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Wasteland 2 Review

by on October 10, 2014
Details
 
Synopsis

The long awaited sequel to the original Wasteland, the grandfather of the post-apocalyptic genre.

# of Players

1

Positives

The story.
True to the original.
Freedom, non-linear.
Great characters.
Lots of developer jokes and easter eggs.

Negatives

Still a bug or two.
May be too hard for some.

Editor Rating
 
Gameplay
A+

 
Graphics
A+

 
Sound Effects and Music
A+

 
Story
A+

Writer's Score
A+


Bottom Line
 

I have been waiting for 25 years. I could have TOTALLY been let down, but I wasn't.

Satisfying a build-up of 25 years should tell you that this is a solid game.

 

From the moment you click past the title screens and see your first view of the Scorpitron in over 25 years, you know right away that sucker is gonna kick your ass…again.

So, what do you do? You (stupidly) move your cursor to NEW GAME button and give it a click. Just then, the Scorpitron shuffles its legs and reminds you that when you do find it in Wasteland 2, it’s gonna make you pay. You realize you are a moron for embarking on an adventure where you will cross paths with this beast of a machine again. And all I have to say about that is…

**** YEAH!

I know some of the other big gaming news sources had their review of Wasteland 2 published the DAY of the release, which was Sept. 19th. Not me. After waiting 25 years, I didn’t want to play the Beta, which is most likely what they played. How else could you get an accurate review out on Release Day? I wanted to play the final version. While I respect the viewpoints and the time of all the Beta Testers and thank them for their contributions to the finished product, I wanted the spit and polished version.

I didn’t want to just crank out a review, just to crank out a review. I wanted to get enough time and enough gameplay so that I could really sink my teeth into it. Now, it is been a couple of weeks and although I am not finished, I am deep enough into the game where I feel like I can give an accurate viewpoint of the product.

The Discobot (Stayin’ Alive, baby. Well, not always alive…):

Wasteland 2 Discobot

I am one of the people who grew up with the original Wasteland. So, yes, I am of the ilk who had been waiting for 25 years. I would search the Internet for news of Wasteland 2, play all the spiritual sequels (Fountain of Dreams, look for news of Meantime, Fallout series, etc.), and basically was waiting for the real sequel for a long, long time. I would even follow the news about the adventures of the rights to the game, who owned them, etc. The funny part about it is that I was not the only one. There is an entire generation of slightly older gamers who grew up with this game and followed the news for over two decades.

What other game title has that statistic or kind of following? Fargo, Pavlish, Stackpole and St. Andre did something very, very right in ’86-88.

Possibly thanks to inXile’s crowd-funded business model, I feel like they stayed as true to the original as they could. Down to the characters, the maps (mostly), the descriptions in battle and even having to read (a lot)—they really did make a sequel. Not just a sequel, but THE SEQUEL. I feel like this was potentially risky, seeing that the top-down RPG with lots of reading could potentially flop in a market where people are simply used to mobile games and first-person shoot ’em ups. It is reassuring to see so many crowd-funders and the game being such a success. But let’s face it, the ones who have been following Wasteland for 25 years like myself, well, chances are have a bit more money than your average teenage gamer…maybe. 

The original Highpool map. The cave is in the same location in both Wasteland 1&2.

Highpool_map

The gameplay and story stays true to the original game with modern twists, of course. But I read more than one younger gamer say that it was too hard, too complex, they couldn’t beat it, Wah! Welcome to the Old School! We called them ironman games. You can’t just bust in with no tactics and blow everything away. Plus, how boring is that? (Aren’t people tired of just mindlessly blowing shit away?). If your character died, he died. If you saved in the wrong place, you were screwed.

There are new things that are fun, like being able to modify your weapons. My current M16 is shiny, accurate and deadly…and so is the grenade hanging off of my Leader’s belt. I like being able to see and customize my character, as well as write bios for them. It just ads to the create that the player gets to interject into the game. Not only do you get to play the game, but you also get to really role play. For example, one of my characters is older and originates from Darwin, dating back to the first game. Another one of my characters is younger and is too young for the stories from Wasteland 1.

The tactics you need to employ are not always easy, but make the game a challenge. This is totally fine by me, as I have been waiting 25 years for this game. I am not in a hurry to rush through the game. More so, I am taking my time, exploring and generally going where I want to, since this game has one of my favorite aspects in gaming- freedom. You can go pretty much wherever you want, of course guided by missions.

Wasteland 2 screenshot

The sound, the voice-overs, the story, the playability is all very satisfying to me and I’m not even done yet. My characters are getting respectably bad-ass, at least enough to take a successful headshot or demolish a band of raiders with no effort.

There are so many cultural references in this game, as well as throwbacks to the original for all us old-timers, that I don’t think everyone is even going to get them all–especially the younger crowd. Nothing personal, but there is a reference to the second to the last V8, which I took as a reference to The Last V8, which is not only a Mad Max reference, but also a video game from the C64 (I may have lost some readers at C64…it’s just an old computer from the 1980’s, *bleep bloop*). There are even five and a quarter floppy disks in Wasteland 2. Awesome.

The designs for the robots are the same designs from the original. The character images are a lot of the same from the original Wasteland, but updated. The images of the jerks, wasteland warriors, robots, etc. When I say they stayed true, they really did. I think that it was just as fun for those old time developers to make this game as it is for this old time gamer to play it. What a blast it probably was!

On a little side-note, the new Slicerdicers kick your ass compared to the old ones. When I saw my submachine gunner literally get cut in half, I was like, “What?!” RUN AWAY, RUN AWAY….reload…

This is definitely a high-five for crowd-funding. It’s sort of like making a movie with no movie studio to tell you what to do, or put out a new rock album without the record label bossing you around. You really get to do what you want (or so it would appear).

I have only encountered one bug, or maybe two. I know a patch has been released, but I haven’t even been bothered enough to go and download it, yet.

The other negatives that I could think of would be possibly a little hard or complicated for someone only used to FPS shoot-em-ups or not used to tactical strategy.

At first, I was expecting a little more in the graphics department, but now that I am into the game I am quite happy with what inXile did. I actually stop from time to time and admire the artwork of the environments I am in. But I think it is possible that someone could think it wasn’t quite up to snuff, but in the end it is on the money in my eyes. I think they did the graphics how they wanted them done. It achieves the feel and vibe of the original Wasteland, and with that I consider them a success.

So, you may think while reading this that it is a long bit of fanboy-ism, and I fear that you may be right. What can I say– I’m a fan and waited for 25 years for this. We all know they could have totally screwed this up (like that shitty Duke Nukem sequel that was so painful), and if it sucked you would have seen me writing about that instead of the success that I feel like they pulled this off with (that’s what she said).

So, it is official. This game has entered into my top 5 favs of all time and gets an A+ from me. My other A+ ratings include: Wasteland, Star Control 2, GoldenEye 007 and Fallout 3. I think I represent my generation of gamers in their 30s and 40s with that ranking, and by saying this game is rad and bitchin’. 

Now quit being a little girl, grab some RPGs and let’s go hunting…

 

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