Wasteland 3 from developer InXile Entertainment launched this week on Xbox One, PS4, and PC. I?ve spent a bit of time playing the game prior to release, and still have a ways to go before finalizing a review for it, but I?m happy to say that so far it has exceeded expectations.
If you?re not familiar with the prior entries in the Wasteland series, you have little reason to worry, as Wasteland 3 does a really good job of setting up the world, factions, and the overall setting of the series early on. As someone who had only dabbled in the first two games well after release, I had little to no trouble understanding the plot or following the action, and don?t foresee that changing as I continue to get deeper into the game.
If you?re not at all familiar with the series, Wasteland 3 is a post-apocalyptic tactical RPG set in the northern area of the United States. At the onset of the game, you?re tasked with picking two pre-made characters or creating brand new custom characters. The character creation options are pretty robust, you can customize look, height, gender, but it?s the unique background perk and risk/reward quirk system that?s really fun to play with. There are some interesting options available that will dictate your play style and character builds, offering up a lot of variety and pretty much guaranteeing that you?ll want to run through Wasteland 3?s storyline more than once.
The game is played with a top-down isometric view similar in fashion to Baldur?s Gate or other classic RPG?s. You?ll have direct control over all of your party members, so moving one will move all, or you can opt to select only one character and leave the rest of your party in one spot, useful when trying to navigate traps or other hazards. Playing the game on Xbox One, I?ve found the controller set-up to work really well, with some slight inventory navigation issues here and there, but overall I don?t feel like console players are left out in the cold compared to the mouse/keyboard PC experience.
Combat is a little more akin to XCOM. You?ll trigger combat by either being spotted by enemies or opting to initiate combat before being seen. Each character in your party has a pool of action points, which are spent by moving, shooting, or using unique skills. Movement is pretty free while in combat, you?re not necessarily tied to a grid set-up, but are still looking to position yourself behind cover as much as possible. All enemies will have a chance-to-hit percentage displayed, and yes, you can absolutely miss a 95% shot here, which feels as brutal as it does in XCOM.
Depending on how you are distributing skill points characters will typically specialize in one or more weapon classes. There?s some standard stuff like assault rifles and pistols, but there are also some more eclectic options tucked behind categories like science weapons, which can get pretty weird and fun. There?s a ton of stat modifiers that come from armor and weapons, unique rare weapons, a variety of consumables, and even dialogue options that can avoid combat altogether provided you have the necessary skills to do so.
So far, Wasteland 3 is shaping up to be one of the best RPG?s I?ve played this year. Assuming that not much changes in the next 20 or so hours, I would definitely recommend checking it out when you get a chance, and I should have a full review up next week.
Note: Deep Silver provided us with a Wasteland 3 Xbox One code for review purposes.