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Wasteland 2: Director’s Cut Review (PS4)

Nuclear war has left society in shambles. The only hope for order in the chaotic mess is by the influence of the Desert Rangers, a somewhat police force in the wasteland. Customize your small squad and dive into the action. Survive, loot, assist survivors, and kill dangerous foes and creatures as your progress through a story surrounded by dozens of hours of side quests.

Wasteland 2 Directors Cut Review

Introduction

From the producer who introduced the world to the first Fallout game (and the original Wasteland), Wasteland 2 brings an RPG experience full of apocalyptic chaos and hell after nuclear warfare changes the face of our planet.  Developed by InXile Entertainment, you take on the role of a small band of individuals set on maintaining some form of order in the remaining society (the Dessert Ranger's newest recruits). After the devastations occurred, mutants, bandits, cannibals, and more started to harvest anything and anyone they could in order to survive. The game is packed with content and gameplay, as well as a system of choices and consequences that play heavily within your playthroughs.

You can buy the game on Steam or PlayStation Store or Xbox Marketplace for $39.99.

Customization

In traditional RPG fashion, you'll begin the game by customizing characters as you feel is best fit for the adventuring. In this case, you'll focus on the 4 rangers who make up your small squad. You'll decide each of their appearances (hair, face, skin pigmentation, body type, etc), backgrounds, and talents. It's free and open for you to experiment with and get as detailed as you wish. How you decide to form the group of dessert rangers is incredibly important; having everyone be well rounded with abilities and perks will mean for a tough time. Generally, you'll want to make each of them efficient in survival and combat but also talented in a specific category or skill. Complimenting each other is another challenge but a great advantage if you can match well. It's all something to play with; none combination or settings are "the best," so my suggestion is to keep the characters different enough that they are unique, but still make them individuals who you can find some personal attachment to (it'll be a long journey so it only makes sense to love them).

Find what works best and perhaps do a little reading online at what has worked for other people, and transform it into something appealing to your own adventure you want to make. Perhaps one character will be efficient in hacking, another one in heavy weapons, the third a medic, and the fourth mechanic. The other category you need to decide is the weapons your band of heroes will wield. Having them all use the same weapon and ammo is a huge mistake as you'll run through ammo supplies while having a stock full of other ammo you don't shoot. You'll use automatic rifles, energy weapons, shotguns, snipers, heavy weapons, etc. You can use pre-made recruits, but it's truly a better choice to make them yourself, for strategy and personal connection purposes.

Wasteland 2 Directors Cut Energy Spider Combat

Gameplay

The game operates in an isometric view, meaning you see a good portion of the field at all times. When traversing an environment, you'll move along freely, allowing you to quickly search around and investigate any and all objects of interest. You can also interact with NPC characters initiating deep dialogues where you will be given a handful of response options. You'll soon learn that your responses carry weight in the world and in your playthroughs as each one will ultimately shift the next occurrences or dialogue. It's more than just a neat interacting feature; the consequences ripple into waves at times and make for arguably one of the best decisions vs. consequences systems I have played to date. The further you upgrade your characters, the better influence they carry within conversations.

When traveling from one city or town to another, you're taken to a world map, where you'll need to move your ranger cursor from one point to the next as you make your way to a new environment. The map itself is a little bland, but it does a great job depicting what you need to see in regards to navigation. You progress the story and missions as you enter new cities and towns, but there is a huge amount of freedom (it does not force you to go in any specific order). You'll need to keep an eye on your hydration levels; each move will slowly deplete it, and the way to replenish it is by finding an oasis. The second meter to be cautious of is your radiation levels, where you'll need to obviously keep as low as possible (so avoid the radiation clouded areas). It sounds fairly annoying to deal with but so long as you have those two meters in mind, it never becomes too troublesome. The game does a good job not trying to kill you just for the fun of it.

Wasteland 2 Church Scene Gameplay
When traveling on the world map, you'll occasionally be randomly attacked. When this occurs, you'll be taken down into the isometric view of your squad, where you pick up the reigns of combat. Combat occurs more when not in the world map, but all the combat operates the same. If you're familiar with the XCOM franchise (aside from The Bureau) then you'll have a good idea how everything works. You're given AP points to spend on movements and attacks but will also need to use points to reload and unjam weapons. You'll need to move your squad across the map grid to set up for good attacks while also remaining in a cover to avoid getting hit by the enemy. Each movement and attack require a specific amount of AP, so management is key. An amount of luck factors into combat at times; sometimes I found myself scratching my head about why an attack failed to obliterate an enemy, but generally combat is an enjoyable challenge.

You'll run into handfuls of enemy types that need killing. If you've played a Fallout game before, whether the classic ones or recent ones, you're already well prepared for what you'll see here. It's a post-apocalypse setting, full of mutated beings, bandits, and cannibals. As society fell, so did the structure of government and everyday functioning. You'll see many rebuilt environments where survivors have tried to build defenses around and begin a new life. In doing so, survivors have harnessed and crafted energy based things. You'll find the typical energy based weapons, as well as enemy robots who use the energy powers to their advantage.

Wasteland 2 Directors Cut Robotic Scorpion

Sound and Graphics

As previously mentioned, an impressive part of the game is the attention and depth of audio dialogue. Everything is voice acted, and voice acted extremely well. I was not expecting something as genuine when I first began, but it's something to greatly appreciate as a gamer, and something to strive for as a developer. The characters don't just casually read along a bland script or small talk their way through conversations; you hear the different emotions in many of their voices. Granted your characters won't be doing any talking, everyone else in the wasteland will be more than happy to pitch in a few statements, threats, or other expressions. The music

While some may be turned off by the traditional CRPG graphics and many others will feel pure nostalgia, the developers executed everything about as good as you could hope for. Of course, there is room for improvements in the form of a sequel, but for all that it offers, it hits a home run for immersive environments and characters. Enemies look gruesome or dangerous, environments send chills when you know it's not the safest place to be, and your characters look just as badass as you make them look. Little bugs or glitching of the screen and characters was present throughout, but I found little reasons to despise the game because of them. The menus are pretty confusing at first as it was clearly meant for the PC, but over time I found that it was just something that needed getting used to.

Wasteland 2 Directors Cut Enemy Ambush

Conclusion

If you're a classic CRPG fan, an admirer of the Fallout and XCOM titles (or simply the original Wasteland game), you'll feel right at home with Wasteland 2 Director's Cut. If by chance you have not played a game of the older CRPG style then don't feel turned away as it does stay modern at the same time. Regardless of the generation or preference you fall within as a gamer, the title offers more than enough for everyone to love. It's packed with an extraordinary amount of content, so much so that it truly means it when it states that no two experiences will be the same. I love the depth of customization of each of the characters; it made me feel invested in the journey from the very beginning.

The dialogue depth and the decisions versus consequences system is not only a must-have for a great RPG title but one of the best parts of this title. Everything combined makes you feel you truly have the utmost amount of freedom to do as you wish and to strive as you see the best fit. The graphics are really good for what it is and is something to look forward to in regards to improvements of when the sequel gets released. All in total, Wasteland 2 Director's Cut is an incredible journey, one worth everyone's time at one point or another to test.

ProsCons
+ Extensive gameplay and content– Menus take time to learn
+ Classic top-down RPG– Combat sometimes frustrating
+ High replay value
+ Deep decision making and consequence system
8.5
Great

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