Full Video Review = http://youtu.be/pqELTg4w2SU
Wasteland 2's story places you in the boots of four raw recruits to the desert rangers. The game starts you in the desert wastes of Arizona as you attend the funeral of Ace, a desert ranger who was recently killed. As the funeral ends the desert rangers leader General Vargas throws you into the deep end and sends you off to track down Ace's killer.
Let's start with character creation, in the game you start with four characters. You have the option of either creating your own characters or choose from pre existing builds, you can even have a combination of both. In terms of aesthetics the character models are not pleasant to look like and there isn't a large variety of faces to choose from. That being said the statistical side makes the appearance’s short comings up in spades. Your characters have both attributes which are things like strength and skills. There is a large range of skills available including things like lockpicking, safecracking and more. It's often best to create a diverse group after all the more skills your party has collectively, the more options you'll have throughout the game. I myself opted first for a assault rife bearing squad leader, a sniper with lockpicking and computer skills, a melee focused demolitions expert and a shotgun wielding medic, aptly named Doc.
When your not actually in a location, you'll be traversing the wastes on the world map. There are lots of locations to discover in the world and you can find hidden cache's of loot so its worth spending time to explore. On the world map you have to take several factors in to account when travelling. First is your water supply, your group has water canteens, each mile you travel will use up water and if you run out your party will take damage from dehydration. You can however stop of at any oasis you find in your travels to fill your canteens. Another factor is radiation, after all nukes do tend to leave some nasty after effects in the environment. Safe travel through irratiated zones can only be done by having the appropriate radiation suits, if you don't your party will die of radiation sickness very quickly. The world map also has random encounters not all of which are combat focused. Many will be raiders or animals that you must combat or run away from. Some will be travelling merchants or on the occasion something much more interesting.
Graphically Wasteland 2 isn't the prettiest of spectacles, However its art direction does bring a certain harsh, grittiness to the affair which is very appropriate for the post apocalyptic setting. I think the character models could have been done better as some of the models and animations have a blocky look to them which looks out of place. While it is not the prettiest of games, the effect animations such as explosions look well done. On top of that the things like NPC character art is fantastically done. On thing that does shine in the game is sound which is no surprise when
Mark Morgan who was responsible for the soundtracks to fallout and fallout 2 is your composer. Everything from music, sound effects and surprisingly voice acting is done superbly and brings a real atmosphere to the whole affair.
Let's move on to one of, if not the main part of the game, combat, after all theres plenty of dangers lurking in the wasteland and you can't avoid all of them. Those familiar with the recent X-com or the even more recent Divinity Original Sin will be right at home with Wasteland 2's tactical turn based system. Combat is straight forward and works from an action point system. Your characters attributes determines the amount of AP you have at the start of each turn as well as the order of which characters take their turns in. The combat is fairly fast paced similar to X-com enemy unknown, there is both cover and crouch mechanics too. The cover system is simplistic and being in cover gives you defensive bonuses. Crouching on the other hand improves your chance to hit as well as raising your chance to evade attacks.
Depending on the difficulty combat can become fairly challenging. Particularly later in the game when you meet tougher enemies and enemies with both unique mechanics and better weaponry. As you go through the game you can gain followers to your squad, these followers if you don't have the leadership skill can have a chance to lose control and they will do as they please in combat. Your weapons can also jam, usually at most inconvenient times, plus you will have to regularly reload your mags and watch your available ammo.
Overall the combat is solid, challenging and fun. It can throw you a few curve balls along the way too which is always good for keeping you on your toes. It's something that InXile had to get right and thankfully in my opinion they have executed it very well.
Wasteland 2 boasts a large number of quests to embark on. The great thing about the game is that you often have the freedom of choice in how to deal with the situations you encounter. Depending on who you have in your party and your skills, there are often multiple outcomes to any given scenario. An example of this is when I went to a graveyard and dug some graves, all was fine with me looting form the dead however upon reloading an earlier save I gained a different follower on the path and when I went to dig the graves my ally took offence to disturbing the dead and turn on my group. Things like this can happen all the time in the game and its great to see all the different possibilities there are. Not only does it ensure a good amount of re-playability but it also ensures that while two people can play the same game, different things will happen to each.
In conclusion wasteland 2 lives up to its namesake and not only provides a great post apocalyptic rpg experience but it provides a memorable one too. You will spend hours laughing at the video game culture references throughout the game as well as enjoying the well written characters. One thing I love is that the game doesn't hold your hand and lets you solve problems as you see fit, if there’s a wall in your way you could use the brute force skill or just throw a grenade, the choice is yours but the game won't tell you to do either, its up to you to come up with a solution if at all. The games story is strong and with its multiple choice system, there’s plenty to see and do. It's a solid title from InXile and something that you certainly felt after having such a successful crowd funding campaign, one that had to get right. While its release date has been pushed back several times, in all it seems it was worth it and Brain Fargo and the team have created a fitting sequel. While it does have its occasional issues and minor bugs, its a game that I would highly recommend adding to your collection. Whether your an avid RPG player or not, the majority of gamers will find hours worth of enjoyment in Wasteland 2.