To the delight of fans of the RPG series and tactical combat, developer inXile Entertainment and producer Deep Silver launched, in late August 2020, the long-awaited third chapter of the classic series Wasteland! As we said in our preview, Wasteland 3 it has a lot of potential to please fans of turn-based fights, but it also has problems.
The game has versions for PC, Xbox One and PlayStation 4, the latter being the platform used in our test, with an analysis key kindly provided by the producer. On all platforms, it shines in character development and in battles full of variables, so dense that it can even scare newcomers by its complexity. Get a better understanding of all this in our complete review below!
Getting in trouble
The first thing you do as soon as you start your campaign is to choose what will be the pair of main characters that you will control, being able to shape your past history, visuals and attributes at will, but it is a matter of minutes before they get some companions from squad, each with their own strengths and weaknesses.
The new journey takes place in a very different area than what we are used to seeing in titles of the genre, focused on a freezing post-apocalypse in Colorado, United States. Initially, you work for the Patriarch, a figure who at first glance is interested in doing good for the population, but we soon discovered that it is not so, as he shows his dictatorial traits.
Since his team needs the Patriarch’s money and resources, the protagonists accept the leader’s request and must find Valor, Victor and Liberty, the Patriarch’s three sons who rebelled against their father. If the father was already a little crazy, his offspring are just as or more dangerous both in the ideas and in the ideas they carry, and it is a pleasure to learn more about them thanks to the good storyline of the game.
In fact, you better play prepared to read a lot, since there is an obscene amount of texts and characters to interact with while we learn more about the lore and geopolitical context of the plot. And your English course also needs to be up to date, since the game was not localized to Portuguese, and a good understanding of the narrative is desirable to enjoy Wasteland 3 the maximum.
RPG and dense fighting
There’s a lot to do while exploring the game world, so be prepared to find everything from more dramatic situations to moments of pure comedy, as the text shoots everywhere, usually successfully. It is worth spending time getting to know the characters better and overhearing their conversations, as they usually bring unusual and surprising revelations.
Every now and then we run into situations with gray morals, and these tend to be more interesting than the times when the game tries to make a more acid comment or parallel with current world politics, since in these cases it is usually too didactic and simplistic, weighing his hand in his speech. Even so, in general, the narrative gains complexity with each new step that has been overcome and deserves to be checked multiple times, experimenting with different dialogue options along the way.
The alternative routes go beyond dialogues, and also involve the management of your team. As usual in strategy games, it is possible to shape the squad’s skills according to their needs, focusing some characters on healing powers or even on skill to break locks, for example. The difference here is that you can also make collective improvements that affect the entire group.
The combat system must be quite familiar to anyone who has played Xcom and similar, since the fights are all carried out in turns on a large board on which the characters need to spend action points to move and execute orders. Walking spends points, performing support actions spends points and, obviously, attacking rivals also consumes points, so you have to do calculations and micromanage the board without stopping.
Love or hate this style of play, your actions have a certain percentage chance of going right or wrong, so every now and then you can fall victim to apparent injustices by being betrayed by the numbers, missing a shot that had a 90% chance of success. The best idea, then, is to manage your action points well to move to the nearest roofs, betting on as much security as possible.
It also helps to create a squad with the right skills and then position it right on the map, with sniper snipers farther in the background, and more tank heroes, who can take good melee damage on the front line. If you’ve never enjoyed fighting like that, it’s not Wasteland 3 that will change your opinion. But for those already converted, it’s a full plate!
Lack of polishing
Don’t expect good graphics and optimization in Wasteland 3, since most of the time the game seems to be making a lot of sacrifices to run in a minimally stable way. And look, he doesn’t even spend that much time running with stability! Textures load in half often, there are occasional bugs and crashes, and the impression is that the game is in urgent need of patches with performance improvements.
The worst is that, even when they arrive, Wasteland 3 it will continue to be a game with graphics well below average, boasting generic character models that look more like a moderate budget computer game released in the beginning of the last decade. On the other hand, longtime fans are probably not going to bother with any of this at all, as these elements don’t hinder the game’s good narrative and fighting, and the series was never known to be technically brilliant in performance.
Given all of this, it seems pretty clear that the game is best recommended for genre enthusiasts and the more hardcore audience eager to spend hundreds of hours immersed in an addictive tactical turn-based combat system. Casuals should go a long way, as their complex systems and technical problems only help to make Wasteland 3 an even more niche option.
“Wasteland 3 relies on tactical, fun turn-based combat, but irritates with its bugs and poor optimization”
- Great turn-based combat
- Good cast of characters
- World rich in possibilities
- Poor optimization, with many bugs and glitches
- Dialogues weigh in on the exhibition and didacticism
- No localization in Portuguese