sun 27/09/2020

Wasteland 2 | reviews, news & interviews

Wasteland 2

Wasteland 2

The post-apocalyptic role-playing game series emerges from the vault, after 25 years…

'Wasteland 2': Point and click. And click. And click… And click.

This sprawling post-apocalyptic role-playing game comes long after the original. Wasteland was a critical hit back in 1988. It was a fairly unique proposition then. But that was back in 1988 – which in videogames terms is about the dark ages.

This sprawling post-apocalyptic role-playing game comes long after the original. Wasteland was a critical hit back in 1988. It was a fairly unique proposition then. But that was back in 1988 – which in videogames terms is about the dark ages.

In the last 25 years, console manufacturers have risen and fallen, Windows has come into existence (and nearly out of again), and mobile phones have turned from bricks to smart. In the meantime, post-apocalyptic settings for games have become common, so have squad-based role-playing games, so, even, have games with "persistent worlds" (where, when you kill someone, their dead body doesn't mysteriously vanish five minutes later). All of the things that made Wasteland innovative are now standard. So what can a sequel offer?

Wasteland 2 -like Fallout, post-apocalyptic role-playing RPGWasteland 2 is a post-apocalyptic squad role-playing game like its predecessor. It's utterly old-school in much of its presentation and play. You construct a squad from skills and stats, have to constantly manage their inventory for them and point and click on the screen not just to "go there" or "shoot that" but far more complex orders.

One of the most immediately obvious problems with Wasteland 2 is the carpal tunnel-inducing amount and frequency of clicking required. So, if you want to open a safe, you can't just click on the safe, oh no.

You have to find the party member who has safecracking as a skill (this might require several clicks as they're all a bit identikit); then you have to click the skill, then you have to click the safe. It's a user-interface that makes Windows 3.1 look modern and intuitive. And if it's a safe with an alarm and a trap…

Wasteland 2 -like Fallout, post-apocalyptic role-playing RPGCombat also is a clicky, turn-based affair, rather than happening in "realtime". Click where you want to move, click who you want to shoot, click your stance, click whether you want to try for a risky, but more damaging headshot etc. At least here, some of the charm of the game shows.

The fights rapidly get old-school tough – even on "easy", you need to position characters to best effect, using gun ranges, appropriate skills and cover well. On harder difficulty levels, conserving ammo, watching health bars and planning tactically becomes vital. This is a far less immediate and more taxing game than its closest rival – the more modern Fallout games.

There's also a charm to be had from the sheer scale of the game and its weird, black humour. But ultimately, games have moved on from this kind of play for good reason. If the original game incites spark of nostalgia, or you love resolutely retro and tough role-play gaming, then enjoy. Most should avoid like an irradiated giant cockroach.

A user-interface that makes Windows 3.1 look modern and intuitive…

rating

Editor Rating: 
2
Average: 2 (1 vote)

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