It’s been a while since the world has seen Brian Fargo’s Wasteland. It was an important title, as far as PC RPG’s go. Decisions had consequences. Characters, even bit players, had motivations. It inspired Fallout. And all of this from a title produced in 1988.
Wasteland 2 is a return to the alternate history post-apocalyptic wastelands of Arizona, set fifteen years after the original’s time of 2088. Fans of its predecessor will be heartbroken to discover that right out of the gate former hero Ace has been found murdered, and it’s up to a party of new recruits (and if you search around, a familiar face) to find out why and dispense Old West justice.
Newcomers won’t be left scratching their heads wondering who these people are, though. Old characters have their story told, followed by a push for you to start yours. This is your adventure, after all.
Wasteland 2 is filled with rich writing, abundant, flavourful text, and unique characters. A text log in the lower right consistently fills with descriptions of whatever you’re doing, who you’re speaking to, even what their body language is (If they have a body capable of it). Combat is turn-based, using an action-point system. You’ll have to manage your time very carefully though, the plot doesn’t move quickly. If you sit down, you’re going to be there for at least an hour and a half – and it will be hard to pull yourself away.
Full disclosure: I’ve only been able to play three hours of Wasteland 2 since its release on Sept 19th. However, those three hours have me fully sold on what Inxile Entertainment promised when they launched their multi-million dollar Kickstarter campaign two years ago. I’ll be coming back to this on reading break. $40 via Steam. Solid 9/10.
–With files from Jon Hall