Reviews

Published on November 1st, 2015 | by IceCube

REVIEW: Wasteland 2 – Director’s Cut

Summary: Console gamers get a taste of old-school PC games, with an isometric, turn-based RPG, set in the post apocalypse.

Concept: You create and control a team of four Rangers, a renegade unit of soldiers united to protect the good people from post-apocalyptic dangers. In the story, your rookie team of four gets thrown into the wolves to defend civilian towns due to low support numbers. You feel needed during a time of desperation.

screenshot04
“With any luck this red barrel will save me from their gunfire!”

Graphics: It’s an old-school style of PC game that has taken some old-school shortcuts. I didn’t like the menu design, retro PC fonts, live-action cutscenes and horribly-outdated character creation system which provides visual options that rarely match the artwork portraits. It also cops-out on the World Map with a mere “Ranger logo” to represent your squad. The characters are too small and tough to distinguish from each other and the zoom feature kept me at a safe distance from discovering how bad my characters really looked. Plus, an on-screen mini map would have really helped. These are faults under the guise of “old-school charm” – still – the mission area settings have its charm with cool level designs that are fun to clear out.

Gameplay: You can select four default Rangers or completely create your own squad look, attributes and skill sets.  The customizable skills are deep and you can allocate points towards specializing in specific weapon types (including guns and melee) as well as more general skills such as: lockpicking, healing, mechanics, animal whispering.
In the turn-based combat, you’ll feel right at home if you’ve ever played X-COM: Enemy Unknown, Baldur’s Gate or similar. However, this combat pace feels faster, because you don’t need to be quite as cautious. Every action is an invisible dice roll to success or failure, with clear percentages marked to help you calculate your best chance of success. Each character also has a limited number of Action Points per turn and should be spent wisely.

wl2_character_generation_2
Character appearance sucks. The best we could make was an Ozzie Osbourne Indian Chief.

Sound: There’s a mix of recorded voice dialogue and audio-free text throughout the course of the game. Key moments are spoken in audio while lesser commentary must be read in text. Meanwhile the music is at a minimum, producing a very grim and sombre atmosphere that separates this game from others.

Awesomeness: It’s a tough game to settle into, but I found it was really worth my initial patience. This Director’s Cut edition has added some character artwork, voice overs and gameplay tweaks but didn’t drastically change anything from the original. Unless, of course, you include the conversion of keyboard and mouse to gamepad controller, which was done really well thanks to easy-access, radial menus on the L and R triggers.
The graphical miscues and shortcuts put me off at the start, but making it past the tutorial, I found it to be one heck of an addictive game in a cleverly engrossing world. I wanted to keep pushing onward to see where the story took me – and I really cared about the growth and welfare of all four of my crappy-looking characters.

screenshot01
Good luck identifying your characters from this aerial view.

Final Word: Great ideas, RPG mechanics and a compelling atmosphere won me over. It felt outdated, like I was reliving my teenage PC years all over again. That would be fine if it just implemented some new age common sense in parts. Old habits die hard, yet I’d still recommend this to gamers who want something deeper than a run-and-gun game. It’s ugly but addictive, and I’d love to see what this creative team could do with a bigger budget.

REVIEW: Wasteland 2 – Director’s Cut IceCube

Score out of 5 bugs

Concept
Graphics
Gameplay
Sound
Awesomeness

Summary:

3.5


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