You don’t have to wander the Commonwealth alone as a Fallout 4 Sole Survivor. There are 13 different companions who are willing to wander the wasteland with you. The problem is, you can only have one with you at a time. Since all characters have a specific perk associated with them, you may want to use that to determine which would be your most valuable ally. Especially since any partner with you ends up becoming unintentionally invulnerable. They may be taken out in a fight, but they’ll never die.
Notice that I didn’t mention personality or romanceability as possible reasons to decide on an ally for Fallout 4. That’s because this is a Bethesda game. Many characters fall flat when it comes to characterization, dialogue, and story. Some aren’t very engaging. (Personally, my dream is a game where Bethesda creates the open world element and BioWare handles the characters and story, but I digress.) It’s very possible you won’t click with any of the 13 characters.
But let’s start with the love interests, just in case. A Sole Survivor’s gender doesn’t matter, as he or she is able to romance any Fallout 4 companion who could fall in love. The female love interests are Cait, Curie (a robot), and Piper, while the available bachelors are John Hancock (a ghoul), Paladin Danse, Preston Garvey, and Robert MacCready. Also, while she isn’t a companion, Magnolia in Goodneighbor can be romanced. Taking characters along with you, completing their quests helps improve their opinion of you, and MacCready is the only one who doesn’t like being given items. Most of them like when you’re nice to people, though Danse doesn’t care for people affiliating with ghouls, and surprisingly most will also be okay with you being mean to people who deserve it, with Danse as an exception. MacCready doesn’t like it if you’re mean or nice to people, but does enjoy Sole Survivors who are sarcastic, selfish, and violent.
If you’re okay with palling around with someone in Fallout 4 just because they can do something for you, you’re playing the right game. Once you’ve befriended a character, you get a specific perk connected to them. This perk is always with you and active. The only exception is Dogmeat, whose Attack Dog perk is immediately available when he’s around and allows him to hold an enemy so you have an easier time of hitting them. (Upgrading it could also make him cripple the enemy or make them bleed.) Since making friends unlocks a perk permanently, it’s in a player’s best interest to keep someone around until it’s available, then move onto the next person.
Preston Garvey is your first human companion and, to be honest, he has one of the best perks. Your damage resistance is increased by 20% and, if you’re outnumbered, your damage output is 20% greater. Spoiler alert – you’re going to often be outnumbered in Fallout 4.
There are a number of character perks that are good in any situation and helpful to have as soon as you can get them. Paladin Danse’s Know Your Enemy makes you effective against most of the game enemies, as it grants 20% more damage against androids, ghouls, and mutated humanoid opponents. Cait’s Trigger Rush is pretty helpful too, since it makes your Action Points in VATS regenerate 25% faster if your health is below 25%. You also want to get to know Robert MacCready, since his Killshot perk gives you a 20% better chance at a headshot in VATS.
If you enjoy melee attacks in Fallout 4, then you want Strong and Curie to be your buddies. His Beserk lets you deal 20% more melee damage if your health is below 25%. Then, if things get too dangerous, Curie’s Combat Medic perk lets you heal 100 Hit Points if your health is below 10%.
Piper and Deacon’s perks are good if you’ve decided you want to take some time to explore the Commonwealth and see the sights. Her Gift of Gab doubles experience earned from successful persuasion attempts and discovering locations. Deacon’s Cloak & Dagger is good for when you’re creeping around to check things out and want an additional 20% boost to a sneak attack or 20% longer Stealth Boy duration.
There are a few perks that are helpful, but not as beneficial as the other ones we’ve gone over. Codsworth’s Robot Sympathy gives you +10 damage resistance against robot energy attacks, but is really only handy if you know you’ll be facing a lot of synths. X6-88’s Shield Harmonics is slightly better, since it increases Energy Resistance if an energy weapon attack hits your Sole Survivor, but again, that usually ends up only applying to synths.
Then, there are the perks that aren’t the best. Which is a shame, because they’re tied to two of Fallout 4’s most interesting companions. John Hancock’s Isodoped makes your Critical Hit bar fill 20% faster, but you have to have a Radiation value of 250. That’s a little too dangerous for me. Nick Valentine has a perk that only works if you have trouble with hacking. Close to Metal gives you 4 chances at guessing a password instead of 3 and, if you do get locked out, only makes you wait 5 seconds instead of 10 to try again.
Personally, I recommend getting learning Preston and Paladin Danse’s perks first. Get Piper’s Gift of Gab after that, since you’ll probably still have lots of Commonwealth areas to explore. Then go for MacCready’s perk followed by Cait’s. From there, Curie, Deacon, and X6-88’s perks are good calls. Unless you prefer melee, then prioritize Strong over Deacon and X6-88. If you still feel like searching the wasteland after making friends with all of those folks, then go ahead and get Codsworth, Nick Valentine, and John Hancock’s perks.
Once all of those are unlocked, grab Dogmeat and give him a cool color or some nice goggles, because Dogmeat is the best Fallout 4 companion of them all.