Nintendo Switch is becoming a home for a slew of games that from all kinds of genres. Turn-based games like Mario+Rabbids Kingdom Battle and Octopath Traveler have found great success in the community, and in my opinion, there is an audience that is looking for more turn-based options on the platform. Wasteland 2: Director’s Cut may be the turn-based game that will fill that need. Wasteland offers great turn-based combat along with stellar role-playing storytelling.
The world of Wasteland 2: Director’s Cut is full of danger and dread. Despite the danger and dread, it features a story that has been told before. You are part of a group of Desert Rangers, bringing the law to a society of lawless individuals and groups. Danger is around every corner, not to mention the need to survive and a world with limited resources. For post-apocalyptic tales, this one starts off on a similar note as many other post-apocalyptic games.
Don’t worry, it only starts on a generic tone. Wasteland truly shines because of the attention to detail in the dialogue. There are many moments where written dialogue is used to offer more explanation and exposition. The best way I can describe the detail is by referencing Dungeons and Dragons. The Dungeon Master is responsible for creating dialogue and providing explanations based on how high you roll. Wasteland 2 runs like a D&D campaign with a built-in Dungeon Master to help explain and provide context. Besides the written content, the Director’s Cut offers thousands of lines of dialogue. Again, it reminds me of a well run D&D campaign. Each character feels unique, and the voice acting really helps set the tone for how dreary and ruthless the world is.
Wasteland offers a great role-playing experience because of the choices you can make. Your outcomes can change depending on your dialogue choices. When I first started the game, I attempted to enter an area to investigate a ranger’s death. I had a choice to make – pay some ruffians some scrap to enter the area, or fight them. I decided to pay the scrap and investigate in peace. But as I was circled around to the entrance, I saw 3 dead bodies on the ground. Through some written content, I found out that a couple of them tried to fight and lost, while the other body was someone at the wrong place at the wrong time. There a ton of choices like this, and a variety of consequences. There are plenty of save file slots, so you may want to use them while playing Wasteland 2.
Wasteland’s gameplay offers some nice turn-based mechanics that are fairly easy to understand. Your party can move a certain amount of spaces and attack, heal, take cover, etc. Each character can only move a certain distance or do a specific number of actions before their turn is over. The role-playing aspects play a significant role in the gameplay because your survival in encounters depends on your weapons, ammo, ability to heal, etc. I started the game with a default party, but more experienced players can choose their party if needed. You will pick up new party members with better gear and stats as you play through. Overall, the combat and movement work very well on the Switch.
Unfortunately, there are a few technical hiccups that I was not a fan of. The camera feels a little limited in movement while playing Wasteland. While I understand the need to keep the camera focused, I wish I could have some more freedom of movement. I don’t want to look too far ahead (because that would spoil upcoming encounters), but I do want to see a bit more in my field of view. The game also takes a little bit of time to load. I admit that I have not played Wasteland on other platforms, so I can’t tell you if the long load times are standard for all or only happen on the Switch. The loading time didn’t ruin the game, but it is noticeable.
Graphically, Wasteland looks pretty darn good on the Switch. In some ways, the experience is a bit better when you are on the TV versus playing it handheld. There are lots of things to look at and examine, and the small Switch screen may not be ideal. Post-apocalyptic worlds don’t have a robust color palette, so Wasteland is a bit colorless and bland, but that is to be expected in this type of world. Again, the real standout is the voice acting. The dialogue really sets the tone of the game.
Wasteland 2: Director’s Cut is a fine role-playing game. It’s immersive and detail oriented when it comes to the story. The turn-based combat and environments are built to appeal to your inner strategist. It’s a great option for those who are looking for more turn-based strategy games on the Nintendo Switch.
Note: GameOctane editor Ryan Welch received a digital code from the publisher for the purpose of reviewing this game. Any code or product intended for reviews is distributed to the team to review and stream for our audience.
Check us out at Opencritic!
Some camera issues
Long loading times