Spend some time with “Wasteland 2”

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It’s hard to do a review of a game like “Shadowrun” or “Fallout” or “The Elder Scrolls.” The main reason being that it’s basically a digital pen-and-paper game, and that is a hard thing to rush through, or “power play,” to get a review.

“Wasteland 2” is no different. Assembling a team of Desert Rangers, players must traverse the harsh deserts of Arizona aiding those who have made pacts with the organization for protection.

Developers inXile, with whom we spoke a few months back,  produced a game with their Kickstarter funds that is difficult to get through in a single sitting, let alone several. It’s not that the game is overly difficult, more so that there is so much to do in a game like this, and that progress can definitely be impeded if one isn’t familiar with the gameplay at first pass.

We spoke with Brian Fargo, CEO of inXile, about the development of “Wasteland 2” a few months back.

I found this out while playing and about 12 hours into my current game. While I had taken skills and put points into building up skills that I believed would make my team extremely well-rounded so that we could overcome any obstacle in our path, I ended up making a rookie mistake that I regretted later in the more full game.

The mistake I speak of is putting too many points in too many different skills at the start. Now, many would say that a well-rounded character does have their advantages to many others that are singularly focused. I tend to agree. But “Wasteland 2” has so much in the desert waiting to be explored and found, that it’s almost impossible to guess what you’ll run into unless you know it’s going to be there.

This is not a game for those looking to pick up a new and fun shooter, or an interesting post-apocalyptic game that allows them to wander from location to location like “Fallout” does. “Wasteland 2” is for the player that is looking for a challenge.

Turn-based strategy combat is a really hit or miss mechanic for a lot of titles, but this one executes it brilliantly. It fits in so well with the game that you don’t even question it. It’s just like watching digital representations of roleplaying characters that you have on character sheets, duking it out in a post-nuclear holocaust desert.

There’s lots of text to slog through for exposition, hints and important information that can help you while contemplating which decision to make. The bane of a reviewer is trying to read through that quickly to get through the game so that you can see as much of it as possible.

I will say, though, this is absolutely not a game for players who are averse to huge amounts of text. Lots to read, little voice acting, so it’ll push you mentally. And often, mentally draining games can get more exhausting than pulse-pounding action.

Some might be turned off by the graphics of the game, and that’s understandable. The character models look very late 1990s, early 2000s, but in defense of inXile, this was made in Unity. I’m sure this was a decision in the interest of keeping cost down, but I’m curious if they could have built the game using Unreal Development Kit instead. Using a different engine may have taken longer, and as we all know, time is money.

I’m having a hard time finding things wrong with “Wasteland 2.” Conversely, I’m also having trouble finding things this game does extremely well. It’s a very solid game, well worth the money if you didn’t donate to the Kickstarter, which I did not. For my money, I’m very satisfied with the game, but it’s definitely a game that I’ll have to really want to play again when I beat it.

It’s not that I don’t enjoy it that much; it’s just that it’s an undertaking to play. It’s a choice, not a casual game by any means and definitely something you need to be ready to do. If you’re looking to get lost in a game that’ll definitely be a nice distraction, “Wasteland 2” is the game for you. Pick it up now on Steam.

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