Eric Kelly On January 21, 2014 at 10:15 am

Wasteland2_LogoWasteland 2 is the long awaited sequel to the 1988 PC game that went through Kickstarter to drive up the funds for its creation. I got to play around with the Early Access Beta, which was meant for Kickerstarter backers. Also unlike many betas, this one is structured more like a demo, only representing a slice of the full release. Only the demo is still a work-in-progress and where the final product might be different from the demo.

After making my party, which can be custom built or pre-selected characters, you are dumped into a scenario where your team is trying to join the Desert Rangers. You also discover that you are in a post-apocalyptic Arizona. The first mission your team gets is to proof your worth as Ranger material, which can be done by doing some recon and sleuthing. After you set out to the world map, you find yourself on a simple map that has icons representing your position, and a vast and blank desert, which acts as a fog of war. The more you move the more water you use. Water is a resource needed to go between areas, and it needs to be refilled by finding oases. When you find a location it will be revealed on the map.

Once in an area, you can get into battles with raiders and wildlife. Combat plays much like Shadowrun Returns, where you use AP to move and attack the enemy. Of course each class has their own specialties, and range lessens the effectiveness of firearms. Enemies also have various resistances and weaknesses. The combat felt nice, although I couldn’t find a better means of healing my team, but that’s likely to come easier with getting further in the full game. The UI was a bit confusing to get used to but at first, but also will likely see some improvements. You can experience points from defeated enemies and completed tasks and missions. When you rank up, you can spend skill points on skills.

I liked what I played of the game, but I was worried about the quality of the game’s soundtrack, as what little music I heard sounded like generic Country Western guitar from Borderlands. At least the voice acting is decent. But there were also some odd bugs like one that hangs after a field transition, necessitating a reset of the game. Thankfully the game has auto-saving before the transition bug occurs. You can also do manual saves to make the game easier for you. Other than that, Wastelands 2 looks to be a promising game, which will surely fix its issues and be a better experience when the full game launches later this year.

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