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Wasteland 3 review for Xbox One, PS4, PC


Platform: Xbox One
Also On: PS4, PC
Publisher: Deep Silver
Developer: inXile Entertainment
Medium: Blu-ray/Digital
Players: 1-2
Online: Yes
ESRB: M

If Wasteland 3 wasn’t on your radar prior to its release last week, it definitely should be. Available now on Xbox One, PS4, and PC, it’s likely going to end up as one of my personal top RPGs of the year, and I think if you give Wasteland 3 a shot, you’ll likely feel the same way.

Developed by inXile Entertainment, it’s been roughly 6 years since Wasteland 2, but if you’re not familiar with the series prior to this, Wasteland 3 is an excellent entry point. While there may be familiar faces, location references, or other callbacks to prior events, you won’t feel lost regarding the plot here even if you’ve never played a Wasteland title before. The post-apocalyptic setting is quickly and easily covered, and the various factions introduced throughout the main story are presented in a way that will easily catch everyone up on the current state of the world. 

I covered a bit of the game via my early impressions last week, but having played a whole lot more over the weekend, I wanted to get an official review posted as well. My general impressions haven’t changed much, but I’ll go over a bit of that original coverage again here. If you’re not familiar with Wasteland as a whole, Wasteland 3 is a post-apocalyptic RPG, presented with an isometric camera view, that feels akin to classic PC RPGs like Baldur’s Gate, or more recent hits like Pillars of Eternity. 

Wasteland 3 gives players the option to create custom characters to flesh out their party, or use a number of preset character builds. If you opt to create, you’ll be assigning stat points, choosing quirks and perks, and running through a number of cosmetic options. This allows you to either create dedicated archetypes, like tanks or damage dealers or opt for more well-rounded party members capable of covering multiple roles. There’s a whole lot to toy around with as far as customization options, and you’ll likely spend quite a bit of time doing so before you even get past the prologue. 

From there you’ll be introduced to the overall plot, wherein the Patriarch of Colorado has promised to outfit the Rangers of Arizona with supplies in return for their help in dealing with a local uprising of various factions led by the Patriarch’s offspring. Along the way, you’ll run into a motley assortment of quest givers and NPCs as you drive around in your APC and encounter towns, encampments, and various battlegrounds throughout. There’s a whole lot to see and do in Wasteland 3, and the writing throughout all of it has made it worth checking every nook and cranny of the game. 

Combat takes on an XCOM style approach. You can engage in combat when spotted by enemies, getting the jump on enemies, or occasionally through dialogue options. When combat begins, all of your party members have a pool of action points to use. Moving, shooting or using items will use up those actions points, and once exhausted, each character’s turn will end. You’ll want to make use of environmental cover as much as possible, which can help reduce the chance that an enemy attack will successfully land. Likewise, you’ll want to use tactics and abilities judiciously in order to increase the odds that your attacks will be successful. Every encounter I got into with Wasteland 3 was a lot of fun, and the combat never grew stale or bland for me. 

As far as complaints, I’ve had a few issues with bugs, mostly with unresponsive NPCs, but by and large, my experience has been fairly smooth on an Xbox One X. I’ve seen a variety of other issues found by other players, so your experience may vary a bit on this point, but I would hope that lot of current problems can be solved via patches. One other recurring issue I had was getting my characters to interact with objects, which generally did require me to hit the A button more than once, but this never felt like a game-breaking sort of thing, more of a general annoyance.

Barring those issues, I’d absolutely urge you to check out Wasteland 3, especially as we progress into the “busy” time of the video game year. It’s certainly one of the more memorable video game experiences this year, and if you have any love for classic RPGs in general, it should be right up your alley. 

Note: Deep Silver provided us with a Wasteland 3 Xbox One code for review purposes.

Grade: A-