If you're playing Fallout 2 without first having played Fallout 1, I'd recommend you find a copy of the first game and pick it up. The graphics are based on the same engine and nearly identical, though the Fallout 2 world is larger and slightly more diverse. Fallout 1 has a little more cohesion to it in my opinion, plus just about all the high-technology you'll find in F2 is there as well. The main differences between the two are the length--Fallout 2 is much larger--no time limit in F2, slightly more weapons in F2 (though none that make a big difference... the most powerful from F1 are the most powerful from F2), and quests that can be completed in many more ways in F2. With that said, both are absolutely fantastic games and you should have just as much fun with either, which is why the recommendation to not sell the first one short.
Make sure you are playing the patched 1.02 version of Fallout 2 before beginning, as saves with the 1.0 version will not work and the patch updates the game considerably. You can find a link to it in our Download section
This walkthrough is meant to be a fairly quick run-through, yet will attempt to cover the main quests. This is mainly because there are so many ways to play the game, and frankly, it's best if you discover some of the alternative options yourself. It will, however, walk you through getting the most powerful weapons and armor in the game. On that subject, whenever you're interested in finding out all that's available to you during the game, check out our complete equipment section
In Fallout 2, there are no classes. The stats and skills you choose at the beginning make a substantial impact on defining your character, and how you spend the future skill points and perks at various levels will round him/her out. It's possible and very viable to play as both a sniper-type, a diplomat, a bruiser, stealthy assassin, or any type of combination, and equally possible to shift midway through the game to another lateral type; it's all in the stats.
With that in mind, there are a few recommendations for stats and perks I can make to facilitate your progress in the game.
Think about what type of character you want to play first and base your stats upon that type of character; that's part of the fun. The highest any stat can be is 10. At some points of the game, you'll be able to (if you play your cards right) increase a number of stats by one or more. Because of this, consider not going above 9 for any of them. It's another option. Also, take a look at the Optional Traits before finalizing your primary stats. Several of them modify one or more primary stats. The "Gifted" trait is perhaps the most beneficial optional trait in the game, but does come with a slight penalty, as do they all.
A higher strength allows you to carry more items, which is always a good thing in this game. Many weapons will require a minimum strength to use effectively, and though you may use them with an insufficient strength, your chance of a misfire will increase. It also influences melee damage modifiers. A tip: the Power Armor increases Strength by 3, and Adv. Power Armor by 4, so unless you're going for a brute character, ease off this attribute at the beginning.
The most damaging weapons in the game are ranged energy weapons, but there are a handful of good weapons of every type. If you're planning on sniping for a large part of the game (which is perhaps the easiest route to win), make your perception fairly high, as you'll be able to hit more accurately and from farther with a higher perception (~7+). Traps (though a minor part of the game) are also noticed easier with a high perception. Perception can also be increased by up to 2 points throughout the course of the game.
This is the stat that determines the number of HP you get initially and every level thereafter. It also determines your resistance levels and the fairly insignificant healing rate. I'd recommend leaving it at average for anyone except perhaps a melee character or kamikaze. It can also be upgraded once in the game with a perk.
A higher charisma modifies NPC reactions toward your character, as well as their barter prices, and also determines the amount of followers you may have. You'll be less likely to offend someone through conversation with a high charisma and more likely to be allowed to further dialogue. It's a fairly important stat for the diplomatic character, and others who wish the most quests should keep it at least average, along with tagging the speech skill... more on that below. You may be able to increase Charisma by up to 3 points during the game.
A high intelligence allows you to open up more lines of dialogue in the game, and occasionally solve a quest relating to something a smart person would know. It also modifies stats such as science, repair, etc., and gives you your number of skill points per level. It's advisable to make this your most important skill, definitely at least average but higher if you're taking the recommended trait "Gifted" (see below) to offset the -5 skill points per level. It can also be enhanced.
The number of action points you have to spend each combat round is completely dictated by your agility score. The more agility you have, the more attacks per round you'll be able to fire off, and further you'll be able to move. Later in the game, there are a handful of great perks you'll want to be aware of to further increase the amount of action points. I'd recommend not skimping on Agility, and making it 7 or higher. It can be enhanced by 1 during the course of the game with a perk, so if you're planning on taking the perk, make it at most a 9 but keep it at an odd number.
Ah, luck. In most games, I usually ignore it. Not so in Fallout. Poor luck means more misfires and critical misses, and modifies all sorts of events during the game. For instance, special random encounters are partly influenced by luck. It can also be increased.
Like the name implies, you do not have to choose any before starting your character. The maximum number is 2. Below are some of my recommended traits--ones that probably won't let you down regardless. Again, pick which ones most interest you rather than attempting to become the character with the highest stats. Any type can complete the game. Read the description carefully before choosing as there are also some marginal or worse traits thrown in, as well as some other adequate ones:
Later in the game, you'll be doing quite a few more criticals than you did at the beginning. This is mostly due to calling more targeted shots instead of a general fire/swing/thrust in their direction. This trait makes you hit for less damage, but gives adds 10% on top of the original measely 5% to your critical chance to hit. It's great for ranged sharpshooters and highly recommended. For those with high luck, you may opt out of this due to the Sniper perk at level 18, but by then you may be finished with the game and this will last throughout. If the game lasted significantly longer than 18 levels, it would be less of a benefit. Well, the max is 21 but unless you're doing random encounters, the end of the game should find you somewhere near 17 to 18.
It increases all of your stats by 1, an absolutely fantastic advantage, and still not offset by the -5 skill point penalty at every level-up. It essentially gives you a free 7 points to modify your primary stats, above the 5 you would normally get. To help the skill point imbalance, some people like to choose the "skilled" trait but I tend to choose a higher intelligence, which helps both my skills and dialogue. The perk you lose when you take the skilled trait is usually too good to pass up, for me. You may of course choose either method, none or both.
The diplomatic type of character should strongly consider this. The 20% initial boost to great skills such as speech, barter and doctor, can save you lots of money, and give you a jump start on saving those skill points for the weapons category. It's a highly recommended trait for the peaceful approach to solving quests.
It's a great perk if you're strength is decent to begin with because it adds one to your Agility (which you can then subtract and use it anywhere else!), but your carrying weight will be reduced to 15 x Str rather than the normal 25 x Str. Pick and choose what to carry and you'll be fine. But for pack rats, having a low carrying weight can get tedious.
The maximum skill threshold in Fallout 2 is now 300%, as opposed to 200% in F1. For an untagged skill, 1-100% = 2 skill points per single % increase, 101-200% = 4 skill points per single % increase, and from 201-300% = 6 skill points per single % increase. This makes tagged skills slightly more important in this game, as the required skill points per % increase is halved.
Most players will want to either tag small guns or at least increase it early, as this skill alone is enough to last you throughout the game during combat. There are also books to increase your small guns skill up to 91%. You won't find energy weapons early unless you a) know where to look in which case you don't need this walkthrough, or b) progress far enough within the game to find some, which is about roughly halfway through a normal play through. You of course may choose unarmed or melee, both of which are also viable. But tag at least one offensive skill, the one of your choice.
Since you get three tagged skills (skills which increase at twice the rate), a good duo is energy weapons and either small guns, melee or unarmed, depending on which you want to focus on early. A good energy weapons skill will allow you to efficiently handle the most powerful weapons in the game and is therefore highly recommended for ranged characters (despite only finding a use for it later in the game). However, if you have two offensive skills tagged, what next?
Use your character type to pick. If you'd like as many quests as possible, speech is a good option. Most of the NPC's, including powerful enemies, will also be more likely to listen to you when you talk your way out of combat. Other good options include the lockpicking and possibly steal. It all depends on the type of character you wish to be.
Keep in mind that books you find and buy during the game can increase science, repair, first aid, small guns and outdoorsman skills. Books can only increase your skill to 91%. If you're past that already, you will still use up the book, but will not learn anything new.
Every three levels you'll get a perk (unless you have the skilled trait, in which it's every four levels). Perks are like feats in D&D, and are usually incredibly beneficial. Think of a perk as like a trait without the negative. The following perks are recommended as they become available. Any other perk not listed may be just as good for your character, so it's more up to you. This is just a general listing of the perks you'll at least want to consider:
Awareness at level 3:
Since this perk is available at level 3, it's usually my first choice early on, as many of the others aren't this good. With this perk, you'll be able to see the hit points and items NPC's and enemies are carrying. Not absolutely essential but nonetheless very helpful throughout the game, especially in combat where you want to give yourself the best advantage.
More Criticals at level 6:
5% more criticals may not seem like a lot, but later in the game you'll likely be spending most of your action points during combat making targeted shots, which is where the criticals become much more likely.
The peaceful character may wish to choose Ranger, which decreases the hostile random encounters.
Better Criticals at level 9:
In Fallout 1, Bonus Rate of Fire was available at level 9. Not so in F2. Better criticals ensures that your critical hits have a greater chance of massive damage.
Action Boy or Gain Agility at level 12:
Action Boy is one of the best perks in the game. One free action point per round to spend on whatever you wish. Extremely useful if your Agility wasn't great to begin with. If you began with an odd number for your Agility score, consider Gain Agility now, and Action Boy when or if you have a spare perk in the future. Gain Agility will effectively increase your action points by one if it becomes an even number.
Bonus HtH or Bonus Rate of Fire at level 15:
Whether you're the melee or ranged type, there are no better perks than these. Every ranged or melee attack costs one less action point to use.
Your choice at level 18:
For the melee-minded, there is nothing better than Slayer. Likewise for those range weapon enthusiasts with Sniper, though this perk requires a luck check on every hit to determine whether it's a critical. If you're planning on going all the way to level 21, you may wish to neglect some of the "critical" perks earlier since these two will negate their effectiveness anyway, so plan accordingly. I will say that even at level 18, most characters will be master of the wasteland anyway and going up to 21 is likely overkill. Either way, it doesn't get better than these two.
Sniper or Slayer at level 24:
For the melee-minded, there is nothing better than Slayer. Likewise for those range weapon enthusiasts with Sniper, though these perks require a luck check on every hit to determine whether it's a critical. If you're planning on going much higher than level 24 (at which point you would be unopposed master of the wastes already), you may wish to neglect some of the "critical" perks earlier since these two will at least partially negate their effectiveness anyway, so plan accordingly. Only a high luck will ensure a likely critical on every hit, so the previous critical perks may still come in handy. Either way, it doesn't get better than these two.
For information on the general common questions such as which ammo to use, game timers and other good questions, continue to our walkthrough FAQ
, generally spoiler free.