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Fallout 4 VR VATS pre-release screen

V.A.T.S. in action (Fallout 4 VR)

V.A.T.S., or the Vault-Tec Assisted Targeting System, is an advanced combat technology whose developmental origins have been lost to time...Fallout 4 loading screens

V.A.T.S. (Vault-Tec Assisted Targeting System) is a visually dynamic, stat-based combat system in Fallout 3, Fallout: New Vegas, Fallout 4 and Fallout 76.


Although known to be a product of the Vault-Tec Corporation, the developmental origins of this advanced combat technology have been lost to time.[1] However, it was available to the Pioneer Scouts and their parents, in the event their parents became inebriated and could not aim correctly.[2]

By 2287, the Robotics branch of the Institute had managed to receive permission from Father to enhance the capability of a Generation 3 synth brain, creating an emulation of V.A.T.S. accessible to Gen-3 synths.[3]

Fallout 3[]


V.A.T.S. in action, as seen in Fallout 3

While using V.A.T.S., the otherwise real-time combat is paused. Various actions cost Action Points, and the user can target specific body areas for attacks, inflicting specific injuries.

When using V.A.T.S. against a humanoid enemy, seven different areas can be targeted: the head, torso, left arm, right arm, currently held weapon, left leg, and right leg. However, there may be other points available when facing off non-humanoid creatures (e.g. robot combat inhibitors, ant antennae).

When targeting a part, the screen displays a percentage of how likely the attack will hit the targeted area based on distance from the target, visibility of the targeted body part, and combat skill. The percentage of a hit cannot be any higher than 95%, so there is a small 5% chance to actually miss. A higher percentage does not equate to more damage done; for example, an 95% hit to the head will not do more damage than an 80% hit to the head. The readout also displays the overall condition of the body parts on the target. The bar will be empty when the limb has been crippled.

V.A.T.S. also displays a health meter indicating the target's overall health, as well as an indicator showing the amount of damage a V.A.T.S. attack round using the character's current weapon will inflict. Note that the indicator shows the weapon's maximum non-critical potential damage that the weapon would do if the character's relevant combat skill (e.g. Small Guns) were at 100. If the character's combat skill is less than 100, they will do less real damage with each attack than what the V.A.T.S. indicator shows. On the other hand, achieving a critical hit (such as a Sneak Attack Critical) can potentially produce more real damage than the indicator shows.

There is a 15% boost in the chance for a critical hit in V.A.T.S. mode, but weapons degrade at 4 times the regular rate.

Unlike previous Fallout games, it is not possible to target the eyes or groin, nor target any individual body parts in melee and unarmed combat. However, one can still strike specific limbs without aiming for them, and still cripple and dismember enemies. Also, unlike in previous games, children cannot be targeted.


Although body part damage can be achieved through manual aiming, V.A.T.S. allows more effective targeting of particular body parts. Crippling any body part will result in the target momentarily pausing to clutch the now crippled body part or reel from the injury. When using explosive and melee weapons specific body parts cannot be targeted while in V.A.T.S. The enemy is simply targeted as a whole. The effects of crippling specific body parts are listed below.

  • Crippling the head will reduce overall accuracy and Perception (-4) of the target. If inflicted upon the player character, the screen will intermittently get fuzzy and a ring will be heard through the speakers, loosely simulating the effects of a concussion. Until healed this will persist occasionally.
  • Crippling the torso will result in the target flinching far more often from shots than normal. This can also affect the player character, throwing off aim and interrupting attacks.
  • Weapon accuracy is reduced in V.A.T.S. by a crippled arm, but still allows using weapons. In the first-person mode, the held weapon will sway, and while this may not seem to affect the accuracy with regular non-V.A.T.S. shots, it does make the crosshairs sway significantly while using the scopes on weapons like a sniper rifle or scoped .44 Magnum, making it much harder to aim. A crippled right arm also reduces base melee damage done by 10% if wielding a one-handed weapon. If wielding a two-handed weapon (or unarmed), one crippled arm reduces base damage done by 5%, two crippled arms reduce base damage done by 10%.
  • If it is an explosive ordnance (like a frag grenade), it will explode, dealing its damage to the target holding it (and any others nearby). Grenades can be targeted by V.A.T.S. while in the air after being thrown as well. If successfully hit on the fly, they will explode prematurely.

Related perks[]

FoT Action Boy

V.A.T.S. is your friend.


  • V.A.T.S. is first introduced to the player character on their 10th birthday in Vault 101 upon receiving a BB gun.
  • V.A.T.S. can be used to reveal enemies that normally would not be seen (like Crimson Dragoon or enemies that are far away) by clicking the V.A.T.S. button rapidly (or for consoles, simply holding down the V.A.T.S. button) (also called V.A.T.S. scanning). If there is a target nearby, V.A.T.S. mode will be entered with the enemy targeted, pointing out their location. Doing this when going around corners in buildings and tunnels can give an edge against ambushing enemies as well. Occasionally in large open spaces, the opposite will happen: seeing a target but it will be too far away to target with V.A.T.S.
  • Continuously holding down the V.A.T.S. button on PC - when initiating V.A.T.S. or while it is active - will zoom the camera back out to a normal first person view while keeping available targets highlighted and allowing a player to cycle though them normally. This allows a player to see overall positions of different targets without needing to exit V.A.T.S.
  • Although invisible enemies can be targeted in V.A.T.S., no other actions can be taken, because all hit percentages for enemy body parts will remain at 0%, regardless of their proximity to the character.
  • The player character receives only 10% of normal damage in V.A.T.S.; however, some weapons are still strong enough to instantly kill, such as the Fat Man, and especially the Experimental MIRV.
  • V.A.T.S. is very useful for melee and unarmed sneak attacks, as it seems to teleport the character to melee/unarmed range, whereas in free-aim it would be impossible to reach the target. It can also teleport characters up on to a ledge if V.A.T.S. is started mid-jump for an attack, unless there is a 0% chance to hit.
  • Despite the entire body being highlighted in V.A.T.S. with a melee or unarmed weapon, the strike will actually hit the head when standing (noticeable because a melee kill from V.A.T.S. while standing will nearly always result in a decapitation) or the arm when sneaking.
  • The character cannot move away or dodge while in V.A.T.S.
  • Automatic weapons (assault rifles etc.) always shoot bursts of ammo in V.A.T.S.
    • Even if a target dies while reloading, the burst will still finish.
  • V.A.T.S. only slows time; it does not halt it completely. Therefore, targeted enemies may be able to move behind cover before getting to fire all queued shots. Characters allied to the player character can also move during a V.A.T.S. sequence, which might cause friendly-fire incidents with ranged weapons in close-quarters combat.
  • Once a V.A.T.S. sequence has been accepted, it cannot be canceled while the actions are being carried out unless the target dies or is destroyed during the sequence.
  • Mines cannot be used in V.A.T.S.; they will show a 0% chance to hit, no matter the proximity to the target.
  • If a character is out of AP and unable to attack using V.A.T.S., one can still take advantage of it during battle. Simply activate V.A.T.S., select the target, then press and hold the left trigger (or whatever button was mapped for iron sights). Exit V.A.T.S. while still holding the trigger and the iron sight will be aimed directly at the intended target. This works best for enemies that charge directly at the combatant, like melee-oriented enemies such as deathclaws, since a good number of shots can be squeezed off without having to adjust one's aim. This can be used to one's own advantage at great range with very accurate weapons such as the Lincoln Repeater, where a headshot is almost guaranteed even when the probability of hitting in V.A.T.S. is minuscule.
  • Using shotguns in V.A.T.S. can sometimes do minimal damage. Shotguns' damage uses a Spread Radius and thus, a certain amount of damage for every single part of the spread, for example, 8x6 - each part of the spread does 8 damage, but the damage is multiplied by the 6 parts of the spread, in V.A.T.S., sometimes it will cancel the spread and only do the base damage - in comparison to the example above, instead of doing 8x6 worth of damage, it will only do 8 points of damage, making a shotgun in V.A.T.S. a gamble.
  • V.A.T.S. can be used to compensate for a low skill with scoped weapons by selecting the limb to target and then instantly zooming out and firing.


  • PCPC Playstation 3Playstation 3Playstation 3 Xbox 360Xbox 360 On rare occasions, the black-and-white effect of V.A.T.S. will carry over to the normal game, rendering everything except the HUD in a permanent grayscale filter. [verified]
  • PCPC Xbox 360Xbox 360 If the player falls from a great height, they can pull out a melee weapon and target someone below. The effect of being teleported into range loses all velocity from the fall and negates the damage. This is most easily seen at Tenpenny Tower, from one of the balconies onto citizens below. [verified]
  • PCPC Xbox 360Xbox 360 Firing weapons that require two shells, such as the Double-barrel shotgun, while possessing only one can lead to a bug in which the character does not actually fire a shot in V.A.T.S. It will just result in a drawn-out cinematic view of the player aiming at their target.[verified]
  • PCPC Playstation 3Playstation 3Playstation 3 Xbox 360Xbox 360 Occasionally, the game will freeze during a V.A.T.S. attack. On consoles, this will cause the screen to become stuck and the console will need to be reset. On PC, the game will automatically close (sometimes after a short period of time). There is no fix, so it is recommended that players save often to avoid loss of progress. [verified]

Fallout: New Vegas[]

This section is transcluded from Fallout: New Vegas combat. To change it, please edit the transcluded page.

The Vault-Tec Assisted Targeting System returns to Fallout: New Vegas allowing the player to freeze combat and specifically target six different limbs at the cost of Action Points. It is mostly unchanged in principle from Fallout 3.


  • Every melee weapon can execute a special attack, which, however, requires having a Melee Weapons skill of at least 50.
  • Unarmed weapons gain Uppercut and Stomp special attacks at an Unarmed skill of 50, and Cross at an Unarmed skill of 75. These attacks have an AP cost of 20 regardless of the weapon used.
  • Base melee/unarmed damage (except thrown melee weapons) dealt by the weapon is automatically doubled.
  • The player character takes 75% damage in V.A.T.S. instead of 10%. Dying in V.A.T.S. is a very real possibility.
  • The V.A.T.S. critical chance bonus is 5% instead of 15%.
  • V.A.T.S. no longer inflicts additional weapon condition degradation on use.
  • Enemies are less aggressively slowed down; while all enemies move slower in V.A.T.S., those not actively targeted are not slowed nearly as dramatically.

Related perks[]


  • PCPC Playstation 3Playstation 3Playstation 3 Xbox 360Xbox 360 On occasion, a target in V.A.T.S. will show 0% to hit or not show any percentages to hit at all, despite being perfectly valid (which can be verified by selecting attacks, which ordinarily should not be possible). Leaving and re-entering V.A.T.S. or switching targets can help fix this. [verified]
  • Playstation 3Playstation 3Playstation 3 Xbox 360Xbox 360 Upon tapping the V.A.T.S. button, the player may only hear a click and no change in gameplay, as V.A.T.S. does not activate. This problem can last for up to several minutes (easily enough to hinder any player reliant on the V.A.T.S. system), at which point V.A.T.S. once again becomes available. This issue appears to be a problem with the L2 & R2 button mapping. Remapping V.A.T.S. to a different button can resolve the issue. If this doesn't work, you can turn off the controller and turn it on again or even quit the game and get back in. [verified]
  • PCPC V.A.T.S. targeting is bugged for certain guns - most lever-action rifles and a few pistols: it consistently shoots high, making headshots improbable or impossible. Consistently replicable by starting a new game, adding a brush gun (id: 00121148) and .45-70 ammo (id: 0013e43e), forcing Guns to 100, and shooting at Easy Pete's head from the nearby road. Bullet impacts will appear on the windowpane behind him - and, shot after shot, will consistently be high. Modifying the gun to have perfect accuracy and/or setting fVATSSpreadMult to 0.01 will reveal that the V.A.T.S. point of aim is roughly a foot high. No known fix yet. This bug also seems to occur with the Hunting Revolver. [verified]
  • PCPC A reloading glitch can rarely occur where the player is granted a 100% boost in reload speed after a target is killed in V.A.T.S. and the cinematic death animation plays simultaneously as the player is reloading (seen with the single shotgun). The effect lasts until the player enters another cell, switches weapons, dies, or reloads a previous save. [verified]
  • PCPC Playstation 3Playstation 3Playstation 3 Xbox 360Xbox 360 When using melee/unarmed, it is possible to get stuck in a wall. You will have to reload a previous save, use fast travel, or use a console command. [verified]
  • Xbox 360Xbox 360 By tapping the V.A.T.S. button (regardless of whether an enemy is around), the game freezes to the point in which a manual restart is necessary. Restarting (from the same save point) has not fixed the glitch, but loading an earlier save might. Try deleting the system cache. [verified]
  • PCPC Playstation 3Playstation 3Playstation 3 Xbox 360Xbox 360 After choosing where you want to attack at your enemy and pressing the button to attack them, your character may do nothing and stay still during the slow-motion for an unconfirmed amount of time. On most occasions, you will either die or lose a large portion of your health. It is largely related to attacking in V.A.T.S. while you were reloading, so make sure ALL reloading animations and sounds are totally complete before you attempt a V.A.T.S. attack. This can also occur with the Mysterious Stranger if his target is killed prematurely by you, or another NPC. He will not fire his 6 rounds and V.A.T.S. will not end until 15 seconds or more. [verified]
  • PCPC On very rare occasions, your character may not fire after queuing up the attacks, forcing you to reload a previous save. [verified]
  • PCPC Playstation 3Playstation 3Playstation 3 Xbox 360Xbox 360 At close to medium range, V.A.T.S. may simply refuse to register attacks but will go into cinematic view. The player character will simply stand still while being attacked. Note: The enemies will go back to normal speed which means if you are in a difficult fight, you just might die. After several seconds, however, the screen may revert to the normal view. This may happen repeatedly on PS3 while using the brush gun. [verified]
  • Xbox 360Xbox 360 After entering V.A.T.S., and skipping the kill camera, your game may be in slow motion for about ten seconds. This won't prove any difficulties, everything will be in slow motion. This may also occur if you have the cinematic kills on and usually occurs around areas with cliffs, apparently. [verified]
    • PCPC A similar bug may occur on PC, but under different circumstances. This seems to happen if your companion kills an enemy you're about to kill in V.A.T.S. In this case, the kill will happen at normal speed, but the slow-motion effect will persist. This may only happen when Veronica is the player's companion.
  • Xbox 360Xbox 360 While attacking in V.A.T.S., only the target and player will be in slow motion. Any other enemies in the area will move and attack at normal speed, making you a prime target for the duration of your attack. [verified]
  • Playstation 3Playstation 3Playstation 3 Sometimes the camera may zoom on the enemy and all your shots may fire in quick succession as if you're using an automatic weapon, but no shots will register on the target and will cause zero damage. [verified]
  • Xbox 360Xbox 360 When attacking an enemy in/underwater with a melee weapon, if you're in close range, the game will most likely freeze and you will have to load an earlier save. [verified]
  • Xbox 360Xbox 360 Rarely, after exiting V.A.T.S., if "true iron sights" is turned on, the player's default weapon position may be locked in iron sights. This can easily be fixed by zooming in. [verified]
  • PCPC When using the recharger pistol, recharger rifle or MF Hyperbreeder Alpha in V.A.T.S., if the number of attacks exceeds the amount of ammunition in the rifle's magazine, it will fully recharge the rifle minus every attack selected after the recharge. [verified]
  • PCPC Xbox 360Xbox 360 Sometimes in V.A.T.S., if queuing up attacks with a firearm and attacking, the player will not do anything and can still be attacked. However, AP is not lost when going out of V.A.T.S. after a few seconds. [verified]
  • PCPC Playstation 3Playstation 3Playstation 3 V.A.T.S. targeting can sometimes cause the screen to move and limit the options available to the player. This is most common when enemies are too close. A similar but possibly related issue can occur at range when body parts are shown in V.A.T.S. but cannot be targeted because the limb selection option won't appear for certain limbs (most common when targeting small objects like antennae). [verified]

Fallout 4[]


V.A.T.S. in action, as seen in Fallout 4

General features[]

Instead of freezing time as in previous games, V.A.T.S. significantly slows down time, creating a "bullet time" effect. V.A.T.S. also significantly reduces incoming damage received by the player. Unlike in previous games, actions queued in V.A.T.S. can now be canceled before they are taken, and being in V.A.T.S. is required in order for the player to electively make a critical hit. Random critical hits are possibly only via certain perks and chems.

The V.A.T.S. display shows the predicted hit probability of the attack. The V.A.T.S. display also shows the predicted damage if a hit is scored, by shading the portion of the target's health bar that would be reduced. (This prediction is not always accurate however). The V.A.T.S. controls allow the player to move between targets and (for ranged attacks) between body parts. Attacks can be queued on multiple targets or on the same target.

The V.A.T.S. display shows an action point bar (see below) which gives feedback on the maximum number of attacks that can be queued with the currently selected weapons. This includes time/Action Points required to load or reload the weapon. Each action - attacking or loading/reloading - is shown as a continuous colored section in the action point bar.

Attack types[]

Ranged attacks[]

Ranged attacks in V.A.T.S. can select a specific body part of the target. The V.A.T.S. display shows the predicted accuracy for each individual body area. The body areas available vary depending on the type of creature being attacked. Attacks can be queued on the same body part on the same target, or different body parts on the same target, as well as on multiple targets. Effects of hitting a specific body part vary depending on the creature being attacked. For example, there may be different multipliers for damage, for crippling effects, etc. These effects are not shown in the V.A.T.S. display. The current health of each body part is shown in the display, as a smaller health bar. That body part is fully crippled when its health bar reaches zero.

Melee attacks[]

Melee attacks in V.A.T.S. do not target a specific body part, but the entire target creature only. They may only be queued up against targets that are currently within melee range, with the Blitz perk increasing the range significantly. An enemy may use a melee attack during the V.A.T.S. sequence and stagger the player character, causing them to drop out of V.A.T.S.


Unlike in previous games, throwables such as the fragmentation grenade cannot be directly used in V.A.T.S., since throwables are not equipped as primary weapons. However, they may be thrown regularly, and V.A.T.S. can then be activated to manually target and shoot the throwable, detonating it at the desired point of its trajectory, if a hit is scored.

Critical hits[]

Functioning in a new way when compared to the older games, critical hits occur no longer randomly; instead, attacks in V.A.T.S. charge up a critical hit bar, the rate of which is primarily influenced by Luck - with 10 Luck, one can expect it to take about 5 hits to build the critical meter to full. Once the critical meter bar is full, the player can elect to upgrade an attack to a critical hit. Critical Hits are guaranteed to hit, regardless of the actual V.A.T.S. percentage hit chance, provided that chance is above zero. Critical hits also bypass Damage Resistance and Energy Resistance. Once used, a critical hit must be replenished by recharging the critical meter. The Critical Banker perk allows storage of more than one Critical Hit.

Related perks[]

Main article: Fallout 4 perks

Action Points[]

Cost per attack[]

Main article: Action Points

The amount of Action Point consumption per attack is based on the base weapon type and the mods fitted to it. (Rate of Fire applies only outside of V.A.T.S., and is a very poor indicator of how many shots one can queue in V.A.T.S.)

For automatic weapons, the Action Point cost is for one burst (usually 3 rounds), while for most other ranged and melee weapons, it is for single shots or single attacks. There is a dramatic difference in the amount of V.A.T.S. points used per attack depending on the stock, barrel and sighting devices attached to the same weapon. For example, scopes greatly increase the number of points consumed per attack, while reflex sights decrease the amount.

V.A.T.S. will only allow up to 16 attacks to be queued.

Weapon modifications[]

Main article: Fallout 4 weapon mods

(Note: percent changes are additive based on the base AP cost of the weapon, not multiplicative; a combat shotgun (base AP cost 35) with an advanced receiver (-10% AP cost) and a short barrel (-10% AP cost) will have an AP cost of 28 (35 * (1 - 0.1 - 0.1) = 35 * 0.8), not 28.35 (35 * (1 - 0.1) * (1 - 0.1) = 35 * 0.9 * 0.9 = 35 * 0.81).)

  • Receivers – Receivers can significantly impact the rate of attacks in V.A.T.S.. Light receivers consistently decrease AP cost and damage and heavy receivers consistently increase both by the same amount, while hair-trigger and advanced (non-automatic) receivers decrease AP cost by 10% on some weapons but not others. Automatic receivers consume significantly more AP per attack (typically +20%), but will fire in bursts (at a cost of reduced accuracy, range, and possibly damage). Capacitors on energy weapons do not affect AP cost.
  • Barrels – "Short" and "Light" prefixed barrels lower AP cost in V.A.T.S. while reducing recoil, making them useful for close-quarters combat (where relevant, "Short Light" is typically equivalent in AP cost to "Stub"). "Long" and "Heavy" prefix barrels increase AP cost in V.A.T.S. and the effective range of a weapon.
  • Stocks – For rifles, a short stock has no AP cost penalty in V.A.T.S. at the expense of increased recoil, while all other stocks (including standard stocks in the case of pipe weapons, which do not have short stocks) increase the AP cost by 20%. For handguns, a sharpshooter's grip lowers AP cost by 15%, while standard and comfort grips both lower it by 10% (even on obligate pistols like the 10mm and .44).
  • Magazines – AP cost increases with magazine size. Quick-eject prefixed magazines reduce AP cost compared to their non-quick-eject counterparts.
  • Sights – Standard sights generally do not change the AP cost. Reflex sights reduce the AP cost by 15%, and glow sights reduce AP cost by 7.5%. Scopes increase AP cost depending on the size of the scope (Short +30%, Medium +40%, Long +50%), which is consistent across the different types of scope (normal, night vision, and recon)
  • Muzzles – With the exception of the gamma gun, muzzles do not impact the AP cost of shots in V.A.T.S.


  • It is not possible for the player to voluntarily move while V.A.T.S. is active (other than when melee attacks are executed, moving to engage the selected targets).
  • V.A.T.S. cannot be activated while jumping, falling, using a Jet pack, or flying in a Vertibird.
  • V.A.T.S. will not normally activate unless there is a valid target in range and in the current field of view.
  • However it is possible to force V.A.T.S. to activate by holding down the V.A.T.S. key. There is then free first person camera movement which can be used to detect valid targets that were outside of the initial field of view.
  • V.A.T.S. can be used to detect mines. It will not detect traps, including explosive booby traps.
  • V.A.T.S. can be used to detect NPCs (enemies or friendly). The range is generally more limited than maximum visual range. Thus it may be possible to engage targets by manual aiming that are not selectable in V.A.T.S.
  • V.A.T.S. cannot select or target the currently active companion (uniquely among all adult NPCs).
  • V.A.T.S. cannot select or target child NPCs.
  • While executing queued V.A.T.S. attacks, player character rotation and weapon traversal between different queued selected targets in V.A.T.S. takes zero time.
  • V.A.T.S. cannot be selected or used while in the third person camera. It can only be activated from the first person camera. Execution of attacks that were queued in V.A.T.S. can be observed in third person however.
  • Weapons that have the 'charging' function, such as the Gauss rifle or laser sniper rifles, will fire at full power in V.A.T.S. as if 'charged'.
  • However laser muskets will fire only a single round charge if reloaded in V.A.T.S. If loaded prior to entering V.A.T.S., they will fire the number of rounds loaded for their first attack, and single round charges thereafter for subsequent attacks in the same V.A.T.S. sequence.
  • This version of V.A.T.S. can be used before acquiring a Pip-Boy in Vault 111.


  • PCPC Playstation 4Playstation 4 When targeting an enemy in V.A.T.S., if they are attacking the player in close quarters while the player is sneaking (crouching), their body will block V.A.T.S shots on their head, despite it being closer. [verified]
  • PCPC If an environmental effect causes the player character to move horizontally while in V.A.T.S. (e.g. by standing on a moving platform), the camera will remain in the same location despite the character moving. The camera will return to the player when they exit V.A.T.S. [verified]
  • Xbox OneXbox One V.A.T.S. attacks will often be skipped over when used against any variant of radscorpion. [verified]
  • Playstation 4Playstation 4 Melee attacks on V.A.T.S. on a big creature, namely deathclaws, under a tree (or similar environments), may rarely shoot the creature up in the air. [verified]
  • PCPC Sometimes when engaging V.A.T.S., it will actually cause the game to black screen or V.A.T.S. and the game to freeze. It can be closed by pressing the Windows key, hovering to the taskbar, and closing the Fallout 4 task. [verified]
  • PCPC The time slowdown effect of V.A.T.S. does not affect the player's reload speed. The sounds may become distorted but the reloading sequence itself will progress normally. [verified]

Fallout 76[]

V.A.T.S. appears in Fallout 76. Due to the online multiplayer nature of the game, V.A.T.S. does not slow or stop time when activated, instead functioning as an aim assistant. The new real-time V.A.T.S. system provides the unique advantage of being able to move around while using it; enemies will keep moving in real time too, though, making the player character more vulnerable to attacks than in previous iterations. Another consequence of the real-time combat is that it is possible for opponents to dodge the attack (as if the player character were aiming manually), making V.A.T.S. more effective at close-range. It also leaves player characters more vulnerable to attacks than in previous games.

Actions cannot be queued and are instead taken immediately after selecting a target's body part and attacking it. V.A.T.S. actions use up Action Points like in previous iterations and cannot be used very frequently at early levels since all player characters start with 1 Agility. Action Points are also slowly drained while V.A.T.S. is active.

The critical meter from Fallout 4 returns, allowing one to make a critical strike on an opponent by pressing the button shown in the V.A.T.S. screen if the bar is full. However, unlike Fallout 4, attempting to activate V.A.T.S. multiple times in a row will also drain available AP. This hinders using V.A.T.S. to "scan" for enemies.

Bethesda Pinball[]

V.A.T.S. appears in the Fallout pinball table of Bethesda Pinball. Because it is based heavily on Fallout 4, use of V.A.T.S. slows down time instead of temporarily pausing the game. Its use is governed by a red meter shown next to the main right flipper that slowly fills as the player attacks enemies, but can instantly be refilled when VATS is spelled on the table's four upper rollovers. V.A.T.S. is used in combat to deal exceptional damage to one particular enemy and is activated by holding down the launch button when the V.A.T.S. meter is full, choosing an enemy to use it on with the flipper buttons and then pressing both buttons simultaneously to use V.A.T.S. on the targeted enemy. There are two perks that enhance the V.A.T.S., obtained from successfully completing certain Vault missions: a Perception bobblehead that fills the V.A.T.S. meter faster and an Agility bobblehead that grants more points every time V.A.T.S. is used. Using it twenty times in a single session grants an extra ball.

Behind the scenes[]

V.A.T.S. was partially inspired by the ability to target specific limbs in the turn-based combat system of Fallout and Fallout 2.




  1. Fallout 4 loading screen hints: "V.A.T.S., or the Vault-Tec Assisted Targeting System, is an advanced combat technology whose developmental origins have been lost to time..."
  2. Middle Mountain Cabins terminal entries; Pioneer Scout terminal, Pioneer Scout Advice
  3. Cut content Institute Robotics terminal entries; Robotics terminal 2, Unique Project