Press Start: Tips to survive the wasteland in 'Fallout 4'
The Commonwealth is an unforgiving place, full of hostile creatures, mutant insects and deranged raiders. If you've ventured past Sanctuary Hills after awaking in the wasteland, you probably already know this.
How does one survive such a brutal place, where water poisons you, rotting ghouls tackle you before you even know they're there and radiation storms make being outside a risky proposition? The key is preparation. Here are some tips to survive your first few hours in “Fallout 4's” desolate, post-apocalyptic setting.
CONSIDER YOUR BUILD
“Fallout 4” is unique in that you're not locked into the build you create at the beginning of the game. By acquiring bobbleheads and books spread throughout the wasteland, it's possible to up your base stats. When you level up, you can invest points into your SPECIAL attributes rather than unlocking a perk. With no level cap, it's technically possible to create a flawless character with every trait you could ever want.
But doing that would take hundreds of hours, so you should still think about the kind of character you want before throwing your points into random stats and calling it good.
I play as a redhead named Rachel. She's the sneaky type who prefers to pick off targets from a safe distance. When tensions rise, she can talk her way out of a tough situation.
For those reasons, I gave her some extra points in perception, which affects her accuracy, and charisma, which gives her more conversation options. Of course, that meant I had to pull some points from strength and luck.
Perhaps you'd like to play as a meleeing brute and throw nine points into strength and make his intelligence low. Or you could be a smooth-talking ninja and maximize your charisma and agility and drop your strength and luck. The point is to consider your playstyle and build a character around your preferred method of play.
Keep in mind you're not stuck with the face shape or hair you choose, either. A barber and facial reconstruction surgeon are available at Diamond City, “Fallout 4's” main hub.
GET SOME POWER ARMOR
After emerging from Vault 111 shortly after the game begins, you're free to roam wherever you please, but don't run off all willy nilly or you're likely to get disemboweled by a deathclaw faster than you can regret your eagerness. By following the storyline quests for just a little while, you'll quickly have access to a minigun and power armor, both of which turn you into a walking tank.
After going to your bombed-out home and speaking to Codsworth, your trusty robot companion, travel down the road to Concord. Follow the sound of gunfire and help a group of wastelanders survive a raider attack. At the end of the quest, they'll reward you with a minigun and a suit of power armor.
Don't think that you've just acquired a failsafe way to breeze through the game, though. In “Fallout 4,” power armor runs on fusion cores that deplete as they're used. Park your power armor someplace safe, such as Sanctuary Hills, and resist the urge to use it until you really need to gain an edge in a difficult encounter.
INVEST IN THE ARMORER AND GUN NUT PERKS
One of the best things “Fallout 4” allows you to do is modify your armor and guns. The Armorer and Gun Nut perks allow for even deeper customization.
I'm 45 hours into the game and sporting an umpire's mask helmet, synth chest piece, combat armor on one arm and leg and metal armor on the others. All are worn over the same vault suit I've had since the game began.
Each piece of armor has been reinforced and built with pockets to up my carry weight. In total, they offer far more protection from bullets and lasers alike than standard armor I've found in the world.
Even better than the Armorer perk is the Gun Nut one. “Fallout 4” offers a wealth of options to fine-tune firearms and melee weapons to your playstyle. At the beginning of my playthrough, I found a pistol made from rusty pipes and wood. Forty-five hours later, I still have it, only now it's a rifle with a recoil-absorbing stock, drum clip, silencer, finned barrel and a “scope” with two screws for sights. I've affectionately named it “The Coroner,” and I wouldn't be caught dead without it. (Or maybe I would, but not having it would be the reason I'm dead.)
Of course, to modify your armor and guns, you'll need crafting components, which come from all the junk you can pick up in the world. Prepare to spend some time (hours, if you're like me and don't fast travel) ferrying pockets full of toys, appliances and precious, precious duct tape between wherever you're exploring and your base. It's all worth it when you craft a truly deadly weapon that will become a close companion for hours of play.
TAKE YOUR TIME
There's no rush to see everything “Fallout 4” has to offer in its first week, so slow your roll and take in the sights.
Find a new location while questing in the wasteland? Check it out.
See a shady-looking character in Diamond City? Try talking to him.
Spot a terminal? Interact with it and read up. They often contain unsettling backstories.
Don't be afraid to lose yourself in the wasteland, but, at the same time, don't sweat beating the game. You'll be allowed to explore to your heart's content once the main quest is done.
But most importantly, have fun, because that's really what “Fallout 4” allows players to do best.
Video game columnist Jake Magee has been with GazetteXtra since 2014. His opinion is not necessarily that of Gazette management. Let him know what you think by emailing [email protected], leaving a comment below, or following @jakemmagee on Twitter.