Wot I Think: Wasteland 2

Wasteland 2 is formidable. The word ‘sprawling’ comes to mind but it’s not quite right. There’s a bit of sprawl, if such a thing as sprawl can happen in bits, but the game’s density is a more distinctive feature than its actual size. InXile’s Kickstarted RPG is a large game and rewards repeated playthroughs with previously unseen content, but it’s the sheer quantity of stuff that has astonished and occasionally overwhelmed me. As to whether the effort of seeing it all (or most of it) has been worthwhile? Here’s wot I think.

Before digging beneath the radiated topsoil, let’s be clear that I’ve enjoyed my time with Wasteland 2. I’ve been playing for three weeks, which surprises me every time I reflect on it. Astounds me, really, considering the rush to the finish line and the frantic search for talking points that can be an unfortunate aspect of reviewing such a gargantuan game.

It’s a game that demands your time, not only because it’s packed with things to see and do, but because it eventually creates a compelling momentum. There are aspects that frustrated me from beginning to end, but nothing that made me consider walking away. The worst of my complaints are directed at features or process that I quietly tolerated rather than cursing, and Wasteland 2’s biggest problem is one that would seep into almost any commitment that lasts so long – there’s a seven hour itch and, for the dedicated ranger, there might also be a seventy hour itch and a few more in between.

As is traditional, level 1 rangers can't hit a barn door if they were sat on the sneck.

Whatever corner of the world you might be exploring and whatever mission might currently occupy your rangers, Wasteland 2 has you reading lots of text, sorting through lots of loot and engaging in lots of turn-based combat. Oh, and using skills set to hotkeys to access or activate almost every bloody thing you find. To be fair, there isn’t an ‘open’ skill that needs to be levelled up lest hapless rangers break their arms while trying to take the lid off a crate, but there’s far more clicking on lockpicking, then clicking on a lock than I’d like.

I don’t mind spending a lot of time clicking on things but in Wasteland 2 I feel like I spend far too much time clicking on the same things for exactly the same reasons. If I intend to hack into a computer, clearly I’ll want Digital Ian, my super-geek IT guy, to handle things. He has the highest computer skill – in fact he’s the only one in my gang of dunderheads with a computer skill at all – so if I right click on the computer, I’d be happy for him to take charge by default.

Instead, I have to select him, select the skill and then select the computer. That’s fine the first time, maybe even the first ten times, but you might end up selecting your own version of Digital Ian a hundred times or more. Like I said, it’s a big wasteland out there.

Tristessa is my sniper. Her companions are Digital Ian, a hacker, Colonel Hijinks, a charismatic medic, and The Blade Widow, an angry man from Hackney.

The obvious advantage of the system is that it allows for silliness. In Fallout, it was possible to pick an NPC’s pocket and plant a primed bomb in their trousers rather than take anything. That’s what happens when players have the freedom to apply skills in an unusual fashion and it certainly wouldn’t be possible if everything was driven by context sensitive commands. Wasteland 2 does allow for creative solutions and improvisations on occasion, but most of the time a computer requires computer skills and a door requires a lockpick skill.

Finicky is a good word to describe the interface and the majority of interactions with it. In fact, if Wasteland 2 was a tabletop RPG, the gamesmaster would probably be quite finicky. The sort who enjoys watching you and your chums sorting through yet another pile of ammunition and reckons every area should have at least six boobytrapped doors or chests. It’s hard work sometimes, slogging through another of his scenarios, but you stick with it because the stories are entertaining and there’s an occasional gem of a location.

The rusted shell of a car is a sight for sore eyes - eyes which may or may not be sprouting tentacles from the pupil due to a severe case of 'staring at the [nuclear] winter sun'

Structurally, the game is as recognisable as any backer of the Kickstarter might hope. Wasteland 2 is not only a sequel to Wasteland, as the name suggest, it’s also the Fallout 3 that could have been, and its relationship with CRPGs past is clear. Those arriving in this new post-nuclear America directly from the Fallout games of the nineties will encounter the first unfamiliar element during character creation – Wasteland 2 isn’t about the lone wanderer, it’s a party-based game about a team of rangers and the party system, integral though it may be, is the source of the majority of frustrations.

Despite the brilliant character creation, which can provide as diverse a group of oddballs as you might hope for, I always felt that my party was like a Swiss Army knife. Example – during conversations, the three persuasive skills come into play for specific choices, which are clearly marked. It’s possible to switch between characters mid-chat in order to utilise a specific skill, which feels more like flicking the necessary tool into play rather than engaging in tricksy dialogue.

A cactus flower provides a rare splash of colour

The same is true during the majority of exploration. Most obstacles or optional caches have a hole of a certain shape and your task is to select the appropriate peg to hammer into that hole. I’m aware that the party went from Swiss Army knife to box of assorted toy pegs at some point, but that’s fine. It could also be a ring, with various keys attached. It feels more like any of those three than a group of people, which is such a shame given how attached I became while making my teams and dressing them up.

Combat is the exception to all of the above and is the point when party members have a life of their own. Yes, they’re still a collection of skills and equipment, but they’re not interchangeable parts of the same menu system. As with the Fallouts before it, Wasteland 2’s combat is absolutely ridiculous (point blank shotgun blasts missing because of the percentages, giant frogs absorbing four or five bullets, enemies leading the entire party on glacial races around the map) but it’s damn fine entertainment.

It operates on a simple turn-based setup, with the order of play shown at the top of the screen, and action points and costs detailed when required. Like Fallout, action points are limited on each turn which cuts down on intricate tactics and means that many scraps play out like a two-way slugfest. A lot of the work toward victory occurs during preparation – having the right equipment and the skills to use it is more important than the actual approach once the bullets and blades start to fly.

This looks like a deliberately barren screengrab but it's fairly typical of the screen when looking at the map. The most exciting thing in sight is usually a cloud of radiation. It's a bit like being on holiday in Blackpool.

Killing things is satisfying though, which is handy because there are so many things to kill. Combat is clean and just about complicated enough – it’s never too demanding but has just enough room for error to create tension. It’s also the area of the game in which skills are most sensibly applied, even if some (unarmed, I’m looking at you) seem underpowered due to the equipment available.

But it’s fun to have a blademaster, a sniper and an angry giant with a club full of nails. Not an actual giant, you understand, but a massive bruiser, with a cig in her mouth and a Buddhist chant on her lips. Smoking habits, ethnicity, religion and size are all part of the delightful character building before the game even begins. That’s when starting skills are chosen as well and while it’s easy enough to dish out combat skill evenly, selecting the rest is troublesome**.

Wasteland 2 is one of those games in which some parties will have more life in them than others. Returning briefly to the Swiss Army knife analogy – it’s possible to construct a knife without a single blade on it, or one without a corkscrew, which is a nightmare when you stumble across a crate of wine.

Digital Ian caused this computer to explode even though all he had to do was find the on switch.

Certain skills are necessary and while they can be developed as characters level up. beginning without them is a recipe for a restart. Medical capabilties are essential, which might seem as obvious as remembering to pack a cleric, but I’d hoped that items might work where skills were lacking – that’s not the case and I had to watch my charismatic leader bleeding out an hour into the game.

Despite all of that – and it feels like a lot of negativity about a game I’ve enjoyed – Wasteland 2 is an accomplished piece of work. The story has more of an American frontier feel than the Fallout games, as the rangers attempt to impose their (and your) idea of law on an untamed wilderness. There’s humour, usually developed scattershot through characters and situations rather than in the form of gags, and the tone covers broad bases, mostly successfully. The writing never particularly excited me, as it’s so often telling stories I’ve already heard, but it’s solid and occasionally draws out a chuckle or a nod of appreciation*.

I can’t help but wonder what I would have made of Wasteland 2 if it had come out just before, after or between Fallout 1 and 2. Chances are I would have loved it a little bit more than I do now because my tolerance for the more fiddly elements was higher in past lives. Even then, there’s a cumbersome quality that isn’t entirely down to the size of the thing. Partly, that’s due to a lack of obvious direction for long stretches of play and partly it’s probably due to the bland and dusty appearance of many areas and the maps themselves.

Colonel Hijinks kept his headwear until the bitter end

Thematically justified, yes, but not particularly stimulating for hours at a time.

Negativity creeping in again. I don’t have any major complaints about Wasteland 2 and I’m planning to play through it again, but all of the minor quibbles have coalesced. It’s a game that has started to feel like a burden and even though I enjoy unwrapping it and mucking about with what’s inside, there’s an awful lot to unpack every time.

To end on a positive, it’s a surprisingly pleasant game, despite the inherent grimness of the setting. Violent it may be and the humour is often dark, but there’s an offbeat and jocular heart in the beast. For all its mechanical similarities to the RPGs of yesteryear, it’s that character, wit and playfulness that most capably satisfied my nostalgia and made me look forward to whatever InXile put their minds to next. I’ve criticised all of Wasteland 2’s foibles, but that’s because my relationship with it is complicated. I wish it were just a little more sharply dressed and not quite as fussy, but I do love it most of the time, although not necessarily from one hour to the next.

If the map is like a holiday in Blackpool, this scene is very similar to the aftermath of my last attempt to go camping, except the tent you can see here is far more upright than any effort I've ever made.

* There’s an assumption that everyone playing will have played and remembered details of the first Wasteland, which seems unlikely. The knowledge isn’t necessary but I was surprised by the flurry of references, which often provide a fair amount of detail.

** Companions are available to join the original party of four. An early recruit is almost indispensable, which is peculiar considering she can be entirely bypassed if you don’t search a dead-end in the starting area. I often felt like I should be digging up every loose patch of dirt and exploring every nook and cranny – the amount of interactive hotspots, trapped doors and seemingly barren areas makes the game a completionist’s nightmare, as does the fact that certain locations and missions will be locked off as choices are made. I’m OK with that. Gives me a reason to go back in and act like my own evil twin.

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115 Comments

  1. LionsPhil says:

    Ooh, it’s actually out to backers.

    It seems a little odd that it’s a GOG *or* Steam key. I guess Humble Bundle of old’s DRM-free-and-Steam pairing has spoilt me. Anyone know if the Steam version is actually locked to Steamworks, or is it just used as a content delivery platform?

    Edit: If this guy is correct it’s the latter. Seems to be a few comments that this was at least the plan.

    • welverin says:

      Right after the announcement of the physical versions requiring Steam for updating I loaded it up outside of Steam without a problem. Though I keep forgetting to try without Steam running at all, even though I don’t see that making a difference.

    • Mochan says:

      This review sounds like the reviewer is trying to deceive himself that this is a great game, when actually it’s a sloppy mess that has some moments.

      To be honest, Wasteland 2 is a mess. It’s a mediocre game at best, it’s got good things in it but ultimately is bogged down by lousy graphics, an antiquated and unfriendly interface, and a lot of people are gonna disagree with me here, but a ton of sloppy haphazard writing. Quantity is not equal to quality, just because it has More text than three fantasy novels doesn’t mean it’s a good game; in fact that’s a mark of failure in my book — the same criticism I levied against Planescape Torment. When I play a game, I play it to play a game, not to read a novel. Sorry.

      Not to mention that despite all that goddamn text, it didn’t have any character. At least Torment had character. ThIs game is just generic Madmax wasteland. Nothing about the narrative stands out to rouse your soul. I know the reviewer actually agrees with this sentiment, from what I read, but he’s too busy denying this and being an apologist. And I can understand the sentiment; I wanted to like this game so bad, but it just doesn’t deliver.

      This game is going to need a lot of apologists because frankly, it just isn’t that good. It’s a huge disappointment considering how much funding it raised. If Divinity Original Sin didn’t exist, this might have been received much better by a starved RPG gaming public. The sad thing is, Divinity proved you can do so much better than this with far less funding. And actually, even Shadowrun did much better than this, and that is just sad.

  2. Premium User Badge

    Syt says:

    “* There’s an assumption that everyone playing will have played and remembered details of the first Wasteland, which seems unlikely. The knowledge isn’t necessary but I was surprised by the flurry of references, which often provide a fair amount of detail.”

    Well, I guess I will now have to play the first one, after all (I couldn’t get it when it was new, and I haven’t gotten around to it in recent years, because games). Well, maybe I’ll just read/watch a walkthrough.

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      Harlander says:

      I bounced off the original Wasteland every time I tried it. I guess I’d came to it too late, when I’d been spoiled by things having much less obnoxious user interfaces.

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        teije says:

        Instead of playing it, you could read the CRPG Addict’s playthrough of Wasteland I. Much more enjoyable process frankly.

    • LionsPhil says:

      In case you haven’t read all the backer emails, if you backed W2, you should have a free copy of W1. Look at the Ranger Center.

      Finding time to play it (and make sense of its UI in this modern era of do-I-really-have-to-read-a-manual), though, yeah…can’t help there.

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        Syt says:

        Yeah, I have a copy on GOG thanks to me getting Wasteland 2 as part of backing Torment. I think I tried it once but decided to postpone until I had time to get into the game mechanics.

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      DelrueOfDetroit says:

      There are also plenty of Let’s Plays of the game on YouTube if that’s your thing.

    • saluk says:

      This is one of my favorite let’s plays of any game ever: link to youtube.com

      • cthulhie says:

        This Let’s Play is amazing! It’s the only one I’ve watched where the narration has been anything but, at best, not too annoying. Intensely well produced and adds significantly to what could a difficult game to watch. So so good!

        Which is great, because I tried Wasteland 1 last night and found it amusing, but probably not something I would get around to investing in. If others face that problem: this guy has done the investing for you and created a lovely narrative of it.

  3. dare says:

    All I really want to know is, is “Discordianism” available as a religion?

    Loved the original Wasteland waaaaay back in ’90 or something, hope this is as engaging.

    • PegasusOrgans says:

      A fellow Discordian!!
      It fills my shrivelled vessel with glee to see thee!!

      As for the option… wasn’t in the early beta and haven’t played the updated version…

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        Harlander says:

        Discordianism nothing, can you be a member of the Church of the Sub-Genius?

  4. MrEvilGuy says:

    This will be one of those rare games where I skip reading the review before playing it. Must make my own opinion about Fargo’s legacy!

    • LionsPhil says:

      The WIT is pleasingly spoiler-free.

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        DelrueOfDetroit says:

        To the point of not detailing any mechanics.

        • Mark Schaal says:

          The mechanic paused and wiped his rugged brow with a grimy red bandana. His slender fingers moved across his tool belt, hovering briefly over a screwdriver, then the pliers, then falling back to his side. He looked at me with his deep set brown eyes filled with resignation and a hint of defeat. “Ma’am, I reckon I’ve fixed more thermostats and solenoids than any man alive, but I’ve never seen anything like this. Your toaster is dead.”

  5. Tyshalle says:

    I’ve only played the beta so far, but I can’t argue with anything you’ve said in the review. I will say that your tolerance of clicking on individual party members, clicking on individual skills, and then clicking on safes, doors and toasters will vary. As someone who’s had quite enough of generic First Person Shooters, and didn’t find the 3D Fallouts to be quite sharp enough, I’ll admit that the somewhat clunky mechanics never really bothered me. It might just be that I’ve long been feeling nostalgic for Fallout 1 and 2, and this game has mostly delivered on the feeling of those games, except in one major way.

    And I will reiterate, I’ve only played through what was available during the beta, so I haven’t been to L.A. yet. But that said, I’ve found that, by and large, the role play isn’t nearly as engrossing, and the NPC’s aren’t nearly as interesting as anything you’ll find in Fallout 1 or 2. I really am enjoying these games, and some of the characters are morally complex and well written, but none are particularly deep, save maybe a few of your traveling companions. If Fallout was a deep, story-focused tabletop campaign, I feel like Wasteland 2 is more of a D&D Dungeon Crawl with good flavor. I’m not opposed to that, but the experience hasn’t quite satiated my thirst for a good new Fallout, if that makes sense.

  6. Anthile says:

    If you are interested in the story of the first Wasteland but don’t feel like playing it there this fantastic roleplayed Let’s Play by mynameisnotlilly: link to youtube.com

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      kshriner says:

      Thanks for the tip Anthile! Watched the first two. Looks like about 3 hours for him to go through the whole game but the narration is pretty good and entertaining. Eager to jump in to Waste 2 but think I’ll go through these first. Wish I’d thought to do last few days as I watched the clock tick down! Heh~ Back to watching someone else play a game I tried to play and never could seem to get anywhere..

      P.s. RPS is my daily go to site. Thanks for all you do. Been meaning to post that for awhile. Here is as good as anywhere I guess. :)

    • BooleanBob says:

      That’s so weird. I was positive you were going to link to this fantastic roleplayed Let’s Play by Snicker – one of the best pieces of games-related writing I’ve ever had the pleasure to read.

      I’ll be sure to check out yon youtubery though. It seems Wasteland really is awfully fertile creative ground.

  7. Eukatheude says:

    FUCK YEAH IT’S GOOD

  8. MadMinstrel says:

    What an awful review. “Here’s 25 different reasons the game sucks! Oh, and I kinda liked it.”

    • BobsLawnService says:

      I agree. Adam pretty much phoned this one in. What an objectively lazy and poor review. He spends the entire review slating a handful of UI mechanics and then says he enjoyed it a few times to make up for it.

      Come on. This is bushleague stuff.

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        Harlander says:

        So you’re saying you give this review a 7/10?

      • innokenti says:

        I think you’ll find it’s not a review but a ‘Wot I Think’. Come on, this is RPS basics.

        • BobsLawnService says:

          He doesn’t get off on a technicality that easily. Even if Wot I thinks are essentially meant to be professional blog entries then he still needs to have a professional approach to them.

          This is just amateur rambling the quality of which you could find on most random blogspot pages.

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            Harlander says:

            You’re right, you should ask for your money back.

          • Distec says:

            I didn’t realize we had to pay for something to be allowed to criticize it.

            Not that I take any serious issue with the WIT here, as I haven’t yet played Wasteland 2. But it is odd when about 70% of the article is being critical of the game and then reaches the conclusion of “It’s good”, regardless of whether they want to call it a “review”, a “Wot I Think”, or any other meaningless label..

      • woodsey says:

        I don’t think you know what “objectively” means.

    • Bradamantium says:

      “Sucked” is a bit strong. “Here’s a handful of things that mildly irritated me” perhaps. I guess he could’ve been more explicit with what he liked, but I didn’t have much trouble picking out what Adam thought was done well.

      • rabbit says:

        do you not agree though that he seems to find a lot more to criticise than to praise in his writeup?

    • Niko says:

      What an awful review of Wot I Think.

    • Ultra Superior says:

      I disagree, this review is perfect. I’m W2 and Torment backer and I waited for the release… well, thanks to this review I know exactly what to expect and how to start – and there were no major spoilers.

      Adam is, as always, the best. 10/10

      (With his evil Graham twin being the worst.)

    • battles_atlas says:

      Agreed, this isn’t up to RPS standards. This is one of the biggest Kickstarters, could Adam have not roused himself enough to actually formulate into words what was good about it? A list of complaints about the UI is not worthy of the Wot I Think label.

      • pullthewires says:

        It works better if you assume that almost everyone interested in the game knows enough about Fallout and Wasteland to not have to go into much detail on the basics.

      • PopeRatzo says:

        This is one of the biggest Kickstarters, could Adam have not roused himself enough to actually formulate into words what was good about it?

        “This is one of the biggest Kickstarters…” So? What does it matter that it was “one of the biggest Kickstarters”? The people who backed it already have the game and know if there’s anything really good about it, and the rest aren’t going to buy it based on the size of it’s Kickstart.

        At this point, the review is for people who haven’t laid out the money on this game yet, and I’m grateful. I loved the original Fallout games, but I have learned that what fascinated me more than a decade ago often leaves me sort of flat today. I’m not a big fan of nostalgia-based projects. I had high hopes for Wasteland 2 mostly because this has been such a sucky year for big games (the great Divinity: Original Sin notwithstanding). I guess I’ll have to hold off until November.

        • Shadow says:

          “It’s on of the biggest Kickstarters” as in “it’s a high-profile game and deserves better quality coverage”.

          I don’t usually criticize the quality of RPS writing, because for the most part it’s pretty damn good. But this particular piece is not so much: it gives excessive (and I mean really excessive) spotlight to minor UI quibbles, potentially blowing them out of proportion, and it’s a bit confusing for someone like me, who hasn’t yet shelled out for Wasteland 2.

          The article also takes for granted that the readers know all about the game and/or already believe it to be great, and proceeds to elaborate on all the minor qualms as if that were the only significant thing left to do. Its tone is off, and Adam’s at least unconsciously aware of that, knowing he has to constantly correct it with don’t-get-me-wrong statements.

          Overall, as an informative piece it could be a lot better.

    • Ryuuga says:

      I wouldn’t go that far, but it does feel a bit thin. The UI quibbles are by no means irrelevant, and are not really treated overmuch either – just that in proportion to the rest of the coverage, which does feel rather sparse, they make up a large portion of the piece. I’d love to hear more about the rest of the game! What specifically did he like? What about the flavor of the world, or lack of it? It does seem a lot less zany and quirky than fallout 1 or even more so 2, but is it really? I guess what I’m saying is I felt there was a lot more I wanted to know.

      As a longtime but not very careful reader, I seem to recall WITs usually having more detail than this, but possibly I’m mistaken. If not, and if the majority of the impression really is summed up above, I guess that’s rather damning, or damning with faint praise, at the very least.

    • rabbit says:

      glad someone else said this, it’s exactly what I thought. almost the entirety of the article was picking at negatives, but then somehow it all finished up as a positive review?
      I haven’t really got a better idea of the game now than I did before reading. other than that it’s rough around the edges.

    • nrvsNRG says:

      I think he probably was more disappointed then that, but didnt want to be too horrible about it. It certainly doesnt look and feel as good as playing D:OS.

    • Bitter says:

      If I were to go for a walk on a pleasant day, I would likely enjoy the experience. However, if I were to recommend the experience to someone else, I would be sure to list all the caveats I could so that if something goes wrong they wouldn’t blame me. I’d say that a walker runs the risk of being hit by a car, being rained on if the weather turns, getting sore legs if they aren’t used to physical activity, might get sweaty, could suffer from allergies, could get sunburned, could get bored, etc.

      I’d have a harder time explaining why I enjoy a good walk or why someone else should do it. I could recommend it for your health, to enjoy nature, or maybe as a way to force yourself away from stressors at home or work for a short time. But that would be about it – they’d be broader, general reasons why someone might enjoy the experience. If I listed the cautions next to a list of benefits, those warnings would be a longer list by far.

      But I’d still enjoy a good walk.

      • Valkyr says:

        Seriously?… Is that what you answer when somebody asks you if you like to walk on a pleasant day?…

        • AXAXAXAS MLO II: MLO HARDER says:

          That’s what s/he says when someone asks, “Hey, you are always going for a walk. I’ve been thinking about going for walks as well, do you recommend it?” Which no one has been asked ever, but works as a metaphor.

        • Bitter says:

          I WAS TRYING TO BE DEEP. JUST ROLL WITH IT.

          Er, I mean, something zen.

          It was that or point out that criticism and praise don’t necessarily carry equal weight. 10 pieces of praise and 1 criticism don’t equal a recommendation if the criticism is “after 5 minutes of play your computer explodes”. But that’s far too simple and straightforward.

    • wengart says:

      Eh, I thought it was fine.

      The review details pretty well that it is an above average game with some minor problems. However, these problems aren’t so bad as to cause any real harm to your overall enjoyment of the game. You’ll just kinda wistfully wish it was a little better because it is so close to being really good.

      It gives you idea of what the game feels like. Which I think is generally more useful to the average person. I don”t particularly care if you can use your mechanic skill to turn the muffler 10 degrees to the right and deal super critical word damage. If I am that interested in the game I will go find a 4 page review, visist the forums, or watch the game be played.

  9. Opellulo says:

    I was a bit disappointed by the game so far (i’ve played a lot the backer version, not yet the final release) most of my complains comes from the story: it’s very straight and not much engaging, a continuing chain of go here because orders, go there because orders, we’re the good guys because sheriff and the bad guys are so bad they’re convicts and slave traders, the Big Bad is so Bad it’s… SPOILER.

    It’s a weird feeling, i want to enjoy the game but I was never dragged in: it hasn’t the crazyness of Fallout or the epicness of Baldur’s Gate… It’s in a middle territory struggling to find an identity other than “Sequel of a game more remembered than played”.

    …now, sorry but I have to go: California or bust!

  10. OliverM says:

    I’ve been reading a lot about the amount of faff involved in playing it , but most reviews seem to think that the quality of the writing made it all worthwhile. But to hear RPS say otherwise (that the writing is good but not remarkably so) is making me pause, even though I backed it on Kickstarter… I loved Planescape, and some of Baldur’s Gate 2; is the quality of the story-telling comparable?

    • fredc says:

      Based on the beta versions I played, it’s a fun game and you will like it. But I didn’t think it was quite on a level with Fallout in terms of storyline. The WIT suggests that the final release version isn’t much different in that respect. Still worth the money.

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      ffordesoon says:

      It’s a very different sort of game, one that hearkens back in spirit to the cRPGs of the late 1980s and early 1990s, which were often segregated into dungeon-crawler bits and text-adventure bits. It’s not a personal story like Planescape, and you’re not assembling a cast of super-colorful companions with unresolved emotional issues as you do in BG2. It’s player-driven rather than story-driven or world-driven, and the thrills are more often intellectual than emotional. You’re more likely to go “Shit, I can’t believe that worked!” than “Oh shit, Irenicus has Imoen!” or “HOLY SHIT THE ALLEY IS PREGNANT!?”

      (I am pointedly ignoring the fact that Imoen is the worst for the sake of argument. But she is. The worst, I mean.)

      This might be jarring initially, because it plays like the Fallout 3 you had in your head when you beat Fallout 2, and as player-driven as Fallout was, it was also world-driven to a much greater extent than Wasteland 2. If you’re expecting something akin to BG2 or PST, it will be very jarring. Which is not to say you won’t have fun or be impressed by the writing; there’s some damn fine stuff in there. But it’s pulpy and goofy and unabashedly schlocky, something closer to your wisecracking friend with the perpetually damp hair’s wacky homebrew tabletop campaign than a Bioware bildungsroman or the China-Mieville-covers-his-favorite-Roger-Zelazny-tunes New Weird wonderland that is PST.

      My advice? Focus on appreciating the game for what it is rather than judging it against other games that are aiming for different goals. Give yourself some time to adjust to its rhythms and its tone. I know people who say that sort of thing are usually apologists for deeply deficient games, and I want to be clear that this post is not me setting you up for an “It’s not for you, stupid console peasant!” upon the posting of any subsequent negative comments. If you have complaints, by all means, voice them. I’m just saying that going in expecting something along the lines of Planescape or BG2 is probably not the best way to approach this game, because it’s not trying to be either of those games.

      FULL DISCLOSURE: I am a mod on the Wasteland 2 boards. Not a super-active one, but still a mod. So, you know, grain of salt.

      • OliverM says:

        That’s encouraging, because it actually reminds me a bit of playing Laser Squad in it’s 8-bit incarnation where the story was latent in the environment; you played around with stuff and took risks and sometimes they paid off mightily (and sometimes things went skitteringly wrong and you just had to hold on & see where you wound up).

        Plus I do love a bit of shlocky pulp.

        Oh, and if anything, knowing you’re a W2 mod is positive more than anything – clearly the game sparked something in you that you feel is very worthwhile. Great stuff.

      • Premium User Badge

        cpt_freakout says:

        Thanks for the comment! I also didn’t expect a WIT so focused on the annoyances of the interface, so this and other comments have led me to decide I want to play this thing right now.

      • Arglebargle says:

        “China-Mieville-covers-his-favorite-Roger-Zelazny-tunes New Weird wonderland….”

        I so want to listen to/read that offering!

        Kinda liked the mechanics discussion of the article myself, as a bad enough UI will get even the best game kicked to the curb here. This doesn’t sound completely awful though. And BG was so old school in its UI that I just gave up. Planescape was such good writing that I couldn’t.

        Better to go in forwarned….

  11. Laurentius says:

    Amazing, it’s almost the same reveiw I read in 1998 about Fallout 2 in the game mag I was buying back then: “too long, too finicky, good overall but somethings not right, you will have good time if you liked Fallout 1, etc… ” . So knowing how this turns out for me I can only say : Wasteland 2 here I come ! Oh yeah. What a year ! Banner Saga, ShadowrunReturns Dragonfall, Divinity – OS and now Wasteland 2. All hit right there, not a single miss so far.

    • james___uk says:

      In that case, me excite

    • Ultra Superior says:

      I envy you.

      I was let down by shadowrun.
      Divinity is absolutely wonderful in mechanics and execution, but the game itself… a let down. (Bad difficulty balance (too easy) too little encounters, unclear and uninteresting quests, too wacky and incoherent story and frankly, too generic…)
      Banner saga – absolutely terrible, bland snorefest.

      If you’ve enjoyed all of them, you’re a lucky person. I desperately wanted to enjoy those.

      • Premium User Badge

        cpt_freakout says:

        Well, what have you enjoyed this year then?

      • VelvetFistIronGlove says:

        I rather liked Shadowrun Returns, and really enjoyed Dragonfall. But they (like the new XCOM before them) had about as much micromanagement as I can stand. I found Fallout 1 and 2 entertaining except for the combat, which was a slog.

        So I’m pretty sure from Adam’s description that I’ll find Wasteland 2 more irritating than enjoyable.

      • Niko says:

        Banner Saga is quite brilliant. You probably just tend to enjoy more action-y games.

      • icarussc says:

        Ah! No indeed, sir. No, I’m afraid I have to inform you that Banner Saga was almost painfully beautiful to me. Do not speak so ill of it.

      • Scelous says:

        I’ll echo another poster and ask what you did enjoy this year.

        I was a backer of Shadowrun, and it turned out to be quite disappointing. And I was a backer for $125, so that stung. I feel the same way about Divinity as you do — too generic and blah. However, much like others, I did thoroughly enjoy Banner Saga.

      • His Divine Shadow says:

        I found Banner Saga shockingly good. Wasn’t impressed like that by a videogame in a very long time (and frankly, didn’t even think it was possible anymore).

        Divinity was excellent. It got *a bit* of a power trip at about 70-75%, but that’s simply because you’d finally have the game systems mastered by that time. Before that, I wouldn’t call it too easy (you played it on hard, right?); it did require careful positioning and tactics in most fights.

        Shadowrun – only played the DLC (since most reviews said it was a significant improvement over the main module, and, more importantly, they only added proper saving in it). Among the three, I’d *probably* have to rank it the lowest, but I still enjoyed it a lot.

      • Laurentius says:

        I don’t know maybe I’m less criticial then others but things is I like this type of games (isometric cRPG/ mix strategy/turnbased combat ) and have soft spot for them. Maybe I was living under the rock or something but it’s just I haven’t played this type of games in years ! I mean there was XCOM but since it was trying to walk in shoes of one of my favourite game of all time I wasn’t all that impressed. But these games? Omg I loved them to bits. The Banner Saga – I loved the combat, it was such different feel with removing “to hit chance”. Shadowrun-Dragonfall- loved the graphics and music, writing was very strong and combat was pleasant and satisfactionary. D:OS, yeah story wasn’t all that hooking but combat was great and no hand holding totally made up for it. Bottom line is I look at my game library and simply I don’t see similiar games there from recent years (ok I was thinking about getting Expeditions:Conquistador but i missed it ).

    • RegisteredUser says:

      I felt that Shadowrun was neither meat nor fish when it came to leveling, the world and combat.

      It wasn’t free enough to be a world of its own nor awesome-story enough to make up for being linear.
      And combat was neither proportionally meaningful enough for its pretend-complexity(this goes for everything from skills to weapon types to cover and aim calculations), nor satisfying(bodies flying from shotgun blasts or getting knocked around or dismembered in close combat; rifle headshots, SMG spray, physics/environmental destruction etc).

      I am keenly aware that funding and money is a huge issue, but it felt a bit more “got to have this feature on the list” rather than “lets be sure this feature is actually tangibly super awesome” instead(see also for example the discussion around some 1-2 time use only skills etc).

      • AyeBraine says:

        Just in case: the things they say about Dragonfall being “the other, good” Shadowrun Returns – I think it’s true. Every feature that didn’t really work in the first release, works as intended in Dragonfall. The game starts like a well-kept V6 and keeps on going. The writing and mission design are also very, very good. It’s an engrossing experience, and I did a second playthrough without a moment’s hesitation.

  12. Tyshalle says:

    I’d just like to add too since a lot of you seem on the fence about buying this on account of all the nitpicks is that really, that’s all the negativity really is: nitpicking. I’m a guy so utterly bored by all the games that’ve come out lately that the only games I’ve sunk any real time into lately is Telltale RPGs and Spelunky, but I did spend probably 50 hours on Wasteland 2 in a single week. That’s how engrossing it is.

    It’s good, it’s real good. There are things you can easily nitpick over but it’s well worth your time and your money.

  13. DrScuttles says:

    I’ve lost track of where we are now with the early generation of big-name, idealistic, this-is-the-new-videogames Kickstarter megasuccesses. Broken Age is limping half out, Wasteland 2 is out… have any others been released that I missed?

    • Premium User Badge

      Thirith says:

      Not sure what your criteria are, but Divinity: Original Sin was fairly successful (though not to the same degree) and is out, to generally great reviews. Also, if you look outside games, the Veronica Mars movie was mostly liked by reviewers and fans.

      I know that this is partly confirmation bias talking, but so far I have no regrets with respect to Kickstarter and the projects I’ve backed. Some didn’t happen, some fizzled out, some of the results didn’t meet my expectations, but I still like the concept and more often than not the results.

      • DrScuttles says:

        Oh, I’m not trying to be negative, just idly pondering the role of Kickstarter as you do while trying to free the 21gb Wasteland 2 needs. There’s just something nice about people throwing nearly 3 million dollars to inXile and 2.5 years later, there you go, here’s your game, and everyone’s pretty much happy.
        I do think I’ve become more cynical about Kickstarter over the last 2 years, but that’s because it seems to me like the digital equivalent of busking and buskers annoy me. Especially with those bloody accordions.

  14. unit 3000-21 says:

    Can’t wait to create a party consisting of one evil genius and a group of dumb henchmen brutes going “Me smash!” at their master’s bidding.

  15. Premium User Badge

    ffordesoon says:

    Good review, Adam.

  16. almostDead says:

    I was foaming at the mouth for this, but after watching some recent gameplay, I can’t see me picking this up.

    The combat is dull as ditchwater. I don’t know how they managed it, with so many preceeding examples out there. I found Richard Cobbett’s review at eurogamer much more in line with my conclusions about the game.

    If you couple the repetetive, no variety, no location damage combat, with no saving and, really, the most important fact that, if you lose a team member, you must reload (due to essential skill balance and lack of substitutes), it’s not good.

    Of course I’ll play at a deep discount, but it seems such a stale game.

    • KingFunk says:

      Interestingly enough and in contrast to EG, PC Gamer’s reviewer categorically states “I was never bored by Wasteland 2’s fights”…

      link to pcgamer.com

      Overall, I think it sounds like there are enough things to enjoy about this game that a UI won’t put me off.

  17. fenriz says:

    all i need to know about WL2 is this: can you solve problems with neither skills nor combat? So just by reading all the text, inspecting things and using items?

    Because most of the times you could in Fallout. Today most will go “but that’s another genre, this is an rpg”. But back then they thought puzzles and items were the norm in any game. Back then they thought integration was good, now for some reason we think separation is.

    • Dicehuge says:

      Combat and skill testers are pretty much unavoidable for the most part, which is unfortunate cos the UI does make both very unwieldy.

  18. Xantonze says:

    For an alternate opinion, see Mr.Cobbett’s very detailed review over at eurogamer:
    link to eurogamer.net

    Also annoyed by some details (some of them really striking, since the game has been in beta for so long), but pleased by the overall result.

  19. Premium User Badge

    teije says:

    I played the beta quite a bit, and this WIT has good points. The UI is definitely more than a little cumbersome and quirky. I do wish he’d written more about why he likes it overall, the WIT was pretty disjointed and rambley..

    But WL2 gives me that awesome old Fallout vibe, and the story was engaging me up to the point I stopped (wanted to wait until release). I’m looking forward to this once I finish DoS, so 6 months at my pace. Just about the right time for a couple patches to smooth things out.

  20. RegisteredUser says:

    Why DO things like “do the same 50 mouseclicks every single time” slip through many years of development and testing?
    Especially with this being a prime case of early access and a lot of attention.
    I am quite honestly puzzled about this kind of thing.
    All it would take to reduce a lot of grind in a lot of games is being allowed to set some defaults and maybe a hotkey to activate already coded in mechanisms, i.e. not too much work on top.

    • Baines says:

      I can think of a few reasons.

      Developers and playtesters get used to it, not even seeing it as a problem, before it is addressed. This is even more likely if your playtesters are composed of fans of that type of game. It is also more likely if the people in charge are either set in their ways or blind to certain types of criticism. Worse, there can actually be a backlash against streamlining, if you have enough diehards who don’t see it as a problem and instead see it as some twisted positive (or just see an improved interface as some kind of selling out, an attempt to appeal to a wider base).

      For something not like Wasteland 2, it could just be that it isn’t considered a playtest concern. Sometimes playtesters are told what to test, and if it isn’t on the list then it can get lost in the chain of command.

      It can be difficult to come up with a streamlined alternative. Even if the issue is acknowledged, it could get backburnered versus more important concerns (like actually finishing game content). In the end, it may be forgotten. Or when developers come around to address it, they realize it has grown into too complex an issue to resolve.

    • WrenBoy says:

      I’ve been mainly playing the beta, and liking it a lot to be fair, but my main complaint would be a lack of polish in general. UI quibbles are part of this.

      Wasteland seems to be trying hard to be able to handle any crazy action the player might attempt. This is far from trivial so I assume a lot of their effort went towards this. Its also something that is hard to judge quickly as its something which only becomes apparent after you have the time to try different things and experiment a little. Most people, myself included, try a vanilla run the first time through.

      If they succeeded in doing what they attempted it will probably be seen as a classic and the UI ignored. If not then its still a fun game.

  21. Viroso says:

    This review made me want to go back to Fallout 2 and at the same time made me a bit more disinterested in Wasteland 2, both things for the same reason.

    When I first checked a gameplay video long ago and saw how items had to be dragged around in the inventory, how every button was carefully made to look like part of a machine that is the GUI, all of that had the stink of bad GUI that comes from Fallout 2. This puts me off so much. I made a pure charisma character with a large party just so I’d have less things to click in the eventual battles.

    Playing FO2 what annoyed me the most wasn’t even how dumb the GUI was, but rather how easy it would have been to fix it.

  22. WiggumEsquilax says:

    My next vacation will be in Blackpool.

  23. RegisteredUser says:

    By the way, it is worth noting that while the delux edition of this one sells like hotcakes for 60$, for 65$ you got BOTH Wasteland 2 and Torment DRM free via the tormentrpg pledge webpage.

  24. Tomo says:

    Some real miserable bastards in this comments thread.

    I thought the review was great, and I found it refreshing that he listed his grievances so strongly, despite clearly enjoying the game. I was on the fence with Wasteland 2, but this has probably pushed me into buying the game. I took the review as a warning: this stuff might piss you off, but if you think you can see past it, you’ll find plenty to enjoy. And considering the genre is so old and well-established, it didn’t really need much explanation as to why you’ll enjoy it. It’s a turn-based, dystopian loot-em-up. How many times have we seen those in gaming and read reviews about them?!

    • rabbit says:

      right – it’s a post apocalyptic RPG so let’s not describe the positive aspects of the game at all. I assume the same rules apply to military shooters? sports sims? roguelikes?

      naw, your criticism just doesn’t make that much sense.

  25. Hasslmaster says:

    Tip for Adam Smith in order to become a better writer: Stop writing about yourself all the time, and oh god, stop starting every other sentence with “I”. That would be a start.

    • xao says:

      Pop quiz! How many sentences in this review begin with the word “I”? You can even include the footnotes and any contraction involving the word.

    • AXAXAXAS MLO II: MLO HARDER says:

      That’s right, Adam, stop putting your opinion in opinion pieces. What is this world coming to?

    • BobsLawnService says:

      Unfortunately that is what “Game Journalism V2.0” is. It’s all about game reviewers no longer critically and objectively assessing the game and all about the reviewer blogging about how the game made him (Or her.) Made them feel. Hence “Wot I think” instead of “Review”

      A nit of a step

      • Premium User Badge

        Harlander says:

        Didn’t the big long article about how objectivity is bunk suggest that if you want to chase the phantom of an objective game review, you’ll probably find it somewhere else?

  26. Horg says:

    For anyone coming into this article late, Brian Fargo, Matt Findley and Chris Keenan did a post launch AMA on reddit:

    link to reddit.com

  27. heyhellowhatsnew says:

    Wow, it’s really is the “in” thing to pan this game.

    I don’t understand all the negative comments in your review, but you give Planetary Annihilation the Reviewer high-five despite all the flaws, bugs, and rightful anger from kickstarter backers from always online DLC, no tutorial, a haphazardly put together single-player and loads of broken promises.

    It’s a shame… I come here for honest reviews and eh… this hasn’t been honest. In a way it’s an IGN Wii Party Babies vs God Hand type thing. But v :) v

  28. Continuity says:

    Its good, i’m enjoying it so far, about 10 hours in.

    What i’m not enjoying however is the control bug that forces me to disconnect all my controller peripherals before playing.

  29. Martel says:

    To all those having a great time with it, does it get better after the beginning? So far it’s a pretty shitty game, but I”m not very far into it so I’m hoping it’s just me not getting adjusted to the UI, controls, graphics, etc.

    • Bloodloss says:

      How do you expect someone to respond to that? I have no idea what you mean by ‘shitty.’ If you aren’t a fan of old school CRPGs then you’re not going to like it. I think the UI and controls are great, and the graphics are acceptable if not impressive.

  30. GTRichey says:

    Here’s hoping that early additional party member isn’t *that* necessary, I found and then declined her offer to join me because I didn’t want to anger the boss on my proving mission.

    • Juke says:

      At the point you meet her, she’s super-capable compared to your squad of nobodies, but if it’s any consolation, after the first couple of plot areas, they have mostly caught up to her, skill-wise. Now she’s useful but not carrying the team. Her commentary is nice for backstory & flavor, though.

  31. Uninteresting Curse File Implement says:

    Haha whew, almost bought this. This WIT confirms what I already suspected: for all the things it does poorly, there isn’t anything it does particularly great.
    Let’s see if a sale and a few patches make it a bit more compelling, I guess.

  32. strangeloup says:

    I haven’t actually played it yet (I backed Torment for the double whammy pack that comes with a copy of this too) but the thing that’s puzzled me most so far is that Steam says it needs 22GB, but only actually downloads 9-point-something. Weird.

    I’m hoping there’s not going to be too much replaying of the first bits of the game due to character creation being insufficiently explained, a problem I had with Divinity: Original Sin, which short of finding an editor I’m probably going to have to start over for the third time soon. (I’m also baffled as to who thought that rock, paper, scissors minigame was ever a good idea, when it can result in missing quests and the like.)

    Cheers to folks who linked Let’s Plays of the original Wasteland; I did try to play it, but the interface and so on is so dated that I found it really hard to get into.

    • Juke says:

      I also found the download-size disparity odd for WL2. Well-compressed package, I guess?

      But in other news, there’s a decent character/save editor already available for WL2, so as long as you get your 4 PCs close to the style of play you’re looking for, a small respec should be easy. I admit to doing this; some of my initial combat skill choices weren’t working out with the character concepts I had, but it wasn’t hard to move a few points around and keep moving forward without losing hours of progress. There’s a thread about it, the “Wasteland 2 Ranger Editor” on the inXile forums, if you’re interested.

  33. voxcell says:

    I wondering what peoples thoughts are on the Wasteland 2 Steam top seller ranking vs. Divinity: Original Sin. D:OS maintained the #1 top selling spot for nearly a month, and was in top 10 for something like 2 months.

    link to tools.garry.tv

    Is the because D:OS is a better game, more marketable, or were the competing titles during the debute of D:OS lacking compared to what Wasteland 2 is up against? Also, how much do you think the release of Shadowrun: Dragonfall affected the sales of Wasteland 2?

    Is it just too early to tell?

    • Juke says:

      I’m intrigued by the question, but don’t know if I fully understand it. Divinity has been out for months, whereas Wasteland 2 has been out for less than a week, and it looks to be still selling strongly. What exactly are we comparing? The graph shows, to me, that Early Access numbers for Wasteland stacked up quite well against what was an official release of D:OS, which is encouraging.

      Whether inXile will maintain the sales that Larian did for as long is still unclear, though I do think Divinity had an advantage of being in “slow period.” The space between the release of Divinity, and the high-profile release of Destiny was quite broad, and I heard many gamers noting that they looked forward to finishing D:OS before the “fall games” started hitting stores. Wasteland’s first several weeks, on the other hand, will be in a busier time (though still better than the last 2 months of the year,) and I’m curious how their positioning on the newly-launched Steam home page design might affect their numbers. While a lot of Steam users did want more visibility for small-to-mid size title, and I think the redesign is a good step forward, it arguably takes away the front-and-center positioning from Wasteland 2 that Divinity enjoyed. Factors like that must drive Brian Fargo crazy; to know that something entirely out of his control like the launch date of a new Steam home page could impact thousands of full-price sales of his labor of love.

      Still, Wasteland 2 is really good. (I’ve got Divinity:OS as well, and much as I thought WL2 would be hard-pressed to match its ambition, I’ve been super impressed with Wasteland so far.) So I think the Desert Rangers have a fighting chance. Would be curious to hear numbers after another month.

      And hopefully this comment isn’t so tardy so as to be totally moot. I do find the comparison of these two new-old RPGs fun as a fan of the genre. :)

      • voxcell says:

        I was surprised and delighted when D:OS came out that it held the #1 top selling position on Steam for about 14 straight days and because of that, I expected Wasteland 2 to have a similar run.

        That is not how things have played out. It debuted at #1, but only held the top spot for about 2 days. It is now at #5, which isn’t bad, just not what I was hoping to see.

        Because D:OS and W2 scratch nearly the same gaming itch and there has been a 2 month gap in their releases, it made me wonder what exactly is keeping W2 from the top of the charts.

        I also asked this question on Steam and got a couple of insightful answers.

        link to steamcommunity.com

  34. gnodab says:

    Hm, I must say I find the review a bit strange. Maybe someone who already tried the game can give me some pointers.
    First it seems Adam complains about a lot of features I would deem essential in a CRPG, like the ability to create a suboptimal party or the fact that you have to use the skills of all your party members in conjunction to get ahead (how is that bad?). So, is the complaint essentially that the game isn’t dumbed down enough, to use a common phrase, or did he refer to something else I didn’t get?

    I also find it strange to complain that the game references Wastland 1 and assuming no one would get it or care about this. Wasn’t this why we kickstarted the game in the first place? As long as it doesn’t devolve into a sad and desperate attempt to garner attention by screaming “remember when we were relevant?”, it is pretty much warranted in this case given that the whole game was financed by nostalgia.

    Sorry if this post seems to critical of the WIT but I am a bit confused (and worried) after reading it. So if anyone could share his experiences, I’d be grateful! Or I’ll have to wait for TB to put out a video.

    • Werthead says:

      The game has a slightly odd approach to ‘streamlined’ versus ‘pedantic’ skill use. So for example, Computer Science is an incredibly broad skill, covering everything from computer use to reprogramming cranes to fiddling around with electronic locks. Yet Lockpicking and Safecracking are separate skills when they feel like they should be the same thing. There’s a bit of excessive makework there, especially since the game will go long periods without any safes and then throw a building full of them at you, or vice versa with locks. Combined with the need to constantly be upgrading your primary combat skills, these sort of things make choosing which skill to advance next a bit more of a shot in the dark than the logical, deducted decisions they should be.

      Otherwise that’s pretty much the only major complaint I have about the game. Combat can be tough and it’s annoying that the game won’t let you do more set-up to handle it better (you can get off one sniper shot normally and suddenly the enemy will start swamping you), but this encourages more tactical thinking and forethought, which is a good thing. The story and writing are both a little less impressive than what I thought they would be. The hoping for a new FALLOUT or BG in that regard will be a bit disappointed (granted I’m less than 20 hours in, so this may improve later): the game comes across more like ICEWIND DALE in tone, with some fantastic locations, inventive traps, some nice quests and flavouring, but the focus on the game is almost pathologically on combat. Except that healing up after a fight is considerably more work than in most RPGs (even old-skool ones).

      It’s certainly a very good game and the problems with it are more like minor irritations than anything being profoundly wrong with the game experience.

  35. Jimbo says:

    I’ve played maybe 15 hours of Wasteland 2 now and I don’t think I can stomach any more, which is a shame because it feels like there’s a good game in there somewhere trying to get out. Unfortunately, it can’t get out, because it’s being suffocated by layers of braindead game design and some of the most uninspired combat I’ve seen in a game.

    Virtually all of the problems with the game design come down to one thing: the game has no respect for your time.

    Seemingly every task involves multiple clicks / hotkeys where a single context sensitive click would suffice, and every task, no matter how trivial, requires you to watch a progress bar fill up. Want to remove this landmine? Your demo skill is high enough to make this a trivial task, but hey, watch this bar fill up for a few seconds anyway, that’ll be fun. Want to remove this whole minefield? Watch a bunch of bars fill up for a few seconds each. Want to heal a character after combat? Watch multiple progress bars fill up.

    The absolute worst offender for wasting your time has to be when you are only somewhat competent at Task X (defusing, unlocking, hacking, etc) and have a certain percentage chance of success, a certain percentage chance of critical failure (setting off the bomb, breaking the lock, etc) and a certain percentage chance of non-critical failure. NON-CRITICAL FAILURE SERVES NO PURPOSE WHATSOEVER! You simply start over again, watch the bar fill up again, with the same probability of outcomes again. Why is it even included as an outcome? Why not just spread the non-critical failure percentage out over the other two options accordingly? It’s like it was included exclusively to waste your time.

    As for the combat, there’s not a lot to say, it’s just dull. Imagine New XCOM without any of the tension, variety or polish and you have a pretty good idea.

    I wanted to like this game –the setting, tone and some of the quest ideas seem neat– but most of actually ‘playing’ it just feels like hard work. For me, Wasteland 2 is just an impossible game to enjoy right after playing through Divinity: Original Sin, which pretty much nails everything Wasteland 2 gets so badly wrong.

    • LionsPhil says:

      It’s particularly irksome how it makes you prod the right party member’s right skill to open a particular type of locked thing, when all those years ago in Neverwinter Nights you just click it and the appropriate party member would go “oh, allow me!” to use their Stoat Pacifying skill on the Rabid Mustelid Lock.

      That’s not a puzzle. That’s just busywork.