OK so I am going to be honest, when I was first asked to play Wasteland 2 I had very little knowledge of what to expect and there’s a good chance you’ve never heard of the first Wasteland either. So like any good review I decided to do a little bit of research (after all there was a 45 minute wait to fill whilst my PS4 installed).
So what did I find? The original Wasteland is a 23-year-old PC game from a time when very few people in the UK had a gaming PC and a predecessor to the ever-popular Fallout series. If you have a look online there are tons of articles about legal matters which stopped an earlier sequel being made but I was too keen to give this RPG a try rather than reading much further.
So my appetite was set and I sat down ready to jump straight into the action. But alas, I forgot the RPG partiality for character/team selection. Whilst this often offers game players the choice of designing their own unique character creating a unique experience, Wasteland 2 takes this opportunity to the max by Not only asking you to define character attributes like Strength, Speed, Intelligence, and Charisma, but also nearly 30 skills to worry about as well and this is all for a team of 4! Luckily I did find there is the option to go with a default roster that is fairly balanced, but for those that want to customize their experience from the start, there is also the ability to create a custom party from the start.
The setting found in Wasteland 2 is quite different from the typical RPG post-apocalyptic world, as it feels like a game set in the Wild West. The game is focused around the South Western States of American and has an historical feel throughout the levels I played (to date I still haven’t finished the game). This is mixed with a whole arsenal of modern weaponry which blends the 2 worlds together quite seamlessly. Travel across the towns can be done in two ways, firstly manually but be careful as there are many more battles along the way. Also if you choose this option, you are in the desert remember, so you will need to locate and visit the closest watering holes to ensure your team does not dehydrate! You can also select to use the map which often speeds up the process.
As soon as you start the gameplay you will realise that Wasteland 2 is full of these moral choices, and throughout the game, you will be constantly operating in various levels of grey areas, rather than black or white, mixing this with the character selections you made earlier all adds up to a very complex setup and if I am honest a little too much for me who prefers quick gameplay.
The combat system is rather long-winded and not always that interesting. On the lower difficulties you pretty much just have to point and shoot, this is the option I selected so I could work through the story as quickly as possible but I feel it took a lot away from the overall experience. Over time the game became increasingly difficult as the complexity increased. Considering the game is taken from PC I found that the controls but it works surprisingly well on console, with a series of menu wheels allowing you relatively quick access to the most important commands. The leveling up system is vast, but at the same time can get a little confusing and overwhelming for players.
Overall a solid game but not for the faint hearted! If you are a gamer who likes to take your time to consider every minute detail both before and during the game this may be the one for you. The conversion from PC seems to be solid enough bar a few glitchy camera movements in certain environments. I think this will appeal also to gamers who have an appreciation for the history of RPGs especially in the classical sense and definitely worth picking off the shelves if you are. For me it was all a little too much so I may not be visiting the West for some time…