REVIEW – In a world ravaged by nuclear war, surrounded by criminals and psychopaths, what will you do to survive? inXile Entertainment signs another great post-apocalyptic RPG that stands out for the freedom of action and the hard moral decisions that it faces us in the cold lands of Colorado. More spectacular, bloodier, more fun, in the analysis of Wasteland 3 we tell you about one of the best recent role-playing games.
In the cold and bloody Colorado of Wasteland 3, you will fight against psychopaths, mutants, killer robots and fools of all kinds with amazing freedom of action at times; but what leaves you speechless are the decisions you are faced with and how the story and the world around you adapt to them. Some consequences they are immediate; You act and there you have the result, but others … others hit when you least expect it most brutally and surprisingly you can imagine. Even the simplest gesture can trigger a series of events that change everything. And you, of course, hallucinate, because you can’t believe that that guy you insulted, or that person you saved, or that scoundrel who you spared his life out of compassion -or stupidity- is back in action so many hours later to remind you of it. cruel and unforgiving that is this post-apocalyptic world. And one way or another you end up getting involved in a story that is not especially original, but it is shocking in the moral conflicts that you face and how they affect the world around you and yourself.
We don’t need another hero
In your head, you can dream of doing great things, of being a hero in the cold wastelands of Colorado, but when letting someone die can help you save others … you think about it. And the simple fact that you do it is already a triumph for Wasteland 3. There have been many moments in which I have been perplexed without knowing very well what to do or what to respond, weighing options that under normal circumstances would not have passed me. by the head. But this is precisely one of the great things of the new work from inXile Entertainment. Here there are no good or bad decisions, only actions and consequences. If you want to be a hero fighting to save everyone, you can try it; And if yours is the dark side and what you are looking for is to cause chaos around you, you can also do it; Team up with the most psychopaths in the area and kill everyone! The great thing about Wasteland 3 is that whatever you do you are going to have to face the consequences of your actions, and the result is one of the funniest and most surprising RPG experiences in recent years.
Bearing in mind the harsh reception that Wasteland 2 gave us in its day, it is surprising how “friendly” its sequel is to the point of creating the false illusion that everything is simpler and easier. Nothing is further from reality. Wasteland 3 is as cruel and unforgiving as its predecessor was, but it’s also a better-designed video game who knows how to guide you through the wilderness without frustrations, measuring well the challenges you face, better controlling the rhythm of the action so that you always have interesting things to do, a good excuse to keep going. And you go on. Because after dealing with ruthless slavers, your next destination may be a colony of robots with pacifist desires or fanatics who worship Ronald Reagan as if he were a god or even cannibals who will not hesitate to invite you to their particular barbecues. And you can shoot all of them, or defeat them with ingenuity, hacking into their defensive systems, causing explosions, gas leaks, or simply convincing them that surrender is the best of their options.
Unlike Wasteland 2, in which the fight was practically inevitable, this new RPG from inXile Entertainment gives you multiple alternatives to solve each situation in the way you prefer. And it is no longer just that stealth, mechanical or hacking skills have a greater weight in the action, it is that even the scenario design itself invites exploration; to the search for alternative routes that allow you to make a surprise attack, or unleash chaos on the battlefield before even setting foot on it. And it is an incredible feeling. As I played I kept thinking about “what if …?”, Planning, plotting, imagining what my game would be like if I had made different decisions. From being the hero of the refugees to become their worst nightmare at the head of a band of slavers; from seeking justice to becoming a despot and corrupt agent of the law at the service of the most powerful; from wanting to save the whole world, to end up causing carnage in the cold lands of Colorado.
Wasteland 3 knows how to surprise with a narrative that reacts to your actions as few RPGs can, but it also leaves a good feeling when it comes to combat. My biggest problem with Wasteland 2’s turn-based battles is that within hours of starting they already felt drab. There were hardly any changes; you fought the same enemies in the same conditions over and over, hour after hour, with little variation in your combat strategy. Wasteland 3 is another story. New from inXile Entertainment bets on more varied battles, more exciting, with many more enemies to face simultaneously and, more importantly, more variable in your fighting style. This forces you to adapt to the psychopaths you fight, either using unique abilities or different types of weapons. Are they robots? Bet on electricity and plasma rays. Are they wild animals? Try the flamethrower and you will see.
Move, or be killed
What I like most about the Wasteland 3 battles is that they are not static at all. The hedges are important, of course, but you cannot stay indefinitely in the same position. The enemies will not hesitate to go all out charging fiercely while throwing grenades, poison or even a missile rain that will destroy everything in its path. And if you haven’t left… goodbye, you better call a doctor. Of course, it is also important to find a good position from which to attack your opponents using the flanks, hitting from the rear, as this way you will be able to cause critical damage. And since now changing weapons does not consume Action Points, you can jump into combat with a more diverse arsenal, thus having more options to deal more damage.
The options grow, the scale of the fight grows, and the combat becomes more fun. In this sense, their intense rhythm of action is appreciated with a commitment to group actions that speed up the course of the fight. Enemies now move almost in unison so there are hardly any waiting times between turns. And in the case of Rangers, you can choose which character you move first to combine their actions, play more with tactical positioning, and develop more elaborate combat strategies. All this always taking into account the scenario itself that can bring you victory if you take advantage of its explosive barrels, or other elements such as computers and machines, with which you can weaken enemies, win new allies, or end the fight with a great BOOOM.
The AI isn’t the smartest
Too bad the artificial intelligence of enemies and allies muddies this show with some goofy actions that completely knock you out of the action. Wasteland grace and friendly fire are that a mistake can end up with a seriously injured colleague, in the same way, that the risk of harming yours forces you to act with some caution. However, the enemies go crazy and shoot without measuring the consequences of their actions. That there are several companions ahead? Take flare! They are such beasts that sometimes they will end up with half of their colleagues making our work easier. But ours are not far behind. Allies tend to put themselves at risk by traversing dangerous areas such as fires or toxic clouds, which then creates a headache. It is not something serious because the enemies will find a way to slaughter you using their best weapons, but it is a pity that the battles sometimes lose that epic that you long for in an RPG simply and simply because your rivals act without heads.
Before I talked about how friendly Wasteland 3 is, how easy it is to get into its action, but that does not mean that it has reduced its role-playing options or that it has become a simpler video game. The team led by the legendary Brian Fargo has been smart in cutting out any action that could be tedious in the short term to focus on what makes their new RPG great: freedom of action. Among the most visible changes, we find the same inventory for all six rangers, now unaffected by gear weight, so you can rack up as much ammo as you like without having to juggle transferring items from one character to another. It is appreciated. Also, when looting the enemy corpses, you will have on-screen all the objects you can get, so it is over to go around looking for victims to steal their belongings. Again, it was a gruelling action.
The way you want to do it
There are more than enough options to freely customize the abilities of your rangers, and this time, you also have a base of operations that you will see grow step by step.
If you need to defuse explosives, open a lock, or hack a computer, it is no longer necessary to select a specific ranger and use that specific task. In Wasteland 3 the action is more direct, simpler, but the options are the same as you had in the past. And that is reflected in the progression of skills, with more customization options. You have the basic attributes, which define the strength, dexterity, speed or charisma of your protagonists; and then the skills related to the use of certain types of weapons, stealth, mechanics or diplomacy, and the Advantages, which are passive buffs and active skills tied to your ranger’s strengths. With all this, you will have the freedom to create the group that best suits your style of play, being able to create characters from scratch or recruit so-called comrades, who are characters with their own story and dialogues. Unfortunately, while some of these characters are great, most don’t add much to the story, which feels like a missed opportunity to create more delusional storylines.
There are plenty of other customization options related to weapon and defensive gear mods, as well as a great vehicle with which to explore the lands of Colorado and sometimes even fight on large battlefields. Wasteland 3 knows how to surprise again and again with new challenges, with more ridiculous and bloody situations, with more disturbing moral decisions; and as the hours go by it immerses you in a story of violence and revenge doesn’t need to be original to get you. It is enough for you to face the harsh reality; to the fact that you can’t save everyone, or that being a ruthless scoundrel can win you many enemies. Every time I moved through its great open world and received calls for help, I feared the worst. “They don’t make me decide; they don’t put me in another predicament.” But the inXile game does it over and over again by playing intelligently with humour.
You will see characters as insane as a Scotsman who learned to speak by watching the movie Braveheart (his accent is crazy), or a particular Santa Claus who is a drug dealer, but behind all those crazy stories there are scenes of great crudeness and characters that show the worst face of the human being. With jokes and bad jokes, Wasteland 3 talks about issues that are part of our daily lives today, and that maybe one of the reasons why I have enjoyed so much fulfilling each and every one of its missions, which are not few. Going fast, you could finish the story in about 40 hours, but at least it guarantees between 60 and 80 hours in a standard game. And then you have the second round because, who knows, later on, you may want to help another faction or try other ways.
It’s more fun with someone else
Without wishing to extend much more, you can enjoy the game without having played the previous Wasteland, although there are nods and references to the previous games to the joy of the most loyal fans. Another novelty has to do with the online cooperative, which emulates the fun gameplay of Divinity: Original Sin, allowing us to explore Colorado in the company of another friend. Not that things change much, but it never hurts to do crazy things as a team. On the other hand, you only have to see the images and video that accompanies this text, in the audiovisual side Wasteland 3 is also a most striking video game. It has improved a lot concerning what we saw in its predecessor, showing more detailed, more varied scenarios, with visual and lighting effects that contribute to making its action more spectacular. The explosions, the clouds of poisonous gas, the snowstorms or the seedy dens through which we will get lost … Wasteland 3 is not a spectacular video game, but one made with great care in which all those small details that brighten the view.
Its performance on PC, less on consoles, where it is more common to suffer from the occasional slowdown. The game does not get rid of some annoying bugs that can hinder the game, either with doors that do not respond to our actions or labels that remain on the screen permanently until the next load, which I already warn you, sometimes it can be longer than expected. Soundly, Wasteland 3 is a fantastic game. The dubbing in English -with texts in Spanish- is not bad at all, but the leading role is undoubtedly taken by its soundtrack, with a handful of selected themes that will animate not only our walks through the wasteland but also some of the most momentous battles in the game. Once again you can see the care and passion with which inXile has designed this RPG that, even with its flaws, deserves a place of honour among the greatest of the genre in recent years, which have not been exactly bad. And this team led by Brian Fargo is one of those responsible for it, also being the authors of the surprising Torment: Tides of Numenera or the remarkable The Bards Tale 4.
Losing myself in the cold wasteland of Wasteland 3 has been one of the best role-playing experiences I’ve had in recent years. The inXile RPG has faced me with decisions that I did not want to make and, also, it has stood me up without compassion in the face of the consequences of my actions. And how it does it, and the effects it has on you, is commendable. Every act, every gesture, every single word you use in this role-playing adventure has consequences, and discovering them is a journey well worth living. The story it tells may not be very original and the low-key enemy AI muddies the turn-based battles, but Brian Fargo’s new RPG deserves a place of honour among the greats.
The review code was provided by Magnew Ltd. thank you very much.
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+ Freedom of action: each challenge can be solved in different ways
+ An interesting story with many ramifications and various endings
+ Turn-based battles improve with more options and a better pace…
– …But the discreet AI of enemies and allies overshadows the result a bit
– With a few exceptions, the rangers who follow you aren’t really interesting
– Some performance issues on consoles and bugs that hinder the action
Publisher: Deep Silver
Developer: inXile Entertainment
Release date: August 28, 2020