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Fallout 76 VATS explained - how does it work online?

Fallout 76 VATS

If you're expecting Fallout 76 VATS to give you a breather in combat, we're sorry to say that it works completely differently in this online apocalypse. It no longer slows time and gives you a moment to collect your thoughts but instead auto targets enemies so that you can hit them without aiming. The basic idea is still the same -you can highlight and target enemies, including specific body parts - it just runs at normal speed in Fallout 76. 

The bonus to no longer slowing time is that once you activate Fallout 76 VATS, it will target the enemy you're aiming at regardless of where you're actually looking. All you need to care about once Fallout 76 VATS is activated is the percentage chance of a hit. As long as it's 90% plus it's more or less guaranteed, even if you're staring into the sky at the time. Unlock the right Fallout 76 perk cards as well and you can target specific enemy parts to cripple and hinder their abilities. 

Here's how it all works.

How Fallout 76 VATS works

When you go into V.A.T.S. by pressing LB on Xbox One or L1 on PS4, any nearby enemies will appear highlighted in bright green. Time won’t slow down, but you will still get shown the percentage chance you have to hit your foe. You can cycle between different enemies by pressing left or right on the control pad, and press Y or triangle to go into critical mode, where your attack will deal critical damage. Later on you can use the Concentrated Fire Perk Card that allow you to target specific body parts, but to start off with you’re just going to be able to aim for their entire body. Simple, right?

How to use Fallout 76 VATS

Gone are the slow-mo cinematic kills of previous Fallout games, and in this new online world they aren’t coming back. Instead use V.A.T.S. when you’re in a rush as a way to quickly to hit your enemies with an attack without aiming properly. As the percentage chance obviously alters as your enemy gets closer or further away, Fallout 76’s V.A.T.S. system is best used when you don’t have the time to aim and instead want to fire off a couple of pot shots when the percentage chance starts to verge on the 70%+ territory. It’s a gamble about whether those bullets will connect with their target, of course, but at the moment it’s the best way to use V.A.T.S. in Fallout 76. 

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While here at GamesRadar, Zoe was a features writer and video presenter for us. She's since flown the coop and gone on to work at Eurogamer where she's a video producer, and also runs her own Twitch and YouTube channels. She specialises in huge open-world games, true crime, and lore deep-dives.