I'm not sure if this is my kind of game. Should I play it at all?
If you want to know what I think of the game, hit up my review: http://cheerfulghost.com/Travis/posts/2738/fallout-4-review-of-the-first-156-hours
But that's not all, it's so good someone sued Bethesda for making such a good game: http://cheerfulghost.com/jdodson/posts/2742/gamer-sues-bethesda-claiming-fallout-4-was-so-addictive-it-ruined-his-life
And if won our Triple-A game of the year award for 2015: http://cheerfulghost.com/jdodson/posts/2753/cheerful-ghost-2015-game-of-the-year-awards
And sold 12 million copies on launch day: http://cheerfulghost.com/jdodson/posts/2703/fallout-4-sold-12-million-copies-on-launch-day
OK, I'm convinced. I'm a completionist and I want a nice map that shows me significant locations.
Well, you're in luck!
This is the most important thing on the list, so it comes first. It's an interactive map for those of you trying to find every quest, bobblehead, skill magazine, and so on. Some of them include links to youtube videos or guides on how to find them.
While we're talking about maps, this map shows you all the settlements with a suggested supply line diagram to connect them all. I wish I had this to start with, because my supply lines were a mess!
But what if I need more info?
The fallout wiki is your friend: http://fallout.wikia.com/wiki/Fallout_Wiki
This one may seem obvious, but while you need at least one tab for the interactive map, this should be in your second tab. Dedicated players have written about nearly anything you could ever want to know here.
What if I need to fix a problem or cheat my way out of a situation?
You can use these to cheat your way to greatness, but even the purest of playthroughs will probably end up with a few bugs. Often the only fix is to use some console commands to get around them. Many stuck quests, missing NPCs, and other bugs can be squashed with a few commands.
I've heard leveling is different in this game. What do?
Now that you have your reference material handy, let's talk about leveling. If you're used to previous Fallout games, this might take some getting used to. You assign your S.P.E.C.I.A.L. stats at the start like always, but you don't have a separate set of skills that you level up like before. Instead, each time you level up you get a point you can spend on a perk. Theses perks are dependent on you having a particular S.P.E.C.I.A.L. trait high enough. For instance, to pick stronger locks, you need the Locksmith perk, but if you don't have a Perception of 4 or higher, you're out of luck. But, you can also choose to spend your perk points to raise S.P.E.C.I.A.L. traits if needed.
Since there's no max level, you could theoretically have a perfect character, but you'd need to be over level 200 to pull that off.
I want to craft things, what do I need?
Fallout 4's crafting system is pretty deep, from tweaking your weapons and armor to building giant towers for your settlers to live in. But for any of that, you're going to need materials, and when you're fresh out of the vault you don't have many of those. Pretend you're a pack mule and bring along a companion to help carry stuff, because nearly everything can be scrapped for materials. Early in the game, you may think you need money, but you barely ever do. Anything you were planning to sell may be better used as scrap for your crafting projects.
This heavily depends on your play style though. If you aren't interested in building, that's fine-- you don't need to do it much.
Most settlements have all the crafting stations you need to craft armor and weapon mods, cook food, and build stuff for your settlements. Sanctuary and Red Rocket, the first ones you come by, have all the crafting stations, but if your chosen settlement doesn't, you can build them. When you try to build something, it will tell you the materials you need, and if you don't have them you can highlight that kind of material so that it shows up more easily when you're out scavenging.
You mentioned building for your settlements. How do I do that?
Settlement building is a new mechanic that can add hours of fun and infinite replay value if you like it. I'm not going to go into detail on it here, because there's an amazing youtube channel for that: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCk0f3EHEals0u3PF6kfNixg
It's kinda lonely in the wasteland, I want some company.
Your faithful buddy, Dogmeat, is your first companion, but there are many others. Dogmeat will always love you no matter what, but the other companions require some wooing to really like you. Also, many companions will participate in conversations with other NPCs, and some will initiate conversation with people they know.
- Companions replace the antiquated karma system. A shady character might like it when you get stoned, run around naked, and steal from people, while hating when you do nice things for people, and some are the opposite. Some love you tinkering with things, one particularly difficult to please companion hates you doing anything with technology or talking your way out of things. The wiki has a full list of what companions love and hate.
- Most companions can be romanced when they like you enough and you pass a speech check. You can even romance as many as you want, and as long as you don't flirt with the others in earshot you'll never have issues. You homewrecker.
- Many companions have quests at about half affinity. These are some of the best quests in the game and can significantly change the character.
- If you weren't convinced by all that, companions give you special perks at max affinity. So collect them all and get them all to love you!
The wiki has a full article on how affinity works: http://fallout.wikia.com/wiki/Affinity
I heard something about a robot saying your name...
Your robot butler, Codsworth, who can become a companion as well, can say nearly 1000 names. So if your character's name is on the list, you can have a more personal experience. The list ranges from normal names like "Bob," to sci-fi names like Scully, Ripley, and McFly, to more absurd names like "MISTER BOOBIES!"
Watch this video for a fun look at it: https://youtu.be/TpoQgaTazmc
And of course, the wiki has a full list: http://fallout.wikia.com/wiki/Codsworth/recognized_names
Ripley, eh? Nice. Alien is my favorite movie.
If you like aliens, then have I got news for you! The alien easter eggs from previous Fallout games haven't been forgotten, and you can get the alien blaster here as well. To start, go east and slightly south of Oberland Station, walk into the woods, and look for a crashed alien ship. There will be a green trail of alien blood that you can follow to find the alien and get his blaster. This may require a random encounter to happen, where you'll hear the sound of a crash and your companion will comment wondering what happened. You can also find it by turning on Relay Tower 1DL-109 and following the radio signal like you would the others.
Wait, what radio signals?
There are various locations called Relay Tower [letters and numbers] that will boost the signal of any nearby radio transmissions. When you turn on the relay towers, you will discover three new radio signals that you can tune into. To begin with, they're faint and full of static, but when you get closer to the source of the transmission, the signal clears up. These radio signals lead you to some loot, but more importantly you can find some of the best unmarked locations in the game this way. There are guides on the internet if you get stuck on them, but you should try to find them yourself. It's more fun that way!
Are there any quests I shouldn't miss?
Sure, here are a few. I won't include any spoilers in these descriptions, except for minor plot details.
One thing I love about the Fallout games is the sense of humor
You NEED to play the Silver Shroud questline, which you can find in Goodneighbor. When you start doing the quest, you owe it to yourself to play along in character. It's hilarious. I won't spoil it any further than that.
Also, there's a quest called Last Voyage of the U.S.S. Constitution, where you try to get a crashed ship back to sea. But there's a twist. And it's hilarious. Head to Bunker Hill and walk east toward the coast.
Head to Covenant. You can get there early on, and it might be one of the earliest introductions to moral choices regarding synths that you'll encounter.
Find Vault 81. It's a populated vault and you'll need to do some things to get in. Once you're in, eventually someone will send you on a quick quest to find a lost cat. Adorable right? When you get back, something has gone wrong, and you go on a quest to help the vault dwellers. On this quest, you meet one of the best companions, and this new companion gives you one of the best quests in the game.
Find Cabot House, and don't take no for an answer when trying to get in. This quest line is bizarre and amazing.
How are the mods in this game?
The Creation Kit isn't even out yet, but modders are hard at work on adding new things to the game. Reddit user -para has compiled a list of the best: https://www.reddit.com/r/Fallout/comments/3zt61o/fallout_4_mods_to_improve_your_experience_as_of/
Not included in that list is the mod that makes Preston Garvey shut up, so here it is: http://www.nexusmods.com/fallout4/mods/3456/
With this mod you can still do the radiant quests by going to the settlements, but Preston will stop giving them to you whenever he's in earshot.
There will be more advanced mods when the Creation Kit is released, but these mods should keep you busy while you wait for the DLC to drop.
DLC, nice! What do we know about that?
As luck would have it, they just shared some info about the first three add-ons today!
What other neat stuff can I learn about the game?
- 12 things to know before you play, from The Verge. Similar stuff to what I've talked about in this post:
- Tweak guide on AVG, to get better performance if your PC struggles a bit with Fallout 4:
- PC Gamer's list of unique Fallout 4 weapons:
- Imgur user Robobvious compiled a list of awesome locations in the game:
- Kotaku's video about cut content from the game:
- Digital Trends' list of easter eggs:
What other things do you want to know about Fallout 4? This is the first post with general information, but there may be more if the interest is high enough, for things like how to get all the endings, etc.