wandering do-gooder who builds settlements. The issue is addressed in the interview with the Sole Survivor having the option of being devastated about the world, impressed with the way people are still trudging along, or sarcastic the biggest city left is a shanty-town in his/her favorite baseball stadium.
    • The Vault-Tec salesman. He comes off as rather corny and annoying in the prologue, but when you meet him as a ghoul two centuries later, well, it's hard not to feel sad for him. He's one of a handful of pre-war ghouls and might just be the loneliest man in the Commonwealth. If you try to reassure him that living in Goodneighbor isn't so bad, he retorts with: "If you kept hearing that 'keep your chin up' shit for two centuries, you might feel a little differently about it too." Giving him a home and a job in Sanctuary, on the other hand, greatly eases his depression.
    • Nick Valentine. Despite being a synth originally designed as an infiltrator, he is one of the nicest and most moral People in the Commonwealth. His artificial skin's also slowly tattering away over the years (exposing his internal components), at least two of the major power players in the region want him dead or enslaved just for existing, and he suffers severe existential angst/despair due to knowing that his memories, personality and morality base all come from the man his Neuralnet was based on, to the point of feeling that nothing he does is truly "his own". Nick's had at least one shuddery moment thinking about what he'd be like if they'd uploaded someone like a Vault-Tec exec or condemned criminal instead. And to make matters worse, he's constantly having flashes of memories/events from his "former" life.
    • Paladin Danse, if you pursue his unique perk. The loyal and dutiful Brotherhood Paladin, one who believes in their mission to wipe the Institute and synths from the face of the Commonwealth, is revealed to be a synth himself, and he never even realized it! Elder Maxon will have none of it, and orders him executed. You can save him from being killed, but he will be forced into exile. Everything he had lived for is completely turned on its head. What makes it even worse is that even when he knows the truth, he stubbornly keeps to his believes about synths, and demands that he be exterminated to set an example.
    • Cait. She grew up in an abusive family who locked her in a shed the first time she tried to run away, then broke her legs the second time. She thought that they kept her around because they really did love her deep down, only for her trust to be betrayed when they revealed their true intentions by selling her into slavery the second she turned 18. She was only able to escape her slavers by gradually stealing caps from them until she could buy her own freedom. She then got addicted to Psycho and found the Combat Zone where she was hired as a cage fighter. The Sole Survivor can potentially be the first person to ever treat her like a friend.
    • Oswald the Outrageous. He used to be a pre-war survivor who took shelter in the Kiddie Kingdom but became a Ghoul along with the other survivors. The radiation took a toll on the survivors and turned all of them feral over time, except him and his girlfriend Rachel. He dedicated his life to protect his ghoulified friends and the Kiddle Kingdom from the raiders with the use of irradiated gas, illusions and the ability to resurrect feral ghouls due to being a Glowing One. He spent 200 years guarding Kiddie Kingdom while waiting for Rachel to find a cure for going feral, unaware that Rachel herself was Driven to Suicide out of despair when she found out there was no cure. You can tell him to go help Rachel, tell him that there's no cure for going feral, give him Rachel's holotape, or outright attack him. Either way, if you know what happened to Rachel, no matter how you confront him, what you tell him, all his hopes are proven to be futile. It is hard not to feel sorry for both Oswald and the feral ghouls you mowed down to get to him.

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