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Wasteland 3

In Wasteland 3 you take command of a squad of Desert Rangers, lawmen and women in a post-nuclear world, trying to rebuild society from the ashes. More than a century after the bombs fell, you’re fighting a losing battle to keep your beloved Arizona alive. Then the self-proclaimed Patriarch of Colorado radios, promising aid if you'll do a job he can only entrust to an outsider—rescue his land from the ambitions of his three bloodthirsty children. You’re dispatched on a desperate quest from the scorching deserts to the snowy mountains to start from scratch, building a new base, finding a snow-worthy vehicle, training new recruits, and fighting your way through hostile frozen wastes. All the while, you'll have to decide who to trust in this land torn apart by corruption, intrigue, warring factions, crazed cultists, cutthroat gangs, and bitter sibling rivalries. Build a reputation for yourself by making decisions that will profoundly impact Colorado, its inhabitants and the story you experience. Will you be Colorado’s savior or its worst nightmare? Wasteland 3 is a squad-based RPG from inXile entertainment, featuring challenging tactical turn-based combat and a deep, reactive story full of twists, turns, and brutal ethical decisions that will keep you hooked whether you’re a Wasteland veteran or new to the series.
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Game Discussion

Review by Anonymous
Review from Steam

The Wasteland series have been always tied to Fallout, not only for being one of the few greatest post-apocalyptic RPG games, but especially for being developed by the same people from Interplay (who later divided into inXile and Obsidian teams). And yet, while Fallout moved to a first/third person view, Wasteland stayed true to its roots, maintaining its traditional isometric look and gameplay mechanics.
This third chapter immediately follows the events of Wasteland 2, with the Arizona Rangers, weakened by a long war against a very powerful AI, seeking aid from the leader of Colorado known as the Patriarch. To gain his help, the Rangers must restore order to the country where crazy factions led by the Patriarch’s rebellious children are trying to overthrow him.
At the beginning of the game you can create your own duo of Rangers or choose from a small selection of predefined characters. Unfortunately the latter don’t offer any additional storyline, so it really doesn’t matter who you pick. Creating your own characters makes more sense if you want to have full control on them, manually selecting their class, backgrounds, attributes, skills and quirks. There are many customization options and you can even change your appearance in the middle of the game. You can create and modify all the predefined Rangers, but I would suggest recruiting real companions instead, since they have their own stories, opinions and dialogues with other NPCs. They can even leave the team if they don’t agree with your decisions, so bringing them along greatly increases the level of immersion. There is even a first person mode that is only used in a few conversations with faction leaders, which helps to connect more with them, but also reveals a subpar level of animations. Luckily, voiced dialogues are brilliant and really bring life to characters.
After a short tutorial you are given absolute freedom on how to start your mission, though the game makes clear that moving around unprepared and without knowing the area can be very dangerous. The smartest thing would be following quests that match your level and can offer a good sense of challenge. For each quest there are multiple choices to make which often fall into a morally grey area. What can be good for some, can be bad for others and the consequences will only show after many hours of gameplay. On top of that, we also have a Reputation system, which determines how factions view us and has a massive impact on the different endings we can get. While the general atmosphere is cold dark, there are many moments of humor, craziness and depravity, which is another thing in common with the Fallout series. You will often meet extraordinary characters involved in absurd situations, such as a gang leader who dresses and talks like a vampire fighting terrorists who use explosive pigs or a talking parrot who insults everyone.
The game allows you to use a total of six characters, with only four that can be Rangers, while the remaining two must be companions you meet along your journey. Or, you can just replace the Rangers with even more companions if you want. You can also find additional allies (such as animals and human guests) that will always follow you, though you have no control on them and once they die they are gone forever. Upgrading skills and attributes is fundamental, as it may unlock new areas and choices during dialogues. A good strategy would be creating a team where everyone excels in different categories, so their skills can become useful in multiple scenarios.
If you played the first Fallout games or better the newer XCOM series, you will learn the combat basics in no time. It’s easy and relatively smooth even with the use of a controller, plus the UI is not invasive as on many top-down strategic games. Depending on the map, there are multiple ways to start a battle that can give us an important advantage (like positioning our team on a higher ground) or simply avoid some unnecessary fights. While confronting enemies on most RPGs only offer two options (Kill or Spare), Wastelands 3 adds a third one: “Arrest”, allowing you to imprison potential threats with different consequences on the long run. Transitions in and out from combat are seamless and perfectly integrated with the exploration, which is crucial for solving quests, forging allies and retrieving hidden loot, weapons, armors etc.
Another wonderful aspect of Wasteland 3 gameplay is the base building. Finding and hiring new members for the Ranger HQ is part of our mission, as they will provide their unique services to our faction. Most of them will require an exchange of favors before joining us, which is a good way to get involved into their stories. There will also be many events happening in our HQ depending on the choices we made, the people we hired and those we sent to jail, so we will often be asked to return and solve different situations.
The world of Wasteland 3 is not really that big, but it’s dense with multiple towns and newborn settlments, each one with their own faction and set of rules. It can be explored on a combat vehicle that we can upgrade, customize and even use during battle (but need to repair if damaged). There are a lot of details in the environments and there is a button that highlights all the interactable objects, which spares quite some time. Visual effects and particles are great and make each battle a bloody spectacular playground. Performance is almost perfect and nearly all the bugs that were present on launch have been fixed. The only issue I have found is with the loading times, which are often slow, particularly when entering/exiting a location.
In conclusion, Wasteland 3 proves to be a fantastic improvement to the series and one of the best RPGs of the moment. Those who are new to the series can easily start from this one, as it does a great job at narrating events from the previous games. In any case, the game is a no-brainer for fans of the genre who will immediately love the atmosphere, gameplay and superb quality of writing.

Review from Steam

Yes - it's XCOM meets FALLOUT meets typical RPG. My only complaint is the difficulty seems off - sometimes too hard and sometimes too easy. If you enjoyed Wasteland 2, I think this generally improves the game in every way. Also, I found the writing to be EXCELLENT - you can just imagine a Dungeon Master trying to play these different fun characters. (A big BONUS for voice acting). 8.5/10

Review from Steam

This game has some real heritage behind it. The series has been a hallmark of the Post-Apocalyptic RPG genre for many years. The games and other media it has inspired are widespread and well-known. There is also an underlying irony here that most gamers know and can best be described with the phrase "turnabout is fair play."
This team has pedigree and it shows in every single regard. Wasteland 3 manages to simultaneously be gritty and witty, brutal and bawdy, gory and goofy.. the writing is the best I can think of for any RPG. No kidding. Deeply branching, reactive and so perfectly timed it will have you laugh out loud a lot. Absurdity abounds, nothing is sacred.
Play the last rag-tag remnants of the fabled Arizona Desert Rangers however you want. Be a shining paragon of virtue or a homicidal maniac. The game allows, even condones, senseless acts of spontaneous violence, up to and including faction genocide. "I once saw him shoot a guy just to see if his gun was loaded.."
An amazing cast of three dimensional characters are expertly voiced by many of the most talented and well-known voice actors in the industry for the past decade or more. You will recognize many, guaranteed. (Ysolda!!!!) They spared no expense on the talent. This might be my favorite aspect of the game. Nearly any RPG fan will feel right at home here.
I love the gameplay, a fun but tough hybrid of X-COM style turn-based combat and tactical party management. Instead of battle maps it feels more like an open world, with encounters rather than missions. For me, it plays somewhere between CRPG and ARPG, with just the right amount of lore to read and mobs to blast with ludicrous pyrotechnics.
You get four characters to create from scratch or pick from presets, plus two additionals, giving you a traveling, fighting party of six. You can have thralls and followers as well, so it can grow into a real circus parade of mutants, farm animals and robots if you want. You can be a sneaky and tactical squad of elite Rangers, or a bunch of rowdy drunks stumbling about and waving their overpowered fists at anyone who will listen.
Wasteland 3 ticks all the boxes for me. I even bought the digital extras, mostly for the original soundtrack, another highlight in the long list of highlights. I can easily foresee a couple hundred hours invested here. I'm eager to see how things will play out with a very different team in a new game. Absolutely worth full price + season pass.

Review from Steam

Pros:
* Fun combat, very similar to XCOM. Not a lot of innovation, but there didn't need to be. XCOM is a winning formula.
* Unique twists on common skills. e.g. instead of "hacking" it's "nerd stuff" and, while it does enable you to do the typical disabling of security computers, it also opens unique conversation options and story paths. Chat with the robots about their AI implementation, or talk chemistry with the drug addicts. Lots of skills have a nice added dash of charm.
* Good pacing with skill usage. Whatever skill tress you build into, you'll frequently find uses for them in the world (though, obviously, some are more useful than others).
* Lots of personality in the world building. The post-apocalyptic setting is familiar by now, but the world of Wasteland has a lot of amusing side plots. Doctors building cloning machines, animatronic god-president Ronald Reagan, "toaster repair" being a viable skill tree... charming little touches that differentiate this post-apocalyptic world from the rest.
Cons:
* Story doesn't really make you care. This is partly due to its CRPG nature, as the narrative has to be able to adapt to the choices you make, but making choices is only engaging if you care about the characters affected. The voiced characters are all pretty one-dimensional and the villains' motivations are generally just "mania" (religious, drug or other). Often when presented with a large, game-changing decision, I found I didn't really care about any of the groups involved and just went with whichever choice I thought would lead to the best rewards.
* Clunky inventory management. There's no way to filter weapons or equipment to only the pieces the current character can use. Weapons and equipment are sorted in a bizarre order, which makes finding the one you want difficult. "Junk" items you sell may actually be required for crafting certain items, so you have to go find the vendor you sold it to and buy it back later (if the vendor is still alive). etc.
* Bugs. Lots of bugs, from little things like occasional strange frame rate drops, missing audio, invisible items, to design bugs that show a lack of care (for example, item prices are displayed when you hover over the item, but if you sell an item by double-clicking without moving your mouse, the item price doesn't update when the next item slides under your mouse. You can easily sell stuff you didn't mean to as a result), to major bugs like conversation dialogs from an hour ago suddenly re-appearing in the middle of a battle, breaking the game.
Overall, I'd say it's a 7 or 8 out of 10. Engaging and enjoyable, but enough downsides that you will surely notice them.

Review from Steam

Probably one of the strongest RPG games I've played in recent memory. Wasteland 3 offers a refreshingly deep array of player choices, and most importantly, consequences. I wouldn't say it's perfect in this regard -- namely I feel the game doesn't do enough to really punish you for some of these choices other than "feels bad" moments, leaving many of these choices feeling like an illusion. That being said, some may actually enjoy the more relaxed approach here, so YMMV.
Other strong points:
✔️ Fantastic soundtrack. I didn't really appreciate many of these when they first began playing during a battle, but after a couple rounds to both appreciate their execution as well as take in the context of the scene, I think these are some of the best crafted as well as best placed songs I've played in an RPG game. I'm really struggling to try to be convincing here without hyperbole, since I think these are truly best experienced without even vague spoilers. When you play through some of these moments, you'll come back to this review and know what I'm getting at here.
✔️ Story, Writing, and RPG elements. I know I mentioned this in my intro but I feel like I'd be doing the game a disservice by not at least bringing it up again here. The game does a great job at world-building, walking the player through a well thought-out story with many branching possibilities, and letting the player run wild and do what they want. I think many games in this genre get a bit preachy with the post-apocalyptic "life is horrible" mantra, but Wasteland 3 doesn't really fall into this trap -- it's tone and general narrative remains light-hearted for the most part. I cracked a smile even during some of the darker stretches in the game.
✔️ Combat System. I mean look, it's turn-based, and I personally don't really enjoy turn-based combat systems. Wasteland 3 also doesn't do anything to try to solve the canonical turn-based combat issues (if anything, the implementation of initiative and first-strike further polarize it). But all of that aside, I did find myself enjoying the combat reminiscent of XCOM. I think that's mostly because it blended really well with the RPG elements of the game, so you tend to overlook some of the turn-based drawbacks (Divinity Original Sin 1 & 2 are also examples of games which do this well, in my opinion).
Some negatives:
❌Game was a bit buggy. I might've been imagining it (or been a victim of small sample size), but the parts of one of my playthroughs which occurred AFTER the Steeltown DLC was released was even buggier. I'm talking about invisible walls popping out of nowhere, incorrect AP displays, animal companion buffs persisting after losing the companion, odd ground-targeting hitboxes, etc. I also experienced 2 CTDs over the course of my game time, which isn't a whole lot, but worth mentioning. Overall, this wasn't too bad, and don't really hamper the enjoyment of the game as a whole.
❌Graphically and Visually nothing too special. Don't get me wrong the game looked pretty good and it was definitely serviceable, but much of the game looks pretty same-y. I noticed this especially in subsequent playthroughs when I picked up the game after being away for a little while, and realized that from my surroundings, I could've been in one of like...five different areas.
Overall, fantastic yet imperfect game. Definitely worth it on sale. I'd personally pick it up again at full price. I'd likely recommend the same to anyone who enjoys heavy, well-executed RPG elements (especially in post-apocalyptic settings for those coming from games like Fallout).

Review from Steam

Wasteland 3 is definitely the best turn-based RPG I've ever played! This game has everything that I expect in a good game: a great story and characters, intense combat WITHOUT RNG, detailed and colorful graphics, excellent music and voice acting, limited handholding and many secrets and interesting quests to discover. I've enjoyed this game so much that I'm planning to replay the entire Wasteland trilogy later this year!
My only point of critique is that I've encountered way too many bugs: NPC's suddenly gone MIA, the framerate dropping to 2fps after closing a shopping window, the interface disappeared, AI-turn taking forever in combat, not being able to assign new team members (forcing me to play the final battle with only 4 team members), conversations starting in the middle of combat etc etc etc. I had to restart or reload the game way too many times because of bugs, which is unacceptable for a game 1.5 years after release.
Conclusion: everyone should play this game, but perhaps wait until more of the bugs are fixed by the devs.

Review from Steam

The writing, gameplay, interactions, attention to detail, music...
Everything about it is incredible.