✔️Incredibly unique delivery in narrative progression. ✔️Incredibly detailed Isometric universe. ✔️Quirky characters that make for an awesome action-adventure.
❌Some technical hiccups that are easily patched. ❌Can be a little overwhelming with its copious amount of lofty artillery choices.
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I love me a good tactical RPG, one that allows some creative freedom and a thought provoking will to challenge all players, all while laying common ground for those familiar with the genre itself. There’s something that makes a relaxing CRPG, and imperative concentration, all so engrossing. The stimulating sensation of engaging in timely combat, conversing and controlling cohorts on the field, all while the excellent narrative and character build progresses with subtle nuances that hearken to the old school glory days of the CRPG genre. Interplay Productions built some sturdy framework in which would help lay the concrete foundation for Wasteland’s revival in 2014.
After successfully crowdfunding its sequel through Kickstarter, inXile Entertainment had some massive shoes to fill in re-establishing an esteemed legacy left in the late 80’s with a re-imagining of what would be described as a modern-embodiment, almost a reincarnation and most importantly, a reboot. Wasteland 2 was a critical and commercial success for the Californian studio, praised for reviving a series and essentially making it their own. With a rich history behind the franchise, which in-turn formulated the post cataclysmic universe from Interplay Productions, that gamers commonly know as Fallout. After Wasteland 2’s meteoric rise, the studio redeveloped and re-released a Director’s cut in 2015, that had minor tweaks in gameplay, and polished its graphical presentation, all in which made use of Unity’s newly upgraded engine.
Announced in September 2016, Wasteland 3 began development using its predecessor’s blueprint, all whilst rebuilding its entire framework and porting it to Unity’s latest developmental toolset. inXile chose to crowdfund its latest entry again, receiving an astonishing $3 millions USD. The overwhelming support for the small studio had set them up for a release on multiple platforms. With an expanded budget at their disposal, this gave the studio some leeway in exorbitant expenditure for hiring new team members, and implementing cinematics that attributed to its masterful presentation. I must admit, I love when a plan comes together perfectly for a studio to craft a true labour of love, not only in gameplay, but overall design and Wasteland 3 demonstrates this, tenfold.
The Moon over Tuscon...
Categorising Wasteland 3 in a unique, yet unofficial genre has been divisive within its own community. The CRPG genre is something that many consider to stifle its identity, and restrict it from being seen as not just a PC based title, but a strong RPG for console gamers too. While PlayStation may prove itself to have some of the absolute finest in JPRG’s, PC holds the key to some of the most universally praised tactical RPG title’s ever developed. Wasteland 3 amalgamates its origins along with such in-depth design seen in Divinity: Original Sin II. It’s obvious that the title pulls inspiration from all pockets of the RPG market, yet dignifies itself as its own unique subset of its genre.
I’d consider Wasteland 3 to be an accessible start for those looking to enter the RPG market with a simplistic, more linear approach than many other RPG’s. The genre itself can be quite demanding for the uninitiated, so this is surely a welcoming environment to those looking for some great action to casually acquaint themselves with. Omitting unnecessary filler and fat that are marketed as “extensive mechanics” by conservative RPG devotees, only streamline’s Wasteland 3 for a more enjoyable experience. Unlike many RPG’s, Wasteland has been notorious for slowly drip feeding its narrative, encapsulating gamers with more of a cascading effect, rather than laying out its entire plot from the forefront, and its third entry into the now illustrious franchise is no different.
Our story begins in the unlikely setting of a snowy Arizona, portraying two Rangers of Team November, the survivors of an isolated civilsation prepare to trek from the wintry deserts to the frozen wastes of Colorado. After setting their objective, “The Patriarch” Saul Buchanan contacts the the duo in hopes of enlisting their help to seize all terrorist attacks played out by his own children, that are hoping to overthrow the de-facto region leader of Colorado. With the soldiers sceptical of the leader’s plea, he offers Colorado as sanctuary for their team if they can stop his offsprings from waging war. With the initial premise set for this lengthy 50 hour campaign, your team sets off in their struggle to survive the gnarly arctic conditions set infront of them.
You force yourself to choose...
Wasteland 3’s simplistic party-based RPG mechanics are a welcoming attribute to its copious variety on offer. Its broad range of rations and materials that you attain along your quest only helps elevated the revamped combat system that will leave players ultimately captivated in addition to its gorgeous design, and escalating storyline. Each surprising endeavour that is added within each new arc reached delivers something fresh and new. While the title’s heavy-lifting may gorge on its prequels offerings, we are introduced to a myriad of mordenised and improved mechanics that have been revamped to demonstrate a regenerated representation of the series overall blueprint.
Dynamic environmental hazards, a new dialogue scheme, traversing the map within various vehicles which also help store nourishment, survival kits and other useful items that may collected along the way. These features alone improve upon Wasteland’s previous adventure, that allow more of a realistic approach to the top-down, isometric CRPG presentation that we’ve become accustom to. Choosing your own dialogue to converse with NPC’s ultimately lets you choose your own path and may control the destiny of survivors throughout the game, making for an intriguing interactive gameplay experience. With a fixed map layout that allows players to gauge the entire field in one swoop, its streamlined approach allows for some fast and steady changes in equipped artillery while in heavy combat.
The onscreen UI will display your active protagonist while cohesively directing your team members, if not already in combat. One-on-one interactions will have the camera angle transition to a cinematic, first person conversation between yourself and the NPC you encounter. Exchanges are completely backed by vocals from a lofty cast of voice over royalty. I was surprised to hear some familiar discourse from the vast talentpool within the voice acting scene; including Erika Harlacher (Persona 5), Kaiji Tang (Persona 5), DC Douglas (Persona 5), Kyle McCarley (Astral Chain), Laura Post (Persona 5: The Royal), Sean Chiplock (The Last of Us Part II), Billy Kametz (Persona 5: The Royal), and many more delivering an astounding range of various characters in incredible fashion, all from the studio’s incredible writing team.
With each piece of kit will come its respectable attribute and level that will abide by the commonplace facets that indicate its power. The weapon itself, Skill level, damage dealt, action points (AP), Ammunition said weapon carries, its range, its max HP percentage, and its critical damage. These qualities all play in part of purchasing items for a specific price. You will find some weapons will sell cheaper than others, but they may not ever be as effective. However, that does not specify whether an expensive weapon will deal more damage than a cheaper item within the game, it may be the luck of the draw at certain times. Skill points are earned though your character’s respective backgrounds and quirk. Each point awarded will rank you to a maximum of 10.
Ranks allow certain unlockables to be utilised such as Skill Books and Trinkets, to learn additional traits for each soldier. Each trait hold their own respective type that may advance you in the field of combat, or all round survival, and basic instincts. Exploration Skill, Combat Skill, and Social Skills all play in part to their parent category which are each given their own subcategory of descriptions. These may include Weapon modding, basic repairs, First-Aid, Espionage’ and a majority of combat based perks. It almost seemed limitless at the amount of options the title was throwing at me, which may seem a little overwhelming but its sizeable suite gives an incredibly diverse range of choices for fresh faces diving into the series for the very first time.
With that said, Wasteland 3 is an incredibly diverse CRPG exeperience. One of the most engaging title’s I’ve had the pleasure of reviewing and though it may have some minor technical issues, it still presents an engrossing demonstration, that supersedes its predecessors. With an engaging narrative written by an incredibly talented writing team, graphical fidelity that would be a dreamboat in other franchises such as Divinity and Pillars of Eternity, a vastly superior gameplay reinvigorated after decades of a decaying display in its own category, backed by a myriad of cream of the crop voice acting to ensure facets of each story arc are pinpointed with great emotion, and most of all action. This action-adventure RPG is an incredible thrillride, and honestly one of the best title’s you will play all year. Wasteland 3 is an essential in 2020.
Wasteland 3 - inXile Entertainment
Wasteland 3 is a role-playing video game developed by inXile Entertainment and published by Deep Silver. It is a sequel to Wasteland 2 and was released for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on August 28, 2020.