Much like in every other Fallout game, New Vegas introduces a number of recruitable allies. These poor schm... valiant souls will join you on your path of destruction through the Mojave Wasteland. Each one of these bullet sponges has a particular role in which they excel as well as a Perk that they give your character. As such, it's incredibly important that you pick your two followers carefully so that they provide you with the greatest benefits to your character build.
There are many different ways to utilize the followers in New Vegas. For example you could make a veritable firing squad by having Ed-E and a ranged attacker complimenting your own ranged attacks, or you could have Rex and Lily along to act as distractions while you snipe enemies from a distance. Or you could let Lily do all the melee fighting while taking shots along with Ed-E from far back enough that enemies never have a chance. It’s all about how you want to deal with the enemies in the Wasteland.
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The Mechanical allies you can recruit on your travels are somewhat limited with one that is suitable for melee and one that’s suitable for ranged combat. While they’re fairly powerful in their own way they’re also incredibly limited in that they cannot upgrade their weapons or armor outside of side quests. Unfortunately this means that they’re very likely to die on Hardcore mode if you aren’t incredibly careful about how you play.
Take note that you can indeed heal your mechanical companions with Stimpacks even if it doesn’t make sense. We’re looking at you Ed-E.
Realistically speaking it doesn’t matter which of these two characters is better than the other as you should pick one of them based solely on your gaming style. If you believe that your character needs ranged combat support than Ed-E is the choice while melee combat support means you’re taking Rex along. It’s about as simple as that.
Recruited from: Primm, Mojave Express Couriers.
Ed-E is sitting on the counter and must be repaired to get him to join up with you. You can repair him with a high enough Repair skill (65+) although using Science (55+) will make the Repair check easier. Or, if your Science skill is below 55 but above 35, you can fix Ed-E with Scrap Metal (3x), Sensor Module (2x) and Scrap Electronics (1x). These parts are scattered about and should be easy to find by just searching around.
Enhanced Sensors: Increases the range at which the player can detect enemies. This is an incredibly useful skill for anyone who is using either the Sneak skill or planning on being a sniper. These sensors will pick up enemies before almost any of them have a chance to notice you especially when you’re indoors. While outdoors there is a chance that some rare few enemies will be able to spot you but this is the exception to the rule.
Ed-E My Love: This quest is surprisingly complicated to get started. Ed-E has a number of logs saved up inside of him and they’re unlocked after hearing certain keywords as well as time spent on the road. To start things off speak to Old Lady Gibson in Gibson Scrapyard in Novac about Helios. This prompts a recording saved within Ed-E.
From this point forward you need a mixture of killing time, such as by waiting or simply adventuring, and Ed-E hearing other key words. These words include Air Force Base, Archimedes, Eden, Enclave and Navarro. Speaking to Arcade Gannon in the Old Mormon Fort is a great way to get some of these as is simply traveling to Nellis Air Force Base. In either case after several of these logs the chance to end the quest will appear.
After this, wait for two in-game days and you should receive a transmission from Knight Lorenzo, who will direct you to Repconn Headquarters. On the top floor, loot the dead corpses to receive Brotherhood of Steel Mission Holotape, and Mission Statement XV-56.
Once equipped with those, go to the Hidden Valley and you should receive a message from April Martimer telling you to bring Ed-E to her at the Old Mormon Fort. If you do that, his weapons will be upgraded. Or, if you want an armor upgrade, take Ed-E to Knight Lorenzo. Note you must be on the Brotherhood of Steel's good side for this.
Ed-E is probably the better of the two robotic allies you can have as a follower. Since these guys can’t be upgraded the fact that Ed-E stays back while using his powerful laser blasts is something of a god send. For the most part he will hover near you until blaring his battle anthem and blasting any enemies who dare approach you. If you’re finding that he’s getting taken down too often tell him to hang back further so that enemies will have to run past you to get to him, giving you plenty of time to kneecap them.
When playing on Hardcore mode you will definitely have to protect Ed-E until he gets his armor upgrade. Keep him close by you so that enemies will have to choose between who they attack. Aim for their legs so it takes longer for them to close in and be sure to disarm them whenever possibly by going after their weapon arm.
Recruited from: Freeside, The King’s School for Impersonation
Must complete the “Nothin’ But a Hound Dog” side quest to get him to join. To unlock this you must complete the “G.I. Blues” quest and then speak to King again.
Nothin’ But a Hound Dog: This is a simple quest but it bears note that there are several ways to end it. You need to bring a new brain to Henry for Rex and there are a number of options. Depending on what brain you pick you will modify Rex’s stats:
1) Speak to Old Lady Gibson at the Gibson Scrap Yard in Novac. You can talk her into selling you the brain of one of her dogs, Rey, for 700 caps. If your barter skill happens to be 70+, you can talk her out of said brain, giving it to you for free. Bring this back to give Rex increased damage.
2) Head west out of New Vegas to find the Violet and Violetta trailer park. Here you will find a Fiend named Violet with a pack of dogs led by Violetta. Kill Violetta and take her brain back to give Rex improved movement speed.
3) At The Fort you can speak to Anthony about Lupa. This starts a one on one fight with the vicious dog while you wield a machete. Using Lupa’s brain makes Rex able to endure more damage in combat. However, the Legion-hating Boone will refuse to travel with you when Rex is your companion.
Note that you can only receive one brain.
Search and Mark: Having Rex around allows you to more easily find things lying on the floor as well as containers. By zooming into the environment you can see pretty much any free items lying about on the floor as well containers, safes, Hollow Rocks and dead bodies. This is useful but not really deciding factor in bringing him along.
Additionally, as noted above, Rex will receive different perks depending on which brain you chose:
* Rey's Brain - Faithful Protector (increase attack damage)
* Violetta's Brain - Unshakeable Tracker (increase speed)
* Lupa's Brain - Blood of the Legion (increase hit points)
Rex is a surprisingly vicious attacker that closes in on enemies rapidly to hit with weak, but constant, attacks that carry a chance of knocking his targets down. When he notices an enemy, and isn’t stuck in sneak mode, he will charge that enemy and attempt to knock it down over repeatedly while trying to chew its face off. Since he moves in so rapidly most enemies won’t get a chance to deal too much damage at range but he’s still quite vulnerable to powerful melee enemies, like Nightkin. If you want to keep him alive help him by disarming these enemies’s and then shoot them while they’re down.
While a strong ally Rex isn’t the greatest ally for Hardcore mode. All it takes is a Nightkin or two to land a few critical hits and say goodbye to your doggie. If you’re going to use him then keep him a good distance behind you in passive mode. This way enemies will have the chance to focus on you while he starts to knock them down.