It finally happened! Many years after kickstarting it with signed collector’s tier and trying once around early backer beta, Wasteland 2 is now officially finished and we are ready for 3rd game, that we will get in August and I will sure stream it.
Was it good, did it change much since backer beta? Let’s see…
First of all I need to mention that I was playing Director’s Cut now, which is an updated version of the game, some RPGs have that approach with evolving their game, so I skipped the vanilla and can’t compare with that, but I’ve heard some bits and bats about it. Obviously it changed quite a bit since backer beta – beta was quite broken back then, amount of bugs was crazy and it was easy to step into one, this playthrough was pretty smooth in terms of bugs, more fleshed out with content and mechanics too.
Let’s start with “negatives”, it will be a massive rant, but just my personal subjective issues I have, which are not big and mostly just question of taste and preference. Character creation is quite loaded with stuff and that’s one of my issues – skill system is very heavy especially, it doesn’t really rely on your stats and all that, except of INT giving you more skillpoints per level with pretty big investment to achieve that, well also Charisma giving you more xp to get those levels faster, but no more effect on skills – overall stat system I guess I’m ok with, but yeah, back to skills. There are LOADS of them and while you don’t really need to pick a lot of combat skills and one is enough, even simple brawling went through all game being very strong both early against thugs and against massive armored enemies later, but all the other skills you will want to have present in your team and that’s a lot of skills. Just for you to understand the scale there are 3 different speech skills and they don’t just allow you to pick different options how to push your agenda on someone through dialogue (well sometimes you can alter like two), but you might need one particular skill to solve the situation, so having quite high speech skill making you rude or one making you smart will not save you from failing to resolve a whole city’s main conflict peacefully, because you needed to be very nice and kiss some ass. So without knowledge on how skill system works (like me on my first blind playthrough now), you most likely will suffer a lot by not having necessary skills to do some things the way you want, which is my main issue, but I will talk about it later. Other issue with skills is even when you already figured everything up and got your skills somewhat high, you will encounter situations where your lockpicking success chance will be like 20% and there is also critical fail chance that is pretty high sometimes which will break the lock and you might only get 1 chance to do it again if you have high enough repair skill, so without savescumming (which I tried to do on stream of course, at least not abusing it heavily) you might still fail a lot. But then you have like 9 or 10 lockpicking, you are a god now? WRONG. Even at 10 lockpick I’ve encountered the chest that had 27% chance of success and 32% chance of critical failure, you can’t even go above 10 skill, even if you get 10 skill naturally and then put trinket with +skill on. Some skills at least give you a chance to save yourself from critical failures by learning special perks, like repair, so doing something might take a while, but you can’t fuck it up completely, but not all the skills and lockpicking for example unlocks that perk only if you get 10 of it and 10 safecracking on same character, but was still very funny trying to lockpick something for like 10 minutes straight, no critical failures, but still around 10% chance.
Now back to the part where I said that my main issue with the game is choice or rather inability to make a choice that you would be comfortable with due to some skill checks limitations – some situations, especially in the first part of the game can put you in a bad spot where you can’t get a good outcome, because skillchecks you have left are not ones you have at high enough levels. Obviously you can’t plan something like this and sometimes pick something you aren’t very happy with and in my case that mostly means that things go south completely and you get an outcome in your ending that you totally never wanted to get. Not to mention very first choice that just puts you in the situation where you are guaranteed to get one shitty slide in your ending sequence to feel bad about. Not a big fan of all that, even though closer to the second half of the game it got better and mostly everything went the way I was ok with. Pretty much all the areas in the game are very interesting, deep and complicated to “solve”, which is a good thing and I will talk about it soon, but now from the perspective of bad choices and skill checks it should also be mentioned, because more intricate situation is – harder it is for devs to make every solution possible, because everyone can have their own vision and be like “damn, you should be able to do it this way, devs didn’t put the best way in”. In the end some things you overthink, some things don’t go the way you think they will, some things get you in situations you misjudged or in situations with skillchecks you didn’t expect.
That was quite a bit of ranting and criticism, but it’s mostly just my subjective salt about game being hard to min-max easily blind and need to live with some decisions that was forced on me by lack of skills and not being able to do some alternative way to solve it relying on other skill or something else (which I think is a good way to do things, so you can substitute some weak spots of your builds with something else). So now that we removed my very subjective salt out of the way it’s all about good stuff now. Combat in the game is really good – one of the rare well-made tactical turn-based combat systems in RPGs, really enjoyed combat (except last fight with bunch of 1-2 shotting guys that shoot 2-3 times per turn with insane range, but that’s more of my salt). Story is pretty good, it has a lot of references and connections to first game that I haven’t played, so some moments seemed quite weird due to first game being very old and having some of that 4th wall breaking stuff and funny things being actual main story bits, I think it ruined my immersion a bit, because I didn’t feel that massive post-apocalyptic boner I have from games in that setting. Despite that story still delivered, but most of all I liked all the factions and cities that you need to “solve”, getting into some intricate situations happening there – I’d even say it was probably one of the best games in terms of faction writing, quests etc, some are just way too good.
So overall it was a very good game and I can recommend it, if my ranting (which is quite exaggerated and I’m just still freshly salted from watching my ending with results of some choices I couldn’t control) did not work as a big red flag to you, then I can recommend it to you for sure and chances are high you will enjoy it. Now we hope third game will deliver more, I’d guess it will be further away from first game chronologically and geographically so they might put less references and make it more “serious” and I’ll immerse better.