Wasteland 2: The Director’s Cut [Review]

Before I start this review I am a massive turn based RPG fan ever since the glory days of Fallout 1 and 2 and Planscape Torment, so there will be some biased in this review. Also take note this game has an extremely steep learning curve for the uninitiated in the genre. After 5 hours of playing I realized I fucked up my character creation and I had to start from scratch again. So plan your character creation extremely carefully when creating your starting squad, I highly recommend hitting YouTube and Google for builds. As it will definitely impact your experience and enjoyment of the game. Wasteland 2’s premise is a rather simple one and familiar to fans of the post-apocalyptic genre : a nuclear holocaust has left the world a nuclear fallout filled mess that is overrun with gangs, mutants, and killer robots not to mention natural resource shortages.

Wasteland 2_ Director's Cut_20160804221220Wasteland 2 starts off with the funeral of a fellow ranger, Ace, who was ambushed while installing a piece of radio equipment needed for picking up a strange and threatening radio signal that is being broadcast across the wasteland. After a live-action introduction (Which is rather refreshing by the way) giving us some backstory on why the world is in such a sorry state as well as the opening scene at hand. This is where your team enters, a foursome of rookie Desert Rangers fresh from training. You are asked to investigate the death of Ace as your first task, due to an overstretching of the more seasoned ranger teams being unavailable to attend to Ace’s death. Your mission as a new Desert Ranger recruit? Lead your pack of Desert Ranger to keep the peace in an extremely complicated and rather violent world.

Wasteland 2 is very open in terms of its storytelling and flow, and will almost always provide a unique experience based on the choices you make during missions or side quests, and yes your choices do matter in this game. The signs of these show up all over the game from the very start, with certain paths becoming impossible to access, and choices you made reflecting themselves in the dialogue and story as you progress in the game. So save regularly! Trust me you will thank me later. Tutorials pop up with a flood of new information that you really should read thoroughly when starting your play through, ignore them at your own peril. Because trust me on this, the game will punish you hard for not learning it various intricacies and mechanics. Did I mention save regularly? As auto save only occurs when entering a new zone.Wasteland 2_ Director's Cut_20160729223138Like most turn-based RPGs, Wasteland 2’s combat is built on a turn-based, grid-based system that makes use of action points. Movement takes one point per grid square, with each action or weapon use having its own requirements depending on your weapons and gear. Whether you’re moving, attacking, healing, unjamming a weapon everything consumes action points. So logically speaking, creating a diverse squad is the best type of squad, and it’s also of utmost importance to use cover as well. Charging headlong into a fight in almost every single case ends up in death, and in Wasteland 2 death for your squad is permanent. Employing winning strategy and racking up those victories is a sweet thing in Wasteland 2, and is an extremely rewarding feeling. Combat ends when one side is dead, which most of the times ends up being you if you rushed into combat unprepared.

The range modifiers in the game keeps you on your toes, as you need to regularly fall back and flank enemies as it is essential to a victory. The game also employs things like perks and skills which also forms a critical part of your character, and any Fallout fan would be right at home when it comes those aspects of the game. But gangs, mutants, and killer robots aren’t the only dangers of traveling the desolate wasteland. Dehydration will cause damage to your group’s health over time so make note of the rare oasis you come across while traveling. Most areas also have fresh water facilities were you can acquire water from if you look hard enough, so plan your trips extremely carefully as you might run out of water causing your entire squad to die. Also, try and avoid the high radiation areas, as it will also lead to your inevitable death if you linger too long in them.

Wasteland 2_ Director's Cut_20160803124642The game also offers a crafting upgrade system to both weapons and armor is a mixture of pure aesthetic pieces for customizing appearance of your squad to actual defense and attack value. I was extremely impressed with how well inXile handled the transition to console based gamepad play. It really does feel natural when you apply character skills such as lock picking and safe cracking to objects in the world of Wasteland 2. All you need to do is walk up to a safe or locked strongbox, pull your controller’s left trigger and select the appropriate skill from the skill wheel. The character with the appropriate ability will then proceed with the request simply easy and neat. The Director’s of Wasteland 2 offers visual improvements over the original release, upgrading from the Unity 4.5 to the Unity 5 engine.

In addition to the graphical upgrade, there are over 8000 new lines of newly recorded dialogue, though at times the voice acting does seem forced but it does not distract from the overall experience. Also add extra (new) quirks, perks and precision combat options which the director’s cut contains. Although there’s substantial amount of voiced over dialogue in the game there are conversation that aren’t. Fortunately your every interaction is typed out on your hud. (Typewriter Style with matching sounds) Although I would highly recommend updating the game before you play though as the default text size is extremely tiny and hard to read. Running the latest update allows you to enlarge the text by a fair amount making it easier on the eyes and to read.

Wasteland 2_ Director's Cut_20160729223153There are minor nit-picks about the combat initiation leaving you exposed to attacks and the RNG being frustrating at times, but it does not impact or hamper the combat too much. Not something a quick reload can fix anyway. Wasteland 2 is a pleasant mix of genres when you combine a game like Baldur’s Gate feel for adventure and XCOM’s combat it goes together surprisingly well. If you are a fan of the old school genre of RPG games and you miss the intricacies of classic RPG’s and you are in the market for a bit more depth in your game than the more contemporary RPGs released today then you should definitely check out Wasteland 2 Director’s Cut on Playstation 4. With more than 80 hours of gameplay, Wastelands 2: The Director’s cut is a challenging but ultimately rewarding adventure you don’t want to miss out on.

About larch

I am a cucumber in a fruit bowl.
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