Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Fallout 4 – Top 10 Ways to Stay Alive on Survival Difficulty

Whether you’re looking for legendary gear or just want to give yourself more of a challenge on your next character, Survival mode is where it’s at. While a little daunting for newer players, it’s actually not that difficult to play from start to finish on Survival and never have to turn down the difficulty. You just have to play it safe and think twice about what might happen if you shoot that super mutant in the face at level 6. Here are a ten tips that are sure to help keep you alive.

1 – Don’t Skimp On Endurance

One of the easiest ways to get more HP in Fallout is by having a high Endurance character. Normally, both the high HP and perks from Endurance are something I avoid in lieu of more damage, crafting, or lockpicking/hacking. On Survival mode you are going to have a very tough time early on if you do this, and can expect to get annihilated by something as insignificant as pack of bloatflies if you’re not careful. While in the long run it’s a bit of a waste, I found putting one point into Toughness to be very helpful early on as well due to the lack of armour and armour crafting until you’re at a higher level.

2 – Use Construction To Level Up Early

When I first arrived at Sanctuary, instead of rushing off to Concord after helping Codsworth I immediately went into settlement building and constructed the basics: bunkhouse for my workers, water pumps, and a line of defense at the bridge entrance. Doing this should get you to level 2, probably level 3. This means that when you leave, not only do you have more HP but at least one or two perks. This is pretty key for helping save Preston and his gang, as those raiders are surprisingly tough and will kill you with just a few shots if you’re not careful. Getting Armorer and Toughness before you venture into the Commonwealth will save you multiple times.

3 – If A Fight Is Too Difficult, Leave

Even on lower difficulties, some fights can be exhausting early-on. While my first adventure on Normal had me scrounging for ammo and stimpaks more often, it was mostly because I would fight just about anything I ran across. Facility full of super mutants? No big deal, just use all of my chems and energy weapons. Playing on Survival, not only will you die mid-fight because you heal much slower (no more going into your Pip-Boy and magically healing 80 points of damage by eating a bunch of snacks) but running out of your powerful ammo quickly will really hurt how quickly you can progress. Be smart. Scout areas, use VATS to see how much damage you can inflict, and for the love of Atom… SNEAK!

4 – VATS Is Your Friend

When I’m in a new area, I’m tapping the VATS button frequently. This will target enemies as well as mines, along with any ghouls just waiting to get up and charge you. Aside from keeping you well aware of your surroundings, using VATS allows you to charge your crit meter which can turn the tide of any fight. Charge it quickly by using an unscoped weapon like a pistol or semi-auto rifle, then swap to your heavy hitter and nail that 20% chance to hit headshot with a critical hit. This is a great way to eliminate any pesky snipers that are giving you trouble from afar. Sharpshooters sitting way in the back of an enemy horde will be the bane of your existence on Survival if you don’t have high defenses, so you’ll want a way to eliminate them quickly.

5 – Use Your Power Armour

Fusion cores aren’t as rare as they seem, so don’t treat them like x-potions or elixers. Feel free to explore the Commonwealth unarmoured, but when you come across a tough dungeon that you don’t want to run away from, head home and pick up that sweet T-45 suit the Minutemen hooked you up with in Concord. Fast Travelling doesn’t use up any energy from fusion cores, so as long as you keep VATS and sprinting to a minimum you shouldn’t have any trouble using less than half a core for a single dungeon. This is essential early-game when you’re trying to track down magazines or bobbleheads that are in dangerous locations. If you’re really hurting for something stronger, join the Brotherhood of Steel. Ad Victorium, brother.

6 – Use Stealth Whenever Possible

The meta never changes, and sneaking is still the easiest way to break the game and turn even Survival into easy mode when necessary. If you craft some muffled gear or put points into Agility and Sneak, you can land some devastating blows on otherwise tough enemies. If you find a silencer early on or just pick your targets carefully, you can still go through an entire dungeon without being detected. Remember: the further the brackets move out from the words Hidden or Caution, the less likely you are to be detected. Even if you enter the Danger zone, just hide and wait for the AI to think it must have been the wind that blew a bullet through their accomplice’s brain.


The new crafting system in Fallout 4 should have everyone picking up whatever they can carry, but it’s even more important on Survival. With due diligence, you should be able to find enough adhesive to do some early-game crafting before you have time to set up an adhesive farm. This means tougher armour, stronger weapons, and some easy XP to level up quickly. While scrounging for materials you’ll also come across a lot of ammo and other aid items that are incredibly useful for obvious reasons. Some suggest getting the Scrounger perk, but personally I’ve found that as long as your Luck isn’t set to 1 and you don’t spray and pray during firefights, you’ll find plenty of ammunition by searching everywhere you go.

8 – Stick Close to Home

The further you go from Vault 111, the tougher the enemies get. Personally, I didn’t even head to Diamond City right away on my Survival playthrough because of all the raiders, super mutants, and ghouls that will get in your way. Up until about level 10, limiting myself to staying northwest of Corvega really helped keep me alive and prepare me for the dangers of the south. Fallout 4’s map isn’t enormous, but it’s jam-packed with dungeons and quests so you should have no problem just wandering around and gaining a few levels before moving on.

9 – There are More Perks than Just the Perk Chart

While much of the perk chart is level or stat-locked, magazines and bobbleheads aren’t. If this isn’t your first playthrough, you’ll likely know of a few spots you can race to for some quick and easy bonus perks. If it is your first playthrough and you don’t want any spoilers, then just make sure everywhere you go, you search from top to bottom for these collectibles. While some might be useless like Grognak comics for non-melee characters, many offer perks that are useful for any type of wastelander. You may also be going with Lone Wanderer and that’s fine, but you should consider spending some time with companions like Piper or Deacon. Once they admire you, each companion gives you a unique perk as well. Don’t underestimate just how valuable these can be.

10 – Know Which Limbs to Shoot

Combat has improved significantly with this iteration of Fallout, and it’s no longer just a race to crippled heads and arms. Don’t underestimate how helpful it can be to cripple the legs of a Glowing One when he’s charging you! If you’re fighting power armour, try to take some jet and run behind them to shoot the fusion core. Minigun-wielding raider melting your health bar? Cripple his right arm. Headshots are always useful but, especially early on when you don’t have a lot of bonus to-hit chance in VATS, crippling legs and arms can be much more practical. Whenever I encountered an enemy I was having trouble with, the best solution if they were within reach nine times out of ten was to just cripple their legs and throw molotovs every few seconds when the flames die down. Threat eliminated.


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