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Rad Men: A Wasteland 2 Diary, Part 1

Heart of Dryness

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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.

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Alec Meer

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Co-founder of RPS. Dungeon Keeper & X-COM 4 Life.

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