First developed by Interplay Entertainment in 1997, Fallout has since become the intellectual property of Bethesda Softworks, the company that later published all-time great franchise entries such as Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas. In 2015, Fallout 4, the series’ most recent mainline entry, earned quite a bit of praise from fans, though its streamlined style scorned fans of the more in-depth late-90s games. Much like Bethesda’s other open-world RPGs, Fallout 4 finds most of its appeal in exploration, with players roaming an irradiated wasteland that used to be Boston and finding all kinds of trinkets, treasure, monsters, and stories.
Much like The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim before it, Fallout 4 focused on creating a huge map full of content for players to discover. Adding on to that was a settlement mechanic that allowed players to create small towns from scratch, a huge bonus for players who were more interested in collecting items and building. Yet, as is the case with any major RPG endeavor, while there are plenty of quests and bits of side content worth exploring, there’s also a considerable amount of busywork that most players will prefer to skip.
Updated on June 28th, 2022 by Tanner Fox: Bethesda’s Fallout franchise has been in a weird place for the better part of a decade. Following the high of Fallout: New Vegas, Fallout 4 received mixed reviews from dedicated fans, and Fallout 76 was a chaotic mess when it launched in 2018.
With Starfield and The Elder Scrolls 6 on the distant horizon, it seems as if Bethesda won’t be returning to the Fallout series for quite some time. Fortunately, there’s quite a bit of off-the-beaten-path content worth finding in Fallout 4… along with some side quests that are better left forgotten.
The Best Fallout 4 Quests
The Pickman Gallery, located in the North End of Boston, may sound like it would be a bastion of civilization and art in the nuclear dystopia of the Fallout games. This, however, is not the case; entering the gallery will start the player on a bloody quest inside the mind of a deranged “collector.”
The quest finds the player in the middle of a battle between Pickman and several raiders, and the player will likely side with Pickman, as he seems the more rational of the two. Over the course of the quest, however, it becomes clear that the raiders have a legitimate grievance, as Pickman has been collecting their gangs’ heads. A reference to a lesser-known story by H.P. Lovecraft, Pickman’s Gift may not yield the most impressive rewards, but it offers a very memorable side story.
When players first discovered that contained within Fallout 4′s bombed-out Boston was a replica of the bar from Cheers, the internet went wild. But, it’s not really as well-hidden as it’s said to be; after all, there’s a quest that takes the Sole Survivor right into it. That quest is Carbonated Concerns, where you have to find the key to a Nuka-themed café.
The quest Carbonated Concerns asks players to track down a Nuka Cola-themed café known as the Prost Bar—”prost,” of course, is German for “cheers. The quest itself is fine, as it nets players access to a diner, but the real prize for Cheers fans is seeing all the references.
Here There Be Monsters
This is a big side quest that’s surprisingly easy to miss. Here There Be Monsters takes place on the Yangtze submarine, which sits in the harbor just in front of the docks behind the Shamrock Taphouse. Players might catch wind of the sub from Donny Kowalski, or they might just swim out and see it on their own.
Once the Sole Survivor makes their way to the sub, they come face to face with Captain Zao, who will ask them to repair the nuclear submarine. It takes a bunch of work to get the materials he requires, but his sad story and the rewards he gives at the end—Zao’s own sword plus homing beacons that allow the player to summon a tactical nuke from the sub—are each powerful in their own way.
This one isn’t technically an official quest, but it’s still worth mentioning because of some notable traits. Spectacle Island is the largest settlement in all of Fallout 4, but it’s very easy to miss. Despite one of Fallout 4’s main gameplay hooks being the settlement mechanic, players can do every major story and side mission without ever setting foot on Spectacle Island.
The Sole Survivor has to swim all the way out to Spectacle Island, which is to the northeast of the Warwick homestead, and then fight several mirelurks just to make it possible to settle. It takes a lot of work to make this area available, but it’s worth it for those who play Fallout 4 for the settlement-building gameplay.
The Silver Shroud
The Silver Shroud is one of the more famous side quests in Fallout 4, and with good reason. Playing upon nostalgia without relying on it too heavily, the Silver Shroud is a fun quest that is especially rewarding to undertake near the beginning of a new playthrough.
Aside from getting to act like a noir-inspired superhero and getting to know Kent in the Goodneighbor Memory Den, this quest also has more tangible in-game rewards. Specifically, if Kent survives, he’ll upgrade the Silver Shroud costume, which ends up being one of the best—and certainly best-looking—armor sets available in the early game.
Very close to the Pickman Gallery is another hidden location that has a fairly involved quest: Cabot House. It requires players to work with Jack Cabot, a memorable NPC scientist and the son of Lorenzo Cabot. After a couple of other quests, Jack will ask the player to undertake a more serious matter, that being the murder of his father.
Completing the quest, regardless of with whom the player sides, will net powerful rewards. Jack will give the player Lorenzo’s Artifact Gun, a unique kind of gamma radiation gun, and Lorenzo will offer a “lifetime supply” of a mysterious serum that will aid in battle. Those who play for the narrative will also enjoy the wild tale of familial violence and scientifically engineered immortality.
Rebuilding the USS Constitution tops many gamers’ lists for best quests in any Fallout game. It takes a lot of work, but most players find themselves enjoying even the drudgery of finding every missing component thanks to the quality of the writing. In the quest, players help Ironsides, a sentry bot with a ton of personality who just wants to take to the air one last time.
Players can betray Ironsides and destroy his crew, but most opt to let the flying boat have one final voyage. He’ll give those who complete his quest a couple of rewards, but the real joy is just interacting with the robots. Greedier players can sabotage the Constitution and take all the salvage for themselves if that’s not enough for them, so there’s really something for everyone.
The Lost Patrol
The Lost Patrol is a side quest that can only be acquired from the Brotherhood of Steel, as it involves finding an AWOL patrol of Brotherhood soldiers at a few scattered distress signals. Completing the quest will grant a reward of a strong Power Armor chest piece and a laser pistol, but the reward isn’t the only reason to do it.
The Lost Patrol sticks out in many players’ memories because of the forlorn nature of much of the quest; it involves finding the bodies of several members of the Brotherhood of Steel who’ve been separated from their squad and forgotten by headquarters. That is, until they find Paladin Brandis, the only survivor, who can be convinced to rejoin the Brotherhood and become the players’ companion.
Cambridge Polymer Labs
Cambridge Polymer Labs stands as something of a counterpoint to Kid in a Fridge in that it also has the player finding ghouls that have been locked away for centuries. However, this quest actually has some real narrative behind it, as the player discovers exactly why the researchers at the labs have been locked up.
Unlike the kid, these researchers don’t contradict the lore of the games, and their quest gives the player a reward worth searching for in the form of a unique piece of Power Armor. Thus, those who don’t enjoy the story of this side quest will find that the reward makes it more than worthwhile.
Again, this one isn’t an official quest, but it’s still a hidden thing every Fallout player should find. There’s an unnamed church in South Boston west of the Castle. Those not paying close attention might think it is completely unremarkable, but, hidden in the basement, players can stumble across what can only be called a cat shrine.
A single cat occupies the basement—well, alongside a few feral ghouls, several skeletons, and an altar dedicated to “Mr. Tiddles.” The altar has a picture of a cat, a food bowl, and several candles, plus a smaller picture of a man in colonial garb behind it. There is no in-game explanation for this. Obviously, it has to be seen in-game to truly be believed.
Fallout 4 Quests That Are Not Worth It
The Great Hunt
While NukaWorld earned a mixed reception from fans, Far Harbor, Fallout 4‘s first DLC, was an excellent expansion that added quite a bit to the game. Yet, while it was full of great quests, The Great Hunt was a bit of a letdown. It begins with a foreboding mariner telling the story of a dangerous beast. The fearsome creature actually turns out to be a tiny bloodrage mirelurk, which is a major anti-climax.
Compared to much of the content on offer in Fallout 4’s Far Harbor, this quest fell a bit flat. On the story side, players get a fun choice between lying to the village to save the mariner’s reputation or not, but, in terms of actual in-game rewards, it had little to offer.
Kid In A Fridge
The Kid in a Fridge quest is somewhat notorious among fans of Fallout 4 for being especially bad from a narrative perspective. It revolves around a ghoulified child the player can find locked in a refrigerator just south of University Point who has apparently been trapped there for 200 years.
There are a lot of plot holes here. Chief among them is that Fallout has made it clear several times over that ghouls cooped up in dark places with little or no food or water are pretty much invariably feral, and yet the kid here seems strangely normal despite apparently being in a fridge for centuries. Even worse, there’s essentially no reward for completing this quest, so it’s better off ignored entirely.
This quest is the epitome of a lot of risk for no reward. Fallen Hero can be acquired from Joe Savoldi, the owner of the Bunker Hill bar, and he asks the player to go to the Old Gullet sinkhole in Malden, which is just northeast of the middle school. He wants the Sole Survivor to find the remains of Brent Savoldi, his grandfather.
Well, the good news is it doesn’t take too long to find Brent. The bad news is that the player will have to get past a deathclaw to do it. If they can defeat or slip past the huge scaly beast, they’ll find Brent, along with his old Minuteman hat. This quests serves as a neat reference to the 1985 classic comedy film The Goonies, but, unfortunately, it’s just not worth the effort.
Hole In The Wall
This questline has its share of supporters, but, ultimately, it isn’t worth the trouble. At first, Vault 81 seems normal—as normal as a nuclear fallout bunker can be, that is—but closer inspection reveals that it, just like the other vaults, was constructed with a terrible secondary purpose in mind. It’s encountered during the quest Hole In The Wall, but it’s better left alone.
The player has to venture deep into the vault to find a cure for a boy suffering from a mysterious illness, and the whole ordeal takes quite a while and can get the player infected with the same disease. The other quests involving Vault 81 aren’t much better in terms of gameplay or rewards. The one redeeming factor is that players can get the robot companion Curie from all this. If that sounds like it’s worth the trouble, then, by all means, have fun with the mole rats.
Pool Cleaning is a side quest that tasks players with cleaning a pool—seriously, that’s it. To start Pool Cleaning, talk to Sheng Kawolski on the outskirts of Diamond City. He’ll ask the player to clean the city’s water supply, and he’ll pay to do it.
Unless players really want to role play as a Diamond City Janitor, they can pretty safely skip this chore masquerading as a quest. Sheng is pretty fun to talk to, but there’s no real point to the actual quest. All it nets as a reward is a tiny amount of experience and a few caps. Skip it.
The Lynn Woods Siren
Lynn Woods, a small, uninhabited section of the map infested primarily by deathclaws, contains a small tower. That small tower contains a siren that can prove to be a huge problem for those who choose to interact with it.
Turning on the siren causes not one, but two deathclaws to arrive at the tower, blocking the player from making an easy escape. There’s a strong chance players will have to fight groups of raiders just to get this far, so they’ll probably already be starved of resources. Defeating the monsters does not grant any special loot or experience, either. While it’s not technically a quest, it is a trap Fallout 4 fans should be sure to avoid.
The Memory Lounger
The Memory Den in Goodneighbor may be where players can meet Kent and start The Silver Shroud quest, one of the better side quests in the game, but it also offers the opportunity to relive a cutscene the player saw at the beginning of the game. While this may at first come across as a secretive Easter egg, it’s nothing more than a waste of time.
To use the memory lounger, players have to go to the Den before taking on Nick Valentine as a companion and either persuade or bribe Irma into letting them use it. She’ll allow it, but all players will see is the cutscene of Kellogg shooting the player’s spouse and taking their son, which is only helpful to those who somehow forgot how their adventure started.
The Devil’s Due
Akin to many of the other quests that aren’t worth doing, The Devil’s Due requires players to take out huge beasts and expend some vital resources. The Fallout 4 quest begins in the Museum of Witchcraft with creepy holotapes hinting at some monster haunting the museum.
That haunting turns out to just be a large deathclaw, one that players have to defeat to get the quest’s most important item, that being a pristine deathclaw egg. Players can either give the egg to Wellingham in Diamond City or return it to a deathclaw nest in Lynn Woods. They’ll either get a recipe to make food out of deathclaw eggs or a deathclaw gauntlet, both of which work as great rewards had they not required a duel with a deathclaw.
The name of both the hidden fallout shelter beneath Malden Middle School and the quest that sees players exploring it, Vault 75 is about as high-risk low-reward as it gets. There’s extremely little in the way of loot or even story, and players will have to fight their way through a hidden Gunner stronghold.
The Sole Survivor will learn about the horrific fate of the dwellers of Vault 75—largely children getting harvested for their genetic material—and that’s about it. No major rewards, no impact on the main story. Lore hounds may love it, but the average player just looking to survive in the Commonwealth will find it to be a massive waste of time and ammunition.
Confidence Man is a fairly simple quest by Fallout 4 standards. The player is tasked with helping Vadim Bobrov conduct a couple of weird scenarios intended to make Travis Miles, Diamond City’s radio DJ, more confident. Naturally, something goes wrong, and the player ends up saving Vadim from some raiders with Travis’ help.
This would all be fine—the mission itself isn’t anything special, but it’s not especially bad—except for the fact that players tend to dislike the main “reward,” which is hearing a more confident Travis on the radio. Players tend to prefer Travis’ DJ style when he was still nervous and timid, and the quest doesn’t grant much in the way of caps or experience, either.
NEXT: 10 Best Quests In The First Fallout Game
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