I backed it on Kickstarter, I'm a huge fan of the Baldur's gate series, Fallout 2 to New Vegas, Diablo, and many other RPGs, and think Wasteland 2 was absolutely terrible.
With 40+ hours of game-time I feel like I have a pretty substantial view on Wasteland 2, and in the end, I think the devs just don't understand what actually makes a game ***fun***:
* Walking across an entire area cleared of all enemies to get back to the world map is not fun.
* Holding back on my attributes because I might run into some challenge requiring more lockpicking is not fun.
* Being interrupted on the world map for nearly always boring-as-♥♥♥♥ random encounters is not fun. (Seriously though, couldn't you make some unique random encounters that are more than nameless badies, or stop spamming me with encounters when I have a 100% chance of running?)
* Save scumming is not fun. Holy ♥♥♥♥, 50% of my time is spent save scumming. Want to open a safe? Save scum. Want to take apart a weapon and need a certain piece? Save scum. Starting a hard battle and need to hit an enemy with a hard-to-hit headshot? Save scum.
"Oh but just don't save scum and accept the consequences" is the worst excuse I can think of. It is simply human nature to shoot for the best outcome; failing at a percentage based challenge we know we can avoid by save scumming just feels bad. It feels almost equally as ♥♥♥♥♥♥ to waste time trying to get the desired outcome, but still feels better than getting ♥♥♥♥-all for your effort by accepting your ♥♥♥♥ luck.
New Vegas did this right: If you had the attributes to attempt a challenge it was pass fail. There was no reason to save scum,; save scumming wasn't even an option! Diablo did this right: If you exit the game, you save the game; you aren't even able to save scum! How did the devs mess up this crucial component in 2014?
**Graphics and Camera**
The graphics themselves are only OK. I don't expect them to be ground-breaking on an indie game. With that said, Fallout 1/2 and Baldur's gate still stand the test of time because every background is a literal work of art. Wasteland 2 simply looks, well, OK.
The real issue is that the 3D camera mechanism SUCKS. The compass is constantly off in some unexpected orientation, things are often hidden from view, and the map system is painful at best. The landscape is so bland and monotonous that you can't tell where you are from simply looking around. Even after 40+ hours of game time I still get lost unless constantly looking at the map and re-orienting the compass. Even Baldur's gate, a game made in the late 90's, had user-placable map-markers, and BG 2 had pre-placed markers on top of that so you could tell where the ♥♥♥♥ you were.
On top of the confusing camera and map, there is almost NO quick travel. Why do I have to walk across the entire prison map or Ranger Citadel to get in and out!? How does that enhance my experience? How is that enjoyable? It certainly doesn't make the game any harder, it just wastes more of our time.
Combat is OK; there is some element of strategy, and action point management is mildly interesting. That said . . it could really use more variety. Games like Diablo and the BG series had so much variety with spells and skills. Fallout 3 and New Vegas had the VATS system, stealth, and live combat. Wasteland 2 is just a throwback to Fallout 1/2, which is fine on it's own, but 15+ years later they couldn't think of anything new?
On top of this, the lack of pause and coordination before a fight is maddening. In baldur's gate you could issue tasks to each member of your party to do unique and interesting actions . . you know . . LIKE A REAL AMBUSH!? In wasteland 2, all you can do is shoot the ♥♥♥♥ out of one person. Hell, even fallout 1 and 2 let you go into VATS mode!
When I win a fight in Wasteland 2, I don't feel very GOOD about it. There simply isn't enough strategy to actually make much of a difference in a fight. The real decider of outcome seems to rely on your weapons, and the enemies decisions. If anything, I feel like I should go grind for experience to have a better chance, and that just makes me sad about wasting more time to progress in the game.
**The Attribute System**
Fargo talked all about making characters with specialties but absolutely failed. Getting by with a character who has under 8 intelligence is a pain in the ♥♥♥ because you miss so many skill-based opportunities. None of the other attributes influence your skills, so they are all a depressing mix of combat-stats. Charisma only needs to be high enough to pick up companions, and you're left ♥♥♥♥♥♥ off if you put it too low to include one. It all just feels like a ♥♥♥♥♥♥ min-maxing formula: "At least 8 int, at least X charisma for these party members, and whatever mix gets the best AP for the rest of the stats while retaining a reasonable combat initiative. All this tailored to the weapon (higher CI for close-range weapons)".
Because the stats do not influence skills, they all do practically the same thing. Nobody is actually specialized because making a character with too low of AP or combat initiative makes them near useless. Anyone used to a little bit of customization in RPGs will just make everyone a bland average that optimizes as much AP as possible.
Good god, I don't know if it is the writing or the actors, but this ♥♥♥♥ is cringe-worthy the whole way through. From the insanely clean live-actors (really? No dirt on a DESERT ranger?) to the how-in-the-♥♥♥♥-am-I-supposed-to-suspend-my-disbelief voice acting, it is just painful. Did anyone actually enjoy the live-action video? Couldn't that money have been spent better elsewhere? Does Vargas talk like any real person you've ever heard?
And finally . .
Rails nomad is the only place in all of Arizona that is full of quests you don't need to do to finish the game. All other standalone areas either have only a handful of trivial sidequests. The main areas themselves have many trivial side quests . . but none have any *substance*. The nuke silo is about the only substantial sidequest I can think of, and even that is pretty damn trivial in length. Compare to things like Fallouts 1 - New Vegas or BG, where there are side-quests spanning multiple areas, and MANY areas at least as intricate as Rails Nomad. All the side quests in Wasteland 2 just feel like shallow time-sinks.