One of the gaming elements that make RPGs so immersive is the ability to get as specific and specialized as one wishes when it comes to making a character. Regardless of what game you're playing, if you have the ability to create a character however you want, you'll automatically be able to play through the game as you'd like to rather than how developers have dictated it will be done. This all goes without saying if you're a fan of the genre.
Plenty of games do this well, and one awesome example is the Fallout series, in which one can create pretty much any type of character they want. Building a character geared toward one single style of play is a popular tactic, and requires picking attributes and perks that will support that tactic. While tricking out a character to be a flawless gunslinger can be fun, it can lead to some weakness, especially against any enemy that can quickly get in close. While building a character that can dominate in one aspect of gameplay is one tactic, keeping multiple types of weapons and picking perks and balanced attributes that make a character effective in all aspects of gameplay is also a decent choice. While some perks primarily benefit one strategy, others can help any player. On the other hand, some are comically useless no matter what kind of character you're using. Here are eight great overall perks and seven that are brutal no matter how you're playing Fallout 4.
15 Best: Idiot Savant
The Idiot Savant perk is our first in the "best category," and is also one of the funniest perks in the game. Idiot Savant, as a perk, is a great reason to keep your character dumber than a bag of hammers. With this perk, characters will have the possibility to achieve huge XP bonuses anytime the perk randomly activates. The lower one's intelligence is, the more likely the perk is to activate. For maximum results, when nearing the completion of a major quest, save your game and beat that level, loading that save until the perk does activate, so you can level up as quickly as possible. Can it take a while? Yes. Is it cheating? Sort of. Does it help the process of quickly leveling your character? Absolutely.
14 Worst: Ghoulish
As bad Fallout 4 perks go, Ghoulish is our "best of the worst." Basically, it sucks and there are tons of other perks that are better, but this one isn't so bad we want to fire a Mini-Nuke at whoever thought it up.
Ghoulish allows a player to regain some health points for every bit of radiation damage that is taken. The problem is that until you hit rank 4, which requires the Nuka World add on, the radiation will accumulate far faster than health will regenerate. Basically, there are enough ways to regain health points in the game, and getting irradiated is not one of them. Most players agree that the specific wording of this perk makes it sound like radiation heals the player, while in reality, it heals while the person accumulates rads.
13 Best: Locksmith
We thought of including Hacker and Locksmith together, but they are on two different levels in terms of importance. While there are plenty of computers throughout the game that can be hacked, doing so is far less essential than having the ability to get through locked doors. The Locksmith ranks only require Perception level 4, and the three first ranks allow you to unlock advanced, expert, and master locks respectively. The fourth rank is nice to have, as it makes lockpicks unbreakable, but at the same time, they are so incredibly numerous throughout the game that it is unnecessary to spend the perk choice.
It would be very difficult to play through a Fallout game without some lockpicking expertise, and opting for the second and third ranks of the perk will be important because whether it is doors or locked boxes with loot, all the best goodies are behind expert and master locks.
12 Worst: Lead Belly?
Lead Belly gives you the ability to take less (and then none at rank 3) radiation from water and food. Here's the catch, if you've played the game (regardless of difficulty), you know that irradiated food and water only start to cause a problem if you gorge yourself and chug like there is no tomorrow. Furthermore, in Fallout 4 there are ways to deal with irradiated food and water. Dirty water can be purified, and foods can be cooked to get rid of rads. Furthermore, if you're afraid of radiation, Rad-X and Radaway are both fairly plentiful as you progress through the game; at least plentiful enough to deal with the relatively minimal rads one will have to deal with after eating food or drinking dirty water. Skip this one and spend that perk choice on just about anything else.
11 Best: Strong Back
Strong Back is one of the most essential perks in the game simply because it helps in two of the most important aspects of gameplay. First off, the 25 lbs that are gained with rank one plus the 50 gained at rank two make it much easier to get a character ample gear and weaponry to handle any task as opposed to stressing over what to take, and what to leave or drop. In short, it helps with combat. The ability to carry more allows extra armor or weapons, thus giving you greater capacity to engage different types of enemies, whether they are rushing you or holding back for long range combat. Furthermore, the extra carrying weight, in conjunction with added ability to run and then fast travel when over-encumbered (ranks 3 and 4 respectively), makes it far easier to carry an absurd amount of gear to sell to merchants, rather than having to do multiple trips. In terms of efficiency, there are few perks as important as Strong Back.
10 Worst: Steady Aim
Much the same as in the Call of Duty franchise, Steady Aim is a perk that allows for more accurate hip fire accuracy. This perk was very useful in those games, but we found it far less important in Fallout 4. Here is the problem, in Call of Duty multiplayer modes, players often took two or three hits to die from an assault rifle or submachine gun fire. If they were up close, a couple of controlled bursts with Steady Aim on was all it took, and saved the time of bringing the gun up to use the sights.
In Fallout, the increase in accuracy (20% and 40% for two ranks), isn't enough to make this perk worth it, and furthermore, even if your rounds are hitting, enemies aren't dying in this game like they do in Call of Duty. Spend your points elsewhere and aim down sights like an adult.
9 Best: Armorer
The reason we are including Armorer on this list, but leaving off all weapon-class perks is that different weapon related perks often only affect the specific type for which they are intended, and therefore will be more useful to certain players. Conversely, the Armorer perk is useful for every character you will ever build. That is, unless you're trying to play the whole game with your character in his or her underwear...which we imagine someone has done "for the lulz."
With a number of mods that can be applied to armor and the different types of armors that can be used by various types of characters, having access to rank 4 mods gets incredibly important as you progress through the game.
8 Worst: Chem resistant
Let it never be said that the Fallout games don't teach players that there are consequences for actions. If you kill someone their friends will come for you. If you enter a radioactive area, your health will suffer. Finally, if you abuse drugs or alcohol for their effects, you will become addicted, and life will be tough. Of course, addiction in Fallout is nothing compared to real life withdrawal, but there is only so much realism a video game can provide. In Fallout 4, being addicted sucks, but it doesn't necessarily ruin the game. With that in mind, using one of the may methods of curing addiction may be a better choice than stocking up on the Chem Resistant perk. To get rid of the addiction, do any of the following: in no particular order, find a doctor and pay a small fee, buy and take Addictol, craft a cure, or devour a rad scorpion egg omelette. Any of the above will do, save your perk points for something better.
7 Best: Critical Banker
Fallout 4 shook things up in terms of what it means to score a critical. In the early games, critical hits were up to chance, and in Fallout 3 and New Vegas, the system was changed but still relied on chance. In the most recent game, as you fight and score hits, your critical hit meter becomes full until you can use one. It was very useful and allowed players to choose when to use these precious combat elements.
The ability to store a few of these and use them when they are most needed is an incredible boost to any player, regardless of how they are trying to go about the game. The top rank of the perk, 5, is available in Far Harbor, and allows for five of these to be stored (four extra and one in the meter). This amount of critical hits can help a player through just about any tough fight.
6 Worst: Rooted
Some of these terrible perks that we've included under the label of "worst" seem good in theory but fail to work in practice. Rooted is the complete opposite. This perk, to an experienced player, doesn't even sound like a helpful one, rather it sounds like, and indeed is, a hindrance to try to use properly.
The only scenario in which this perk is a winner is if you're up against a single enemy and they are unarmed, or wielding a melee weapon. Beyond that, useless. Rooted requires you to have a melee weapon or no weapon equipped and gives boosts of 25% and 50% to damage and damage resistance. More often than not in any Fallout game, several enemies will be attacking you at once, and staying put essentially makes you a target for ranged weapon users and a pile-on opportunity for rushers.
5 Best: Lifegiver
There are some perks in the game that become more useful as the game goes on, and others that are much more important early on, but Lifegiver is both. If it is one of the first perks taken, the extra 20 health points will help any player get started, especially if you're playing on a tougher difficulty. The second rank of the perk is not all that impressive, bring another plus 20 to maximum health. The third and final rank, which is available with just 3 endurance and at level 20, brings yet another 20 health points along with the ability to regenerate .5% of one's health per second when not in combat. This is one of the regenerating perks that is extremely useful and should be prioritized, allowing you to save some extra money for armor and weapons rather than stimpaks.
4 Worst: Quick Hands
This is another perk essentially taken from Call of Duty and allows you to reload firearms more quickly. For a first-person shooter like that, in which one is constantly running and gunning, the next threat may be heading around the corner any second and reliable cover is seldom an option, a perk like this is a great idea. Fallout is no first person shooter, and the only time Quick Hands would be useful is if you advance so quickly through the game, with no care or little attention to your surroundings, that you frequently run into the middle of open areas and get consistently overrun by enemies. With very few exceptions, firearms don't take a ton of time to reload, and cover is plentiful throughout the game, so reloading is not your biggest problem in combat.
3 Best: Sneak
We shouldn't need to explain why sneaking is important in this game, or any similar game (Skyrim, anyone?), but we'll do it anyway. Aside from making you up to 50% more difficult to detect while sneaking, which is a huge advantage that also affects most of your companions, the second and third ranks of Sneak allows you to avoid floor-based traps and mines respectively.
The real way in which Sneak is useful is that fact that it can compliment so many other perks and items throughout the game, including armor mods, silencers for firearms, and stealth boys (which can make you almost completely undetectable when used with sneak). Of course, using this with perks like Blitz or Ninja can enable huge criticals that can make quick work of many enemies.
2 Worst: V.A.N.S.
The Vault-Tec Assisted Navigational System is without a shadow of a doubt one of the most pointless "perks" in this game. V.A.N.S. allows the player to see the quickest route to their destination with a line that will show up when the player holds the V.A.T.S. button. The game justifies this perk by saying it is useful in large buildings that may be more complicated to find one's way through. The problem with it is, it doesn't work flawlessly and sometimes, that magical line won't even appear. There have only been a few buildings in the Fallout series, let alone number four, that require something like this, and while certain parts of the wasteland can be difficult to find and navigate, there is no need to waste a perk choice on this one.
1 Best: Lone Wanderer
If you really like having company for your trip through the wasteland, this perk will not be for you. On the other hand, if companions aren't really your thing, this may well be the best perk in the game. The first two ranks of the perk decrease the amount of damage you take by 15% and 30%, while increasing carry weight by 50 and 100. The third rank adds 25% to how much damage you dish out. With Far Harbor, you gain 25 more action points, who can't use 25 more of those, right?
Now, you may be saying "this is nonsense, there are plenty of reasons to keep a companion around." There is a loophole with the "you can't have companions for this perk" rule. You can still travel with Dogmeat and retain the benefits of this perk. While we're on the topic, does a true Wanderer need anything more than his pooch? The answer is no.