Wasteland 3 has good fights and characters, but it lacked whimsy

by Kelvin
Wasteland 3 has good fights and characters, but it lacked whimsy

To the delight of fans of the series of RPGs and tactical combat, developer inXile Entertainment and producer Deep Silver released, at the end of August 2020, the long-awaited third chapter of the classic series. wasteland! As we talked about in our preview, Wasteland 3 it has a lot of potential to please fans of turn-based fights, but it also has problems.

The game has versions for PC, Xbox One and PlayStation 4, the latter being the platform used in our test, with an analysis key kindly provided by the developer. Across all platforms, he shines in character development and battles full of variables, so dense that they can scare novices away with their complexity. Understand all this better in our full review below!


Getting in trouble

The first thing you do when you start your campaign is choose what pair of main characters you’ll control will be, and you can shape your backstory, visuals and attributes at will, but it’s a matter of minutes before they gain some mates from squad, each with their own strengths and weaknesses.

The new journey takes place in a very different area from what we’re used to seeing in titles of this genre, focused on an icy post-apocalypse in Colorado, United States. Initially you work for the Patriarch, a figure who at first glance is interested in doing good for the population, but we soon discovered that this is not the case, as he shows his dictatorial traits.

As their team needs the Patriarch’s money and resources, the protagonists accept the leader’s request and must find Valor, Victor and Liberty, the Patriarch’s three sons who rebelled against their father. If the father was already a little crazy, his offspring are as dangerous or more dangerous in both the ideas and the ideas they carry, and it is a pleasure to learn more about them thanks to the good plot of the game.

In fact, you’d better play prepared to read a lot, as there’s an obscene amount of text and characters to interact with as we learn more about the plot’s lore and geopolitical context. And your English course also needs to be up to date, as the game has not been localized to Portuguese, and a good understanding of the narrative is desirable to enjoy Wasteland 3 the maximum.

RPG and dense combat

There’s a lot to do as we explore the little world of the game, so be prepared to find anything from dramatic situations to moments of pure comedy, as the text shoots everywhere, usually with success. It’s worth spending time getting to know the characters better and overhearing their conversations, as they often bring unusual and surprising revelations.

Every now and then we run into situations with gray morals, and these are usually more interesting than the moments when the game tries to make a more acidic comment or parallels with current world politics, since in these cases it is usually too didactic and simple-minded, weighing your hand in your speech. Even so, in general, the narrative becomes more complex with each new stage that it overcomes and deserves to be checked multiple times, trying out different dialogue options along the way.

Alternative routes go beyond dialogue, and also involve managing your team. As usual in strategy games, it is possible to mold the squad’s abilities according to your needs, focusing some characters on healing powers or even on skill to break locks, for example. The difference here is that you can also make collective improvements that affect the entire group.

The combat system should be very familiar to anyone who has played Xcom and the like, as the fights are all performed in turns on a large board on which characters must spend action points to move and carry out orders. Walking costs points, performing support actions costs points, and obviously attacking rivals also consumes points, so you have to do calculations and micromanage the board over and over.

Love or hate this style of play, your actions have a certain percentage chance of going right or wrong, so every now and then you can fall victim to apparent injustices by being betrayed by the numbers, missing a shot that had a 90% chance of success. The best idea, then, is to manage your action points well to move to the closest coverage, betting on as much safety as possible.

It also helps to create a squad with the right skills and then position them right on the map, with long-range sniper snipers further back, and more tanking heroes, who take good melee damage, on the front lines. If you’ve never liked fights like this, it’s not Wasteland 3 that will change your opinion. But for those already converted, it’s a full plate!

Lack of polishing

Don’t expect to find good graphics and optimization in Wasteland 3, since most of the time the game seems to be making a lot of sacrifices to run minimally stable. And he doesn’t even spend that much time running with stability! Textures are often half-loaded, there are occasional bugs and crashes, and the impression is that the game urgently needs patches with performance improvements.

The worst thing is that even when they arrive, Wasteland 3 will continue to be a game with well below average graphics, boasting generic character models that look like something straight out of a moderately budget computer game released at the beginning of the last decade. On the other hand, longtime fans probably won’t mind this at all, as these elements don’t get in the way of the game’s good storytelling and combat, and the series has never been known for being technically brilliant in performance.

Given all of this, it seems pretty clear that the game is best suited for genre enthusiasts and the more hardcore audience eager to spend hundreds of hours immersed in an addictive turn-based tactical combat system. Casuals should go far, as their complex systems and technical problems only help to make Wasteland 3 an even more niche option.

Grade: 72

“Wasteland 3 has very fun tactical turn-based combat, but annoys because of its bugs and poor optimization”

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