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Review

A few years after the events of Wasteland 2, you find yourself leading an expedition to Colorado. The local warlord has promised you enough food and ammunition for the Rangers to maintain some semblance of peace and security in their native Arizona. Your convoy is ambushed, you miraculously survive and meet your new makeshift ally, who gives you th...

Wasteland 3

  • Greg Burn
  • Jun 09, 2021

A few years after the events of Wasteland 2, you find yourself leading an expedition to Colorado. The local warlord has promised you enough food and ammunition for the Rangers to maintain some semblance of peace and security in their native Arizona. Your convoy is ambushed, you miraculously survive and meet your new makeshift ally, who gives you the resources to set up a Ranger base and a mission: find his 3 kids and bring them back alive.

It's classic, but it works: in 1 hour, you've become the local Sheriff, justifying the fact that you're going to stick your nose everywhere in the area. As an open-world game, you can choose which objectives to complete first, or you can beat the countryside to find ruins full of stuff to use or sell. 

It's still very tactical, with action points to spend wisely between movement & shooting, managing cover, and sightlines, as well as exploiting your environment to turn things to your advantage. The problems of moral or equipment jamming of the previous opus are no longer part of the game, so we are facing less randomness for more strategy. It sounds very cool when you say it like that, but unfortunately, it will remain a nice note of intention. Because in reality, the fights come down to one thing: Quicksave / Quickload.

If you can't get into a fight, in the sense of successfully attacking an enemy before they spot you, you can save yourself some time and immediately reload your previous save. Since each side plays one after the other, if you don't have the first turn with your entire team, the fight is already lost. Whether it's you or your opponents, the damage you can do in a single round is so enormous that battles rarely last more than 3 rounds. But that won't stop you from having to restart a fight a dozen times, the time it takes to understand the abilities of enemies you don't know, and to adapt your game plan accordingly. And here, we are only talking about the normal difficulty without "friendly fire", we can't even imagine what it must be like in the higher difficulty levels. Considering the loading times, we think that a fringe of the players has rage quit like never before.

There is nothing remarkable about the storyline or the characters in Wasteland 3. And again, the game suggests what you'd expect in this genre, which is to have to make morally ambiguous decisions while dreading the future consequences but never realizing it. Apart from a reputation point counter with the different factions, and lines of dialogue prefaced by bracketed text that reminds you heavily of what your interlocutor thinks of you and the Rangers, the impacts of your decision-making seem almost non-existent.

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