Wasteland 2 Preview | MOUSE n JOYPAD

Wasteland 2 Preview




I’m pretty sure everybody knows about the Fallout franchise at this point, or at least about its newest, Bethesdian iteration. Now, Fallout had to get inspired by something, right? What we’ve got here is a direct successor to the first persistent post-apocalyptic RPG ever created – Wasteland 2. There’s a certain itch this game tries to scratch among the veterans of gaming – the people who played the first Wasteland, as well as the two older Fallout games. Since newer post-apocalyptic RPGs seemingly prefer action over strategy, Inxile Entertainment will try to satisfy those who would like a modern, yet tactical take on the post-apocalypse.

Starting the game up, you’re greeted by a massive scorpitron that may or may not amaze you when it finally moves. Certainly an upgrade to what they used to be. Clicking on the new game option leads you to a fairly standard character creation screen. Here, you can either choose pre-built Rangers for your party or create new ones. It’s when you begin customizing the stats of each Ranger that a dose of nostalgia hits you. I’m not quite sure whether it’s the interface, skills or something third that induces it, but it’s definitely there. Fiddling with the statistics, I realised that there’s a fair number of options to alter while creating characters. Even though the skill roster is kept relatively simple and clean, Wasteland 2 already has a huge amount of stats that affect the way each Ranger behaves in combat, dialogues or exploration. Or when repairing toasters, whichever might be more relevant for you.

After creating your rag-tag bunch of wannabe Rangers, you can begin your adventure. The first sight of actual gameplay will include some pretty cool graphical effects, I can tell you that. With birds flying around, rays of sunlight passing through the clouds and crisp shadows, the world of Wasteland is a much more beautiful place than one might expect. It also plays much smoother than I thought it would. All controls are very tactile and enjoyable. In most similar games I played, manipulating the camera is a jittery, sluggish experience. Not here, though. Still, it’s obvious that one more layer of polish is required before the game goes gold. Mostly in the visual department with the UI, but that will surely be dealt with in due time.

When it comes to actually playing the game, Wasteland 2 delivers again. The balance between exploration, interaction and combat is well struck. While more variety in the clothing department would be nice, there’s a load of things to collect and you will always have something to do. Quests aren’t hard to track down, and neither are goons to kill. As soon as you come into contact with hostile creatures, the game smoothly transitions from real-time to turn-based system. It’s seamless, to say the least. When fighting, your Rangers can take cover behind objects, somewhat akin to how XCOM soldiers do. There are no dynamic combat sequences here, though. Every firearm in the game hits like a bag of bricks and feels equally powerful. This is good because the ammunition isn’t all that easy to come across, so you’ll want to use melee whenever you can, at least until you stockpile an entire armory’s worth of ammo.

The characters we’ll come across are well realised. There are wacky, interesting and altogether insane people, as well as a suspiciously stubborn goat, prowling through the wastes. Listening to their stories makes the world seem alive and filled to the brim with stuff to do. As of now, the storyline is incomplete, but it does offer a valuable insight into what’s waiting for us once the game is finalised. The quests are fairly interesting, too. Often will we find ourselves having to weigh out a difficult decision. One of the first missions makes you choose whether you’ll save a food producing facility or the compound that ensures the water is clean. And the devs made sure you know that the people you ignore will suffer a horrible fate. It’s dilemmas such as this that make player input count, and will surely make multiple playthroughs an alluring option.

Now, you might be wondering how can we possibly discover all the interesting and wonderful (read: hopeless and terrifying) events taking place in this world. Well, as you first take off into the world, you will be contacted by a Ranger agent who will inform you about your party’s radio and its many, many functions. Using this little piece of tech, you will hear pleas for help, traders, caravans, bandits and some very, very disturbing things. After all, this is the post-apocalypse we’re talking about.

Wasteland 2 is shaping up to its promises, that’s for sure. In the latest update, the devs added a huge new area, as well as promising even more content once the game releases. We’re looking at a 50-hour storyline here, and that’s without counting in all the side quests and additional areas we’re surely going to be exploring. To mention one such location – the entirety of LA, packed up with its surrounding areas. And no, this isn’t implemented into the beta build at the time of writing. It is my humble opinion that you cannot go wrong by investing into this game. Stay tuned for the review in a couple of months!