Wasteland 3 PS4 Pro Review: Here at AIR Entertainment we strive upon our honesty when it comes to reviewing games. So with that said I will hold my hand up and admit that until recently I had never heard of the Wasteland games. When I did research the game my initial thought was that it was surely going to be a Fallout rip-off.
Doing my research I feel like an idiot. I found out that Wasteland has been around since before Fallout. So much so that Fallout was deemed as the spiritual successor to Wasteland.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with the series previous games were mainly set in the often used wastes of post-apocalyptic Mad Max-esq worlds. You know the locations by now; hot deserts and sun bathed ruined cityscapes. This time round Deep Silver have opted for the snow covered area of Colorado for a complete change.
The idea is that you and your team of Rangers have been summoned by the Patriarch. Basically the big guy who now runs Colorado in what he deems to be a fair yet firm manner. Of course at first you believe he is trying to make a difference but as we all know, that will never be the case.
The Patriarch’s children, Valor, Victor and Liberty (yeah, i know, cheesy names) have all gone rogue. The Rangers are called in to bring them back alive as he can’t send his own men to do the job, after all, how would that look to the people he reigns over?
The game throws you straight into the action as well. After a rather stunning opening sequence your convoy is (of course) attacked and you are left as one of the only survivors from your team of Rangers. After a short time of a few missions leading you into the game proper, you finally get to set up your own base of operations.
This new Ranger HQ will need to be filled with people who know what they’re doing and the initial line of quests leads you nicely into the games mechanics whilst you explore nearby settlements, gun down all manor of enemies and make some key choices. It is the perfect introduction to this huge RPG.
The great thing about Wasteland 3 is that it can be enjoyed with no previous knowledge of any of the Wasteland games as was my insight into the world around me. While it is a sequel to Wasteland 2, previous events and characters are mentioned every so often, but that knowledge isn’t needed to enjoy the game on its own merits.
The writing for the game is on another level. Cut scenes and character speeches never feel like they drag and also don’t feel like there is too many of them which can detract from the game in hand as so many other games have done in the past. Throughout the monologues there is usually a choice given to you in how you respond and of course these decisions will have an impact on how things play out.
This is one of the games real strengths. Your decisions do carry weight, its not just a slight change in response from other characters. There are some real tough decisions to be made during quests as well as the basic options that will help shape and define your character.
But, these calls are made tougher when you eventually realise that the game does not mess about. It is impossible to see and do everything the game has to offer in just one playthrough because your actions will have consequences somewhere. Do you choose to save hostages that you have heard a rumour about or choose to defend weaponry? You only have time to do one of these things and the other will be gone forever. You have to weigh up the pros and cons of everything.
One of the reasons this review has taken longer than usual to produce is due to the sheer scale of the game. Although a lot of RPG’s are hit and miss for me personally, Wasteland 3 grabbed me by the balls and wouldn’t let go. I have spent dozens of hours inside it.
Its not just the gameplay however, it also expands to the world building within the game. As you explore different towns and areas of Colorado you start to find out what has really been going on. InXile have taken the time to make everywhere feel lived in with dialogues from NPC’s as well as conversations that are happening between people that you pass by on the streets. The entire place is alive.
Walking down one street hearing someone accusing another man of sleeping with his wife, for the other guy to openly admit to having ‘problems in that area’ isn’t something you would hear every day in games of this nature and did give me a laugh questioning whether I had heard it correctly.
The thing is, you can interact with everyone in this game, not just a chosen few. You can either be subjected to a dismissal or their entire life story, threats or tongue in cheek dialogue. You never know what you are headed for rocking up to a random stranger on the street. Even if its just a murderous bandit hiding scared releasing loud gas clouds from his posterior revealing his position as you close in, the game will make you smile numerous times throughout even physically laugh out loud.
I’m not usually a massive fan of most turn based RPG’s. The idea of positioning yourself into the perfect position to shoot and kill an enemy yet not being allowed to because you don’t have enough moves left can be a seriously annoying concept. I’ve never really bonded with the likes of Xcom no matter how many times I have tried yet Desperados nailed it with its real-time hybrid system allowing you to keep playing and not ending up in a precarious position out of moves.
Wasteland 3 is pure grid mechanic systems however. Each character is given a set amount of AP (attack points) and these can be used to move or to fire upon an enemy. By now I’m sure that everyone knows how the system works, its been used in so many games.
There are certain abilities which you can charge up over time and deal a devastating attack which you are taken through in the very first battle. You can also use vehicular weapons as well as turrets and other items laid strewn on the battlefield. It is important to distribute your attribute and skills well. Using a sniper with luck and critical hit at high levels will see him taking out enemies at a distance with ease.
The combat in Wasteland 3 is a blast, and no pun is intended there. Growing your squad bit by bit investing in different stats does feel very rewarding after a while and seeing that levelling help you scrape a fight by the skin of your teeth using a last ditch attack is unbelievably satisfying.
Enemies boast over the top death animations and a well placed grenade is always fun to behold. The thing is, the battle system in place is generally a straight-forward system that is easy to pick up and play, something which I was grateful for as my knowledge of turn based RPG’s is quite limited. Wasteland 3 does offer up various difficulty levels and the easiest of which will see you taking on battles with relative ease.
One issue I did have however was that it is sometimes hard to keep track of everything that is going on within battle. The screen can become very busy, very fast with mutilated bodies strewn everywhere and planning your attacks, co-ordinating your team becomes confusing. Yes, it all looks great on screen but does impair your vision quite a bit.
Unfortunately the game has issues, but luckily they’re actually few and far between. Playing on the PS4 Pro the game feels ‘janky’. It doesn’t ruin the experience at all, but does leave you looking for other bugs in the game, something I sometimes hate myself for doing even when I run out and buy games for my own personal physical collection. At first I was subject to a few crashes with the game taking me back to the PlayStation home menu and filing a report. Luckily a few pre-launch patches does seem to have stabilised that.
Some loading screens can hang for longer than they should making you think that the game has crashed, but stick with them and they will eventually load. The game also doesn’t escape the odd texture issue, but again, they are few and far between and with a game of this size they are easy to ignore for the main.
The thing is, when viewed from a distance the game looks amazing, yet zoom in on the battlefield and you will notice that the graphics dont look quite as good as you thought they did. It is best played on a distant camera as best as possible as character designs look very lacking and quite blocky the closer you get.
These are issues that certainly don’t detract from what is a great game and one that will appeal on the whole to a broad scale of player abilities. I know that Xcom certainly has a large fanbase and I’m sure that those will welcome this game.
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