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Review: Wasteland 2 Director’s Cut

This sequel has had to wait an awful long time to come to full fruition. The original Wasteland was released way back in 1988 for the Apple II and was then ported to Commodore 64 and MS DOS, yeah I think I was 3 years old when it came out so I’m not among those who may have played it at that time. However, it was an extremely important game for many reasons, the main one being that it laid the basis and backdrop for Interplay’s 1997 release: Fallout. With recent releases of 3 new Fallout games in the past decade all of which were very successful it shows why Wasteland is such an important game in the grand scheme of things. The game’s developers, inXile Entertainment was founded by Wasteland’s director Brian Fargo who decided he wanted to make a direct sequel to Wasteland which they opened up to be crowdfunded. Needless to say it succeeded and here we are with Wasteland 2, a sequel to a very old and important game.

The Agony Of Choice

You’re tasked with taking charge of a group of new recruits of Desert Rangers and helping bring law and order to the post apocalyptic wasteland. One of the first things the game makes you get used to very quickly is the implementation of choice and consequences of those choices. Early into your adventure you’ll receive two distress calls from distress calls from settlements that are important to the Desert Rangers and the region in general. Sadly the Desert Rangers don’t have the resources to save both as you’re the only available team. There’ll be positive and negative consequences to whichever choice you make so it’s down to your judgment which you choose and which you leave to it’s fate.

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People you meet in the wasteland aren’t always welcoming


Bringing Order To The Wasteland

You can select your squad of Rangers from the preset characters on offer or you can create your own squad from scratch. It’s worth bearing in mind that whichever you choose to do you need to have a balanced squad all with their own combat abilities and non-combat abilities. Weapons wise this means designating an assault rifle user, a sniper rifle user, a sub-machine gun user, a blunt or bladed melee user,  a shotgun user and so on as ammo is scarce in the game to start off and if you have two squad members using the same ammo you’re going to run out pretty quickly. Similarly your non combat abilities should be designated to different characters depending on their strengths and weaknesses.

This is an isometric turn based game where the similarities to the early Fallout games really start to show. There are notable additions to the old formula though, first and foremost being that cover is hugely important, leaving your characters in the open is like painting a bulls-eye on them. The other addition is the fact that environments are destructible which includes your cover, it can be blown up or torn apart by enemy fire if you’re not careful. Your enemies range from human gun toting enemies to mutated radioactive creatures to robots and they all have decent enough AI to be able to exploit various combat situations if you’re not careful. It keeps the game fresh, engaging and exciting even though the turn based system is a relatively slow paced one.

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In A Situation Like This Getting To Cover Needs To Be Your Top Priority

The Post Apocalypse Ain’t Pretty

Graphics are the main drawback of the game as they’re far from the best you’re likely to see. However, with the general atmosphere of the game they really suit it and lend more credence to it’s overall retro feel. Despite the relatively low resolution approach there’s still plenty of detail to be found and with this choice it gives space for the game’s areas  to be very large and have plenty to explore. It also gives even more room for plenty of extra side quests, discover-able extra areas to uncover and plenty of voiced dialogue from the game’s main NPC’s.

Most of the game’s colour comes from the inhabitants you find in the game’s various areas. Voiced characters really help bring each of it’s areas to life and give them their own feel, whether it’s Native Americans living in their train yard or a couple of women holding out against a siege that need your help they’re all executed fantastically. At the Desert Rangers HQ you’ll find plenty of characters to talk to who’ll fill you in on their history and give you plenty to do whilst wandering the Wasteland in terms of side quests too.

An Homage To What Was

This game resonated with me on a lot of levels but it hit the retro nostalgia the most and made me think back to the low res isometric play throughs of Fallout and Fallout 2. Compared to the Fallout games of present day this game may seem like it has little to offer on the surface but once you look past that you’ll find tactical nuances, excitement, wonder and plenty more to like.

Rating: 8.5/10

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