Review: Wasteland 2
Wasteland 2 is the game I wished Fallout 3 would have been. That’s not to say that that Fallout 3 was a bad game; I had a lot of fun playing it, but the shitty FPS platform was a turn off for me. Wasteland 2 is a turn-based RPG with tactics-style combat similar to X-COM: Enemy Unknown for you newer gamers out there.
I have never played the original Wasteland that inspired two of my favorite games growing up (Fallout 1 and 2), but its sequel is sweet! As the name implies, this game is set in a post-apocalyptic wasteland full of ruthless fanatics in robes, steam punks, mutated wildlife, and a live nuke just sitting on a table with a shiny red button. Would you not push the button and never know if the nuke really did work? I won’t spoil it for you, but I will remind you to save often.
Wasteland 2 is hard! As a veteran Fallout player I brazenly attempted “Seasoned” difficulty (only the second of four) and got a lot of my squad killed fairly early on. In the interest of seeing as much of the game as possible for this review, I clicked through a lot of the dialogue, which usually ended up with me having to kill that person, and all of their friends…and the entire rest of the town. Still, there is a lot of well-written story in this game and it pays to read carefully. A note to people who do not like reading: this game has a lot of reading. There is a little voice acting for some of the characters, but the majority of the time you are reading text. Of course the people that this warning is meant to help have probably not read this far into my review.
So far I have put 40 hours into Wasteland 2 (much of that time spent spamming through chat options and killing a lot of people) and I still haven’t finished it. It seems like I have a ways to go yet, and there were numerous other paths I could have taken. This game has awesome replay value. This particular playthrough I made a sniper, a thief (lock-picker and safe-cracker), a beefcake (max-strength brawler with iron knuckles), and a utility character (to disable alarms, use energy weapons, and carry my shovel). This team makeup has been pretty successful, although I did turn the difficulty down so I could see more of the game.
Now, despite my love of this genre of games and fanboy attitude towards anything Fallout 1 or 2 (the Fallout Pip-Boy has been my online chat icon for years), this game is not perfect. I’ve experienced many glitches, though most of them were minor, but having the text dialogue not match up with the voice over can be a little disorienting. I did find one useful bug however; when applying skill points, you do not need to commit them until you leave your character screen. Since your inventory is on the character screen, you can put points into gunsmithing, tweak your weapons, and remove the points. In order to do this you need to have a character with free skill points, but after your weapon is all pimped out, you can put the points into your main gun mastery.
All in all, I think Wasteland 2 does a good job preserving the harsh, lewd, and often funny post-apocalyptic RPG genre. This game’s minor shortcomings are easily outweighed by its strengths and I would recommend it to any fans of the genre.
I give this game 4.5 stars out of 5.