[Top 10] Fallout New Vegas Best Perks That Are Great

Perks can drastically change your gameplay and Fallout: New Vegas has some great options. Here are my favorites.

What are the best perks in Fallout: New Vegas and what do they do?

Fallout: New Vegas offers a nearly limitless variety of ways to customize your wanderings through the Wasteland. These choices make New Vegas one of the most replayable games I’ve ever encountered. 

So, you’re starting a new game. You’ve built your Courier, you’ve selected your traits, and earned some experience to reach a new level. Now you have to pick perks. There are a lot of options, which can be daunting, but I’m here to help highlight some of the best choices.

Combining perks in different ways can give you vastly different gameplay. I’ve picked my top ten must-have perks for New Vegas. What do you think of my choices? Did your favorites make the list?

10. Rad Resistance

Explore every inch of the Wasteland when you fear no radiation.

As you might imagine, the nuclear fallout that ended the world left behind some lovely radiation as a parting gift. If you don’t feel like sprouting extra limbs or going ghoul, Rad Resistance is a fantastic perk choice. While radiation resistance can be boosted temporarily by taking Rad-X, this perk is great for those who don’t mess with chems often and would rather have passive resistance. Combined with power armor and chems, you should be set to explore even the most heavily radiated areas. 

Why Rad Resistance is Great:

  • It improves radiation resistance by 25%.
  • You don’t take extra damage when fighting radiated creatures or ghouls.
  • You don’t have to worry about finding or making chems.

Rad Resistance Details:

  • Requires Level 8 and Endurance 5
  • It stacks with your other radiation resistances. 
  • With Rad Resistance, power armor, and the relevant chems, you are nearly invincible to radiation.

9. Mysterious Stranger/Miss Fortune

As Humphrey Bogart said, “Things are never so bad they can't be made worse…” For the enemy. Take this perk and let the Mysterious Stranger show up to ruin the other guy’s day.

This is always one of my favorite perks simply because I enjoy visits from the Mysterious Stranger. I often don’t strictly need the help, but it is always a bit of the unknown thrown into the game and I like it. Who doesn’t want a fully-armed guardian angel complete with his own soundtrack? Honestly, it makes perfect sense for my guardian angel to look like a frustrated, overworked 1950s detective.

Why Mysterious Stranger is Great:

  • He shows up randomly in a trench coat and fedora like he stepped out of a film noir to finish off your enemies in V.A.T.S. 
  • After 15 appearances of the Mysterious Stranger or Miss Fortune, you will complete the Friendly Help challenge, and both will appear more often.
  • The Mysterious Stranger perk can be taken alongside the Miss Fortune perk, earning you another combat ally with different effects. They will not appear together in the same V.A.T.S. sequence.

Mysterious Stranger Details:

  • Requires Level 10 and Luck 6
  • The Mysterious Stranger will appear occasionally in V.A.T.S. to help you. 
  • There is a chance the Mysterious Stranger will miss all six shots and the target will be unharmed.
  • The Mysterious Stranger can be crippled, and even incapacitated by nearby explosions, but it appears to have no effect. He will appear again, unharmed.

8. Black Widow/Lady Killer

Be the ultimate femme fatale of the Wasteland.

I get super into the roleplay opportunities this game offers, particularly if I am doing a playthrough with a special character like my Sterling Archer or femme fatale builds. While the Black Widow/Lady Killer perk doesn’t offer a huge advantage for gameplay, I find it is always on my must-have list because I want to have as many options as possible. Who doesn’t want to be a smooth talker capable of wrapping the opposite sex around their fingers? While I have no problem fighting my way out of a sticky situation, it can be fun to flirt my way out, too.  

Why Black Widow/Lady Killer is Great:

  • During the Old World Blues DLC, the Courier can flirt with her disembodied brain. 
  • Seduce several NPCs for extra fun and potential quest solutions.
  • The male equivalent perk, Lady Killer, has different but similar options.
  • If taken with the Cherchez La Femme/Confirmed Bachelor perk, you will gain additional speech options with both sexes. 

Black Widow/Lady Killer Details:

  • Requires Level 2 female character
  • +10% damage against male opponents and additional dialogue options with certain male characters
  • Speech choices through Black Widow/Lady Killer do not count as speech successes.
  • The official FBI designation for a woman who kills her husband is a black widow.  A lady killer was slang for a man who is popular with women.

7. Implant GRX

Time means nothing to me.

Slow down the Courier’s perception of time and use it to dominate the Wasteland. The GRX Implant gives you a non-addictive Turbo alternative. This perk is great for when you want the time to aim for the head but don’t want to use V.A.T.S.

Why Implant GRX is Great:

  • Replenishes every 24 in-game hours. Works with the Chemist and Day Tripper perks to double effects.
  • Mimics the effect of Turbo without addiction
  • Used to its maximum effect, you can feel nearly untouchable

Implant GRX Details:

  • Requires Level 30, Endurance 8, Old World Blues DLC
  • The Courier gains a non-addictive chem injection implant. This park has two ranks, with the second one increasing the effect duration from 2 to 3 seconds and the uses per day from 5 to 10.
  • This serves as a V.A.T.S. alternative, slowing down the world around the Courier, and giving you more time to act. 

6. Chemist

Practice makes perfect, after all.

It’s easy to see why this perk is among the most useful in the game. Scattered across the Wasteland are many consumable chems that offer the Courier a variety of effects to alter gameplay. This perk doubles their effects. 

Why Chemist is Great:

  • This perk affects all aid items and consumables with timed effects, such as food, drinks, and skill magazines.
  • Chemist works well with Chem Resistant, Fast Times, Day Tripper, and Whiskey Rose perks. 
  • Excellent choice for Hardcore mode.

Chemist Details:

  • Requires Level 14, Medicine 60.
  • Any chems the Courier takes last twice as long.
  • Helps you maximize your gameplay and reduces the number of chems you have to find. 

5. Silent Running

Did you just hear something? No, me either.

Don’t mind me, just going to sneak on by real quick. This perk is vital for pretty much all stealth builds. The sneak mechanic in Fallout has enemies check for visual alerts and sound alerts. This perk cancels the sound alerts. Combine Silent running with other stealth perks and a stealth suit, and you’re practically invisible!

Why Silent Running is Great:

  • Silent Running is an absolute must-have perk for stealth builds.
  • It lets you maintain your fastest crouch speed without noise.
  • Great for melee stealth builds alongside the Travel Light, Implant M-5, and Tunnel Runner perks. 

Silent Running Details:

  • Requires Level 12, Agility 6, and Sneak 50.
  • Running no longer factors into a successful sneak attempt. 

4. Strong Back

Brahmin are for the weak. I am my own pack animal.

No matter my intentions, I turn into a hoarder every single trip through the Wasteland. Always. I mean, somebody has to clean it up, right? The Strong Back perk is one of the most valuable in the game, in my mind, especially when taken with Burden to Bear, which grants an additional 50 pounds carry weight. 

Why Strong Back is Great:

  • You can carry things. All the things. 
  • Carry Weight is a huge part of the game in Hardcore mode. 
  • You won’t be over-encumbered as often and can make fewer trips home as you hoard to your heart’s content. 

Strong Back Details:

  • Requires Level 8, Endurance 5, and Strength 5. 
  • The Courier can carry an additional 50 pounds of equipment. 
  • If you combine 10 Strength, Strong Back, Burden to Bear, the NCR Courier Duster, and the Hoarder trait, you can get to a total carry weight of 400 pounds.

3. Light Step

Tiptoe through the minefield with me.

While Light Step is a must-have for stealth builds, I find it is useful for all Couriers and will reliably take this perk on all my characters. You can only cripple yourself so many times before you are ready to avoid the problem altogether. Companions can still trigger trips, but Light Step gives you that extra second to disarm them before it becomes an issue. 

Why Light Step is Great:

  • You will never set off frag mines, tripwires, pressure plates, bear traps, and satchel charges. These can often blend into the Wasteland rubble astoundingly well if you aren’t focused on the ground. 
  • Reselling disarmed mines can be a profitable Wasteland enterprise, as they have a high value to weight ratio.
  • Essential for the Sierra Madre DLC content. 

Light Step Details:

  • Requires Level 14, Agility 6, and Perception 6. 
  • The Courier will never set off an enemy mine or floor-based trap.
  • Beware: companions can still set off traps.

2. Better Criticals/Finesse

The only thing better than a headshot is a critical headshot.

The combination of the Better Criticals and Finesse perks is vital to me, though each is quite useful on its own. This perk combination is massively useful in increasing the damage you deal. 

Why Better Criticals/Finesse is Great:

  • Builds focused on critical hits are some of the most powerful in New Vegas. 
  • Combined with some of the more powerful weapons, the Courier can take many enemies out with one shot.
  • Better Criticals stacks with Just Lucky I’m alive, for a total of 125% additional critical damage.

Better Criticals/Finesse Details:

  • The Better Criticals perk requires Level 16, Perception 6, and Luck 6. It gives the Courier a 50% damage bonus on every critical hit. 
  • The Finesse perk requires Level 10. It gives the Courier an additional 5% chance to land a critical hit, regardless of the Luck stat.
  • Finesse is affected by your weapon’s critical chance multiplier. The Built to Destroy trait also increases critical hit chance.

1. Jury Rigging

Need to repair your Trail Carbine, but all you have is 4,000 Varmint Rifles? Jury Rigging is the perk for you!

As you’d expect in the ruins of the world, your gear will degrade over time, forcing you to repair it. Undeniably one of the most useful perks in New Vegas, Jury Rigging is a game-changer. This perk lets you use any similar item to repair your damaged gear. For example, you can repair the unique Stealth Suit MKII with the common NCR Armor. Anyone who’s had to scour the Wasteland for a specific item to repair a broken favorite knows exactly how valuable Jury Rigging can be. 

Why Jury Rigging is Great:

  • Vendor repairs can be insanely expensive. Jury Rigging lets you eliminate the middleman and do it yourself.
  • I don’t know about you, but I sometimes lose track of item condition and get surprised when my weapon breaks. It is so convenient to be able to fix it on the fly. 
  • Maintain rare and unique items much easier and for a fraction of the cost. 

Jury Rigging Details:

  • Requires Level 14 and Repair 90.
  • The Courier can repair any item using a roughly similar item. Repair based on category rather than type. Think about how the character holds the weapon or the armor weight class to get an idea of categories.
  • Jury Rigging makes you a power player in a world where others are using rusty pistols passed down through the generations while you have a well-oiled machine. 

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An impetuous gnome artificer in the wilds of Ohio, Amanda maintains there's no problem you can't role play your way out of - and she's proven it. Sometimes, chaotic stupid is an alignment.
Gamer Since: 1990
Favorite Genre: RPG
Currently Playing: Fallout: New Vegas (modded); Assassin's Creed: Valhalla; Resident Evil: Village;
Top 3 Favorite Games:BioShock, Fallout: New Vegas, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim - Dragonborn

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