Wasteland 2 is the latest installment in the post-apocalyptic RPG franchise offering classic turn-based role-playing games. The refreshing live-action cut scene introduces players to a colorful and diverse cast of grizzly-bearded cyclists and hard-eyed women.
Our ensemble of characters, who can only be described as Antiheroes, must navigate the harsh terrain they are in and deal with the consequences of their past and future actions.
In this Wasteland 2 review, we dive into what we like and dislike about this traditional post-apocalyptic computer RPG.
The Ultimate Wasteland 2 review
- Fantastic plot
- Sequence selection
- Rich party design
- Occasionally vague goals
- Highly specialized gameplay
The cut scene, typically a film troupe, is one of the best design pieces incorporated by the creators of Wasteland 2’s gameplay. The game design is controlled to get the player to seek out their entertainment in the game’s interactive universe. For example, the game deviates from the usual trend of rich voice acting after quests in favor of pieces of text.
If you are in a hurry, you will only notice the highlighted words and goals needed to complete the mission. However, I appreciated how the game went out of rewarding me for taking the time. Also pay attention to reading the text carefully with not only a refreshing welcome dose of dark humor and rich descriptive depth and character building, but also a wide range of choices that depend on the passive skills of your party members.
A character with the “hard ass” trait can expect to take what they need from scared city dwellers without resistance. Thanks to good writing, we have a world that often feels gritty and genuine. Despite the high praise, Wasteland 2’s goal of the quest is often frustratingly vague, a feature it shares with Divinity: Original Sin. I occasionally encountered a bug here and there that prevented my progress in the hunt if I went too much out of the box with my game.
The Wasteland world gives you the chance to make your mark or die by trying. With over 80 hours of gameplay, you will cover your Desert Ranger team with the most destructive weapon on this side of the fallout zone.
Remarkable voice work
The sparse voice work in the Wasteland 2 review is used masterfully. A particularly early search forces you to rescue either the residents of Hightown or Ag Center, and you will have to listen to the result of your choice over the radio. The voice work in such cases is phenomenally good, leaving you with the intended disturbing feeling.
It’s also just an introduction to the snippets of information you get when your group moves on to places inhabited by the other factions like “Mannerites” in California, and they help remind the player that your choices matter and consistency in a world that is much faster than your immediate interactions.
Something must always be done and it always feels like someone got the short end of the stick in this world as a consequence. When your 50-hour journey is over, the choices you made while playing Wasteland 2 are the ones that stay with you for a long time.
Wasteland 2 Teamwork
Another way Wasteland2’s RPG differs from other offerings is by emphasizing an initial four – man team instead of an individual hero. You can start with in-game characters with creative and innovative monikers like Big Bert and Pills. Still, the character models tend to fall short in the personality department, especially compared to the supporting roles in other games like Dragon Age: Origins, and their abilities can occasionally overlap.
It may therefore be better for you to set up your party. You will still find yourself limited by; the sparse points made available to the skill trees. This means that you will inevitably have to leave some skills unable to develop certain skills, which can have unnecessary side effects to make your journey much easier. Depending on your preferences, this may not be a bad thing.
This design aspect complements the harsh world on which the game is based. However, the developer often goes unnecessarily far to give skilled grades a task. Most coffins carry a thoughtful gift, explosives.
Who does not love predictable albeit explosive surprises, right? While this immediately means that every time you encounter one, switch to your teammate with Perception to avoid a clever coyote situation. This may start out fun, but will soon become a bit of a task.
Wasteland 2 review comes into its own with player-specific skills like precision attack when the match starts. It’s turn – based and follows the old Fallout games (The Legitimate Heirs, the original 1988 Wasteland). A handy tutorial ensures that younger RPG fans who were not around as this game enjoyed its heyday could pick up the gameplay and rules.
True, ammunition is scarce, and the armament of the rust bucket must have an almost reliable tendency to jam and incur actions that need to be repaired. This makes it advisable to get each party member to specialize in a different type of weapon. This means that cannons, though powerful, are just not as reliable as a good, old-fashioned stick, and a well-placed thwack will often outperform powerful, albeit unreliable assault rifles.
Holes in a party member’s qualification sheets often result in huge disabilities. However, Wasteland 2 allows you to fill in the blanks with additional characters you meet and pick up on a 50-hour journey. Be careful. These allies tend to drop or turn on you and even attack other NPCs out of turn if they do not agree with your decisions.
Other things to know
It should typically not be a problem. However, the list of 15 different available companions is so sparse that each death in the event of a rogue party member almost certainly requires a reload. You can not save in battle, which I appreciate from a cheating point of view, but also partly disgust because of the difficulty.
This dynamic system makes matches more interesting and can change the fate of the players in an instant, although long distances can make the game feel monotonous. You have only two options; sweet-talking or bluffing you out of trouble or fighting it out.
The most common strategy would involve hiding behind boxes that are jerrigged to explode (very fun) or light material damage. The introduction of random luck means you can either score a glorious long-range kill with a gun, get an unfortunate fire or weapon failure. So the gameplay never really reaches the heights found in Divinity: Original Sin flamboyant magic shows.
Similarly, if you like beautiful graphics, this is not the game for you. Said blank. The Wasteland 2 review looks like it was designed with great care and intent sometime after Fallout 2 in 1998. Then given a facelift similar to what Overhaul Games recently did with Baldur’s Gate.
Even the game’s cards seem flawed, with little to be impressive about it; you have to move a Desert Ranger’s badge over a rather sparse landscape with only green clouds of precipitation filling the landscape.
But the graphic quality and modern features are not a priority for this game and its developers. In its honor, its strengths are such that stunning graphics do not feel necessary.
Wasteland creator Brian Fargo and his new studio had set out to create a CRPG that could stand as a true heir to not only the 26-year-old Wasteland legacy, but also the two original Fallout games that followed, and the succeeded in that goal. If you have a 26-year-old wilderness itching to scratch, this game might help with that.
Wasteland 2 is not the best CRPG that has hit digital shelves this year or this century. Yet it successfully captures the difficult reality one would likely encounter in a hypothetical post-apocalyptic American southwest. This incorporates excellent writing, decisions with very real consequences, and background voice work that amplifies the human suffering that results from them.
This is a great game about the choices and the few mistakes left. The problems of its struggle only diminish its message. Hopefully Wasteland 2: Director’s Cut offers better gameplay than the original Wilderness. But for now, the Wasteland-Hell landscape is waiting to see what you have.
Disclaimer: This article is the author’s personal opinion, which may differ from the “official” statements or facts.
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