I'm listening to a woman die, and it's my fault.
I don't even know this woman. I've never met her. I don't know what she looks like, what her hopes and dreams were, what she liked to eat for breakfast, whether she had children, her favorite color, nothing. To me, she's just a voice on a squawking handheld radio. She is electromagnetic radiation entering a bent antenna.
Nevertheless, I murdered her.
It's my first day as a Desert Ranger, Arizona's post-nuclear peacekeeping force, and I'm dealing with a crisis. Both our source of food — a station known as Ag Center — and our source of water — the town of Highpool — came under attack at the same time. That's a bit too odd to be coincidence, but there's no time to worry about it now.
What matters right now is I elected to save Highpool first, mainly because I was closer, and now time's run out for Ag Center. With her dying breath, the woman curses my name one last time. Then there's just static.
It's been over a quarter century since the original Wasteland, a post-apocalyptic RPG that influenced an entire genre, most notably by serving as the inspiration for the Fallout series. After pitching the project for years, inXile and Brian Fargo raised funding for a successor through Kickstarter and it's finally here: Wasteland 2.
Note: In the interest of transparency, I haven't finished Wasteland 2 yet. It's long — I've put in over thirty hours already and just reached the mid-point of the game. However, everything I've played was played on review code, not Early Access code, and I feel comfortable giving the game a score now considering I've already received more than enough enjoyment from it. (My editor has also played for about 25 hours.) If anything changes in the second half of the game, however, we'll update this review accordingly.
Wasteland 2 is a traditional-style CRPG, complete with isometric camera view, turn-based battles, and lots of numbers. You manage a team of up to seven Desert Rangers (four of which you create, plus three companions) on a quest to keep peace in Arizona and the surrounding areas.
That's easier said than done, considering the sheer number of factions out there that want you dead: the Red Skorpions, the Wrecking Crew, random raiders, pod people, robots, et cetera. Suffice it to say the Rangers aren't exactly well-liked by the people of Arizona. At best, you get a tepid "Oh, I remember you from my childhood, when the Rangers still helped people." At worst, well... guns.
See, the Rangers are a shadow of their former glory. Once a force for good in Arizona, they've grown weak and cowardly, holed up in an old bunker in an effort to "regain strength" while the rest of the world went to hell. And that's where you come in.
Sign up for CIO Asia eNewsletters.