Following the purchase by Microsoft, InXile Entertainment faces a promising new future as one of the most talented and resourceful studios dedicated to the RPG genre on the current scene, but before entering this new stage, Brian Fargo’s team addresses the launch of Wasteland 3. This is the third installment in a classic role-playing saga that helped define the genre, and from which other big names like Fallout have drawn.
It hasnt been easy, since we had to wait until 2014 to see a sequel to the 1988 original, but both the second part and this third chapter preserve everything that made the genre revolutionize. We’re talking about a compelling world and narrative, with well-written dialogue and decision-making, a challenging tactical combat system and, of course, plenty of RPG elements to define your character.
What we liked!
- Story and narrative: For those who are still not aware, Wasteland proposes a post-apocalyptic future where the traditional society that we all know was ruined after a nuclear war on a global scale. Yes, same as Fallout. As in the Bethesda game, after the catastrophe, chaos and the emergence of factions of all kinds followed, while some inheritors of the authority of the past try to maintain order in the new world. This is the case of the Arizona Rangers, a leading military group in the Wasteland saga. As a direct sequel to the second part, Wasteland 3 begins with the Rangers’ trip to Colorado to establish a trade association that provides supplies to neighboring Arizona and to continue their peace work. Although as always happens in these cases, things get complicated and the rangers are involved in a new power dispute between several leaders who try to rule the place and overthrow the Patriarch, who requests the support of the rangers. Of course, we have the traditional structure of main and secondary missions that guarantee a lot of hours of play in the biggest game in the series to date. Fargo himself defined it as a game of “epic” size
- Character development: At the beginning, you have the possibility of creating two characters from scratch with the attributes and abilities that you want. Later, our platoon of up to 6 units will be able to count on both foot units, without a background, as well as key characters in history that we can unite to our group. Regarding the development of characters, attributes and abilities, beyond improving their health statistics or action points, will allow equipping objects with certain requirements, greater proficiency in the handling of certain weapons, equipment improvement, healing, hacking, picking locks or other types of special situations where a certain specialization is required. Active skills, the ones that can be used during combat, will depend on the perks unlocked in each of these skill branches. On the other hand, we find ourselves managing the Rangers’ base, which serves as a refuge and supply. From here you can manage the squad and improve the exploration vehicle, apart from trading and healing if we have allies that allow us. It works as a nerve center and, as its an independent institution from the local authority, you can recruit staff of all kinds and unlock improvements.
- Open world: The exploration system before entering combat is interesting, since you can move freely in each location or through the open world map in a totally free way. On foot, the control is somewhat imprecise and irregular, so that on more than one occasion you may stumble into a traps. This also makes managing each member of the group individually to deal with an impending conflict in the most advantageous way. It should be remembered that it has multiplayer mode, so you can play with friends. When it comes to moving around its open world, as i mentioned before, you will have an all-terrain vehicle, which can be improved to access radiation areas or to perform better in combat. During free exploration, apart from being able to get supplies scattered around the stage, there are dynamic encounters in which you can try to pass by or face them and fight. If you decide to fight, the vehicle will join the squad with massive firepower.
What we disliked
- Performance: Although InXile Entertainment is now part of Microsoft and has more resources, the finish and performance of Wasteland 3 demonstrate the independent beginnings of the project. It falls a bit short in certain aspects. This is reflected in a visual quality without too many frills, especially in character modeling. The sets look more for their design than for the finish itself, and you have to wait until first-person encounters with certain key characters to see higher-quality modeling. However, performance is the biggest problem. We will encounter performance issues in various locations, especially in the base. In open areas on foot, walking among the trees is really annoying due to the falling of frames and the stumbling of the image. To which we must add a certain delay when performing actions such as opening a chest or activating a mechanism, and the occasional small bug. Plus, there are quite a few loading screens, and they’re not exactly short.
Wasteland 3 is not a great revolution for the genre or for its franchise itself, but its one of the main references of an old school of role playing that helped define the foundations that the rest of the proposals have followed since the 80s. There is care and talent in the construction of its world, its stories and its dialogues, as in the rest of the RPG elements, although it is slightly weighed down by a not very flashy finish and various technical problems. Its accessible enough that any gamer, no matter how neophyte, can enjoy their experience, while purists of the genre will find a great adventure to spend a lot of time to squeeze their possibilities.