In a post-apocalyptic wasteland, choices are key. And any good RPG will give you plenty of choices. What sets apart an RPG is how the choices you make reflect the environment around you. Or affects your interactions with people that could alter future events. Wasteland 3 effectively does all of these things, but perfectionists beware. You can’t make everyone happy in post-apocalyptic Colorado.
Wasteland 3 puts you in the shoes of America’s favorite Ranger corp. Leaving the desert setting of Arizona, you and your team set out to Colorado, a frozen tundra that offers some hope. The Patriarch has reached out for help with solving a family squabble. If you succeed, it could mean valuable resources for your family in Arizona. But of course, this is Wasteland, so nothing goes as planned.
Your team essentially wipes, leaving only two Rangers to continue their trek to the Patriarch. Within seconds of booting up the game, you can choose preset characters to use or make your own. For the sake of time, I chose the preset team of a melee fighter and sniper. Within minutes, I noticed I made a huge mistake.
Don’t get me wrong, I was able to make significant progress with these characters. You will eventually set up a base of operations where you can add more people to your team and make a more rounded squad of six. Yet every choice I made felt wrong. I would frequently notice options that were not available because my first aid wasn’t high enough. Or I don’t have anyone that has bartering skills. It’s a true RPG where your skills will mean the difference between life and death.
And of course, not everything is what it seems in Colorado. The Patriarch is not a funny dude and he will grow fond of you only if you provide a “SIR YES SIR” after every instruction. And he doesn’t necessarily provide a beautiful way of living. He may blame problems on outside family factors, but his way of presiding is not utopian, to say the least.
So choices become a huge part of your success and failure in Wasteland 3. Did you pick the correct team? Did you give them the best attributes and skills? Did you save the correct citizen? Or did you fail someone that could have helped you in a future situation? Wasteland 3 does a remarkable job connecting events and choices. They do such a good job that I did the only thing a perfectionist could do – restart the game on multiple occasions.
Restarting the game was not based on poor development or anything like that. But rather, the writing and characterization are so good that I cared a little too much about every choice that I made. In my restarts, I would try other characters (mostly handmade ones so I could pick the right skills). I would try to make different choices or similar ones from the past but with characters that had different attributes.
And the best part of all? I didn’t mind going back and trying again! The game is that dense with content, creativity, and fun that it was a joy replaying areas or loading up an old save and picking a different team. Or I would reload to try a side mission again to see what changes occur. The way the quests branch out and connect down the road is quite amazing. Kudos to InXile for providing hours upon hours of great content. And for a guy like me that doesn’t often play RPGs like this, they won me over as a fan.
Wasteland’s action is turn-based, meaning you will take turns with your movements, attacks, and defense. Each character (depending on skills and level) will have the chance to move or attack in a specific number of moves. I tried to use a controller while on PC, but it was a little more challenging. The menus are a little hard to navigate with a controller. Especially in situations where you have a full squad that needs updated armor, inventory organization, and skill upgrades. It wasn’t too tedious, but not as effective as a mouse and keyboard.
My PC isn’t high powered by any means, but it ran pretty well. The graphics are smooth and the load times are not too long. The camera angles can get a little wonky if you are near a large environmental structure, but again, it’s not too terrible where it takes you out of your zone.
This review is solely based on single-player gameplay, but Wasteland 3 offers co-op gameplay. I would say this – it would most likely benefit you if you play with someone you know or someone you can party up with and verbally strategize. In a game where the smallest choices can affect outcomes, you may not want a random player making choices that you don’t agree with.
In a world where choices affect so many outcomes, Wasteland 3 emphasizes the phrase “choose wisely.” Your outcomes will greatly differ depending on how you complete main and side missions, as well as how you use the many skills and attributes to fill out your ultimate Ranger squad. Wasteland 3 is a remarkable game that gives you tons of meaty content that you can spend hours and hours with. I can only hope that InXile will be given the green light to showcase other areas of this post-apocalyptic world in future additions to the franchise.
Wasteland 3 is available now on Xbox One (including Xbox Game Pass), Playstation 4, and PC.
Note: GameOctane 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.
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Full of content
Choices, choices, choices
Solid create a character features
A couple of funny camera angle issues
More challenging with a controller.