Yes, you can play the game however you want. Just kidding, this pre-planning is ESSENTIAL and you should do it.
  1. Some stats are more SPECIAL than others
    The only way to pick more advanced locks is to spend points on the Locksmith perk — ditto for unlocking computers and the Hacker perk. To get to these perks, you’ll need to have at least four points each in the Perception and Intelligence stats, respectively. Also, we can’t stress this enough: you’ll want to get Charisma as high as possible, as soon as possible
  2. … but stats can quickly be improved
    Leveling up grants you one point to spend on the (rather adorable) perk chart — up to and including the base stats themselves. Some perks are essential for accessing parts of the game (i.e. picking locks or building certain items). Others are there just to better your combat and survival prowess. We found ourselves more often than not spending money toward our base SPECIAL stats and were better for it.
  3. Use a generic or "sci-fi" name
    It makes talking to the robot more fun. Cheers!
  4. Pick one workshop and call that home
    Very early on you’ll have access to two different workshop areas (Sanctuary and Red Rocket gas station). These are great places for storing all the junk you’ve accumulated, but they don’t transfer from one to the other without you physically moving them.
  5. Always build mods and cook when you can
    There's a lot of junk in post-apocalyptic Boston, but it all falls into specific categories. Ultimately, a toaster is no different than a coffee pot — both are materials that can be used as a steel substitute for building other cool things. Every mission is a chance to grab literally hundreds of new materials and raw (read: irradiated) meat, which can be grilled / roasted to safe levels of consumption.
  6. Scrapping is more important than selling
    Sure, some shops have unique items, but you’ll really only spend money on ammunition (rarely needed, but it came in handy). It’s better to have extra material for weapon and armor mods (as well as buildings and decorations for your various homes).
  7. Clothing matters
    There is a huge number of ways to mix and match apparel in this game. Arms, legs, chest, head, and long underwear can all be intermixed and boost both armor and various stats. (The right kind of hat will add multiple points to Charisma, for example.) Many armor pieces can also be modified to improve effectiveness. Better still, you can fairly easily add pockets and increase the overall amount you’re able to carry.
  8. Radiation matters, too
    n past Fallout games, you could get a dose of radiation and more or less ignore it. That's decidedly not the case here: radiation will decrease your maximum health (shown via a pesky red line on your health bar) until you heal yourself. And radiation is EVERYWHERE.
  9. Power armor is fun but it’s rarely essential
    The post-apocalypse’s de facto super suit is more ubiquitous in Fallout 4, but after you get your first suit, it’s perfectly fine to drop it off at your favorite workshop and save it for special occasions. Power armor runs on energy, which at first isn’t easy to come by — and if it runs out, you pretty much have to leave the suit wherever you took your last step.
  10. Companions won’t affect the narrative but they will make the world less lonely
    It honestly doesn’t matter who you take along in missions but each one does have fun quirks that add to the color of the game (a certain reporter, for example, might start randomly going around asking other questions). They also serve as great pack mules for when you need to carry more than your own weight in weapons, armor, and junk.
  11. Feel free to focus on the main quest (to a point)
    Fallout 4’s main quest is way more compelling than past games in the series. There will come certain moments where certain decisions will cut off access to other quests (say, hypothetically, picking one side or another in a heated debate), but for the most part, you can get far into the main quest before needing to check out others. The game will continue on after the main storyline is over, letting you revisit most (but not all) of your mission backlog.
  12. Save. Often.
    Persuasion checks have an element of chance, some conversation branches have unintended consequences, and bugs are painfully prevalent. You’ll need the peace of mind / backup plan.