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The latest Fig update for inXile Entertainment’s post-apocalyptic RPG Wasteland 3 lets us know that the long-awaited backer beta is now live. So, if you’re one of Wasteland 3’s backers, you can now play through the game’s opening section and experience it in its current beta state, which in all likelihood should be pretty close to the final version, seeing how the game is set to launch on May 19, 2020.
Alternatively, you can check out a number of fairly positive previews below:
The mechanical tuning and polish in Wasteland 3 should eliminate some of the frustrations of the previous game without entirely relieving players of responsibility (don't forget to put a grenade in your quick slot, or you won't be throwing any when the crunch comes), and while a part of me laments the loss of the old-time Fallout look, I have to admit that the upgraded graphics and effects make for a nice layer of visual flash that Wasteland 2 lacked. Coupled with the underlying basics of accessible turn-based combat and a genuinely gritty, messy post-apocalyptic setting, this could be one of the best RPGs of 2020. I will miss the desert, but I have very high hopes for the Rangers' new home.
Variety and freedom is always the true selling point of a game like this. With this comes the world you're exploring. Wasteland has always had this freedom, but in a world that is always engaging and genuinely enjoyable to explore. This hasn't changed in the slightest, with me finding a wealth of people to talk to, all voice acted thanks to the extra time and money from Microsoft, and so much leaving me with a huge grin on my face.
It's clear that the core plot - at least for the early game - focuses on bringing the Patriarch's wayward children back home. Given the nature of these three - an untrustworthy tech wizard, a violent sociopath, and a calculating despot vying for her father's crown - this isn't a simple ask. Much like Far Cry 5 the children all have their own regions and factions, and so the Rangers will need to address these alongside the other interest groups within Colorado.
In any case, once you are introduced to the base, then you can explore the nearby city of Colorado Springs. This seems to be your typical RPG town area, with numerous NPCs to speak with, shops to buy your squad new equipment and weapons, as well a handful of quests to undertake. One quest involved freeing a boy from a death sentence for a minor crime. Another mini-quest involved getting rogues to leave a shop alone. A third involved helping a doctor treat some patients. As you would hope to find in a game like this, these quests seemed to have multiple avenues to completion, with some violent and some non-violent depending on the playstyle you are going for or what skills you have available within your current squad.
As the preview wrapped up, a brief overview of what happened showed that our actions will definitely have long-lasting effects. Not only has the squad further angered the Dorseys, but killing Isaac is bound to result in some trouble from the Hundred Families gang.
Fans of Wasteland 2, and the original, will no doubt feel right at home in Wasteland 3. The new entry in the series manages to capture the spirit of the originals, while tightening up mechanics, adding some new polish, and shifting to a new, yet still extremely hostile environment.
Wasteland 3 promises to be just as long as Wasteland 2, which was around the 80-hour mark all in. It’s still a point-and-click adventure of sorts and there’s extensive loot to be gathered which can improve your arsenal or be sold to finance your group’s excursions. There should be a content update post-launch and some possible DLC in the works, though inXile is remaining tight-lipped about it so far.
Wasteland 3 is shaping up nicely, presuming it gets all the optimization it needs along with modernized gamepad controls for console players. The story is instantly engrossing, with the same RPG depth of its predecessors, complete with visual upgrades and all the freedoms you'll expect of a modern CRPG.
While Fallout wrestles with its identity as a franchise, Wasteland knows exactly what it wants to be, and it pursues it with razor-sharp focus. This is the successor classic Fallout fans deserve, while uniquely, also being its predecessor.
On top of that, PlayStation Universe offers an interview with Tim Campbell, the game's director. A couple of sample questions:
PSU: What work has been done in regards to weapon balancing? For example, in Wasteland 2 there was usually very little compelling reason to venture outside of assault rifles and energy weapons because they were hugely over-powerful.
Tim Campbell: We’ve spent a lot of time focusing on combat balance with the goal of providing players with a greater variety of gameplay choices and playstyles. We have a much larger design team this time around to improve, test, and iterate on combat—and have integrated many more systems and mechanics. We’re keenly aware of the challenges in Wasteland 2, and think players are going to be really happy with how we’ve expanded and improved upon it. Creating a build that’s super powerful is awesome, but the trick and challenge for us is making sure there are many options that are similarly powerful and fun. It’s about choice – and in an RPG, choice is king.
PSU: In terms of side mission content, how much of it is tied directly into the companions that you meet during the game?
Tim Campbell: We have a great variety of companions that can be recruited in Wasteland 3—each offering their own unique twist in terms of combat, personality, and narrative impact. We’ve tried to make each one different and not force them into the same cookie-cutter mold.
Some are critical to their own narrative quest lines, others impact literally thousands of lines of dialog, but each one provides their own memorable moments and flavor to help players personalize their experience. Of course if players are looking for more custom combat and gameplay mechanics—or to offset their current squad weaknesses—there’s a full customizable recruitment feature.