Looking for some beginners tips for Fallout 4? So, you're finally out of that vault, and guess what? The world's not in very good shape. Nuclear war has ravaged the Commonwealth, which is now home to horrors of all shapes and sizes – and you've got to survive in it. At first, this can be a daunting task: Fallout 4 is a big, reasonably complex game, and wrapping your head around its many facets of gameplay can be difficult during the opening jaunt.

Fortunately, we've spent hours upon hours exploring the wastes, and we've come up with some hopefully helpful hints and tips that'll make your adventures go a little more smoothly. In this Fallout 4 guide, we're going to share some tips for beginners fresh from the vault.

Don't worry too much about your S.P.E.C.I.A.L. statistics

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During the prologue of Fallout 4, you'll be given the opportunity to distribute 21 S.P.E.C.I.A.L. points which will determine the basic build of your character. In previous Fallout games, this has always been a pivotal moment, as the only way to increase your S.P.E.C.I.A.L. stats after the initial distribution has been to seek out ability-boosting, collectible bobbleheads. In other words, you've always been stuck with your initial choice.

This isn't the case in Fallout 4, however. You can't redistribute your points, but you can add to them every time that you level up. The new perk system grants you one perk point with every gained level, and you can use these points to bolster your base S.P.E.C.I.A.L. stats.

Essentially, this means that you shouldn't worry too much about making a mistake when first creating your character, as you can always improve your desired attributes further down the line. Of course, it's always going to be more efficient to get things right from the beginning, but hey, it can take some time before you settle on an ideal play style.

V.A.T.S. is a great scouting tool

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Simply wandering around the wasteland can be a dangerous activity in Fallout 4. Stray from the beaten roads and you'll often find yourself stumbling into a group of raiders or super mutants – but the life of a post-apocalyptic adventurer doesn't have to be so difficult.

A handy little trick that we've been using since Fallout 3, try using V.A.T.S. whenever you think that there could be enemies nearby. By tapping L1, V.A.T.S. will zoom in on any potential threat that's within range, often allowing you to spot enemies way before your puny human peepers are able pick them out. Combine this trick with some stealthy sneaking, and your chances of getting the jump on your foes increase dramatically.

V.A.T.S. is also incredibly useful for determining whether or not foes such as feral ghouls are actually dead. Sometimes, the irradiated zombies will simply lie motionless on the ground, only springing to life when you get close. By quickly activating V.A.T.S., you'll be able to tell which ones are ready to give you a jump scare, as the system will lock onto them as it would with a regular adversary. V.A.T.S. can even pick out active land mines, which can save you a heap of trouble.

Can't be bothered with crafting? Not a problem

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There's a pretty hefty crafting system in place in Fallout 4 that lets you modify your weapons and armour so that you can customise them to your tastes – but if you can't be arsed scavenging small bits and pieces everywhere you go, that's absolutely fine.

The good news is that Fallout 4 basically lets you play however you want. Sure, you can go ahead and craft some powerful modifications for your favourite rifle, but an abundance of good loot means that you'll often be switching out your old weaponry for new equipment anyway. In other words, you can still get through the game without once touching a crafting bench – just be sure to make good use of the gear that you find while exploring.

The same goes for settlements. While building thriving settlements certainly has its advantages, you're free to ignore them completely if you're looking for a more traditional Fallout experience. When it comes down to it, don't get hung up on mechanics that you can't be bothered with – it's your story, after all.

Try to use a variety of guns

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Sticking with just one gun for every situation in Fallout 4 is asking for trouble. Not only will you go through ammo quickly, but you'll also put yourself at a disadvantage when it comes to tackling different enemy types.

For starters, we'd always recommend carrying something with a good scope – in most cases, this'll probably be some sort of sniper rifle. The reasoning behind this is that you'll often find good vantage points that overlook small towns or other built up areas. A scoped weapon can help you pick off unwanted enemies or simply allow you to get a better view of what you're up against.

Next up, grab something that's designed for close range combat. If you're a melee weapon user then you've probably got this option sorted, but if you're a gun lover, it might be worth sticking with a shotgun, or, to a lesser extent, an assault rifle. This is because close quarters combat is often inevitable – many wasteland creatures will rush at you, and, especially inside cramped old buildings, you wont have much room to manoeuvre.

Funnel your foes

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As mentioned above, you're going to be fighting many, many melee-based opponents during your time in Fallout 4. With enemies like feral ghouls or molerats, you can easily become surrounded and beaten to death quite quickly. Yeah, the Commonwealth can be rather brutal like that.

A lot of the time, your best option when fighting numerous face-to-face foes is to funnel them into a narrow area and pick them off one by one. Obviously, this is a lot easier when you're doing battle inside a building with plenty of corridors, but with a gun and good use of V.A.T.S., you can make it work outside, too.

For goodness' sake, be careful

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You know what's probably the number one cause of death in the Commonwealth? No, it's not a bullet to the head or even exposure to too much radiation – it's carelessness, plain and simple.

We've lost track of how many times we haven't really been paying attention to our surroundings and stepped on a land mine or triggered some kind of ghastly trap. Fallout 4 is full of stuff that's just waiting to blow you to bits, so whatever you do, don't sprint around the place like a lunatic.

The same goes for charging in at enemies. Make a habit of using V.A.T.S. to scout your opponents, and always be wary of things like grenades or missile launchers, which can remove chunks of your health in no time at all. On that note, it's also important to make use of cover. If you need a moment to breathe, switch weapons, apply a stimpak, or reload, then don't hesitate to run behind the nearest solid object and stay there for a few seconds.

Always grab chems, even if you don't use them

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Chems aren't all that rare in Fallout 4. You'll often find them in containers during quests, or just lying around in abandoned raider dens. They weigh next to nothing, and sell for a reasonably high price, meaning that you should always stuff them into your pockets whenever you see them.

Even if you don't make use of chems yourself, they're arguably one of the best sources of caps in the game. What's more, if you're into crafting, you'll be able to combine chems at chemical stations, allowing you to create concoctions that sell for an even better price.

Your companions do more than carry your crap

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Every companion in Fallout 4 can carry stuff – even your delightful canine chum, Dogmeat. Simply hit X on your buddy and press square to trade before handing over anything that's weighing you down. Like you, though, your companions can only carry a certain amount of junk, so don't go swamping them in equipment that you're never going to find a good use for. When you come across a trader, simply take back all the items that you're willing to sell and exchange them for some clinky caps. What more could you want from your loyal allies?

Oh wait, there actually is more. Indeed, unlike companions in several other Bethesda titles, your pals in Fallout 4 have multiple uses. To get the best out of them, make sure to use the new 'command' feature, which allows you to direct them. You can send them into a fight while you back them up, or get them to scout the immediate area.

Some allies even have specific commands. For example, Dogmeat can sniff out potentially useful items, while some of the more sophisticated partners can hack terminals or open locks when you tell them to. Having friends in the wasteland is well worth the trouble.

Too brutal? Knock that difficulty down

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Fallout 4's difficulty levels are actually quite well-balanced, but the wasteland can be a brutal place on any setting. Having said that, there's no shame in knocking the difficulty down a peg if you're really struggling.

During the early hours of the game, you'll still be working out your preferred style of play and what weapons you like best – you don't need a roving band of super mutants getting the jump on you just two hours into your adventure. Indeed, sometimes things just don't go the way that you'd like, but tweaking the difficulty can really help if need time to build up a bit of experience.

Speaking of which, if a particular quest or task is proving too difficult, don't feel bad about just walking away. Come back to it later after you've gained a few levels and maybe some new equipment, and give it another go.

Did you find our beginners' tips for Fallout 4 helpful? Share your own suggestions in the comments below and check out our Fallout 4 guide for more guidance.