Welcome back to the VGU Wasteland Survival Guide where we can help you out in the world of Fallout 4 with some handy know-how and tricks of the trade. In case you missed it, Part 1 of our guide goes over the start of the game and how you can get yourself off to a great start. This time around however we are mainly discussing companions, their pros and cons as well as the perks they can reward you whilst on your adventures. We are going to run through all our partners one at a time and let you know what makes them tick, if you decide to take them along for the ride.
Dogmeat – Found at the Red Rocket Truck Stop
The first companion you will probably meet on your adventures is the little fluffball with attitude known as Dogmeat, or simply Dog until you meet up with and talk to Mama Murphy. This canine cohort will notify you whilst you’re out and about when he detects enemies and items nearby. This can help with the acquisition of ammo, weapons and junk or can simply assist with getting a leg up on nearby raiders. As an added aesthetic touch, Dogmeat can be equipped with goggles, bandanas and collars that you come across in the commonwealth. This is great if you want to make your little buddy look more fashionable whilst travelling around. Keep your eyes peeled however for dog armour which enemy attack dogs could be wearing. Besides, he kind of looks like RoboCop.
Sadly Dogmeat does not have a relationship to level up. However he does come with a very handy perk, which you gain by simply levelling up. Introducing the Attack Dog perk. The earliest rank will let Dogmeat grab onto the enemies legs or arms giving you a better chance to hit in VATS. Later ranks will deal crippling damage to the limb or even cause bleeding damage on the opponent. If man’s best friend is your favoured ally you will want this perk ranked up as soon as possible. There is also one other perk you may be interested in, but we leave that till we cover essential perks in part three of our guide.
Codsworth – Found At Sanctuary Hills
Ever wanted a robot as an ally? How about a Mr. Handy? Well luckily your favourite helper around the house, Codsworth, can become a viable companion to have. As well as being equipped with a buzzsaw for melee combat and a flamer for mid-range combat, he also can supply you with purified water every now and again when you talk to him. Keep in mind however that you will not be able to recruit Codsworth until you have saved the settlers in Concord and returned to Sanctuary.
Codsworth’s unlockable perk is known as Robot Sympathy and simply gives you more resistance against energy attacks from robots. This may seem a little lack lustre if you max him out early on in the game as the only robots you may come across are protectrons gone rogue. But remember that you have one big enemy to face later on in the form of the synths. If you decide to go against this faction in the story, this perk may just be the thing that saves your life in a dire laser fight. When building this companion’s relationship concentrate on making the nice choices in conversations and saving the day. Also helping out robots puts a smile on Codsworth’s non-existent mouth.
Preston Garvey – Found At Concord Memorial Museum
The last remnants of the Minuteman unit sent to Quinby, Preston Garvey is now in charge of the survivors as they take refuge in Sanctuary Hills after you save them from a raider attack in Concord. This character comes with a nice minuteman outfit and hat as well as his own laser musket when it comes to combat. His laser musket is a standard two crank rifle so his fire rate with this default weapon won’t be as high as others. He also concentrates a lot in combat and may take a long while to take a shot at fast moving targets like bloatflies and stingwings. This seems like a little bit of a drawback, but against gun wielding foes and robots, he is definitely the man to have on your side.
Preston’s perk is United We Stand. This will give you twenty percent damage resistance as well as twenty percent bonus damage against enemies as long as you are facing three or more opponents at once. This is an incredible perk to get early on and luckily Preston’s relationship can increase easily by completing Minuteman quests given out either by Preston or by Radio Freedom. The best part is, you don’t need Preston in your team to have this Perk active. So if representing the minutemen isn’t your thing, you can always ditch the guy back at one of your settlements and roll solo or with another friend. Be mindful however that you won’t be able to recruit Garvey until he deems you the new general of the Minutemen, which occurs after your first quest with them.
Paladin Danse – Found at Cambridge Police Station
Yes, the running joke is true. Paladin Danse may just be one of the greatest companions in Fallout 4 because of his likeliness to that of Disney’s Buzz Lightyear from Toy Story. Heck there is even a PC mod that customises his Power Armour to have Buzz’s buttons and colour scheme. But with all the jokes to one side, the Paladin is a heavy hitter of the Brotherhood of Steel that can unleash severe pain on opponents with his trusty laser rifle. He is extremely loyal to the Brotherhood and will not tolerate any kind of betrayal or back chat about the faction, so be very careful where you take him and what you say. But if you stay loyal with him you will end up going on a quest line that will reveal a huge twist with Danse. Don’t worry, we won’t spoil it for you.
The Paladin’s perk is known as Know Your Enemy, which gives you a twenty percent damage boost against ghouls, mutated humanoids and androids. Like United We Stand, this perk must not be ignored, especially with its damage increase against ghouls, super mutants and institute synths. As a little tip for building up the relationship with Danse faster, just keep jumping in and out of your Power Armour whilst you have him on your team. Before you know it this perk will be all yours.
Piper – Found Outside Diamond City
As you head to Diamond City, Piper will help you get in. Follow her to her own newspaper business, answer some questions and you have her as a new companion. Don’t take this girl’s mouth as a sign that she can’t hold her own by the way. Piper comes equipped with a 10mm Pistol by default which may not be the most powerful weapon in the world but it does have a good rate of fire to assist in fighting anything in the commonwealth. She also does not come equipped with any strong armour behind her so feel free to give her a set if you see fit.
The reporter’s perk is called Gift of Gab which gives you double the experience when accomplishing speech checks and when finding new areas. This is an ideal perk to get if you are a Charisma build character or you are challenging yourself with a pacifist run. This can both help you level up quickly when out and about and also help out when you’re after an extra few caps from a mission. By far it is not the best perk out there for every playthrough, but it is handy if you want that little bit extra.
Nick Valentine – Found Inside Vault 114
Nick Valentine is what you get when you combine elements of Dick Tracy with a Terminator. That’s right, a Synth with parts falling off of him can be a part of your team and he is a freaking detective! Nothing feels better when exploring to hear Nick talk about his past cases and his very interesting back story. In time as you build his relationship you can also go on the search for his most sought after nemesis in a case that will take you all over the Commonwealth. He can hold his own in combat quite well with his trusty pipe pistol for precision, light damage and a good fire rate. Also, if you are unskilled with high level terminals, use Nick’s synth intellect to do the work for you. You won’t get experience from this but you could possibly score big with the loot. Performing and succeeding in hacking yourself rewards you with an increase in Nick’s relationship, but you can also build this up with being an all-round nice guy.
Valentine’s perk is Closer To Metal which gives you an extra try when hacking terminals and cuts the cooldown time of failed terminals by fifty percent. This can definitely help people that are choosing hacking over lock picking, but isn’t for every build out there. Quite frankly you should pick Nick for the character, the quests, the conversations and the development. The perk, not so much. To make Nick a recruit you must save him inside Vault 114 and help him get out. Do this and he will help you on your quest to find your son.
Strong – Found Inside Trinity Tower
Wanted a partner like Marcus or Lily from previous Fallout titles? Well now you can with Strong, the super mutant on the search for the milk of human kindness. Strong is a true power house who can take advantage of mutant armour you find in the commonwealth. He comes with a sledgehammer by default and favours close quarters combat to long range shooting. One difficulty however is building his relationship status. Strong pretty much hates everything you can imagine doing in the wasteland, even something as simple as using power armour makes you seem puny. The best way to build up his relation is to get the Cannibal perk and eat your defeated foes. Just make sure no other allies or settlers are around or you may see their relationship status drastically decrease. You have been warned.
The perk you receive from maxing out Strong is Berserk. This helps you deal twenty percent extra melee damage but only if you are at a quarter or lower of your maximum health. On its own, this may not seem like the best perk unless you are building a melee specific character. But try coupling this with Nerd Rage in the intelligence tree and see how crazy your damage becomes whilst slowing down time. You may also completely forget to meet up with Strong as you must fight your way up and down Trinity Tower in the heart of the city. Bring some guns, good armour and a lot of ammo if you plan to take out all the mutants on your way up. By the way, in the room where you save him there is a Melee Bobblehead to pick up.
Cait – Found In the Combat Zone
Ever wanted a female that would prefer to punch someone’s brains out in an argument rather than see it done peacefully? Then why not swing with Cait, an Irish lass that isn’t afraid to get her hands dirty. Especially since she is the prized fighter from the Raider-controlled Combat Zone. You will find her in the cage of the arena once you have cleared it out of all enemies. Her manager will offer you her contract and before you know it, you will have another addition to your team. She comes with two weapons at her disposal, a double-barrelled shotgun and a baseball bat. If this doesn’t tell you that she is a close quarter’s fighter then just look at the pain she brings. Her personal story also links to her chem addiction after fighting in the arena, which you can undergo fixing in a quest line later. But beware! Cait is the only character that gives positive relationship boosts whenever you use chems. Fixing her of the addiction will now cause her to hate you when you use chems. So plan this wisely.
Cait’s unlockable perk is called Trigger Rush and gives you a twenty five percent increase to your ability point regeneration if your health is below twenty five percent of its max. Similar to Strong, this isn’t a necessary or game breaking perk to have at your disposal, but if you are an avid user of VATS this will give you the edge you need in sticky situations. Again, combining this with Nerd Rage or even combining this with Strong’s perk will not just see AP regen increase but damage as well, making your next move using VATS very close to or completely lethal. As one final tip, know that if you give Cait some bobby pins, she can attempt to lock pick doors and safes on your behalf. Very handy if you are concentrating more on hacking.
John Hancock – Found In Goodneighbour
Named after one of the founding fathers of this great nation and dressed up similarly to boot, Hancock is a ghoul that leads the community of Goodneighbour. After completing some quests in the town, he will offer his services to you as he wishes to go on a break from being leader, at least for a while. A double-barrelled shotgun is this companion’s default weapon of choice so hook him up with some close range guns to put him to his full potential in combat. Out of combat however he can have some witty remarks both at the world as well as you the character. Especially if you are dressed up as the Silver Shroud.
Hancock’s perk is known as Isodoped which gives you a boost to your critical meter build rate by twenty percent but at one crucial cost, you must have at least two hundred and fifty rads on you at all times for this perk to be active. If you are not too keen on having a portion of your max health irradiated for the majority of the game, then you can give this perk a miss. Especially when there are other perks and books that can boost the effectiveness of your criticals. However, if you like to play on the wild side and don’t mind running with rads then pick up Hancock and write your signature on the declaration of pain.
Robert MacCready – Found In The Third Rail
Do you remember the Little Lamplight in Fallout 3? The settlement based in a cave and ran by kids? Well here is a big surprise. This companion is the mayor of that same settlement. The background alone should make this guy a go-to companion to have, but he can be overlooked. You find MacCready in the Third Rail bar in Goodneighbour just underneath Hancock’s Estate. Get down there and meet up with him in a small room as he is being interrogated by members of the Gunners.
Robert has decided to ditch his assault rifle from Fallout 3 and replace it with a sniper rifle, making him a great marksman to have on your side. Similar to Preston however, he will take a while to fire at fast moving targets.
The perk he awards you after gaining the maximum relationship level is Kill Shot which increases the chances of landing a headshot in VATS by twenty percent. If you are a fan of single shot, precision fighting when out in the commonwealth then MacCready is your man. Just be prepared to fork over, at most, two hundred and fifty caps to acquire his services. You can use your charisma however to bring his price down.
Curie – Found Inside Vault 81
Curie, or known as the Contagions Vulnerability Robotic Infirmary Engineer, is a Mr. Handy robot reprogrammed and destined for great things. Her quest line later on will take you on a journey to transfer her robot body into a new humanoid one making her one of the more unique companions the longer you team up with her. As a Mr. Handy she comes equipped with a flamer as well as a buzzsaw. However if you decide to follow through to her transformation into a human body, she switches these out for a laser pistol, fitting for her scientific nature. You can find this partner at Vault 81 which happens to be a fully-functioning and peaceful Vault unlike many others in the Fallout series. Be careful however as returning to Vault 81 after Curie has turned into a human can result in her leaving your team forever. Take her back at your own risk.
Her perk, Combat Medic, allows you to heal one hundred points of health once a day as long as you are currently down to ten percent of your max. This can be a saving grace in tough situations and since it acts like a Dungeons & Dragons style daily, you can simply either wait on a chair or sleep in a bed for twenty four hours to make sure you can use it again. Out of all the perks companions can give you, this has to be one of the best as it can suit any playstyle. Including you pacifists out there that happen to step on an odd mine.
Deacon – Found In The Old North Church
If you plan on following the Railroad as a faction you will end up meeting up and learning of Deacon’s true origins and his relationship with the many members of this group. He goes into battle with a Hunting Rifle, making him a good mid to long range fighter in combat. Unlike Preston and McCready however he seems to shoot regularly against all targets, which makes him very viable in battle. Although he does not have the ability to hack terminals or lockpick he does have one interesting addition to his set of skills. Deacon is the best sneaking companion in the game and will rarely alert hostiles in those situations. If this caters to your play style then take full advantage of his silent feet.
To put an emphasis on his sneaking capabilities, Deacon’s perk rewards you with a twenty percent damage boost to sneak attacks and a stealth boy duration boost by forty percent. A very niche perk indeed as it only caters to those with a sense of blending into the shadows. But the damage increase as well as the handy stealth boy duration length can make some tough situations seem very easy to breeze through. Especially if you are low on ammo or you simply wish to take out the leader of a group of enemies before any of them notice you.
X6-88 – Found at The Institute
This is as close to a Terminator companion we are going to get in Fallout 4 and it requires you to become a part of the Institution in order to acquire. X6-88 is a highly sophisticated synth courser who is tasked at retrieving rogue synths that escape the institute. With his Institute rifle, he plays very similar to Deacon in combat as he can deal with any and all situations that come his way. Just be sure to talk and get this companion on your side as soon as you have done the first mission for the Institute. This is simply because he will walk around the entire institute and trying to find him after the mission’s completion is a task in itself. Makes me wonder whether he has stealth technology built in?
After raising the synth’s relationship to maximum, you earn the Shield Harmonics perk that gives you a twenty percent damage increase to your protection against energy weapons. This is very similar to Codsworth’s only with one big difference. With your favourite Mr. Handy, you only gain energy resistances against robots. Now with this perk you can gain the same defence against all enemies, including Brotherhood of Steel soldiers, Railroad members and Gunners to count a few. If you choose to earn both of these perks and go into battle with armour that also gives you energy resistances, you can see the results. It’s like the beams are bouncing off of you.
There you have it, every single companion and the basics of what you need to know about them all. Now go out into the wasteland and find out which one of these colourful characters will be your favourite. Or maybe you already have a perfect partner? Let us know your companion stories in the comments and keep an eye out for our third instalment of the Wasteland Survival Guide where we go over the best perks for you to get your hands on.