Twenty-six years after the original Wasteland, veterans from Interplay release through an oversubscribed Kickstarter campaign the official sequel to the granddaddy of post apocalyptic combat role playing games. Following a nuclear holocaust, civilisation as we know it has been wiped out. Loonies, raiders, mutants and savage beasts rule the world. To protect and help survivors, the Desert Rangers are formed. When one of the rangers is found murdered, you head a team of new recruits to investigate the source of a mysterious radio signal...
Playability: Survive the wasteland while reading the tutorials
Wasteland 2’s user interface is as friendly as an apocalyptic world populated with maniac marauders and insane AIs. Character profiles are more akin to the earlier versions of your favourite spreadsheet, and you’ll actually have to carefully decide what skills to develop, which weapons and equipment to purchase, or who should be part of this suicide squad. As your party travels through the map, keeping an eye of water supplies and deadly radioactive zones, encounters with crazies will periodically pop up on the screen. Do you want to run or fight? Yes, you do want to run.
Annoyance: Hardship gameplay through apocalyptic wasteland
Wasteland 2 is a violently hard game on rookie setting. Back in the early days, crawling through dungeons was a dangerous activity, and no self respecting gamer would dare take on even a pack of rats without proper equipment and enough health potions. A few unlucky dice rolls would send your party scampering for the exits quite quickly. Wasteland 2 harkens back to those days and takes old fashioned grit, persistence and minutia to complete.
Beauty: Graphics from the 1990s
Wasteland 2 opens with a short film populated with real actors that will have you glued to your monitor and make you regret you didn’t bring home that giant television that was on sale at the store. Unfortunately, you’ll be waiting for cutscenes for the rest of the game, and there won’t be anymore. The isometric 1990s graphics provide adequate visual support to the reams of text you’ll have to read through. Voice over makes turning pages a little easier but Wasteland 2 is unlikely to win any beauty contest.
The Old Video Gamer's Prattle: True grit through 1990s apocalypse 60/100 points
I might be an old video gamer but I rarely dust off old video games that I played decades ago. Most video games, unlike great books and good wines, don’t age that well. Wasteland 2 is great for those who played the original game thirty years ago, but it just looks and feels too much of a 1990s game. Whether on low or high resolution, Wasteland 2 doesn’t look that good on small or big screens. Though it was published in 2014 and 2015, Wasteland 2 appears a little antiquated and geeky. It wasn’t meant to be a mainstream release and Wasteland 2’s gripping story, branching plot and fastidious combat system has the gritty trappings of a small audience classic.
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