Fallout 4 feels different in VR. I don't wanna be that guy and say it feels more immersive but holy crap does it ever feel more immersive. When you're meandering through the wastes on your way to help that damn settlement for Preston and you hear Dogmeat barking or Piper screaming behind you, it almost feels like something is really behind you. I guess that was the whole idea and it turns out that playing FO4VR puts your head on a swivel and makes a fun game even more fun.

One thing at least hasn't changed at all. V.A.T.S. can make you a total badass if you do it right.

I hear someone somewhere scoffing at the idea as they look for their New Vegas CD and I don't even care. V.A.T.S. — Vault-Tec Assisted Targeting System — is one of those things that Fallout diehards love to argue about. It's a game mechanic that dramatically slows down time and gives you a unique HUD for targeting, placing your shots, and assploding the F out of someone or something's head in a giggly spray of blood and gore. (In case you weren't aware, Fallout games are rated M and filled with violence, drugs, and vulgarity.) It's a great way to save your ass in a pinch when facing any of the little flying buggers that scour the Commonwealth, but if you go all in with V.A.T.S. and spec your character for it you can be almost invincible.

It's all about your Luck

High luck means this happens a lot, too. Delicious pie.

To be the V.A.T.S. legend you were born to be, you have to start at the beginning and go against what feels like common sense when you're setting your SPECIAL attributes and choosing your skills as you level up. Whether you want to play commando style or sneaky or even beat things with a baseball bat V.A.T.S. is there for you if you're lucky. As in, almost every point will be going into Luck and Luck-based abilities for the first part of any playthrough.

The best reason to use V.A.T.S. in Fallout 4 VR is that so many 3D meshes for scopes are totally busted and need patched or modded for the new POV.

Your end-game goals will be 11 Luck, 8 Agility, and 10 Perception but Luck is the most important stat so it's where you should start. Fair warning — you'll suck at crafting and settlement building, you'll fail most speech checks and you'll end up being addicted to Buffout if you try to carry everything you find because you're neglecting some other skills. But you'll be walk-on-water good when it comes to killing shit in slow motion. When you create your character for the Vault-Tec Rep in the intro you want it to look something like this for a gun-wielding build:

  • Strength: 3. This opens up the Armorer skill and you will never put another point into strength. Ever.
  • Perception: 5. Perception affects your chance to hit in V.A.T.S. You'll want at least 8 in Perception when you get to the tough parts.
  • Endurance: 3. You can keep Endurance at 1, but it determines your health. You'll not be putting any points into any endurance skills for a while (Chemist is great later on) but I like 3 here so I can take another bullet or two before I need to hit the Stimpacks.
  • Charisma: 3. Lone Wanderer is a better friend than Cait or Deacon. It won't be able to pick locks for you but it will boost your carry weight, give you some damage resistance and at level three boost your damage by 25%.
  • Intelligence: 1. Two words — Idiot Savant.
  • Agility: 5. You'll want 8 Agility for end-game content. It determines how successful you are at sneaking and your total number of action points, both very important skills to a V.A.T.S. demigod. Starting with 5 opens up Action Boy/Girl.
  • Luck 8: Ideally, you want 9 Luck as soon as possible so you can start working on Four Leaf Clover which is the skill that makes this play style so good it feels like cheating. I go with 8 out of the vault and use the You're Special book under Shaun's crib to hit 9 once I get to Sanctuary Hills.

As mentioned this is a toon that uses a gun. If you want to have a bit more of a challenge and have even more fun beating people to death or slashing your way across the Commonwealth, a melee build swaps Strength for Perception and shoots for 9 Strength as a long-term goal for the Rooted perk. And a word of advice — a pistoleer is tougher to play during the middle levels (10-25) but can free up points for other skills because you won't need Sniper and can rely on your gear to boost Perception past 5 for a long while. Use the points in Armorer or Endurance perks like Aquaboy/girl or Chem Resistant.

Playing with one Intelligence is even more fun when you drink alcohol and talk to the people in Diamond City.

Don't put any points into Intelligence. Or be prepared to put 10 points into intelligence (16 with gear). Intelligence is what determines the chance for Idiot Savant to proc and lower is better. Idiot Savant gives a healthy XP boost when it procs and level 2 Idiot Savant with 1 Intelligence gives better XP than 15 Intelligence does once you average it out. I know Gun Nut, Science, and Chemist are perks everyone wants, but getting them means slower leveling up and fewer V.A.T.S. improving perks.

Your first skill point when you hit level 2 goes into Action Boy/Girl. You'll be using V.A.T.S. anytime you can when facing enemies and the boost to your Action Point refresh rate is important for your first real encounter in Concord. If you're using a pistol, put your second point into Idiot Savant and your third into Grim Reaper's Sprint. If you're speccing out with a long gun, put one of the first three points into Rifleman and you can skip V.A.T.S. when facing a single enemy. And remember, don't use any full auto guns because Rifleman and Gunslinger don't affect them.

Being sneaky without the Sneak perk

Raiders be stupid.

You'll be slinking around in the shadows if you want to be a V.A.T.S. badass, but resist putting points into Sneak until you don't have a spot for them into any V.A.T.S. or damage-boosting perks. The Sneak perk is awesome, but walking instead of running while sneaking and sticking to cover will compensate for the lack of points in Sneak for a large part of the early game. Raiders and ghouls be stupid. Molerats will always find you because they cheat. Points into Sneak can be better used elsewhere and if you can use them elsewhere, do it.

As mentioned, grab the You're Special book from your old house to jack Luck up to 9 right away and stick your very next skill point into Four Leaf Clover. The Four Leaf Clover and Grim Reaper's Sprint combo can and will give you unlimited V.A.T.S. and almost unlimited Criticals once maxed, and once both hit level 2 you'll see how awesome the two work together for a V.A.T.S. build. Combined with Ninja (Luck), Critical Banker (Luck), and Quick Hands (Agility) you are unstoppable. Literally.

Don't grab the Luck bobblehead until you have Luck at 10 already, even if you think you can swim that far and outrun some nasty mirelurks at a low level.

That's where your points should go whenever possible — Four Leaf Clover, Grim Reaper's Sprint, Ninja, Critical Banker and Quick Hands. You'll want Luck at 10 before you pick up the Bobblehead so it can hit 11 (Luck determines how often Four Leaf Clover and Grim Reaper's Sprint proc as well as how fast your Critical meter fills) for the maximum benefit and so you can wear gear that boosts Perception or Agility instead of Luck gear. Other perks that are almost as good are Gunslinger or Rifleman/Sniper depending on your weapon of choice, Better Criticals, Mister Sandman, and Lone Wanderer.

Don't forget about Idiot Savant. You'll benefit from getting Idiot Savant to level 2 as soon as you hit player level 11 (and level 3 once you reach 34) but it won't keep you alive or help you dispatch enemies. It boosts the XP you get when it procs and nothing more. That's important to boost your player level so you can get better perks, but not dying and being able to kill faster is important, too. If you're not concerned about leveling faster (enemies are based on your player level for the most part) you could skip Idiot Savant and use points recommended for Strength and Endurance to raise Intelligence and go with Gun Nut or Chemist. Did I mention that you'll be taking a lot of drugs? Wait, that part comes next.

Without using the console or a mod, you can't "unspec" a perk or skill point, so don't just assign things willy-nilly if you want to follow this golden road to V.A.T.S. goodness. If you're using this guide to inspire your own build (and that's what you should do for your next character if you're not) keep this in mind. Putting points into Rad Resistant is a lot more convenient than taking Rad X and Radaways all the time, but it means you are taking away from V.A.T.S. god mode. Choose wisely.

Using these perks for maximum badassery

This legendary Deathclaw doesn't stand a chance against me at just level 10 thanks to V.A.T.S.-Fu and the Gainer pistol.

If you're not familiar with a V.A.T.S. build or one of those people who hates V.A.T.S. but wants to try it so you can tell me I suck, you'll need to adjust how you play. Don't worry, it's just as fun (or even more fun) as running headfirst into the fray and killing everything that moves.

Up until level 19, you'll be relying on getting the drop on the enemies you face. Watch your compass (if you're playing Survival this build will get you killed quickly and often, so don't) and as soon as you see a blip stop. Drop into the sneak position, figure out what and where it is, then decide how to proceed. Keep the first pipe pistol with a long scope you come across so you can equip it and open V.A.T.S. You won't be shooting anything with it, but it will highlight enemies long before they can find you. Once you know what you're dealing with and where it/they are you have the upper hand.

This is also a guide how not to play in survival unless you're good enough at Fallout 4 to not need any guides.

If you find weak or single enemies, move into position and watch for your sneak indicator to turn red and say Caution. That means an enemy knows something is out there but not where or what it is. Once you are sure the sneak indicator will soon switch to Danger (the enemy has found you), pop open V.A.T.S. and look at your hit percentages. Three shots in the body that will hit are better than one shot and two misses in the head here. A headshot will do a lot more damage, especially if the enemy is armored, but because this build is using Luck procs for endless V.A.T.S. hitting is more important than a one-shot.

All you need to do is score hits until your Critical meter is full. Once that happens, go for the headshot and use the Critical. Bam. One dead Raider. Or bloatfly. Or Marcy. Just kidding, don't kill Marcy because Preston will be pissed and you can't kill him but he can kill you. Anyhoo, scoring hits and kills will keep your Action Points full and your Critical meter ready because of the Luck perks you're using. I'm not kidding when I say that getting Grim Reaper's Sprint and Four Leaf Clover maxed out means you will always have full Action Points and Crits banked. And as soon as you use them, they will be full again. You'll learn to chuckle when you hear the proc sound play because it means you can just keep pulling that trigger and ending it for whoever or whatever you're aiming at.

The Vault Suit sucks so you need better stuff

The things a man will do to save a few caps: Having Charisma clothes is important because we're not investing in the ability.

This is how I play. I've played every Fallout game for far too many hours and have been loving and using V.A.T.S. since it was introduced in Fallout 3. I freaking love it.

This is totally a glass cannon build. Even if you are switching gun-based perks like Quick Hands or Sniper for Blitz and Rooted, if you get caught with no action points you are going to die. This is because you have crap armor and low Endurance. Putting points in Armorer and Endurance perks will give you more survivability but at the cost of stopping power and endless V.A.T.S. Ain't nobody got time for that.

Skip the armor unless you can wear it with good clothes (Military Fatigues are good clothes that let you wear armor over them, and if you hack Nuka World into FO4VR's game files Furry Undergarments are amazing for melee V.A.T.S). Always skip Raider and metal armor until you get Sneak to rank 4 because you will be found by all but the dumbest enemies. Combat armor is noisy, but not nearly as noisy as metal or Raider armor. Stick with leather armor and Synth armor for maximum skeakiness.

Protip: Rescue Strong as soon as you can live through the quest to get that sweet charisma set to use for persuasion attempts and hitting the vendors.

Effects to look for on your armor are perception and agility. Raising luck will mean a better chance to proc the perks we rely on, but past 10 the returns are very low and we're already running it to 11 naturally. The very best legendary effect for clothing is V.A.T.S. Enhanced with Powered a close second, but armor with agility and perception boosts is common and works well. Melee players will benefit from Sentinel's gear if they go the Blitz/Rooted path. Outfits to look for if you want to look good at the cost of not being able to wear armor are a Faded Trench Coat (you get one from Ellie once you save Nick) and Elder Maxon's Coat once you kill that Nazi bastard. Err, if you kill him I mean. (Totally kill him.) Don't forget the Patrolman's sunglasses and a hat that boosts perception. And playing as the Silver Shroud can be fun because the costume and hat are perfect for this build.

Strong hated that.

Your weapon choices are easy. Pistol fans want the Deliverer and an instigating .45 pipe revolver or Kellog's Pistol. The Deliverer is your go to and the backup gets a scope for long range. Because you'll be using the Deliverer, skip the Chameleon gear. You'll know why as soon as you try it. Riflemen and Riflewomen will want Overseer's Guardian. Spec it with a .308 receiver, a short recon scope, and a silencer. Stow it at your home base until you can equip these mods because that sucker is as heavy as a minigun and is useless for this build without them. Once you can spec it as listed it's the best weapon in the game for this play style, though. Use any rifle or combat shotgun with a scope and silencer until you can get the right kit on the Overseer's Guardian.

Just say Yes!

You won't be very good at crafting and it will be a while before you get the Charisma perks to build a network of settlements (stuff it, Garvey). But you should pick one to use for a Jet factory. (Here's that drugs part I mentioned.) Two fertilizer and one plastic at any Chemistry station make a dose of Jet and you don't need any points in Chemist to do it. I choose Greentop Nursery as my home base because it's a nursery where tatos, carrots, and gourds can be grown by settlers for helpful soups and has both a Chemistry station and Cooking station right out front. Just eliminate the current residents if you don't want to do the Minuteman thing while they are asleep and use a beacon to attract a couple of new ones who don't think they run things.

Brahmin poop is like gold. Smelly addictive gold.

A Brahmin will generate fertilizer in your workshop. Beacons will attract them, too, and once you see one be sure to build a trough so it's not lumbering through your settlement. Like Carrington always says, heavys traipsing around at all hours is bad. One Brahmin is good. 10 Brahmin are better and you can always lure the extra settlers that were attracted away from the others for some pointy-bangy fun times or just send them to Sanctuary where Preston can deal with them. I guess you could also play without being a murderous bastard and keep them and make them happy and build them stuff if you want. I never tried it that way.

Anyhoo, back to the drugs. Jet is your SHTF card. If you ever find yourself outgunned or without any action points, pop some Jet and run away. When it wears off, pop another and either turn around and kill everything or keep running. Rinse and repeat until you're safe. And addicted. You can keep some Addictol on hand for the times you need it, or just ignore the addiction effects and make sure you have an extra point of agility on your gear somewhere. Don't forget about other Jet-based chems because they are even better. Ultra Jet is amazing (you need a point in Chemist to make it) because of all the extra action points when it does hit the fan and Psycho Jet is even better because you don't need any points in Chemist, you get a damage buff while it's active and you need it, and addiction penalizes Strength instead of Agility.

It took hours to wash the blood out of Kell's hat and Maxon's coat but it was worth it.

And there you have it. This is how you can use the game mechanics to become unstoppable while you travel the wastes and look for vertibirds to shoot down or do some quests. It's a totally fun way to play and the best way I've found to keep a character alive long enough to max everything so you can play with any style if you would rather not be a badass. No matter which faction you side with or how good or evil you play, it just works.

Now get out there and Crit the world.

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