Well the day has finally arrived and after weeks of anticipation I finally made my way over to my local GAME this afternoon to pick up my “Pip-Boy” Edition of Fallout 4. I’ve had just little over an hours worth of game-time with Fallout 4 using the Pip-Boy to accompany me, so this article will be more of a first impressions of the Pip-Boy itself as opposed to the game, we’ll need a at least a day or two to form a fair impression of Fallout 4 itself. Unfortunately however, I can’t help but feel disappointed in what I’ve purchased.
When the Pip-Boy Edition of the game was announced it instantly became one of the most desirable video game tie-ins we’ve seen to date. And why wouldn’t it be? Your very own, functional Pip-Boy, what Fallout fan wouldn’t want that? Launch day is now with us however and the reality of the situation is, it really wasn’t worth the hype, in fact the Pip-Boy is actually a MASSIVE let down. I’ll elaborate. For starters, the Pip-Boy itself just feels cheap, it’s made from the type of shiney plastic you’d expect to find on the toys you’d buy for a child’s Birthday party goodie bag. And all the switches and knobs that make up the controls just don’t have the desired feel that I was hoping for. The whole thing is just horrendously put together, it feels flimsy, clunky and overall and million miles of the well designed piece of equipment I was expecting.
I’d like to say that’s the worst thing about the Pip-Boy but it’s actually one of the more trivial issues I’ve encountered so far, Bethesda say that the Pip-Boy will accommodate a large range of Smartphones across all the different operating systems and manufacturers. But I’m currently using the Samsung Galaxy S5 and have found, to my disappointment, that it just doesn’t fit. The S5 is one of the largest phones the Pip-Boy was marketed to work with and therefore doesn’t require any of the foam inserts to fit snuggly within the device. It’s the same story with the Samsung Galaxy S6 and iPhone 6. Any larger, and you’ve got no chance, which we were warned about. The amount of force required to seat my phone within the device is… Alarming, and once it’s there, you aren’t getting it out without a little persuasion from some form of tool. Even then you’re going to struggle, in fact on the first attempt at removing my phone from the Pip-Boy, I managed to damage the casing of my S5.
Frankly that’s not something I’m overly bothered about, I’ve had the S5 for some time now and it’s been through it’s fair share of negligence leading to a series of scuffs and marks in the typical locations, but if I’d just bought an iPhone 6 or Samsung Galaxy S6 both of which are equally large to the S5 I’d be pretty annoyed at what has just happened. For smaller phones Bethesda have provided a selection of foam inserts that will seat between your phone and the plastic casing of the device, in the event your phone doesn’t fit, Bethesda say you can trim the foam to ensure a snug fit. Which seems fair enough but could they not have just made the thing with an adjustable clip? The people who bought the Pip-Boy Edition of the game didn’t buy it for an investment and probably would have been more than happy to cover the additional costs, I certainly would have been and I’m sure the rest of the people would have as well.
When Bethesda announced the Pip-Boy, it was marketed as a wearable, usable device designed to compliment the games companion app, but the sheer size of the Pip-Boy and the way it straps to your arm makes the whole idea just impractical. It fits onto your arm firstly via a Velcro strap which you’re going to want to strap this thing pretty dam tight, you then have to close the device around your arm which, credit where it’s due, doesn’t feel uncomfortable thanks to the foam padding they’ve lined it with. However I’m constantly having to adjust where it sits on my arm just to stop it sliding down my wrist and restricting what I can do with my hand, which is a nightmare when you’re trying to use an Xbox One game pad. The size of the Pip-Boy is however justified, it’s to-scale and looks about as authentic as it could using the material it uses, collectors will love that aspect and because the Pip-Boy also comes with a rather nifty looking display stand, it’ll fit right at home in any man-cave. If you’re planning on using the Fallout 4 “Pip-Boy mobile app” however, you’re probably better off keeping your phone out of the device, especially if you want the rest of your phones functionality to remain in tact when you’re using it. Frantically scrambling to get your phone out of your device when it inevitably rings just isn’t an option. Not that you’re going to want to speak to anyone once you get your hands on the game.
Unfortunately then I must conclude by saying I’m horrendously disappointed with Bethesda’s wearable Pip-Boy tie in, while it’s a pretty cool thing to own as a collection piece it’s just too difficult to use for it’s functional purpose. In my own opinion Bethesda should have designed the Pip-Boy without the need for those silly foam inserts, providing an adjustable clip to accommodate the range of Smartphones they wanted the device to be compatible with, better quality materials and possibly a little more function (working buttons aside from the watch battery powered light). Basically what Bethesda have made here is a beautiful looking marketing ploy, in the form of a badly designed Fallout themed mobile phone housing unit.