1988, a pivotal year towards the close of the last century.
Arnold Schwarzenegger discovered that Danny Devito was his long lost twin.
Tom Cruise encouraged Dustin Hoffman to play a little blackjack and George Bush senior had just been voted into office.
A fact which I'm sure had no bearing on the emergence of a brand new gaming genre, the post apocalyptic RPG. Let's not Fall Out over it!
The original Wasteland was a ground-breaking title back in the day with recruitable NPC's populating a persistent world. This is something we take for granted in RPG's today, but back in the pink and blue neon haze of the 80's this was unheard-of.
Even if you haven't heard of the original Wasteland, I'm certain you'll be familiar with the Fall Out franchise. A franchise which would probably not exist had wasteland not come before. In the "meantime"
It was nearly 10 years after Wastelands release before we got our hands on its spiritual successor Fallout.
Sequels were planned for Wasteland but they never quite came to fruition, but now thanks to a little thing called kick starter and loyal fans with long memories ... Apocalypse Now
... We have the imminent and long overdue release of Wasteland 2.
After 26 years lost in the wilderness, expectations are high, but are we in danger of placing Wasteland 2 on a pedestal, expecting too much and inevitably about to face disappointment when September 19th rolls around? Four Rangers and a Funeral
After hitting the play button for the first time you'll find yourself at the character creation screen.
Here you'll find more stats and options than you could shake an iguana on a stick at, with skills ranging from animal whisperer to toaster repair.
Prepare to spend an unhealthy amount of time agonising over the attributes and skills sets for your posse of wannabe rangers.
Not that this isn't fun, It's a good kind of agony trying to build your perfect team but if this kind of stat tweaking isn't for you, there is a roster of pre-built characters all lined up like puppies in a pound waiting for you to give them a new home in your squad.
Once you've settled on what you hope is a complimentary skill set for your four rangers you'll be treated to a highly atmospheric cinematic which cleverly fills in a little of the back story for the desert rangers and leaves your group standing around the fresh grave of a fallen comrade. Ace in the Hole
The writing on the makeshift coffin reads "Born a man, died a desert ranger"
It's here that the game starts as "Ace" is laid to rest and you're team picks up his failed assignment.
It's this assignment that will be your first thread of the main quest that you will follow through Wasteland 2. Triffid or not Triffid, That is the Question
After some interesting conversations with the NPCS at the graveside you'll head off on your first mission and it's here that the first moral choice hits hard and fast.
There's a distress signal from Highpool, a community under attack, they need your help, then almost immediately another from the nearby agricultural centre that's having some "plant problems", you'll only have time to try to save one, but which....
It's decisions like this which really make Wasteland 2 come alive, whatever you choose will have repercussions, you're a part of this dying world and your choices matter. We come in peace, Shoot to Kill
The tough decisions don't all come in the form of moral choices either. The turn based combat present here will test your tactical decision making too. You'll be glad you spent all that time tweaking your stats and skills and matching your weapon load outs to your strengths when bad guys, gals, animals and plants come for you.
When they do come, they'll look great. you'll find crisp detailed graphics and atmospheric audio in Wasteland 2 which makes every encounter a vivid experience.
The end of the world never looked so good. It's The End of the World as we know it
The experience InXile are creating here is shaping up to be one of the most interesting RPG's in a very, very long time.
At the time of writing the game is still in Beta, although you wouldn't know it, the experience to be had in the first few hours of play is already highly entertaining and very polished.
If you remember, earlier in this preview I expressed my concern that anticipation for this release is too high and that it can only lead to disappointment.
So how do I feel about this now, after I've actually played the game? I Feel Fine
From my experience with the beta, the answer to this question is a resounding No. Wasteland 2 is everything I'm looking for in a crunchy RPG and I love it.
This is going to be something special. I'm genuinely excited for the release of this title and I'm certain I'll be sinking an ungodly amount of time into the wastes over the coming weeks.
It's time to rediscover the Wasteland
To view the full review and others please take the time to visit Review-Well.com