We won’t have an official review of Fallout 4 for another week or so; even with 20 hours into the game, we’ve barely scratched the surface of what’s out there in the Commonwealth. That said, that time in the trenches is something we’ve turned into a handy guide for new players. Here’s everything you need to know, in handy FAQ form. Got a question we haven’t answered? Ask us below.
What stats should I focus on when I start?
In the early going, you’re going to be doing a lot of sneaking and absorbing a lot of damage. So plan ahead: Up your endurance, which dictates your HP; and put points into agility, which increases your sneak chance. Invest some points in Perception and Intelligence, as well, as that will give you better chances of accessing terminals and picking more advanced locks early on.
Can I go in guns blazing?
Nope. Get familiar with crouching, because it not only gives you a danger meter that will be your first warning of something sneaking up on you, but also because you’ll often need to sneak around the installations of higher-level enemies. In fact, when you first get to Boston, expect everything to outlevel you. Not that you should go to Boston for a while.
What quests should I do first?
The game starts you off in the extreme upper-left hand corner of the map, which is roughly the safest area in the game. After you visit Concord and play through the first story mission, you’ll be tasked to go to Boston’s “Diamond City,” also known as Fenway Park.
Don’t. Take a moment, find the leader of the Minutemen, and join up. Then go southeast, find the Brotherhood of Steel, and join them, too. They’ll send you on a series of simple quests that will help you unlock spots on the map and rack up the perks and levels. It’s essentially grinding without the grinding, being that you’re finding new areas and lots of new loot to play with, and most of your opponents are easily dispatched without using ammo.
If I don’t want to die exploring, where should I go?
Stay north of Boston until you’re level 10 or so, which you’ll hit quickly. Everything you do in this game short of walk and pet Dogmeat gives you experience points. Just remember to quicksave whenever you find a new location, of which there are a lot, and regularly fast travel back to the opening area to dump all the vendor trash you find, because you should be picking all of it up.
Wait, I should take everything I find?
Yep. Fallout 4 puts a strong emphasis on crafting; you not only get experience for building everything from weapons mods to cooking radroach meat, it actually makes building new stuff for your various settlements a quest early in the game. So visit a few locations, take everything, and then head back to home base and dump it in order to build useful stuff out of it.
Where do I find the good loot?
On the edge of the map and in main quest areas, as a rule. Most of the really good stuff, like the permanent stat boosts and exotic weapons, is on the edges of the map, usually tucked away in bunkers or inside the better defended buildings. As a rule, if it’s a notable place on the map and you can go inside it, there’s usually something worth taking inside it, as well. It will also likely be full of enemies, though, so keep that in mind.
Do enemies respawn?
Nope. Once you greased them, they, so far at least, stay greased.
Should I use companions?
The companion AI is solid, but it’s still an automated sidekick. If you dislike them, this game’s not going to change your mind about that, so much so you can actually unlock a perk early on you can use when you go it alone.
How many Deathclaws are there?
Lots. I’ve stumbled across at least three so far, although thankfully you’re only required to fight the one, early on in the game after you get a set of power armor and a minigun. And I haven’t even explored most of the map yet; assume there are plenty of other nasty little surprises lurking in the various areas and dungeons you can explore.
How do I avoid running out of ammo?
You generally have enough carrying capability to have at least one gun that fires each type of round, so keep those weapons handy. Also, enemies in an area will generally use one or two types of ammo, and will of course carry guns you can use on their buddies, so switch to what they’re shooting at you; that way, you won’t run out.
Run into any bugs?
Yep, although nothing on the order of Skyrim‘s awful PS3 bug. The game plays well, generally, though, and even the worst bugs I’ve found are minor annoyances, not game breakers.
Any other questions? Just ask below, and I’ll answer. And keep an eye out later today; we’ll be streaming some non-spoiler sections of the game.