Wasteland – a post-nuclear RPG also known as the spiritual predecessor of Fallout – had been released a year before I was born. I have never played the first game (maybe it’s time, as it comes bundled with Wasteland 2) but I still appreciate the sequel’s approach. Funded by a Kickstarter campaign, this game doesn’t follow the trend of “modern” RPGs bringing back the old days of team management and turn based combat instead.
The story of the Desert Rangers continues as they’re trying to bring order to the barren nuclear desert of Arizona. Right at the beginning you have to create four characters and may add three more NPCs to your party later on. Most of the skills and attributes should be familiar from other titles in the genre (except Toaster Repair). Try to make a party experienced in various skills – you’ll certainly need that!
The world of post-apocalyptic Arizona is quite big, filled with memorable characters and some interesting locations as well. While the setting is cruel – death and suffering all around – it is somewhat made less tragic thanks to the ever-present dark humour in descriptions and dialogues. By the way, there’s tons of text to read here and unfortunately only a part of them has (the otherwise really cool) voice-overs. At least some more Baldur’s Gate style “greeting lines” would be welcome.
Combat is far from realistic but it’s among the most entertaining features of the game. It poses quite a challenge as well (no saving in combat of course), your Rangers tend to flatline quite easily. Even the clunkiness of the GUI cannot ruin the satisfying experience of wasteland shoot-outs.
Visuals of the game are all right but don’t expect anything extraordinary. Also, Wasteland 2 seems to be somewhat sluggish even on stronger systems – moving items or targeting in combat can be problematic. I have also experienced some bugs in the Steam save game sync between my two PCs.
Wasteland 2 has a lot of references to the first installment and the glorious past of gaming and RPGs as well. Despite some shortcomings, it is still a pretty cool CRPG to play. If you don’t mind some of the old-school imperfections I’d heartily recommend it. And hey, it’s the sequel to a 26 years old game!