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Fallout 4

Fallout 4: Wasteland Survival Guide

We've put together some pointers to help you on your way through Bethesda's brilliant wasteland.

  • Gamereactor StaffGamereactor Staff

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Have you played Fallout 4 yet? If so, you are probably already aware of the myriad of things that need to be remembered, and because of this, we have decided to offer a little help in the form of a few simple pieces of advice, things which should make your stay in the wasteland a little more accommodating.

It's been a few days since Fallout 4 landed on store shelves, and undoubtedly many a reader-owned console and PC. Hopefully you've been enjoying your time with the game as much as we have so far, and you've gotten to explore a bit in the treacherous Commonwealth. There is a lot to discover in the game, and in order to help you on your way, we thought it only appropriate to give you some pointers on how to surviving the harsh radioactive wasteland, as it can all be a little overwhelming in the beginning, and certain important gameplay elements can easily be overlooked. Our tips to success in Fallout 4 are as follows:

Search your surroundings well

The first commandment of Fallout 4 applies as soon as you enter Vault 111 and rings true for the entire game. It's worthwhile extensively searching each new building you discover on your travels. You will find comics and magazines as well as bobble heads, in homes, in basements, in shacks, in abandoned industrial buildings - in everywhere.

These rare items can be easily overlooked, but they deliver valuable lasting benefits such as more damage for various types of weapons, increased agility, or better negotiating skills. You really want to collect as many as you possibly can. If you take care as you're playing you will discover most of these as you go.

If you get lost easily while looking for things inside the sometimes huge vaults or factories, you should enable the V.A.N.S. perk (found in intelligence tree). Then you can fire up V.A.T.S. when not in combat and the way to the quest objective is displayed for you. Very practical.

Fallout 4

Eat healthy

There is plenty of food to find whilst traversing the ruins of Boston, but not everything is healthy to eat. Actually almost all food found in the wasteland has been radiated, and this radiation can have quite a negative effect on your HP if too much unhealthy food is consumed. Instead of eating the food raw, we suggest seeking out the Cooking Stations that are scattered around the wasteland, where it's possible to cook your food. The process removes the radiation and ensures that the food restores a larger portion of HP when eaten.

Certain recipes even have temporary bonuses attached, such as the ability to carry more items or reducing damage taken in combat. It's important to get used to cooking your food often, not just because of the rads, but also because food is a great alternative to Stimpaks, which can be hard to find and produce, and these are often better saved for situations where individual limbs need healing.

A friend in need

In Fallout 4 companions play a big part, and can be extremely helpful when fighting through a horde of Super Mutants, or when a terminal needs to be hacked and your own skills are found wanting. There is, however, another upside to bringing a buddy along, as special perks get unlocked once your relationship reaches a certain level.

Every companion has a unique personality, and if you pay attention, you'll quickly learn their likes and dislikes in respects to your behaviour in the Commonwealth. Once you figure out the dos and don'ts, and as long as you choose a companion that shares your moral compass, getting in good standing with them should be a breeze. If you manage to romance a follower, other advantages unlock, but the nature of these will remain for you to find out for yourselves.

We mostly played with detective Nick Valentine, who likes it when we hack terminals or make certain sentiments known in dialogue with other characters. At the Brotherhood of Steel, however, there is no love for Nick and you should leave him behind for those missions. Just park him on the doorstep.

Fallout 4

To do lists

The crafting system in Fallout 4 is expansive, especially due to the sheer amount of objects that need to be collected in order to obtain the necessary items needed when constructing something. It can therefore be difficult to keep track of what you're looking for when rummaging through a desk while the bullets are flying all around.

Our advice is to "tag" the objects you wish to build in the Build menu, since all items with the necessary parts will be highlighted with an icon next to their names, making them much easier to discern when collecting. We do, however, recommend that players fill their pockets with junk at the beginning of the game, and simply unload it all at the Build Station, giving you a head-start with materials as you get building.

Taking care of business

Other than serving as a location for your homemade mansion, settlements are also a decent way of making a few caps every now and then. If you build some shops around the camps, and assign some dwellers to tend to them, a steady amount of caps will start accruing at your Build Station. The caps are easy to miss, but can be found by hitting "transfer", and then looking under the "Misc." category. If you return every few days to collect the profits, your economy will receive a nice little boost.

Retreat tactically...

Everyone has or will experience it. You're in an impossible situation, your HP is low, you're out of Stimpaks and your companion is knocked unconscious on the ground. Here you have two choices: fight to your last breath or stick your tail between your legs and run. We're all often too proud to go for the second option, but in Fallout 4 it can be a perfectly viable solution.

It is, after all, an RPG, and sometimes you will be faced with much tougher foes that are meant to be tackled later on, once you've gotten a few more levels under your belt. Therefore there's no shame in making a tactical retreat, as long as you return at a later point in time and make them regret messing with you in the first place.

Fallout 4

...or avoid combat altogether

Fighting doesn't always make sense. Many opponents in the wasteland, halfway between two locations, are ammunition sponges that eat lead like there's no tomorrow. Try to sneak passed or try to escape from the battle by running away or jumping up and out of danger. Be careful though, as sometimes running means running out of steam (and action points) and without these the V.A.T.S. system is momentarily useless. Be extra careful with security robots that swallow extreme amounts of valuable ammunition and leave nothing in return in terms of loot.

Don't take on too many quests and save often

One thing that you should always keep in mind is to not accumulate too many missions, but rather finish up on the quests that you've already undertaken. Otherwise it's likely you will run into quest blocking situations, frustrating moments that can then be only be sorted with a reload of a old save. One should therefore make sure to manually save every once in a while and use multiple slots (don't rely on the automatic saves). It's seconds well spent, and trust us, it can make a huge amount of difference to your personal mood if you've only got to backtrack a short while.

Use the Pip-Boy app to organise your inventory

Your inventory is almost always full, because you'll constantly find things that are (hopefully) useful. For interim storage, chests are located everywhere in Sanctuary and in other safe havens. Make sure you build these close to the fast travel point, as you usually come in overburdened and you're only able to walk very slowly.

To avoid frustration in the menus, download the Pip-Boy App (iPhone or Android) and link it to the game. Then you can casually scroll through the menus and even consume Stimpaks and other drugs. And don't carry too many guns or multiple sets of armour around; they simply weigh too much.

Fallout 4

Upgrade your guns

You can upgrade weapons and armour. Just don't invest too much in your guns and armour early on, there's no point making countless upgrades right at the beginning. Instead wait for the legendary weapons which are found on specially marked legendary enemies who keep them in their radiated pockets (careful, they mutate, you kind of have to kill them twice). These legendary guns should then be upgraded because they already have neat bonus perks as standard, such as the ability to cripple legs quickly, which slows down even the fastest synths and the nastiest ghouls.

Get a sneaky shot in first

One should start each fight (also with MG or Laser Turrets) hunched down in stealth mode, as this doubles the damage of the first hit. This is especially true when using a sniper rifle; a targeted headshot is more than half the battle. That said, a blow with a spiked baseball bat works wonders too.

The automatic targeting system - V.A.T.S. - continues to be reliably imprecise, so it may actually be more sensible to aim manually when out of combat, and target your enemy's head. Critical hits have to be earned (by a certain number of actions in V.A.T.S.) and they're triggered in V.A.T.S. manually. But these bullets will always reach their destination and therefore should be saved for truly critical situations.

Power Armour is for emergencies

Once you have your first power armour available, you might want to be in it all the time because of all the extra protection that it offers. However, it won't take long before you run out of fusion cores. They're scarce in the wasteland, and some of them will require you to go down into different Vaults to find (unless you manage to charm your way in of course).

We keep our Power Armour parked in Sanctuary, kept in reserve for particularly tough situations that we uncover, and for exploring the highly contaminated zone far to the Southwest. And whenever you meet someone in battle who's wearing Power Armour of their own, remember that there's always a fusion core in there. Sneak up behind them and pull it out.

There you have it, a selection of tips that we think should help you while out wandering the wastelands of the future. Good luck, and happy hunting.

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