I have played over 200 hours now of Fallout 4 and am currently working through my third play through. I did the first run on easy setting but am now running on normal difficulty. I usually like to start a new game on a lower setting. I don’t like getting stressed too much while learning how the game goes.
If you are not playing survival mode then you don’t have to worry much about food, sleeping, etc. I feel my character is a bit like the Dragon warrior from Kung Fu Panda. “..can survive for months at a time on nothing but the dew of a single ginko leaf and the energy of the universe”. In this case swap in stim packs and purified water. The stim packs restore health quickly and the purified water more slowly. If your health is really low take a few stim packs at once. In Fallout 4 most things you eat or drink will give you some level of radiation. This is removed with Rad-away packs. The packs are easy to find. The purified water will not give you any radiation.
The first play through I did I wanted to focus on stealth. I decided to forgo the power armour you get early on and just use leather. The power armour does reduce your stealth in the early game. However it doesn’t stop you sneaking around. You are just more likely to be heard and spotted. However there are so many benefits to wearing power armour that I now prefer to use it. The armour is powered by Fusion Cores and in the early game it can be hard to find them. If you run out of power the suit moves very slowly. You can use the fast travel option to get back to Sanctuary. Using a suit without power isn’t practical. I explored a bit without the suit and found 2 cores. After that I haven’t had a hard time getting fusion cores for the suit.
The leather stealth play through I did I focused on Agility as my main stat as this enhances being sneaky. However I didn’t know at the time the importance of charisma to the game. I still had fun and didn’t overly worry when I ‘failed’ a charisma check when chatting to people. A friend at work said that some quests in the game only show up when you ‘pass’ these checks. Meh. Play the game how you want to I say.
However with Power armour you need certain stats to be able to upgrade it and add special mods to the armour. I picked a strength based stat focus for my second play through but quickly aborted it as I had to put points into stats rather than perks. I looked at what stats I would need for the perks I wanted and this is what I came up with.
Strength – 4 (for blacksmithing or use 3 if you only want the armorer perk)
Perception – 4 (lockpicking)
Charisma – 6 (local leader)
Intellect – 6 (for hacking and science perk – power armour mods)
Agility – 3 (for stealth perk)
Endurance and Luck – whatever points you have left
If you are like me and are not a fan of companions use the lone wanderer perk. You can talk to your companion and send it back to Sanctuary or any other settlement.
The reason for the local leader perk is to be able to create trading stations at your settlements and to setup supply lines. The supply lines is done through the workshop interface and you assign a settler to link to another settlement. This allows you to access resources at the settlement that is linked. I mostly link them to Sanctuary as I use this as my base. The settlements are amusing to me but you can ignore them if you want to. Just get Sanctuary setup and ignore the Minutemen quests. I mostly did that for the Brotherhood of Steel play through. The BoS give you a workshop at their base later on. I switched all my supplies to that base from Sanctuary once I could.
So If you want to play settlements there are a couple of things to focus on. Beds, water, food and defense. I usually clear (R key to scrap) whatever I can that isn’t useful. Then use these supplies to help setup the rest. If you have the local leader perk you can assign a settler to the supply line to help with the lack of resources to build things. Once you have the basics setup I transfer any useful items for the workshop store to my inventory then continue exploring and questing.
Talking about useful items and inventory, it can be amusing what items are laying around that are actually useful. Adhesive is the number one thing you need. It is used in all armour, weapon and power armour crafting. So if you see Duct Tape or glue or vegetable starch pick it up or buy it from the vendor. You can never have enough. With the food at the settlements setup you can make vegetable starch. This is helpful when you find yourself short of duct tape. Use a cooking station and you can craft this. Other items that are useful are screws (toy cars, desk fans, etc) and springs, gears, circuits, etc. Just start by picking up lots of items. You can tag an item for search in the crafting stations. Then any item you see in game that has a component you need it will have a magnifying glass icon next to it. If you are curious what components an item has you can use the R key for transfer rather than E to take. This will show you what components an item has when you hover over it.
Most weapons you find in the early game are pipe ones. Apart from the 10mm pistol you get at the start. I like having some kind of sniper rifle with a scope. It helps me to check out things at a distance. Keep the 10mm and mod it. I use it right through the whole game. It is good against raiders in full stealth once you get the suppressor on it. The pipe rifles do not have a lot of power but are easy to find. I use the rifle one and swap it out as soon as I find a Hunting Rifle. This can eventually be upgraded to a .50 caliber sniper with recon scope and suppressor. Also good weapons are the combat shotgun and the combat rifle. Later on the assault rifle is very powerful but the ammo is harder to come by. The 5.56 ammo is mainly found on destroyed turrets. Other than that you have the energy weapons that I don’t use much. Also the missile launcher is good to hang onto. Keep the Fat Man around for those mobs that are painful to kill otherwise. (Silly queen mirelurk. &@%^& ). As the Fat Man is really heavy I tend to store it along with the mini-nuke ammo in the workshop at Sanctuary until I need it. There are lots of grenades and mines and other types of weapons including melee ones. I must admit I tend to forget the grenades until after I should have used them.
There are four main factions in the game. The first one you encounter is the Minutemen. They are focused on helping settlers and responding to calls of help. You can quest with the Minutemen and it won’t impact your interaction with the other factions. You can chose the Minutemen to finish the main story but I haven’t done that yet.
Next up is the Underground Railroad. I found the quest to find them was interesting and fun. They are focused on freeing the synths that want to escape and get them away from the Institute. They are a secretive bunch with dead drop quests and infiltrate the Institute quests. Quite fun and I did my first play through with this group as my chosen faction of the main story arc.
The Brotherhood of Steel you encounter once you enter Cambridge. They are a military faction that focus on protecting people by killing the raiders, ghouls and super mutants. They have an strong hatred of Synths and the Institute. I tend to hate this sort of faction but was curious to see how the ending differed from the Underground Railroad. So my second play through was a BoS one. I found the quests leading up to the end of the story arc amusing. They are a little black and white about who they think are good and evil. It can be a bit disturbing in places but overall it was fun.
The other faction is the Institute and are generally considered ‘evil’ by the other factions. They are a science based organization staying hidden and creating the Synths that you hear a lot about in game. My current play through of the game I will chose the Institute faction. I am curious to see how that ends. Generally though I find their actions give me the creeps. They are trying to do ‘good’ but go about it the wrong way.
Overall I find this game great. You can ignore everything and explore or focus on the main quests or a bit of both. You can do the settlements or not. I am doing a lot more exploring this time around and finding quests I missed. I am enjoying this game a lot. Chose your own path through Fallout 4 and just have some fun.