Currently playing: Nox Archaist

May 13, 2015

Wasteland 2 - My experience of it

The only game I have been playing after Lords of Xulima is Wasteland 2. Normally I don´t really like its type of settings and environment. That´s why I never liked Bioshock or Vampire Bloodlines either. I always prefer medeival settings. 

Nevertheless I was glad to see there was a successful kickstarter project to release Wasteland 2 a few years ago, even though I had never played the original one. I had no other RPG to go for after Lords of Xulima (I then lacked the quadcore required for Dragon Age Inquisition) so I was happy to try out Wasteland 2.

Wasteland 2 is played out after the apocalypse, the destruction of the world as we know it. You start out in Arizona as rookie Desert Rangers, the only lawfactor amongst endless of lawlessnes, corruption and other factions trying to get control of their own territories by helping or harassing its few remaining habitants.

You create five characters from the beginning and you spend skill points and attribute points. The better you choose to be, the more expensive it gets. There are no classes, so you can choose freely and the recommendation is of course to create a group that complement each other to secure that you have all relevant skills. 

Skills are ranging from the ordinary weapon skills to lock picks, disarm alarm, medicine, surgery, different types of social related skills, mechanics, computer science etc.

The game strikes a pretty good balance between being linear and open at the same time. You often have two choices of where to go but it all ends up in the same places sooner or later anyway. You plan where to go on an overland map of a small part of Arizona. It is blank in the beginning but new places appear if you stumble into them or get information about them. Many areas are hidden beyond dangerous radioactive zones which you will be too weak to traverse in the beginning, effectively forcing you to play through in a certain order to reach them. Along the way you need water and have to carefully look for waterholes. When your inventory gets full or you need to resupply you can get back to your starting base to sell or buy things. But often, all major places have at least one place to buy or sell stuff. 

This is not meant to be a review of Wasteland 2. For that there are many others out there. I just want to give you my short view of the game. The driving force except for the story is to clear out areas through combat to gain experience points in order to level up and get stronger. During that process you should aquire as much new weapons and ammunitions as you could carry. In that part it is no different than any other RPG.

The graphics are pretty good and the soundeffects as well. What I lack is strong, long lastring characters. Most of those you meet are encounters with persons only relevant for the current map and then they are irrelevant. I would also like a little bit more voice acting. 

If you are into this kind of setting the game is a solid experience. You often have several ways to handle problems. You could either pick a very difficult lock to get past some enemies or you have to fight your way through for example. I always save up my skill points and spend them when I need them rather than spend them right away. That way I leave myself full flexibility to handle almost any encounter. I was playing on the suggested difficulty level and did not find it too hard. I have died dozens of times but most of those occassions are because I let seriously wounded partymembers to enter the fight.

The tactical combat works pretty well with covers to use, different weapon ranges and other abilities of the weapons you find like shooting single shots for higher accuracy or switch to burst mode.

One thing I didn´t like is that I never found it very useful to have high skills in lock picks, disarm alarm etc because there where never any items worth having anyway. The selection of weapons are always limited and your first priority is to gather ammunition all the time to keep up. Also, the tactical combat should be improved. It is impossible to see beforehand which types of obstacles in the terrain could be used for cover and which you could simply shoot through.

When I am leaving this game I have just entered the Temple of Titan. With no competition out there I would probably still be playing the game but now Dragon Age Inquisition really deserves my attention.

Finally, a good and solid game for what it is but only to be played between the major titles out there.

Gameworld & Story
NPC & Interactions
Monsters, tactics & combat system
Magic system
Character generation & development
Map design
Graphics, Sound and Interface
Summary CRPG value