Wasteland 2: Gameplay and Review: Page 6 of 10

Wasteland 2
Worth the Wait

Gameplay

Folsom Prison

Long shadows in the noonday sun

Some have criticised the turn-based combat of Wasteland 2 for being overly simplistic, but I’m afraid that I can’t get on board with that. Yes, it’s true that before a number of balancing patches were released for the game (and more are both still needed, and allegedly on the way) it was possible to steamroll one’s way through the game simply by sinking enough points into assault weapons and click, click, clicking everything dead. If that’s the way one chooses to play, the boredom that follows should not come as a surprise to anyone.

For my own part, I only played Wasteland 2 briefly on release, and picked it up again after the game had been patched several times. My experience was of a game that rewarded a team composed of varied oddballs, and genuine X-COM-esque tactics.

Putting your sniper and assault rifle specialists on the second floor of a building while the rest of your squad lures the enemy within range is a great idea, but the enemy can make use of the rocks, crates, and old wrecks for cover in exactly the same way you can. That’s where having a knife-wielding maniac with high movement points to flush them out of cover comes in handy, as does a medic to patch up said maniac when he inevitably finds himself riddled with buckshot.

Another reason that having, at the very least, a good assortment of weapon types covered is that ammo is vanishingly scarce in the world of Wasteland 2. Three snipers backing you up might seem like a good deal, but sniper rounds are rare, and with three of them drawing on your reserves you can bet that your stockpile is going to dwindle down to nothing in a minute. Oh, and when robots show up, you’re going to be grateful that someone was packing energy weapons. Just saying.

Repeater

Having someone along who can repair doodads like this is a good idea

But combat isn’t even almost the entirety of what Wasteland 2 has to offer. Exploration is a huge component of the game, and you’ll need to do plenty of it in order to make sure that you’re adequately armed and supplied. It’s a scavenger’s world out there, and you best be prepared to deal with both the rewards and consequences of unearthing what time and war has buried.

Speaking of consequences, Wasteland 2 loves them. It loves presenting you with choices, and then slapping you upside the face with consequences, both immediate and far reaching. Take for instance one of the earliest “big decisions” that will come your way. You’ll be heading out into the wastes to track down a couple of promising leads regarding the death of one Ace: Newly-deceased ranger veteran. One of those leads points to an experimental food and agricultural production facility called The AgCentre, the other to a sizeable human settlement dubbed Highpoint. On your way there, Ranger HQ will get in touch to inform you that both of these locations are in crisis. The staff at the AgCentre are being eaten by their own plants, and Highpoint is under siege by unusually well-organized raiders. You can’t be in two places at once, so you have to choose; with fully knowledge that whoever you don’t immediately help probably isn’t going to make it.

The choice and consequence in Wasteland 2 is very robust, and is one of the things that makes every player’s journey feel unique. It also provides a huge incentive for those of us who always ask “what if I’d done this instead of that” at the end of a game to go back and try an alternate path.

Raconteur of the RPG scene.
Favorite Genre: RPG
Currently Playing: The Witcher III
Top 3 Favorite Games:Fallout: New Vegas, Neverwinter Nights 2: Mask of the Betrayer, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
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