EDIT: This review was originally a thumbs down. To see my original post, read below.
I originally didn't recommend the EARLY ACCESS version of Wasteland 2 for several reasons but the main point was it being nearly unplayable. The argument against this was that it's in "beta." I don't disagree with that statement, but to ask $60 to test a product that can barely be tested makes me not want to recommend it. I felt there were features missing and a general lack of polish that shouldn't exist in a product that was in development for over a year and then released for PUBLIC testing. "That's the point of a beta" some say, and I don't disagree. But when you sell a product, you must justify why the customer should buy it.
I Kickstarted the game so my money was already spent but I didn't recommend someone with no personal connection to the game suddenly drop money just for beta access. Some people thought this meant I hated the game which is far from the truth. I like Wasteland 2. I like how it's shaping up. NOT RECOMMENDED doesn't necessarily mean "bad game" it means "hold your money for now."
So why did I change my opinion? Because a recent glut of updates has brought the game to a pretty polished state. The UI, which was once a buggy mess that often refused to work, is now workable. Combat no longer favors fast, strong blitzing attackers. Some tweaks to the beginning of the game help lessen the impact of practically going out naked. Your party will now do stuff as a group such as reloading. There's a huge list of updates and changes I could go into but bottom line is that Wasteland 2 is now looking like a commercial product whereas the original beta release was somehow less playable than the leaked Van Buren alpha from a decade ago.
I still have a hard time recommend dropping $60 simply because you're paying as much as a Kickstarter backer while recieving fewer rewards. And that's just an unfortunate side effect of how Kickstarter works but if you really want to get into the game and seriously test it out, now's a good time. Better yet, as of typing this there's a limited window for Kickstarter backers who didn't buy into the beta to get it for a flat $10. I can recommend that.
Wasteland 2 is looking like the Fallout 3/Van Buren we were promised years ago and I'm excited to see the finished product.
Before you drop 60 bones to get early access, understand something: This is a beta. An ACTUAL beta, not the feature-complete-a-week-from-going-gold betas that most big companies sling around. The game is unoptimized, a quarter of the skills are either not implemented or don't work correctly, there are bugs galore, the UI is a wreck, and it's only a small chunk of the final game. I have a mid-range PC and get 18-40 frames at max but people with beefier rigs get maybe half that.
That's not to say I don't enjoy the game or the testing process, because I do. I backed this game and was looking forward to testing it and I'm not disappointed. I love the game's aesthetic and design. I see there's a good game buried here. I'm not warning you away from the game itself, I'm warning you that unlike 90% of the games on Steam early access you are actually buying into a beta that's being actively worked on by the community, not a near finished stable product.
Posted: December 15th, 2013