This article contains spoilers for Fallout 4, so turn back now unless you want the ending of Bethesda’s latest RPG nuked for you.
After 70 hours of gameplay in the wastelands of Fallout 4 it seemed about time to do something truly repulsive. No, I’m not talking about massacring innocents or eating raw mutant crab meat, I’m talking about picking one of the awful factions and completing the main story… except that kind of did involve massacring a bunch of innocent people, but more on that later.
You can only sit on the fence for so long in Fallout 4′s stand off between, the Brotherhood of Steel, the Institute and the Railroad. Each faction is needlessly filled with hate for the others, to the point where they will force you to turn on your friends to complete the story.
Instantly I ruled the Brotherhood of Steel out, they came across as arrogant fascists, and their leader Elder Maxson was a complete jerk despite having a banging jacket. This left the Institute and the Railroad to pick between.
The Institute seemed liked an okay choice idealistically. Despite some questionable methods the Institute represents progress and are attempting to bring humanity back from the brink the nuclear holocaust has brought them to.
However their leader/the player’s son, Father, is a disgusting excuse for a human. In fact he is so repugnant that I frequently would save when standing near him just so I could repeatedly fire nukes at his face and load up without consequences. I even figured you could shoot flares into his face without killing him, so I ended up turning him into a flare pin cushion on many a slow news day.
Having been kidnapped as a baby by the Institute, Father climbed the ranks and became their leader. Instead of focusing on scientific progress, when Father reaches a ripe old age of 60 he decides to thaw out his surviving parent (the Institute had murdered the other) to experiment if they can survive in the wastelands. In my character’s case this was his mother.
So to clarify, after realising his mother was still alive after over 200 years in cryo storage, he decides to thaw her out next to her murdered husband and leave her to traumatically scavenge in a radioactive wasteland looking for a son she thinks is still an infant.
When his mother miraculously manages to fight her way into the Institute, something that no other human has done, Father decides to use this chance to drop the bomb he has been alive the whole time and acts like an all round condescending prick about it. After verbally chastising his mother this sociopath instantly asks her to go out and kill someone for him.
So yeah, I didn’t really want to side with this 60 year old man who spends every waking hour thinking up ways to abuse his mother. This left the Railroad as my go to faction, and one I thought would have a good ending. Idealistically they seemed the easiest to sympathise with. They wanted to liberate the synths from the Institute and end the slavery of a group of cybernetic sentient beings.
After infiltrating the Institute for the Railroad and teeing up a mass exodus of synths, all the pieces were in place for me and my new allies to liberate a bunch of slaves… yay!
Except when doing so everyone on my side starting massacring defenseless and innocent Institute scientists in a bloodbath… yay?
The bodies of innocent men and women lay everywhere as we fought to plant explosives on the Institute’s reactor. During all of this chaos my player encountered her son on his literal death bed due to a disease that was undoubtedly caused by how much of an asshole he is. I attempted to ease things over with him, feeling like Bethesda would have wrote some humility into the character so he could at least die with a chance for redemption.
Instead Father started getting all up in my grills and riding me for the whole massacring his people thing. Yeah, it was a shitty thing to do, but don’t make me feel worse about it. Also, I took issue with this psychopath trying to tell me I was the bad person, so I shot him in the face, for real this time. As good as it felt it didn’t ease the feeling I had committed the biggest atrocity in a game filled with literal monsters.
After fleeing the site of the massacre the Railroad then had me hit a detonator on the explosives we planted. This made a blast that was similar in size to the one in the beginning of the game and almost definitely killed anyone even slightly in the radius. Surely this wasn’t the good ending? We massacred a bunch of innocent people and then caused an explosion that would have undoubtedly killed plenty more people. We had also destroyed one of the best chances of humanity returning to a civilized society.
Nothing like sinking 70 hours into a game to have it force you to become the most lethal terrorist in existence. I’m assuming the other endings force you to punch hundreds of babies in the face or repeatedly spit in every clean source of drinking water in the Commonwealth.