Wasteland 3 is shockingly the 3rd in the Wasteland series. Following on from the success that was 2 and the recently released remaster of the original, Wasteland 3 is here to show everyone how post-apocalypse is done.
Wasteland 3 is set in the snowy region of Colorado and once again puts you in the well-worn boots of the Desert Rangers, this follows on from the ending of 2.
The game puts you in the boots of 2 characters, these can be pulled from a pile of preexisting creations or you can create two yourself for the fully customizable experience. This is truly down to preference as even if you pick premade characters it doesn’t change the narrative, just makes it quicker for you to get into the game with less customization.
Your characters are the survivors of an ambush in the intro/tutorial section of the game. You eventually arrive at your destination and offer your services to “The Patriarch” helping him put his house orders in order
While this is the start of the main narrative it also pushes you out of the gate into the world of choice and consequence as you tackle everything post-apocalyptic life throws at you, sometimes with effects you won’t see until many hours down the line.
While the game has an incredibly strong main narrative with some of the best writing from the dev team yet, this game gives you what you want from the Wasteland series and provides you with the tools to make this story entirely your own. Be it through choices, character creation, or just wandering off the beaten path, there are many many avenues to explore over 70 plus hours a single playthrough will offer.
Graphically Wasteland 3 is amazing to look at, from the top-down perspective all the way to character interactions the dev team has just pushed this title much further than its predecessor managed to go.
The way the snow interacts with the world around it was such an unexpected visual that it really took me by surprise and was the first sign to me that this game was going to be a looker.
The lighting effects are fantastic and the explosions and resulting fire are impactful and as poignant as they should be. The character models when talking to major characters look out of this world & animate so well oozing charm from every dirty pore of their body. Little facial animations or actions can really catch you off guard with this title, especially the more head explodey ones.
Despite the game theme being that of a dead snow-covered Wasteland, this title manages to mix its areas up with copious amounts of diversity, this usually reflects the state of its dwellers and can range to almost pleasant to a giant circus and everything in between.
Now while none of the music really grabbed me in Wasteland 3 outside of the ambiance tracks I do feel I have to point out just how good the voice acting is. It’s amazing to hear a voice track in this game and it really adds another level of depth for the characters and is one of the few things other series held over Wasteland up until now.
Now the game-play in Wasteland 3 is very similar to that of the previous title which fuses exploration and conversation/action trees with a combat system in the style of games like X-Com and Shadowrun. As previously mentioned Wasteland in general is very “choice heavy” and these always come up in unexpected ways and shape the way the game pans out both in game-play and narrative, either immediately afterward or hours down the line.
While exploring the areas of the game, you’ll find many different characters and items to interact with, sometimes it pays off and sometimes it does OR it negatively affects you, the whole idea of the game is to roll with the punches and properly role play till the credits roll, or save scum whichever suits you.
Wasteland 3 in the intro section asks you to choose or create 2 characters, this is because for the first time in the history of the game you can play the entire game Coop While there are a few restrictions to this so one character doesn’t just jet off, they are few and this can result in some hilarious payoffs when your partner undoes your good work by pissing off the wrong person or you make a choice that throws their course off.
It isn’t just the 2 main characters you can design either, your unit is 6 people strong and it’s up to you to choose exactly what you need for your team, how you’re going to put those character creation points to good use, and make sure all your bases are covered for every eventuality. Maybe your main character is a bit of a badass so you may want someone countering that with bartering skills, a bit of charisma or full out nerd it up with hacking skills. It’s down to you to decide exactly what you want from your units, the best advice I could give is make sure a lot of your bases are covered so you can tackle events with words or actions rather than bullets and even when it comes time to fight with lead, different skills may land you with an advantage.
During the campaign, you’ll also bulk up your force with Guest characters. These range from cats to fully-fledged murder machines. As they are guest characters you have zero control over them, sometimes this works out well as they provide extra damage and attention. Sometimes they just run out into the open and beg to be filled with holes.
Another addition to the gameplay is your A.I controlled APC with a turret gun, you’ll explore wider areas with this, you’ll also blow holes through everything with it. There are a lot more interactive elements throughout the world making them feel a little more lived-in and less like predetermined battlefields.
Wasteland 3 in my opinion is the culmination of everything the previous games tried to do. Despite still having the odd issue such as a menu not loading, nothing major happened in regards to crashes or save corruption. The game looks and sounds amazing and most importantly allowed you to be free with customization OR just make a few choices. It tightropes the line between overwhelming and streamlined & it does it not at the expense of the series rich history but does so in a way that it falls to the player to decide how deep they want to customize their campaign.
I have longed for a title like Wasteland 3 ever since I played Fallout 2, while Wasteland 2 was a fantastic experience, Wasteland 3 does everything bigger and better. I only played a few cRPG titles until recent years I can confidently say that this title is in the top tier of the genre. I felt so engrossed in a tale that effectively was being crafted by myself as I went on, every missed shot, every botched choice just wove a stronger tapestry that few narrative-focused games could ever hope to touch. Wasteland 3 is a perfect, chaotic, role-playing game that will do nothing but take over any free time you donate to gaming, anytime you load the game up.
About as close as possible to the dream game I had in my head when I played the original Fallout. Essential.