Once you've settled on which SPECIAL stats you want in “Fallout 4” it’s off to the in-game land of the Commonwealth -- the remains of what used to be Massachusetts. As you level up from building settlements, completing quests and killing hostile creatures, you’ll gradually gain points that can be used on Perks -- abilities and stat upgrades that enhance how you play the game.
In “Fallout 4” there are a whole lot to choose from. Within the seven SPECIAL categories -- Strength, Perception, Endurance, Charisma, Intelligence, Agility and Luck -- there are 10 perks each, leaving a total of 70 -- not including additional levels for each perk. Keep in mind that the perks you can access are determined by how many points you put into a SPECIAL category. But it is possible to gain access to higher level perks by using perk points or documents found through the wasteland to level up your SPECIAL categories.
Here’s a look at some of the Perks you’ll find in “Fallout 4” and what types of builds to use them with. It's not exhaustive but it will give you a better idea of which ones you'll want to have to suit your gameplay style.
Melee At the bottom of the list are two melee focused perks: Iron Fist and Big Leagues. The former boosts unarmed damage and the latter boosts melee weapons damage. If you’re planning to go up close and personal in combat, the latter will be especially beneficial since the top level can even let you decapitate enemies. If you’re in the mood for crafting weapon and armor mods, Armorer and Blacksmith will be your go-to perks.
Tank Build If you’re planning on a tankier play style with heavy guns, you’ll want to put perk points into the Heavy Gunner perk and Strong Back, which adds heavy gun damage, a chance to stagger enemies and allows you to carry more items as well as fast travel when you’re overloaded with things you’ve picked up in the wasteland. Those that prefer to shoot first and ask questions later should put points into Steady Aim, which increases hip-fire accuracy. Basher increases gun bashing damage for those times when enemies get too close.
Armored Up The Rooted perk adds 25 damage resistance and increased damage melee damage to characters that stand still and Pain Train enables Power Armor wearers to stagger enemies after charging into them.
Sneaking Around If you’re the type that wants to focus on sneaking around, Pickpocket will make it easier to steal weapons and items from enemies. Higher levels allow you to also place a live grenade into an enemy’s pocket. Locksmith is also essential to picking higher level door locks and safes strewn across the Commonwealth. If you prefer sneaking around during night, put points into the Night Person perk for increased intelligence and perception and night vision. A point in Awareness will also make it easier to assess your enemy’s weakness with VATS -- the Vault-tec Assisted Targeting System.
Sniper And VATS Builds To beef up a sniper build, pick the Rifleman perk for a 20 percent non-automatic rifle bonus. Higher levels allow the weapon to ignore some of a target’s armor resistance and add a chance to cripple a target’s limb. The Sniper perk also helps distance shooters with increased control, a chance to knock down a target and increased accuracy in VATS The Penetrator perk also allows you to target an enemy’s body part that’s blocked by cover and Concentrated Fire perk will especially help players with higher accuracy while using VATS.
Demolition Man Adding perk points to Demolition Expert makes your grenades and explosive weapons do more damage and enables you to craft them using a Chemistry Station found in towns and settlements. At level seven, you also have access to Refractor, which increases resistance against energy weapons. But since you don’t encounter too many energy weapons early on, this is one perk that can be put in the back burner.
This SPECIAL category is all about surviving the wasteland. So if you’re planning a tank build, putting points into Toughness can increase your damage resistance as well as your chance of surviving the world of “Fallout 4.” Adamantium Skeleton is especially helpful from reducing limb damage. Lifegiver can add a maximum of 60 health points and slowly regenerate lost health. In-game drug users should pick up the Chem Resistant perk to reduce the chance of getting addicted while using them to boost combat performance.
If you’re planning on going into areas that give out heavy radiation, put some points into Rad Resistant will increase your radiation resistance and points into Ghoulish allows you to regenerate lost health from radiation. Aquaboy/Aquagirl also allows you to go underwater without taking any radiation damage.
If you’re a daytime player, Solar Powered can add additional strength and endurance in sunlight as well as regenerate health and heal radiation damage. The least essential perks in this category is Lead Belly, since it’s fairly easy to find food that isn’t radiation poisoned and Cannibal, which restores HP by enabling your character to eat corpses of humans, ghouls and super mutants.
Perks in Charisma are essential if you’re planning on focusing your time in “Fallout 4” with Settlement Building. Cap Collector makes it easier to get better deals while trading with characters and vendors. Local Leader is also necessary for establishing supply lines between settlements and the ability to build stores and workshops.
Pick up Lady Killer/Black Widow to increased damage against enemies of the opposite sex and make it easier to persuade non-player characters in combat. Or if you’re more interested in persuading non-player characters in dialogue. Single explorers can also pick up Lone Wanderer for more damage resistance and increased carry weight.
While there are perks such as Animal Friend, Intimidation and Wasteland Whisperer can help players avoid combat, they’re hardly necessary for any build type.
Modding You’ll need to pick up the Gun Nut perk if you plan on modifying your guns with enhanced receivers, stocks, magazines and scopes. It will also be extremely helpful to pickup the Scrapper perk, which allows you to salvage uncommon components such as screws and copper. This is essential for settlement builders as well. Points in Science will also make it easier get access to high tech mods and additional structures for your settlements.
Survivability If your character isn’t too heavy on the hitpoints, pick up Medic so you can get a better bang for your buck while using Stimpaks to restore health and RadAway to remove radiation. If you have enough Intelligence Points, toss a perk point into Nerd Rage, which slows down time and increases damage resistance when you’re below 20 percent health. If you’re a frequent Chems users, the Chemist can help increase the duration of their effect. And the Hacker perk will make allow you to break into more advanced computer terminals.
Frequent Power Armor Miles Throwing some points into Nuclear Physicist will be helpful if you plan to spend a lot time in your Power Armor, since it makes Fusion Cores last twice as long at its highest level. The perk can also double the damage of radiation weapons.
Stealth Agility perks are core to any stealth build. Pick up the Sneak perk to make it harder for enemies to detect you while preventing enemy traps and mines from triggering. The Mister Sandman perk will be especially helpful since it enables you to instantly kill a sleeping person. The Ninja perk allow you do also do more damage with melee weapons while sneaking around.
Guns Blazing If you prefer non-automatic pistols, pick up Gunslinger for extra damage and a chance to disarm opponents. Commando is the perk of choice for those that prefer all automatic guns.
Action Aficionado If you’re planning on using VATS frequently, pick up Action Boy/Girl to regenerate action points faster. Gun Fu can increase damage when you target multiple targets while using VATS.
Hoarder Throw a point into Fortune Finder so you’ll find plenty of bottle caps to use as in-game currency, especially if you’re planning on dealing with vendors on a regular basis. The Scrounger perk is also useful for keeping your ammo reserves loaded as you progress through “Fallout 4.” For fast leveling, toss a point in Idiot Savant, which randomly gives three-times the experience for any action.
Critical Stacker Better Criticals and Critical Banker work hand-in-hand. The latter increases critical shot damage and the latter saves a critical shot for when you need it.
Last Minute Save A point in Mysterious Stranger will cause a character to randomly appear whenever you’re using VATS and take out your target enemy.