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Review: Wasteland 2: Director’s Cut

Wasteland 2 is the sequel to the Commodore 64 original that launched back in 1988. The original game was a huge success for RPG fans and was considered as one of the bests of that era. Brian Fargo was the created of that classic but never created a sequel, even when the fans were begging him to make it happen. Years after the release, Yargo and some of the Interplay originals successfully crowd funded Wasteland 2. Now, the definitive edition hits stores as the ‘Director’s Cut’. Is this a new classic in the making?

The Desert Rangers are ready 

The original Wasteland released on PC last year but is making the jump to consoles with this Director’s Cut. In Wasteland 2 you control up to four Desert Rangers in turned-based combat. The Desert Rangers form a squad that tries to help people solving their issues in a post-nuclear Arizona. The tasks you need to complete can be very simple or rather complex. Delivering a letter isn’t as hard as taking down an entire squad of enemies. The best thing about the missions is the freedom you get.

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You only get assigned with a task, how you want to solve the problem is up to you. This means you can actually go for more stealthy approaches during certain missions. A lot of gamers might not se turned-based combat working well with stealth but Wasteland 2 sets an example on how it might work.

Your moral compass

Since the game offers you a lot of freedom, the residents of the wastelands will see you differently based on your actions. If you take down the enemies with brutal force, most of the residence will start to fear you and will be scared if you approach the town. If you simply decide to take down criminals only, you’ll become protectors of the town and the people will start to worship you. There isn’t a moral compass in the game but the gamer will certainly think about his actions before executing them. The way the others see you don’t really affect the gameplay that much but it changes the general presentation and feeling of the game. Some might enjoy running around in a dark game where everybody fears your squad while others will enjoy some respect a little more.

 

Watch out for the Desert Rangers!

 

It’s interesting to see how the world responds to your actions and the other characters definitely are what make this game special. The story itself is rather straightforward but the tasks of the other characters are very gritty and dark. Some might ask you to kill them since they can’t handle this post-nuclear wasteland. It’s amazing that a narrative can become so good thanks to the stories of the other characters. The story of Wastelands 2 is a harsh story filled with despair and violence. Thanks to the graphics it’s kept rather light but you can best compare the story with the ones of dark comics.

Change the quests

At first sight, it might feel that the quests of the game are all the same with some small changes in setting or person you need to meet. This is true to a certain degree but it’s really what you make of it yourself. Since you have a lot of freedom, you can solve the quests in a lot of different ways. If you always follow the same approach to tackle the mission than yes, the game might become boring. But that’s not the way it’s meant to be played actually. If you want some variation you need to create it yourself. Try finding other ways to solve quests; it’s often a small change to your strategy that can change your entire experience in the game. Thinking out of the box is rewarded in this game for sure!

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XCOM meets Fallout 

The story and characters of Wasteland 2 are great but it’s the combat that really makes the game stand out. You play the game from an isometric top view like games as XCOM, meaning you’ll always have a good vision on what’s happening on the field. Just like XCOM, the battles happen turn-based, meaning you can control your character towards a position, attack or defense and wait your turn while the enemies move ahead. It’s a great system and it works just like it should. The only downside about it is the cover. It’s hard to take cover behind objects; the game doesn’t always understand what you are trying to do if you stand behind a box. Some objects grant you cover while others are only decoration. It’s a shame the cover isn’t as intuitive as the combat, if the cover worked the gameplay would have been perfect.

So the combat looks a lot like XCOM but let’s not forget that it actually follows the footsteps of the original Wasteland. Back in the days, Wastelands was a pioneer when it came to this combat and it still works. Sure, it isn’t that original as before but you still recognize the hands of a master. Combat isn’t everything however; looting is the other major part of the game, inspired by Fallout.

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By looting crates and enemies, you collect useful resources and weapons to stay alive in the post-nuclear Arizona. Looting is crucial to survive since everything in the world of Wasteland can kill you instantly. Even those freaky rabbits can cause your death if you’re not careful. Wasteland isn’t an easy game but takes a lot of strategy to beat. In order to survive, you’ll need to have the best gear possible.

Conclusion:

Wasteland 2: Director’s Cut proves that turned-based games can definitely work on consoles. The atmosphere of the game is amazing and the freedom during missions is refreshing for the genre. Too bad the level of difficulty can seem unfair at times and taking cover isn’t always easy due to some issues. Aside of these flaws, this is a perfect game that a lot of gamers might overlook. If you’re looking for a traditional RPG filled with interesting characters and a dark tone, this is the one you need to get.

8/10

Got interested in games since I could read. Started with Nintendo but evolved into an all-round gamer. I love all kind of games; triple A games to Indie. If the vibe is right, I'll enjoy playing it.