At first, when I heard about the Wasteland 2: Director’s Cut from inXile Entertainment, I thought it was just a clever branding trick to release the game on consoles. Then I played it, and quickly realized that it’s the true definitive version of the crowdfunded RPG that rocked our socks off last year.
When most longtime PC gamers think of Wasteland, they think of a DOS game and fondly remember its different take on the RPG. Back then, it was all swords and boards, and Wasteland seemed fresh and unique. The original, directed by Brian Fargo CEO of inXile, was the seed that led to the seminal post-apocalyptic classic Fallout from Interplay Entertainment (also produced by Fargo).
So then it would make sense for Wasteland 2 to feel so much like a truer successor to the Fallout games than Bethesda’s own Fallout 3, New Vegas, and soon Fallout 4. Nothing against those games as they’re fantastic first person RPGs and very faithful the flair and humor of Fallout… but they’re missing the feeling a solid top-down turn-based tactical RPG offers. There’s never been anything quite like Fallout and Fallout 2… until Wasteland 2 was launched in 2014.
This Director’s Cut adds more layers and nuance, plus nicely overhauled visuals to make it shine for the PS4 and XB1 releases this week. The PC and both console versions are due out on October 13th, and the 16th internationally. If you already own Wasteland 2 “Vanilla”, you’ll get the DC for free, so rejoice! It’ll be the perfect time to replay or finish the experience.
Beginning 15 years after the original game was released, WL2 has your created or “default” party sent out by the renowned General Vargas to investigate the disappearance of a Ranger named Ace. You’ll need water to traverse the desert of Arizona, take radio calls of distress, uncover new POIs, and take on tons of quests as you work with Vargas and the Rangers to find out what or who killed Ace and what it means for the survivors of the Wasteland. The story and quests are the same as before, but with 8,000 new lines of recorded dialog, there’s a lot more flavor to be heard instead of interepreted here.
The move from Unity 4 to Unity 5 gives a lot more oomph to the visuals, both in backgrounds, textures, models, lighting, and overall effects. But the actual character models themselves are still animated oddly and often look dated. For this reason alone it’s often best to pull the camera out and not zoom in too close.
Other new additions are the Perks and Quirks systems, which are very similar indeed to Fallout’s perks system. These give your characters bonuses and sometimes debuffs to specific skills or stats, giving character progression a bit more weight. Additionally, you can now use precision targeting to aim at the head, arms, legs, and torso of your enemies in order to incapacitate or stun them. It adds a bit more strategy to an already excellent turn and cover-based combat system.
It’s hard to say much more here that Shawn didn’t already say in his review last year. Wasteland 2 is easily one of the best things to come out of crowdfunding and probably one of the best RPGs of 2014. If you’ve yet to experience this post-apocalyptic epic, there’s no better time to get your copy of the Director’s Cut when it launches tomorrow. If turn-based RPGs aren’t you thing, you probably won’t be all that into WL2. But, if like me, you long for the days when RPGs took some time to let the action unfold than Wasteland 2 is a no brainer. Highly recommended.