Wasteland 2 is a tactical role playing game developed by InXile Entertainment
Written By: Sypisybi Last Updated: 12-18-2013
Beta Preview of Wasteland 2
Party: You can choose exactly who will be in your party while playing the game and is possibly your most important decision that you make in the whole game. There are a bunch of premade characters that you can add and you can even edit these to your liking, but the best way to make your party is to custom make each character. When you decide to create someone, you can choose the attributes, skills, dossier, and their appearance. Attributes are passive bonuses that affect each character, such as strength letting you carry more and doing more damage in melee. Although you can only begin the game with a max party size of four people, it is possible through your travels to pick up additional people. The only downside to this is that optional party members won't always let you control them in combat and will sometimes automatically take their turn for you.
Skills: There are many skills that you can teach to your party members in Wasteland 2, and there are three general categories that they belong to. Each character begins the game with a small amount of points that you can allocate, and you can earn more as your characters level up through experience. Weapon skills exist for each type of weapon that you can find, such as blades, hand guns, and energy weapons. Each skill does roughly the same thing, increasing the accuracy that the character has with that type of weapon. Usable skills can be learned to allow you to use them in the world, such as picking locks, healing others, and taking apart guns for parts. Passive skills will always affect the character that has learned them, such as bartering for lower prices and evading enemy attacks in battle.
Map: When you are traveling from one location to another you will be moving across a world map. There will also be an actual map that you can look at at the same time, which will have all the areas that you have been told about marked on it. For the most part, nothing on the world map will be discovered for you yet and you must walk around for different areas to pop up. Traveling on the map will use up water in your canteens, which will need to get refilled at oases that you discover on the map or filled up at different settlements you enter. It is possible for random encounters to happen when traveling on the map, most of which are just raider encounters though you can sometimes run into friendly traders. Going from point to point is just linear traveling, as there will be mountains and hills that you can't cross and there will be locations that are filled with radiation, which is dangerous unless you can get geared up with radiation suits.
Settlements: Entering one of the areas on the map will put you into direct control of your party so you can explore the location. Within these settlements there will be people to talk to, enemies to fight, and items to loot. Most of the time you will be controlling your whole party at once, having them all run around together, though there are movement options that let you either run or walk and you can choose to control your whole party or just one person.
Exploration: Within the levels that you will be playing in, it is a good idea to keep an eye on everything around you. There will be lots of areas for you to discover, and the levels are far from being linear. Doors will need lockpicking, safes will need cracking, and many other interactions that require the right skills. If you want to survive the wasteland, finding supplies in all the optional areas is very important.
People: Other than your party, you will encounter many types of people out on your journey that you can interact with. When you are talking to someone, their text will highlight a bunch of keywords and you are able to select those keywords to talk about something relevant to them. If your characters have the right skills leveled up, special choices in conversations can pop up and they can drastically change the outcome of the situation or get more information out of someone. Some people are vendors, and you can buy and sell items using scrap as a currency, which you can find out in the world.
Choices: Whether you're deciding who to help first, talking to someone, or choosing whether or not to kill someone, there are many choices and outcomes that you will face in Wasteland 2. Very early on in the game you have the opportunity to help out two different locations, and it is only possible to save one of them per play through the game. When you go to visit the other location after saving the one you chose, it is unrecognizable and there is no one left to save. Depending on the skills that are on your party, there are choices you can make when talking to certain people which will determine what will happen, such as avoiding confrontation with a bunch of raiders, or getting more information out of someone. Even if someone is friendly, it is entirely possible to attack and kill any character that you run into, which can have a large impact on the game since what happens if you kill the only person with a cure to a disease that is affecting you?
Weapons: There are explosives, one and two handed guns, and melee weapons to choose from to equip your party with. Each type of weapon has its own skill that goes along with it, which in general will increase your accuracy with it in combat. The distance from enemies, as well as the angle at which you attack them from, will all determine your accuracy and how much damage will be done. All ranged weapons will require you to find and equip the character with the right type of ammo. Each character can hold two weapons of any kind.
Combat: All combat is turn based on an isometric playing field. Unless you encounter raiders on the world map, combat takes place directly in the world where you are at, instead of being transported to a special combat only area. Your party and the enemies will all take turns moving around in and out of cover, and using their melee and ranged weapons. Each character has a certain amount of action points that they can use per turn, and unlike a lot of turn based games, you can still move even after attacking or doing another type of action. Combat experience earned will be given to your party after combat has ended, and if someone was unconscious at the end they won't receive any from that battle. If you're in a level, combat will only start when you are in the sight of an enemy, and because of this it is actually possible to kill enemies before combat even starts. When one of your party members lose all of their health, they will simply fall unconscious, but if they take a massive hit, they will fall and start to bleed out can possibly permanently die.
Loot: Most loot comes from defeating enemies, though a lot of it also comes from containers and safes that you find through exploration. The loot that you find on bodies is relative to what it is, such as finding guns and bullets on raiders, and different parts of insect body parts on mutated bugs. Locked and unlocked containers contain a lot of random items in them, such as medical blood packs and scrap that is used as money in the world.
Future Content: They say that this early access build of Wasteland 2 is only 30% of the whole game, and even at that low amount there is a lot of content currently available. The basic mechanics are already in place so future updates will mainly just be about additional levels, NPCs, items, and choices to make.
Options/Graphics/Sound: There is a good amount of options for you to customize your experience of Wasteland 2. All keys are completely rebindable, there are graphical and volume sliders, as well as a bunch of gameplay options such as difficulty and combat speed. Graphical quality in terms of the world are fairly good, though when it comes to character models they look like they were made a decade ago. There is a lot of music that you will run into depending on where you are and whether you're in combat or not, and sound effects can be heard from everything that you and the world does.
Negatives and Improvements: It gives you lots of choices to choose from in terms of skills that you can have in your party, but half of the skills are fairly useless early on in the game and can make your start of the game harder. Even after ten hours of play, not one area has been encountered that needed the alarm disable skill, which means anyone who started with that skill would have wasted their points. They need to include more options and encounters to use skills of all types if they don't want people to feel like they are gimped for the first 20 hours of game play.
Should You Play Wasteland 2?
Casual(Easy): Except for possibly the combat, everything else in Wasteland 2 is easy since it just requires exploration and having the correct skills. There is a difficulty setting for when combat gets tough, but it currently doesn't seem to actually affect anything as of right now.
Casual(Quick Play Sessions): Unless you're in the middle of combat, you can save the game at any time, allowing you to play the game however long you want at intervals.
Hardcore: There is a difficulty setting, but so far it doesn't seem to actually affect much if anything, especially combat. Whether or not the game feels hardcore is more about what skills you choose to have present on your characters, since they will all determine what you can do while playing.
Completionist: There is a lot of content in Wasteland 2 for you to complete, and the fact that you can easily play the game over many times without playing it the same way will give anyone a long lasting game to enjoy.
Game Length: Only 30% of the gameplay is currently available in this version of the game, but even only that amount of content takes quite a while to complete. Just one of the first areas that you go to can take around 5 hours to complete if you completely explore it. On release, a guess of 50 hours worth of gameplay seems accurate, and this isn't even taking replayability into consideration.
Should You Buy Wasteland 2?
Wasteland currently costs 60 dollars as part of the Steam early access program, but as time goes on and when it is released in its completed form the price will be lowering, but there is no idea how much it will cost then. If you do buy the game in early access you will also get a copy of the first wasteland, digital music, digital art, and digital novellas. Even though the game is mostly feature-complete in terms of gameplay and areas to explore, it would still be hard to say that the game is worth 60 dollars in its current form, especially since the complete version will have a lot more polish and at a lower price. If you are a big fan of the game and the type of gameplay and have been following its development for some time, then it might be worth buying. Whatever the case, whether you buy the game at 30 or 60 dollars, you can easily expect to get lots of enjoyment out of it.
If you are interested in playing, buying, or downloading Wasteland 2, please visit http://wasteland.inxile-entertainment.com/ for more information.