Let’s Chatter Over… Wasteland 2

By Nathan Grayson on December 12th, 2013 at 5:00 pm.

While technically promotional art, my team looks almost *exactly* like this. Except with a homicidal pipe-wielding chef in place of the SWAT dude. Close enough.

Wasteland 2’s beta is officially go! Well, for backers anyway. I booted it up the second Steam finished prying it from some server’s synthetic grip, and I realized something: I was nervous. My expectations were riding extremely high, and I couldn’t help but fear that inXile’s return to post-apocalyptic role-playing’s roots would let me down. What I’d seen up to that point had my head ready to explode like a gerbil full of uncooked rice (and also a blood sausage), but maybe it wouldn’t all come together. Maybe it was pure promise and no execution. All bark, zero bite. 

I was worried over nothing. Wasteland 2’s irradiated peaks and valleys are pretty rad so far. I have some minor quibbles (the interface is awkward, enemy AI can be really dumb, some bugs and glitches), but there’s quite a lot to like here. Watch me play through a few early sections below. Oh, and fair warning: slight spoilers ahead. Nothing too major, though.

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40 Comments »

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  1. Wizardry says:

    I haven’t given this a go yet, but from the videos above I can see that the camera looks annoying. Things like trees getting in the way of the battlefield etc.

    They should have gone for orthographic projection.

    • Insolentius says:

      As far as I know, that’s still an option if you so desire.

    • TillEulenspiegel says:

      I’ve only tried the game for five minutes so far, but the scroll wheel seems to rotate the camera nicely. Scroll “out” all the way and you even get a usable top-down perspective.

      • paddymaxson says:

        Personally I prefer controlling the camera with wasdqe, q and e rotate it in clean 45 degree chunks and it seems a bit less finnicky than holding down your scroll wheel while you turn.

    • squareking says:

      Wizardry! I’ve missed you!

  2. khomotso says:

    My first surprise: hey, audio dialogue! Thought they’d ruled it out as inefficient or some such.

  3. zind says:

    As someone who discovered Wasteland via Fallout (and never got into Wasteland because it reminded me too much of FO:Tactics what with having a party to look after) I am quite pleased with the state of Wasteland 2.

    I don’t plan on spending a lot of time with the beta (I only have access because I backed at Tchotchke Edition levels) because I want the game to be fresh and new and complete when I really dig into it for the first time. I mostly was examining mechanics and my gripe list is quite small and almost entirely consists of UI complaints.

  4. pupsikaso says:

    This is why it’s hard to find game “journalists” to read with whom you can connect. Look at this video, this Nathan guy is TERRIBLE.
    Why would you shoot your own guy twice? You’ve JUST realized there’s friendly fire, your own guy is blocking the line of sight to the enemy, WHY would you shoot him again? You don’t even THINK when you play.

    • Jason Moyer says:

      Congratulations on being the most miserable person to have watched these videos. Where would you like your medal sent to?

    • Insolentius says:

      He’s role-playing. Maybe the medic bears a grudge against the pipe-fellow. It’s all part of the game.

    • dE says:

      Just means he’s a scientist at heart: “I’ve just discovered something” – “Let’s quantify it”.

    • Unclepauly says:

      You sound exactly like my ex’s 10 yr old son. Strange everyone avoids him and he ends up yelling at himself while gaming. Lol what a life.

      “potassium intensifies” – lol

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      AngelTear says:

      Or maybe, just maybe, he wanted to test if he’d hit his friend 100% of times, or if there was some dice roll to it that’d let you hit an enemy despite the enemy being behind a friend.

      And, you can’t “connect” with him because he took an action you didn’t like on a save he had already played? I can’t for the life of me see how that makes any sense.

    • Leb says:

      While the 5 people above me pointed out that you are a moron, I would like to add my 2 cents in saying if you listened to what he said – he was in similar situations/positions before where that should have happened but didn’t, so he decided to test if it was something that was a % chance

  5. CookPassBabtridge says:

    “Rad”

    I sievert you did there

  6. karthink says:

    Something about the art direction is throwing me off. The cave and desert bits look… ugly?

    • Farcelet says:

      (Assumption: user input effects are not placeholder)

      Does the player really need these huge bright white circles to tell who’s who? Giant arrows and ripples exploding in slow motion to indicate where one just clicked? The neon YOU ARE ALLOWED TO MOVE HERE SIR thingies or, however practical it may be, this bright blocky outline indicating where one might move?

      It seems as though the interface was designed by two different minds – is anybody else put off by the contrast between these elements and the surrounding interface (in theme, unobtrusive)?

  7. Terragot says:

    Does this have a release date? As in gold submission? I’m really excited for it but I want to make sure I get the full fat experience.

    • karthink says:

      Nope. When it’s done, etc.

      I’d be surprised if it was released before May 2014.

  8. MercurialAlchemist says:

    Looks good. I’m a bit sad that the combat seems kind of low on tactical options (eg, no single/multiple shot choice), and there is no special abilities, apparently. On the other hand, it’s party-based, so maybe less choices leads to more fluid combat? I wonder about grenades as well, which are usually a good way of saying hello to whoever is currently enjoying full cover.

    • khomotso says:

      Mm, it might be too soon to draw some of these conclusions. Graythan was just playing some of the introductory content without either advanced weaponry or skills, so I don’t really know what kinds of options the game will support, even if we assume (which seems rash) that this beta build has everything planned.

      • MercurialAlchemist says:

        Maybe. I dug up this update from the Kickstarter, it doesn’t speak of special abilities. Of course, it may always be revealed at a later point, but it would be an important design change.

        • chiefnewo says:

          There are guns that have the capability to switch to burst mode (ie assault rifles, smgs). I would be very surprised if grenades didn’t make it in as they were in Wasteland 1.

    • WrenBoy says:

      I was actually thinking the opposite. Its a little better than I was expecting. It looks like the cover system has been improved since the last video I saw.

      Or is that my memory playing up?

    • albion01 says:

      Granades are in, Ive found some lying around.
      And on max settings the game looks quite nice in my eyes

    • CWagner says:

      Certain weapons have two different fire modes. Plus you can switch between two (maybe even all if you go into your inventory to switch? Haven’t tried it) weapons for free (which I hate, should cost AP).

  9. Stevostin says:

    I am surprised by how bad the landscape look. Very low poly, really ugly, it looks uglier than wow vanilla. Is that utra low setting because Nathan is playing on his phone or did they really screw up the visuals ?

    • johnxfire says:

      Not sure how it looks in the video here, but playing it on Fantastic/Max and it looks great for a beta game. Really good. A few things needs polishing of course, but otherwise, its actually really pretty.

      • Lord of Lost Socks says:

        Beta’s very rarely improve on graphics. At most we can expect some performance optimization. But it look completely fine to me, but I don’t put much stock in to graphics, so whatever.

  10. paddymaxson says:

    I’m mostly playing the first section over and over to learn the mechanics it’s….very very different from most modern RPGs, even other “hardcore” RPGs seem to give you more leeway than this.

    I had difficulty creating normal human beings in the character creator as I know people who are both trained with assault rifles and know quite a lot about computers and giving them those abilities and making them as charismatic as they are (I have some very lovely friends!) means very little chance to specialise in one area and things look very spread thin, I don’t think I’ve ever played a game that made me compromise quite so much on each character. It’s a good job you get four or I’d be unable to start the game for fear of not covering bases I’d like to cover.