InXile's new game is out today and the internet is all a flutter with the release of Wasteland 2. The news is big and why would you expect anything less for a game that has been 26 years in the making, from a collaboration between some of the greatest game developers of our time? Wasteland was originally developed and released with a planned sequel being cancelled and co-opted off to become Electronic Art's "Fountain of Dreams. It's no surprise that people lost hope of ever seeing a Wasteland 2 after it became the basis for Interplay's ever popular series Fallout. However, the director never forgot about the game that inspired numerous post-apocalyptic games through the miracle of Kickstarter, the legacy could continue. Brian Fargo of Interplay and inXile fame has teamed up with Wasteland veterans Michael Stackpole and Liz Danforth along with Obsidian studios to finally produce an official sequel but there have been some changes. TechRaptor thought we should preview some of these while playing the copy of the beta we were given.
The gameplay is a tad different this time round. The skills menu and attributes are very close with those of Fallout's. Rather than having your own party to start off with in the wasteland, you get to build them from scratch, while having no pre-made characters, should you want to get into the swing of the game quicker. Like the original title they give you four desert rangers and you're more or less thrust straight into the wasteland from the word go. Movement controls are different, now similar to the Fallout franchise. You use the mouse to walk around the wasteland and discover new settlements and points of interest while avoiding radiation and thirst. You remain in contact with the Desert ranger outpost via your radio, needing occasionally to call back in to level up characters and progress story. You'll notice the controls have changed significantly when you hit combat, as the whole turn based system of the original title has been phased out in favour of an action point system similar to Fallout.
The plot concepts for Wasteland 2 are true to the original game. You once again step into the shoes of the Desert rangers set within the same area as the first game. You'll notice a few familiar names with settlements and dungeons set in the same alternate timeline as the first. In the year 1998 a nuclear holocaust occurred due to a cluster of meteors that impacted. It follows on after the US Army Engineers who sought shelter in the nearby prison have banded together to form the Desert Rangers. In Wasteland 2 you start the game off standing over the grave of a dead comrade before being told to locate his body at an area east of where you start. This is literally all the story I have encountered so far but I should point out that for the preview I have only played eight hours into the game.
Graphically Wasteland 2 is stunning in comparison with Wasteland. The detail and shading on the models is quite impressive and unlike the original Wasteland you feel like you're wandering a dry barren desert as opposed to a green area that's lush for a wasteland. The movement around the models leads you to believe that areas you can not access are accessible. It can throw you off at times as it makes navigating slightly aggravating and the areas to explore can be misleading.
As you must expect with these sorts of early access builds there are some small nagging issues like having glitches occasionally talking to people, where the game just freezes on the chat interface as well as inaccessible areas looking accessible. Wasteland 2 is still in beta though and for the most part, is a very well put together game. It seems to be brimming with potential and any Wasteland fan will likely be as immersed and enthralled as they were in the world of the first game. I personally can't wait til the game receives its full release and I'm sure you eager Wastelanders are out there are also waiting patiently for the final build to patch so you can start the game proper. Wasteland 2 has a lot of promise at this stage before release and we can not wait to report back here with an in-depth review in the coming weeks.