Wasteland 2 is a masterpiece, it's one of the best RPGs I've played recently, and while I wasn't aware of Wasteland 1, nor haven't I played the old Fallouts extensively, the setting and characters were something interesting vis-a-vis the fantasy settings of old. I might not have built the best team for the job - and I might be stubborn on some things, I might have some complaints about the way the game works in some spots, but overall if you enjoy turn based roleplaying games you owe it to yourself to try W2.

The character creation allows you to create your party from scratch or to pick already created Rangers. Of course, I decided to create my party from scratch. It's not always easy to choose which skills to pick from, which stat to raise or to lower, all in order to min-max (in some capacity) your team. Some information isn't very useful either, knowing that ammo is expensive or that certain weapons have high armor penetration is fine and dandy, but it's not actually telling you how that might have consequences on the way you play the game, twenty hours in. It's not super easy to "re-spec" a character, especially if they don't get much skill points per level - something that depends on their Intelligence stat. So here I am, with blade weapons, pistols, shotguns and sniper rifles and a bunch of other skills, ready to go into the wastes.

This game has a lot of dialogue with NPCs, to progress the story, to get new quests and just to add flavor to the world. Certain words in colors can be clicked on in order to asks specific questions and sometimes you'll need a certain rank in Kick/Kiss/Smart Ass in order to say certain things - more on that later - and you can get experience from dialogue as much as combat. The story is well told and interesting, with decisions to take - do you save Place A or Place B? - and factions to pick from as your allies. I have a small issue with uncertainties in the way you proceed through certain story beats, as doing actions I thought would have no consequences completely prevented me from doing the thing I wanted to do in the first place, and I felt that my options were actually quite limited. But it only happened once, so I dealt with the consequences and kept on playing.

Traveling is something you do a lot in this game. You travel on the world map, you travel in smaller maps, you travel between parts of maps. It's also dreadfully slow, moving along the world map takes forever, even at the 'fast' setting. You also get attacked by random encounters constantly, taking even more time to go somewhere. I know there is an exploration element to the world map, but moving almost instantaneously between points - stopping when you find something - would have been fine too. There is also the issue of moving inside of maps, there is no 'back to world map' button, you have to walk all the way to the map marker. It's pretty stupid in random encounters when you defeat the enemies in ten seconds and then need to walk all the way back to the map. It's even worse in big convoluted winding maps where there is only one exit and once you go to the other side, you just need to walk.

The skill system is a bit strange as well. Certain actions, like picking locks, disarming traps, or saving people via surgery use a percentage chance of success based on the skill of your character. Other actions - like dialogue - is a binary thing, either you have it, or you don't. I wish the game was either one or the other. On one hand, if I have 10% chance of success in opening a door (and 40% chance to bust the lock forever), I'm going to quick-load until I get it. I'm not going to remember to come back to that one map to open that one chest when I'm higher level, so I just want to do it right then. On the other hand, if you don't have 5 in Kick Ass - let's say you only have 4 - your character doesn't have 'a chance' to say the thing you'd wish to, you just can't. I wish the game picked one or the other. Either you can succeed in challenges over your rank, or you just can't. Another small thing is the presence of "Impossible" challenges, why is that? Is it because I'm way over my head, or because the thing just cannot be hacked/lockpicked?

The battle system is pretty great, you have action points that you use to move/attack/do other things. You can try to land headshots, for more damage at a lower accuracy, you can crouch to increase your hit and dodge at the cost of higher AP required to move, and you can go into 'ambush' mode, akin to Overwatch in X-Com, where your character will attack enemies in range as soon as it can. The game is very generous on information during fights and you'll know exactly your chance to hit, damage done, armor of your target, their life, and so forth. Having a medic to heal your team during fights is also pretty useful. My team managed to deal with most fights - I'm on easy - but the bladed weapon fighter has some difficulties with her low AP count, but I hope to find a good weapon for her soon. 

Everything is full of loot, crates, enemies, even toasters! Looting and item management is a bit of a pain since the game asks you how many of an item you want to move between two containers, it's a bit obvious that if I'm picking up ammo on my shotgun user,  I want all the ammo. It should be 'pick all' by default and a key combo in order to split stacks of something. You can also recruit up to 3 other party members, but for some reason I don't really want to do so. There is no real logic to this, since the experience isn't divided between team members and more firepower is always good - although too low leadership leads to your friends acting on their own accord. 

In any case, Wasteland 2 is pretty amazing. It can get frustrating at times but when you get into a cool bit - battles are always fun - it's the best there is. I really had a good time with it and I'll continue playing it into the future.

AuthorJérémie Tessier
Categories5/5, RPG