A sequel we have waited 26 years for.
O ne of the shining lights of the crowdfunding movement, Inxile’s Wasteland 2 is an attempt to return to the turn based, isometric computer role playing game of days gone by. It is also the official sequel to an iconic game that was made way back in 1988, and while it may be drawing a pretty long bow to say it has been worth the wait, Wasteland 2 certainly succeeds in its aims.
Set a century from now, in an alternate timeline that had a nuclear apocalypse wipe out much of civilization in the late nineties, the game puts you in charge of a team of four Arizona Rangers, a militia group formed to keep the peace in the titular wasteland. Over the course of the game you make your way through the Arizona wasteland and eventually end up in Los Angeles, encountering everything from ultra-violent religious orders through to cyborg armies and a group of etiquette zealots who look unkindly on the impolite.
While the story is highly entertaining as it twists and turns its way through the game, where Wasteland 2’s biggest strength lies is in the way you affect the story through your decisions. Because Inxile has focused on delivering conversations as text rather than blowing budgets hiring Nolan North to read the lines out loud, it has been able to pack a lot more into the game. allowing the story to branch and for the decisions you make to echo throughout the dozens of hours of gameplay it delivers.
This does mean wading through a lot of text, but it is a refreshing step back to an era before games were spoon fed to the audience, and the game is much better for it. It isn’t perfect - and by its very nature will be an instant turn off for some gamers with little patience for reading or micromanaging seven characters worth of inventory, but the joy of crowdfunding means that doesn’t matter.
Wasteland 2 is an unashamed step back to what many consider the Golden days of the RPG, built for modern PCs, but full of all the things that made many of us fall in love with games in the first place. An excellent way to lose a few days gaming.