Right off the bat it is important to note that the book can be split into three sections, the guide that details the quests, the encyclopedia of the creatures and factions of the world and then there is the weapon/armor section, where you can learn all about what each does. Each section is very thorough in its explanation of its topic and thankfully also feels relatable thanks to some easy writing. What might confuse you though when you collect your copy is the options available to you, above is the Collector's Edition, which comes with a fold out map and lithographs of the Special system, it was also the one provided for this review. There is also a standard edition, which is just the book, but for those looking for the best, there is the Ultimate version, which comes with collection of Nuka Cola goodies, a calendar and a special cover for the guide, it is shown below.
If we look at each part on their own, there would be enough value in them to justify the cost alone, the quest guide for example provides you with enough information about each of the quests in the game, but never spoils them. When a particularly hard quest is coming up, the guide book will present a helpful hint from Vault Boy, now these will not be specific to the quest, but perhaps a singular action that you might undertake within it. The hints can be as basic as be sure to level up perception to avoid wandering into trouble, or how to ensure your automatic defenses are not triggered by your settlers. It is actually pretty clever how these hints can give you an idea of how to approach something, but at the same time also avoid being too tutorial like.
While the quest section is important, perhaps the most useful part of it are the detailed maps that are also included, each area of the games overworld is detailed as they will provide markers for locations you can visit, with some areas, specifically around old Boston being jam packed with places to see. There are also interior maps, which can provide things like the route to take, what things can be found inside buildings and more. The maps are usually tied to an area or a quest, so you won’t find a map of a place you are not likely to be ready to explore, but should you want to see the world in more detail, there is also a giant map that is double sided, with one side covering the entire game world and the other the old Boston district, while it is detailed, the size is something you need to see to believe and it can be too big at times.
Perhaps the section that is likely to get the most workout though is the weapon, armor and item breakdown sections, here you can learn about each weapon the game offers, the stats for it, damage rates and more. Knowing the stats is important as weapon management is a critical part of the game, as the game itself does not offer an easy way to compare weapons against each other, this is really the only way you can do it. Of course, as the weapons can be fully modified, there is also a section of the guide that details what each type of mod can do, which is nice if you are not a gun person. There is also a section that details the variety of armor mods available, now it won’t give you the stats for each type of armor and its various pieces, it does give you some tips on how you can make armor built for melee combat or for movement.
The section after that is the junk section and I don’t mean useless, I mean its all about the junk you can collect in the game, something you will need to do if you want to build mods, craft settlements and more. Each item in the game has a value associated to it, for selling and for the parts it can be broken down into. If you pick up a tin cup, that is obviously going to give you tin, but what about a coffee cup, do you know what you would get if you salvaged toothpaste or a ballpeen hammer? This section will list each item you can collect in the game and the salvaged properties of them, which you can then use to build things. As you go on, you will learn more about these from experience, but knowing what is valuable at the start of the game will help immensely.
The final section of the guide that will help you out, is the bestiary/ faction guides, both will give you details about the creatures, enemies and people of the Commonwealth. Knowing that there are not one but eight different types of the Deathclaw will be enough to scare you, but here you will get some hints on how to defeat them and when you are likely to encounter them. While some might say that takes the fun out of the game, I assure you, knowing that Glowing Deathclaws existed before I found one in the game myself would have made me more cautious of anything that glowed. It also breaks down the factions, that you can be friend and the ones you can fight, offering up details on the people that make up their members.
The Fallout 4 Vault Dwellers Survival Guide is something that anyone who wants to learn all about the Commonwealth Wasteland should not go without, it can supply you with assistance when needed and tips and insights to help even the most veteran of wasteland explorers.