The last PC game I really played, was back in 1999, with Tom Clancy’s Rogue Spear. Back in those days you could play a decent tactical game on a low end PC and kill real people online via a 56k dial up modem. But when my PC couldn’t run the games I wanted to play, I switched my allegiance to consoles, and have never looked back. However, when I had to buy a new laptop recently, I realised that I could probably play a few of those PC strategy games I had often lusted after.
My first foray back into PC gameing is the KickStarter funded Wasteland 2, a direct sequel to the first ever post-apocalyptic computer RPG. The original Wasteland was apparently the inspiration for the Fallout series of games. With Fallout 3 being my first taste of RPG gaming (until then I always thought of an RPG as being a Rocket Propelled Grenade, thanks to Call of Duty) I was definitely keen to get back to the roots of RPG gaming.
Wasteland is set in a dangerous, post-apocalyptic world in the American Southwest where you are in charge of a squad of Desert Rangers. Essentially an understaffed and underpowered force of lawmen trying to maintain order in a deadly world.
Being new to this kind of game, I named my team after my wife and daughters. This as it turned out was not a good thing, as quite early on in the game, whilst I was still getting used to the way a turn-based RPG flows, my wife was critically injured in an encounter with some less than savory fellows. Despite trying to get my daughter to perform first aid, my wife died.
I learnt two things from my initial play, the first was not to name any of my characters after family members, and the second was that the game plays in a pretty similar fashion to tabletop wargaming, and as such, things need to be encountered differently that in, say, Fallout 3. In a first person shooter, you can quickly withdraw and shoot from a distance. In a turn based game, once you’re in a fight you may as well fight, because you’ll just get run down and attacked if you try and run. The other thing that was similar to a tabletop game is limited ammo and the jamming of weapons. Firearms might sound sexy, but having your gun jam and getting beaten by a dude with a club is no fun.
Wasteland 2 is quick and easy to get into, even for a newbie like myself. It’s not however, easy to play, and you have to be prepared for the game to do things differently – such as the travel by map mode that covers a lot of your journeying between settlements! But after you’ve played the start of the game a few times, you soon get the gist of what to do.
The four man (or woman) team you create at the beginning of the game is not something to rush so you can get into the game proper. It’s probably one of the hardest but most important things to do, because if you get it wrong, you’re screwed. And you will get it wrong to begin with, because there are so many choices and so few points to spend.
Graphically the game is not cutting edge, but the graphics are good enough, and more importantly, they run smoothly on my laptop. Gameplay is a bit of a learning curve, even though as I said, it’s easy to get into. You have to be alright with getting killed lots to begin with. The storyline and feel of the game is awesome. The choices and consequences will make you think real hard before making decisions. Resources are scarce and picking a fight just because you don’t want to have to pay to pass by someones land, isn’t always the best course to take.
Wasteland 2 will do one of two things, depending of what type of gamer you are. It will either annoy and frustrate you, or it will be all consuming and suck you into it’s world late into the night.
For me it was a game that drew me in, entertained me, educated me, and killed me a lot.
Reviewed on: PC
Rating: R13 Contains violence and offensive language
Reviewed by: Jonathan