Bethesda Game Studios is known for making some of the industry’s biggest and most ambitious games.
The studio’s tried and true method of dropping players into a huge open world has earned them a great deal of acclaim from critics and fans alike.
As the studio looks ahead to the future, with its eyes set on one new IP, Starfield, and one returning favorite, The Elder Scrolls VI, let’s take a moment to look back at one of their best games: Fallout 4.
Seeing Fallout 4’s story to its natural conclusion is a massive undertaking, with most players finishing the campaign in 26 hours.
While you could wander the wasteland from place to place, streamlining the campaign can save you quite a bit of time.
Get through the core Fallout 4 quests with this location-based guide as well as an idea of what you can expect from each area.
War Never Changes
War. War never changes.
It’s the signature line from the franchise that fans have come to know and love. And though war never changes, the narrative structure of Fallout does.
Here’s how you can get through the prologue.
Fallout is known for its bleak, post-apocalyptic wasteland, splattered with greys, greens, and browns.
And though much of the story will provide fans the set pieces they’re hoping for (including a gorgeously rendered Boston), the game kicks off in a new way.
Instead of players waking up in a vault post-war, the Fallout 4 main quest kicks off moments before the first nuclear bomb hits, as you and your family rush to Vault 111 for safety.
This section features no combat, but it does show off some of Fallout 4’s new lighting systems, so be sure to explore your soon-to-be detonated home at your leisure before triggering the campaign’s true beginning.
Out of Time (Sanctuary)
The Fallout 4 main quest is about to begin.
Following a series of devastating nuclear attacks, much of the world is gone.
Now you awaken some 210 years after the initial blast, dazed and confused. But wake up: your journey is about to begin.
Like Fallout 3 before it, Fallout 4 lets players explore one of Vault-Tec’s signature vaults before heading out to the wasteland.
Sadly, there isn’t much time for oohing and ahhing — your son is missing!
This quest is almost all exposition. Those looking to get through the game as quick as possible can rush through the dialogue and exit the vault.
Or if you want some real fun, you can use the console command to clip through the vault and skip the dialogue.
The next stage of the quest takes players back to their old stomping grounds.
But it isn’t much of a happy return.
Aside from your Codsworth, your family’s Mister Handy butler, everything — including your baby’s crib — is either ruined or stolen.
This is another quest filled with exposition. So as Codsworth blathers on about how much he missed you, feel free to loot your neighbors’ homes.
Soon after leaving your neighborhood, you’ll begin to hear the faint sound of gunfire.
Following the shots leads you to a skirmish between several raiders and a man with a laser musket.
It’s worth noting that you don’t have to do engage in combat if you’re quiet enough.
Your pal Preston Garvey and his trusty weapon should deal most of the damage for you.
When Freedom Calls (Museum of Freedom)
Your musket-clad buddy seems to know his way around The Commonwealth, and he wants your assistance.
Follow his instructions through this quick mission traversing the Museum of Freedom.
If you want to do your own thing, that’s fine too! You’ll get a pretty sweet set of Power Armor and may even get to fight a death claw if you’re brave enough.
Also, it is possible to skip this quest entirely if you don’t want to deal with The Minutemen.
Jewel of The Commonwealth
Next, you’ll want to head to Diamond City (post-war Fenway Park), one of the game’s main hubs.
Here you’ll find vendors, some of the best Fallout 4 side quests, a few scandals, and fan-favorite companion Piper along with a tease of your next potential partner.
Upon entering the area, the player will encounter an argument between Piper and the city’s mayor. Remember those scandals we mentioned?
You’re now tasked with figuring out what’s going on and talking to the town’s citizens.
You can also hang out with Piper for a bit to trigger her side quests.
We won’t spoil the outcome, as this is one of the best parts of Fallout 4. Take your time learning more about Mayor McDonough and Piper and give your decisions thought.
Whatever happens, all dialogue leads to one building: The Valentine Detective Agency.
The beginning of this quest brings some good news and bad news.
The good news is that the man who knows where your son is, Nick Valentine, is nearby.
The bad news is that getting to him will require you to mow through quite a few enemies.
Stock up on ammo and Stimpacks and get ready to head out.
Park Street Station
It’s time to head down into Boston’s dilapidated subway system.
If you’re playing a stealth character, you’re in luck. You should be able to get the drop on most of your opponents in Park Street Station and deal enough stealth damage to make quick work of them.
If you’re playing a melee or gun-heavy build, by all means, go in guns blazing. You’ll still want to be careful, though, as the area is full of enemies.
However you handle your traversal, be sure to check your victims’ bodies for loot. The Triggermen have some great gear.
It turns out that the entrance to Vault 114 was beneath Boston the whole time! Explore the area at your leisure if you’re not in a hurry. You’ll find at least one Speech Bobblehead as well as some clothing and weaponry.
The entrance to the area is what you’ll need to focus on, however.
Here, you’ll find Nick Valentine attempting to talk his way out of his potential death.
You’ll have a few different options ranging from outright aggressive to calm and collected, with little in between (one of the game’s faults).
If you’re looking for the path of least resistance, pop that Speech Bobblehead to give yourself a bonus so you can talk your way out of the vault.
Whether you spare The Triggermen and their leader or slaughter them unmercifully, you’ll exit the area with Nick Valentine in tow.
Getting a Clue (Diamond City)
This is where all of your hard work in the previous quest pays off: Nick has, in fact, seen your son.
The only trouble is that your son wasn’t alone. Accompanying him was notorious bounty hunter Conrad Kellogg.
The player is now left with a task: Get into Kellogg’s house by any means necessary.
Unless you’ve leveled up your Lock Pick skill to the third rank, you won’t be able to pick the lock guarding Kellogg’s estate.
The game will present you with a few options, as it is an RPG like Skyrim at the end of the day, so think about how you’d like to roleplay the situation.
In the house, you’ll find a series of clues leading to your son.
Reunions (Fort Hagen)
To find Kellogg, and subsequently, your son, you’ll need travel to Fort Hagen, a massive stronghold safeguarded by both living enemies including synths and protectrons, and turrets.
Be prepared, as this is a combat-heavy portion of the game. Even if your Speech skill is high, you’ll have to blast your way through the fort.
After clearing the area, you’ll meet Kellogg face-to-face.
While most quests give you an option to spare your foe, Reunions forces you to kill Kellogg in a strange twist.
The good news is that you’ll get his pistol for your troubles, which is one of the best weapons in the game.
Next, exit the fort for your introduction to one of Fallout’s signature factions, The Brotherhood of Steel. You’ll want to help them later on, but for now, let’s head back to Diamond City.
Dangerous Minds (Memory Den)
You’ll need to head to Goodneighbor with Kellogg’s brain in tow. More specifically, The Memory Den, a creepy experimental club where people can explore their memories.
Head downstairs to find Dr. Amari, who will help you unlock Kellogg’s memory, and hopefully, a clue on the whereabouts of your son.
Once inside, you’ll need to explore the various memories. Most are inconsequential.
The final memory is that of your son’s abduction, as well as the final piece of the puzzle — your son’s location.
The Glowing Sea
For more information on The Institute and your son, Dr. Amari suggests heading to the game’s most dangerous area, The Glowing Sea. Grab a rad suit as well as enough Rad-X and Rad-Away to last you at least 45 minutes of play time.
The Glowing Sea
The Glowing Sea is exactly what it sounds like — a vast ocean of nuclear waste where nothing lives.
Well, almost nothing. According to Dr. Amari, The Institute’s lead scientist is seeking refuge within the radiation-laden waste.
You’ll want to sprint through this section, as even with protection you’re likely going to take radiation damage.
Crater of Atom
The Crater of Atom is home to Fallout 4’s resident cultists, The Children of the Atom.
As their name would suggest, their weaponry relies heavily on energy weapons.
Fighting fire with fire isn’t a good option here, as they’ve grown resistant to radiation.
Shoot or melee your way through with caution, remembering to take some Rad-X and Rad-Away every few minutes.
Within the rocky cave, you’ll find Brian Virgil, an Institute scientist whose time in The Glowing Sea caused him to mutate into a Super Mutant.
Upon seeing you, he’ll immediately flee in fear, assuming you’re there on behalf of Kellogg and The Institute.
After a quick conversation, Virgil will agree to tell you how to enter The Institute, where your son is being held.
With the task at hand completed, fast travel out of the area. It isn’t worth the radiation damage from walking.
Hunter Hunted (C.I.T. Ruins)
The best thing about getting to C.I.T. Ruins is that even if you’re only playing the Fallout 4 main quest, you can get there with little trouble.
Fast travel to the closest location and walk the rest of the way. Sneak or shoot your way past Raiders and Super Mutants.
Once you enter the building, you’ll find that things are already a mess. Waves of enemies are targeting an elite Synth, Z2-47.
Your best bet is to let them chase him while Z2-47 takes care of them.
You’ll need to encounter Z2-47, so be prepared for a major shootout or a high speech check if you acquired the deactivation code from Mama Murphy.
Depending on the outcome, you’ll either have a new friend or a Courser Chip.
The Molecular Level
You’re almost there! It’s time to analyze the Courser Chip and break into The Institute once and for all.
The Memory Den
Head back to The Memory Den and speak with Dr. Amani.
You’ll need to complete a puzzle along the Freedom Trail, though if you want to skip it entirely, the code is ‘Railroad.’
Your newfound buddies hanging out under the Freedom Trail will help you crack the code, sending you off to speak with Virgil again.
Good news! You can fast travel to the Rocky Cave instead of running through the nuclear slough again.
Virgil will be happy to see you, offering the plans to a teleporter which will let you enter The Institute’s headquarters. He also requests you retrieve an antidote that will reverse his mutation.
Whether or not you grab said antidote is up to you, but agreeing is a requirement.
Now you’ll need to enlist the aid of one of the game’s three factions: The Brotherhood of Steel, The Minutemen, or The Railroad.
This choice is up to you. But note that the two other factions will immediately treat you as a hostile.
Institutionalized (The Institute)
You’ve made your choice, now it’s time to see your son.
Welcome to The Institute.
We won’t spoil the remainder of the game, but the conclusion comes quick.
You’ll have some tough choices to make. But if you stay on friendly terms with Father and his crew, you’ll have no trouble getting in and out of the building at will.
Don’t Waste(land) Your Time: Finish the Main Fallout 4 Quests
Though this is the end of our Fallout 4 quests guide, your journey is far from over.
There’s an entire final chapter to the game that can vary depending on the choices you’ve made along the way.
So be wary, Sole Survivor, because your hardest test is yet to come.
Of course, you could always hack your way through the game. Sound like fun? Then check out our guide on hacking your favorite game for the best weapons, XP, and more.