It’s been 25 long years since the first Wasteland was released, and in that time it’s inspired a plethora of post-apocalyptic games. But it’s taken until 2013 for InXile Entertainment to develop a sequel, and as of right now they’re just about done. The question is: can Wasteland 2 live up to the standards of modern-day gaming?
As RPGs go, Wasteland 2 is pretty standard. The brief section that that the beta allows you to play sees you form a band of rangers to investigate a mysterious death out in the desert. This character creation system is satisfyingly open, allowing you to tailor each character as you see fit. You’ll see your team gain experience, find loot, and watch with horror as a giant toad eats them because you forgot to make them any good at fighting.
Graphically, the game isn’t much to look at, and at times the world can feel pretty empty – even when you’re not wandering through the desert. It gets around this by clever use of flavour text; every so often, witty messages appear in the lower half of the screen to add description to the world. This just about makes up for the visual shortcomings, but in a modern game, you rally expect better.
It feels slightly harsh to pick too many holes in this game, as it currently is still in beta, and so the occasional loading error or frame rate drop can be ignored. The combat system, however, does feel slightly lacking in depth. InXile apparently forgot to implement any strategy, as tactics never evolve much beyond clicking on assorted shaven-headed psychopaths and waiting for them to die.
Wasteland 2 is available in pre-release now on Steam, with the full game to be released at an as-yet undisclosed date. Stay tuned for the LSi review when it lands!