Rad Men: A Wasteland 2 Diary, Part 1

A few months ago Wasteland 2 and my PC got on about as well as Piers Morgan and Wayne LaPierre, but as of a recent update I’m glad to say that inXile’s old school cRPG is as smooth as butter on my machine (though I do have to turn SSAO off, but I’ll stop talking about that before I before you). This means I am now free and able to play a game that is both sequel to Fallout’s post-nuclear predecessor and, let’s be honest, an alternative Fallout 3.

Let’s see how we do.

Important proviso: Wasteland 2 is currently a beta. Thus, everything I cover is subject to change.

First, let’s meet the team before I switch to in-fiction narrative. I’ve elected to go with pre-built characters rather than create my own, as I essentially don’t know what I’m in for and don’t want to find myself lumbered with entirely useless wretches because I didn’t know what I was doing in character creation.

Wasteland 2’s got a fine selection of end of the world ne’er do wells to choose from, each with a specialism (though they can be adapted to pretty much whatever else as they level up) and a bio, though I must say I was disappointed that many of the characters’ in-game appearance doesn’t match their portrait. Look at the disparity between team brute Bear‘s two looks, for instance:

Bah. I was taken with Bear because I wanted a bruiser in a headscarf, not a sort of disco miner. But anyway. Bear is my major damage dealer, as she’d carrying both an assault rifle and a knuckleduster, and she also has the Hard-Ass conversation attribute, which means I have a chance of threatening people into giving me what I want if I send her up to chat to NPCs. Also she’s called Bear, and yes that is the main reason she’s on this team.

Then we’ve got Pills, who’s primarily a medic.

As her bio notes she’s prone to a spot of physician heal thyself with her heavy duty drugs, I’m treating her as my own Dr Gregory House. However, her portrait means I imagine her spitting out barbs with the voice of the lady from Fargo. This is not the sort of RPG where there’s inter-party chatter, so any roleplaying in that regard must happen entirely in my mind, of course.

Slick is both a Kiss-Ass and a Smart-Ass, so he’s got twice the chance of really pissing someone off.

I managed to get him called out on the former during the very first conversation (with the team’s archetypal takes-no-shit commanding officer), in fact – lesson learned, don’t be a kiss-ass to a hard-ass.. He’s handy with a knife and not a lot else, though he has a chance of bartering better prices from shopkeepers. I’ve got him singled out as possible weakest link, if I’m honest. Surprise me do, Slick. Also, please note tragic lack of cool mask which makes him look like a Necron.

Fade sounds a bit like something you’d use to deodorise a shoe, but in fact he’s an ex-gang member with a nice line in thievery and safecracking.

He’s also the only team member who’s wearing the same hat in-game as he is in his portrait, which immediately makes him my favourite.

This band of conveniently single-named oddjobs are desert rangers, tasked with trying to maintain law and order in a tiny, post-apocalyptic society brought even lower by crime and desperation. They will do this by shooting and/or stabbing things. They will do this by talking to people and being smarmy, threatening or obsequious as they do. They will do this by pushing over totem poles and repairing toasters.

They will do this in part two of this piece, starting tomorrow.


  1. Keyrock says:

    Looking forward to part 2.

    As for the portrait to character model translation, the thing about Bear I’m most disappointed with is the lack of the sack of wheat on her character model’s back. Hopefully that’s a fashion accessory you can pick up later on.

    • cpt_freakout says:

      Now I want to play a post-apocalyptic farmer.

    • Baines says:

      What portrait to model translation? It looks like the portrait artist and the character modellers weren’t even told of each other’s existence, because there is barely any relation between the two other than character sex.

      Outfits, builds, facial hair for the one guy whose face you can see, nothing is remotely similar for any of the four characters above. The only exceptions are both versions of Pill being hatless, and arguably Fade’s hat. I say arguably on Fade’s hat because on most games, that might be considered a miss (as portrait Fade has a rolled brim while model Fade has a wide flat brim).

      Funnily enough, model Bear is almost wearing portrait Slick’s construction hat. Someone actually made a construction hat model, but no one matched it to the appropriate character portrait/model?

      • somnolentsurfer says:

        That’s incredibly disappointing. I’d been waiting for a release version before making any decision on Wasteland 2. I’d be a lot more likely to pick it up if the characters looked anything like those portraits.

        • shaydeeadi says:

          I am pretty sure these are things that will be resolved before release. It’s not like it affects core combat systems or anything, it’s a portrait.

          • SominiTheCommenter says:

            It’s actually the opposite. I want the models closer to the portraits.

          • Baines says:

            The portraits have character. They look like what you’d expect in a Wasteland/Fallout world, and are simply interesting designs on their own.

            The models look generic. The women are generic supermodels. The men are generic fit-but-not-overly-muscular guys. They’d fit in pretty much any modern setting, and Pills and Fade would probably fit into many sci-fi settings as well. They wouldn’t be out of place, but they wouldn’t really be “in place” either.

          • Tacroy says:

            There’s like ten pre-made characters; at a guess, I’d say it’d take a modeler about one work-week to make the pre-made models match their character portraits really well, including the time it takes to acquire and stat out the missing assets (e.g, an equippable hay bale backpack).

            Would you rather they blow a man-week on that, or would you prefer they spent the time making the environments better?

          • bill says:

            I assume the models look generic because they are supposed to be generic.. as they are designed to represent a wide range of characters that players might create.

            The pre-built characters and portraits are much more specific, but I guess that they figure most people won’t use them. Does anyone ever use pre-built characters in RPGs?

        • BobsLawnService says:

          I am an asinine pendant with a strained little mind.

  2. Dogsbody says:

    Fade has poor trigger discipline. Four rules of gun safety, anonymous video game characters!

    • Jackablade says:

      You’re assuming he’s not about to shoot the guy painting his portrait.

  3. Sleepymatt says:

    Oooo0o0o0oo0oooo – do want!

  4. rustybroomhandle says:

    Fade appears to be played by Tommy Lee Jones. And incidentally this game will likely require you to search every gas station, residence, warehouse, farmhouse, henhouse, outhouse and doghouse in the area.

  5. ludde says:

    This had me confused. Maybe put in a lil’ mention that it’s beta?

  6. TWChristine says:

    Pills’ model is quite..interesting. It looks like her head was shifted to the side, while she’s wearing an 80’s Madonna push-up bra.

    “They will do this in part two of this piece, starting tomorrow.”

    That is the absolute worst tease! You know how popular the diary features are!

    • CookPassBabtridge says:

      Its a bit disappointing really. Her portrait makes me think “Roseanne Barr with a shotgun” which would be good. Her model says “She-Ra with an orthopaedic impediment”, which is not.

    • shaydeeadi says:

      I’m still waiting to find out what happened to Ian Football.

    • Jackablade says:

      if we wanted to be particularly generous, I guess she could be wearing a breastplate modelled after a 1950s bra. Those things were pretty pointy.

      Does Wasteland still have the quasi-50s setting?

  7. CookPassBabtridge says:

    There is a woman who sits outside a branch of Sainsbury’s in Aberdeen and who cannot for the life of her sing or play the guitar. Yet for some reason this is exactly what she does, for hours .. and hours.. at a time. Same chord. Endlessly. Not a single string in tune with another. This is relevant because she is almost certainly the model for Bear’s portrait.

    The in game model however just makes me think of the YMCA up the road, even if its a way better tune.

    • zain3000 says:

      Good spot. I’m guessing that is the female party member you pick up near the beginning of the game (you are able to recruit an additional two members into your team).

      • zain3000 says:

        Oops.. meant to reply to reply to Zenicetus’ post below.

    • Groove says:

      Do you mean one of the Sainsburys on Union Street? If so I know the exact women you’re talking about the resemblence is hilarious.

      • CookPassBabtridge says:

        She moves around as people get sick of her, but yeah I think she does Union Street as part of her ‘circuit’ :) AIIIEEEEEE GLANG GLANG GLANG AIIIEEEEEEE
        People give her money because they think its funny. STOP THAT >:|

  8. Zenicetus says:

    Okay, maybe a stupid question here, but the article mentions four team members, and there are five shown in the first image at the top. Who is the redhead looking away from the group? Is that a team leader, or NPC?

    If i’ts a player-controlled team leader, did you pick a prefab character or roll one from scratch?

    • Enkinan says:

      You can make/pick four, and then you can recruit up to 3 in various locations in the game.

  9. wodin says:

    Shame about the the pics and the actual game models. A big burly woman who looks hard as nails is far better than Miss Normal Proportions

    • Lemming says:

      I don’t think she looks hard as nails. She looks like she could evoke a hell of a gypsy curse, though.

    • joa says:

      What about the guy with the skeletor face – but in game has a normal face. What’s that about?

      • The Random One says:

        The fact that the medic lady is wearing a suit in the portrait but not in game breaks my heart, as disappearing suits tend to do. Was it not enough that Fallout 3 turned my dapper suits into summer dresses?

  10. Henchimus says:

    ” got on about as well as Piers Morgan and anyone


  11. Premium User Badge

    Lexx87 says:


    I was missing Alec’d diaries – the XCOM and FTL ones are excellent.

  12. Ignis says:

    Looking forward to part 2. I finally bought W2 recently, I also picked Pills and Fade, apart from other 2 which I don’t remember. Had a lot of fun playing the game.

  13. Enkinan says:

    I recently caved and paid the extra 10 bucks for the beta and had a great time before finally running out of content after squeezing every last bit of that I could out of it. It’s going to be a great game, and even though I have some minor gripes about the beta, I played it like a junky until I had seen pretty much every last scrap of it.

    My (easy to address) gripes from beta:

    Character creation needs WAY more portraits and in-game gear/body options.

    Combat needs some balancing. The majority of it was much too easy, especially when my party filled up. Ranged AI needs some work, enemy NPC’s (and friendlies that go rogue) had a bad habit of continually running for cover instead of shooting at me (or the enemy).

    The maps for random encounters seem to still be in progress. They need more variety and some are pretty buggy.

    The Main overhead map could use a spit polish.

    An area map for each location would also help, not just the world map and then mini map. Cardinal directions on the mini map are needed as well since you do a good bit of view rotation. Maybe I missed something, but there were plenty of times that I was told a cardinal direction to find things and had absolutely no idea which way that was.

    The Trading Interface…ugh. They even mention it while you are in it as bad and being worked on.

    The things listed above still didn’t stop me from enjoying the hell out of it, and those are easy fixes. I truly believe this game will carry on from Fallout 1, 2, + Tactics the way that Fallout 1 carried on from Wasteland 1. I love the story, writing, and atmosphere. There are so many great little touches, it really shows that these guys want this game to carry the torch.

    Also, Scotchmo is the man. Nothing like sending a drunk hobo with a hatchet charging head first into a group of deadly robots.

  14. Wulfram says:

    Isn’t having a character that looks nothing like their portrait part of the retro feel?

    • teije says:

      Exactly – it’s old style. Take a trip over to the CRPG Addict’s blog and you’ll see many examples of portraits that clash horribly and often hilariously with their in game representations.

      • Jackablade says:

        That’s a sprite limitation though. Given that Wasteland is 3d and has fully modelled gear, there doesn’t seem to be any particular reason why they couldn’t get some more suitable attire even if the character models themselves aren’t particularly good match. Even just swapping items of clothing amongst the characters shown in the article could get quite a bit closer.

  15. The Random One says:

    Where’s Nunally?

  16. phanteh says:

    Where’s John Walker when you want him?

    Am I the only person who sees female character no 1 turned into a bland, could-be-a-man, nondescript character, and female character no 2 turned into ‘LOOK AT MY TITTES’?

    Sorry to be that guy, but the character portraits show the kind of female characters I believe we need more of, while the in-game shots show the female characters we already have in abundance.