A surprise showed up at my doorstep last night: the Fallout '76 "power armor" edition, arriving ahead of the game's official launch at 12:01am tomorrow morning (Wednesday, November 14). The PC version's $200 special edition has been sold out at many retailers for quite some time, as it was announced well before the game began receiving more public scrutiny. [Update: GameStop is still selling the console version of the set.]
But even though its sticker price includes a DLC-loaded version of the retail game, most of its cost is made up of Fallout series swag. Even if you're wary about the game's buggy beta period, is there still enough here to justify the insane cost for a series diehard?
In a word, possibly.
We have two unboxing galleries for you: one is dedicated to the helmet, which will fit a grown-up's head, and the other is about the rest of the package. There's a glow-in-the-dark map of the game's West Virginia environs, a set of 24 plastic, monochrome minis, and a steelbook case to house the game's, er, cardboard insert of a download code.
The above captions include opinions and insights about everything included. As an overall review, I struggle to recommend this helmet as a $200 Fallout relic. Its 3D mold is top-notch for the sake of placing on your shelf of collectibles, but its mix of plastic and spray paint means it has an unsightly sheen—particularly if your display room of choice has a lot of natural light coming in as opposed to controlled light bulbs.
Meanwhile, if you want to wear this for your next costume, you'll need to do two things: add customized padding and replace the visor's plastic. The helmet makes zero accommodations for a mobile fit, so you'll need to build in and glue down some foam. And while you can see through the visor, it looks terribly Vaseline-ey. Did this production house not have access to, say, material used in an average pair of sunglasses? (If you're going to bother customizing this for public wear, you might also want to rip out and rewire the voice box that comes in the set. Instead of giving your voice a cool "power armor" modification, it sounds like something from a cheap children's toy.)
The plastic toys come in slightly weird shapes, but that may be due to designs that favor their army-men style—and in our case, that meant they arrived fully intact, without weird bends in their limbs. They're my favorite part of the package, though their size doesn't quite match with the scale of the glow-in-the-dark map, so you'll want to make a Fallout battle diorama with some other materials (or maybe toss these minis in with the Fallout board game, whose minis are decidedly more handsome).
As far as the enclosed game? Impressions of that will have to wait, as the final version won't unlock for press and critics any earlier than it does for everyone else. Stay tuned to Ars for more coverage of the series' first steps into a connected, online experience coming soon.
Listing image by Sam Machkovech