Unless there are certain gamers reading this who have been completely sealed off from society in underground Vaults until now, most fans are well aware that Fallout 4 is on the way. The forthcoming installment in the post-apocalyptic franchise is hands down one of the most highly anticipated titles of the year, and up to this point, everything Bethesda has shown off since its trailer reveal at E3 2015 less than three months ago suggests the sequel could be the best entry in Fallout‘s history thus far.
With Bethesda recently explaining how the restructured S.P.E.C.I.A.L. stats system operates by working in tandem with 275 separate perk levels, we thought it would be appropriate to comb through all of the releases in the retro-futuristic RPG series prior to Fallout 4 and choose the ones that best represent Fallout‘s fun, self-effacing tone.
We not only selected several perks promoting Fallout‘s typically tongue-in-cheek atmosphere, but also included some that, when utilized properly, can be pretty helpful. Since there are a plethora to choose, and with each one benefiting a different style of play, it would be asinine to say that there is a definitive path to take when choosing perks. However, we believe the following picks do a great job of capturing the general essence of the Fallout experience.
Based on the Adrenaline Rush perk introduced in Fallout 2, Nerd Rage made its first appearance in Fallout 3, and was brought back once more for the Obsidian Entertainment-developed Fallout: New Vegas. Although many fans wouldn’t consider Nerd Rage to be all that necessary, as it only becomes active once a player’s hit points drop to or below 20%, it can be useful to gamers whose primary attack mode is melee, or if they are surrounded by a bunch of enemies in close-quarters.
Once Nerd Rage is triggered, a character’s Strength is automatically maxed-out to 10, and 50 points is added to their damage resistance in Fallout 3, while the Damage Threshold is boosted by 15 in New Vegas. To put it another way, it’s akin to morphing into the Incredible Hulk and wreaking havoc on bad guys, which is aproppriate considering all of the radiation featured in Fallout. Also, much like Bruce Banner, the giant green Avenger’s alter-ego, a player needs to be adept with the Science skill before the perk becomes an option.
In the Wasteland, it pays to have a ton of bottle caps – Fallout‘s primary currency – in the proverbial bank. Whether they’re of the Nuka-Cola or Sunset Sarsaparilla variety, caps are accepted by merchants and traders for equipment, they can fund repairs on gear, or they can even be used to coerce NPCs into giving up valuable information. So thankfully, Fortune Finder ensures players’ pockets remain lined with the soda lids.
With the Fortune Finder perk, Wastelanders will find considerably more bottle caps in containers than normal. In Fallout 1 & 2, players come across twice, or three times the typical amount of money, while in Fallout 3 and New Vegas there’s a 10% chance of discovering 20-80 or 110-190 extra caps. Although some gamers would argue that Scrounger is a better choice of perk in that it works in a similar way by almost doubling the quantity of ammo found in containers, Fortune Finder can be extremely beneficial for those sticking to non-violent playthroughs who need to save up for as many Stimpaks as possible.
Party Boy / Party Girl
With a sad, slumped, and disheveled-looking Vault Boy, Party Boy’s and Party Girl’s interface icon (depending on the character’s gender) resembles that of Fallout 1 and 2‘s Chem Reliant trait, but the similarities end there. And quite honestly, the Party Boy/Party Girl perk is somewhat useless, but it is a solid example of Fallout‘s developers imbuing the game with its trademark silliness.
Should Vault Dwellers find themselves constantly swilling spirits throughout their travels – be it beer, moonshine, scotch, vodka, or wine – then alcohol addiction is nearly inevitable, and the dependency will knock Agility and Charisma stats down by -1 apiece. Choosing Party Boy/Girl negates the effects, but the addiction still remains. Even so, the perk of booze lovers everywhere can only be found in Fallout 3 with the Broken Steel DLC after reaching level 28.
Inspired by the trenchcoat-wearing gumshoe heroes of 1940’s and 1950’s film noir, the Mysterious Stranger is a deadly, enigmatic figure with a relatively unknown past. Some have theorized that he’s the absent father of The Lonesome Drifter – a solitary musician who has set up camp near El Dorado Gas & Service in Fallout: New Vegas – as it’s implied in the games. Nonetheless, picking the Mysterious Stranger perk initiates the possibility of the man literally showing up out of nowhere to assist in battles and finish off enemies.
Although the Mysterious Stranger is a part of all the series’ titles, the character’s appearances in Fallout 3 and New Vegas are decidedly the coolest, for when he unholsters his weapon before riddling bad guys full of holes, a brief, twangy refrain plays. Should fans be playing New Vegas, a perk comparable to Mysterious Stranger exists called Miss Fortune which calls forth a female assassin to aid the player in fights, but unfortunately her attacks aren’t as powerful as the duster-clad Stranger.
Whether it’s a laser pistol, a plasma rifle, or a Tesla cannon, a lot of fans consider Fallout‘s energy weapons to be choice among the franchise’s seemingly endless array of guns, grenades, and melee hardware. Usually, players who opt to pump power cells into their enemies instead of lead go with the Meltdown perk when given the choice.
Made exclusively for energy weapon aficionados, as the related skill needs to at least reach 90 before it can be selected, Meltdown prompts an explosion centered on the target of an energy weapon kill. Not to mention, the perk has the capacity to spark a chain reaction of blasts amid nearby foes, especially if using a firearm that shoots in bursts. Plus, Meltdown’s most advantageous aspect lies in its ability to link the potency of the explosions caused by the perk to the weapon used by the player. For instance, the extraordinarily powerful Gauss rifle’s DPS (Damage Per Second) of 360 could deal upwards of 300 points of pain to allies and adversaries alike after the primary shots have been accounted for. Having said that, it’s best to keep one’s distance from potential victims if Meltdown is chosen, but it’ll definitely come in handy when facing a mob of Deathclaws.
Consistently maintaining equipment in an environment as harsh as the wilds borne of a nuclear explosion is not only imperative, but also challenging. Players whose characters aren’t versed in refurbishing wares tend to spend most of their hard-earned caps ensuring vendors keep their favorite goods in working condition, while those who build their repair skill still have a hard time finding the right parts to do so. Thankfully, Jury Rigging makes it easier to preserve the original integrity of gear, but unfortunately, the perk is only found within Fallout: New Vegas.
Rather than having to solely repair items based on specific types, Jury Rigging allows gamers to fix them by category as well. For instance, rarities like the Ranger Sequoia can be repaired with the more commonly found .357 magnum revolver since they’re both classified as one-handed revolvers. There are 13 categories of weapons that the Jury Rigging perk enables repairing within, such as two-handed melee, bolt/lever action guns, grenade launchers, etc. Correspondingly, clothing can be mended within their category (light, medium, and heavy), and practically all headgear can be fixed with others of its ilk as well. Simply put, Jury Rigging is essential for those of us wishing to extend the life of the best guns and armor for as long as possible.
The Fallout series is rife with objects worthy of collection, and with so much stuff to amass, it usually leads to an inordinate amount of hoarding. Since almost all of the items in the games are assigned a weight value, it’s important for Wastelanders to be certain that there’s plenty of spare room in their packs when scavenging. This is especially true if fans are playing on Hardcore mode, where even the smallest article – bottle caps included – adds to an inventory’s heaviness. Luckily, the developers included the crucial perk known as Strong Back in all of the titles to make the load more bearable.
Once players choose Strong Back, they’re immediately given the ability to carry an additional 50 pounds of equipment. It’s particularly effective in the New Vegas add-on Lonesome Road, for if it’s combined with a Strength of 10, the Burden to Bear perk, the equipped NCR Courier duster, and the Hoarder trait, a 400 pound holding weight can be achieved before being over-encumbered. Bearing all of this in mind, should folks wish to rummage every location without having to frequently stop and unload at their hideouts, Strong Back is absolutely recommended.
Grim Reaper’s Sprint
One of the most enjoyable and unique features of the Fallout franchise is the action-RPG’s VATS combat. For the uninitiated, the Vault-Tec Assisted Targeting System, as it’s more accurately called, creates a cinematic experience in battle, allowing players to stop or slow-down time to shoot specific parts of an enemy to varying degrees of success. Doing so costs Action Points (AP), and characters are only allotted a certain amount, but if players pick Grim Reaper’s Sprint as a perk, AP is restored after a successful kill.
Grim Reaper’s Sprint was introduced in Fallout 3 to accentuate the game’s shift from an isometric view into a 1st person/3rd person perspective. The perk is at its most potent when chosen in Fallout 3, for after gamers finish off an enemy in VATS, all AP is instantly regenerated, whereas New Vegas‘ version only gives back 20 Action Points. At any rate, should gunslingers wish to facilitate more combat with a feel of motion pictures, Grim Reaper’s Sprint is a mandatory pick.
Be it centaurs, feral ghouls, or yao guai, the post-apocalyptic world of Fallout is populated with its fair share of grotesque and violent-looking creatures, and Bloody Mess is there for players who wish to turn them into even more macabre, twisted figures. Despite the fact that the perk mostly affects the gameplay cosmetically, one would be hard-pressed to find a fan of the series whose face doesn’t light up when discussing it.
In addition to adding +5% Damage to all weapons, Bloody Mess does exactly what the name implies, in that it often turns enemies into exploded piles of guts and gore. Technically speaking, the perk increases the probability of limb dismemberment, and when weapons like frag grenades or mini-nukes are involved, players should expect to see baddies virtually blown to bits. However, if gamers are pitted against a horde of foes, it won’t be easy looting all that remains after the fight, because fleshy fragments will be strewn everywhere. By and large, Bloody Mess was made for fans with a soft spot for over-the-top carnage.
If gamers are going to survive the Wasteland, it’s paramount that they focus on the right S.P.E.C.I.A.L. stats to suit the type of character they wish to create. Players that want an unarmed brawler should concentrate their points on Strength, for it modifies hit points and melee damage. Those who desire a protagonist with a more pacifist streak ought to direct their efforts to upping Charisma, as it affects speech and bartering. Nevertheless, balance is also key, so people who tend to put all of their eggs in one basket would do well to make use of the Intense Training perk.
With the capacity to be reused a maximum of 10 individual ranks each time a player levels up in Fallout 3 and New Vegas (the image above is inaccurate for base titles, as it represents a modded version of the game), Intense Training offers the chance to allot an additional point into the S.P.E.C.I.A.L. stats system, which aids in the creation of a more rounded and fortified character. Moreover, the perk is available at level 2 if folks want to start building toward the apex Courier or Vault Dweller early on. Also, should gamers decide to rough it for a while by sticking only with the stat points presented at the outset, Intense Training can be chosen at any given point throughout the rest of the campaign for an extra character builder boost.
While the perks we chose can be considered some of the best that the Fallout series has to offer thus far, there’s no telling which, if any, will return in Fallout 4 once it becomes available. Having said that, fans could make educated guesses on the matter since leaked gameplay footage from gamescom 2015 showed off some of the perks in animated form, but developers make changes before the final product ships all the time, so it’s most prudent to wait until the game’s officially completed.
Plus, it’s entirely possible that the ones we’ve picked get shown up by totally new perk system upgrade inclusions. To be fair, Bethesda’s promised some bold changes and refinements to the forthcoming sequel – the incorporation of main character voice acting immediately comes to mind – so it wouldn’t be odd if the studio decided to add some fresh, original perks into the mix.
What do you think about the perks we’ve picked to represent Fallout? Which ones did we forget? Also, which perks do you believe Bethesda will have in Fallout 4?
Fallout 4 is set to release on November 10, 2015 for PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.