Wasteland 2 Review

Wasteland 2 loading screen

Wasteland 2 Review by Honorabili

Overall Score: 8.5 out of 10

Wasteland 2 is the direct sequel to the original Wasteland, the game that Fallout was based on. Wasteland 2 takes the setting from the original game and updates it with isometric gameplay elements we love from similar games such as Fallout, Fallout 2, Fallout Tactics, Jagged Alliance, Jagged Alliance 2, the X-COM series, and Silent Storm 2, as well as the lost Amiga classic RPG Perihelion. In spirit, to me, this game is what Van Buren would have been like for Fallout 3 rather than the Fallout 3 Oblivion-like game that actually got made. The writing for Wasteland 2 is also a lot like the one in the games I previously mentioned as well as Fallout: New Vegas.

Storyline:

The game takes place in an alternate timeline. The nuclear apocalypse happened in 1998 (although if you play the game it feels like 1988, maybe even 1983 based on the computer technology you find in the game) and it’s now nearly a hundred years after the end of the world. The kind of destruction of civilization and barbarity that take place would be at home in the Mad Max universe. Out of the chaos of the apocalypse, some engineers and military personnel in the territory that used to be the United States of America organized itself in the shattered remains of Arizona to become a paramilitary organization that would police the wastes. They are called the Desert Rangers. Your party are new members of this group that are quickly sent to investigate the murder of Ace, one of the characters from Wasteland 1.

Survival Elements:

Not only must you contend with the surviving psychopaths of the Wasteland but you are also trying to survive in an environment where you are not only battling radiation, limited ammo, limited healing, but also the lack of water. This is an element that was also found in original Wasteland and it will make you feel a lot like playing a Dark Sun Dungeons & Dragons campaign.

Gameplay:

Every location and they way you interact with the people in those locations affects the world in a large or limited way, depending on how relevant they are to the storyline of the game. Much like Fallout 2, this game is also filled with easter eggs, pop culture jokes, and inside jokes. Exploration is encouraged as the game will reward you with rare items which usually don’t seem useful but they may be useful to a character that you might meet after 10-20 hours of gameplay later. It’s this kind of depth that makes Wasteland 2 as enjoyable as playing all the RPGs I mentioned previously.

The game consists of making your characters explore and interact with locations (people and objects) as well as a LOT of combat. I would say this game is the polar opposite of Planescape: Torment (another favorite RPG of mine). Whereas Planescape: Torment had very little combat, the slaughter in Wasteland 2 is legendary! Combat happens very much in the same manner as Jagged Alliance, Fallout Tactics, and X-COM games. You position your crew in a square-system based grid and they move and shoot based on Action Points. These action points are based on your characters’ statistics as well as reduction in AP based on what armor you are wearing and also a bonus/penalty to AP based on whatever trinket you have equipped.

The game uses a hit point based system, much like most games do, which although is not the most realistic system is not as punishing to new RPG players as some other systems are (Vampire or Shadowrun proportionate health systems). Much like the original Wasteland, the game uses a very intricate healing system for which first aid and surgeon are two separate skills. First aid is mainly used to increase the efficiency of first aid kits in healing hit points, whereas surgeon is used to recover fallen soldiers and bring them back from the brink of death, as well help them recover from bleeding, and other status ailments.

Combat aside, the game has a very straight forward attribute and skill system. Most of the skills have a use which is self explanatory towards objects in the environments of locations. What’s interesting is that what is the speech skill in Fallout is implemented in this game instead as three separate kind of social skills: smart ass, kiss ass, and hard ass. Smart ass applies towards dialogue options in which logic is usually involved. Kiss ass involves towards stroking other people’s egos. Hard ass involves threatening (usually physically) some weak minded fools to bend to your will (basically intimidation). Much like many other games only social skills will open up special dialogue options that will lead to new plot lines.

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SUMMARY:
Pros:
Deep storyline
Hectic combat is a lot of fun
Completely customizable player characters
Well written characters for NPCs (including party members and town NPCs)
Really well made audio (both sound effects and music)
Can run on most systems (even obsolete ones)
Amazing dialogue
Very immersive environment
Many hours of game relative to the cost of purchase
Buying this game will continue to fund more games like this
Using the radio saves having to return to home base and that saves time
NO DEADLINE (aka gun to your head) like in Fallout 1 and 2
The funny, detailed combat log from the old Bard’s Tale games as well as the original Fallout games is implemented in this game too
This game is proof that really good games that people need can come out of crowd-funding projects

Cons:

Single-player game only
No editor for making custom campaigns
AI is not that effective in combat (in fact, it’s pretty dumb)
Unity graphics engine looks dated
Unity engine is sluggish (latest updates have made it faster though)
Limited replayability
Inventory management could be a little bit more polished
People who did not play 80s-90s-early 2000s RPG games will be not interested in playing it
Lots of loading and saving because of sometimes ridiculous skill tests (10-13% probability of passing with 45% critical failure rates)
Loading games on a hard drive can be slow and since loading happens often because of critically failed skill tests the game can get boring
I found some bugs/expoits (they have been patching the game every week or two since it came out so soon there will be none)

CONCLUSION:
We finally got the Wasteland sequel that we needed. How much did we need this? Well, fans of the original game had reverse engineered that game in order to modify it. That was a project that took years and a lot of patience. It’s been years since an actually good science-fiction, especially post-apocalypse RPG has come out. The wait was worth it.

All fans of the original Wasteland and especially fans of Fallout 1, 2, and Tactics MUST play this game. I highly encourage you to BUY IT especially since inXile did such a great job and they will continue to make the RPGs we crave. Keep the dream alive! Now here’s to hoping they make Wasteland 3! 🙂

Games Coming out for Consoles: Oct 17th 2010

people buying nintendo wii
people buying nintendo wii

As you get ready for all the Halloween parties and Saw 13 you might want to set aside some money for console games. Sure, you could buy winter clothes or get that root canal you’ve needed for some time, but that won’t add to your collection of games now will it. It doesn’t matter if you have a Playstation 3, X-Box 360 or that awful Wii there is something for everyone this week.

Fallout: New Vegas


What goes better with nuclear waste than a $2.99 steak buffet. Fallout New Vegas features the Fallout 3 engine and was developed with members of the Fallout 1 and 2 team. It’s time to shine up your Pip-boy and load your weapons for some post-apocalyptic mutant hunting.

We got to see this in action at E3 and it looks really good. The art direction and style of Old Vegas mixed in with the lore of Fallout. You know the story and side quests are going to be fun and when you blast a mutant from miles away with the hunters riffle you will feel right at home.

Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 2


Now if you haven’t heard of Naruto it started as a Manga character from the Shonen Jump magazine. From there it ventured out into Anime and video games and more. Naruto follows the story of a boy ninja who was ostracized as a kid and because of that acted out and got into lots of trouble, but in time he became a great ninja, or and he has a demon sealed inside of him.

Many of the previous games followed the story from the Anime with extra missions and side quests thrown in. In Ultimate Ninja Storm 2 the story picks up at the beginning of the Shippuden run with Naruto returning to the village about three years older after training with his master. From there he takes on new missions with his team and reconnects with friends from the village,

We played this game at E3 and it was really fun and looked just like the Anime. The fighting styles are great and you can pull off a ton of special moves that look awesome. In addition to the mission levels you can fight against each other in versus matches and there are over 42 characters to choose from. Honestly even if you aren’t into Naruto specifically, if you like a good story adventure game with great fighting mixed in then this is worth a look.

 

 

EA Sports MMA


Forget the WWE it’s all about MMA now and that means real fights, real blood and that EA will make a game for it. Mixed Marital arts is big and this game showcases some of the best fighters in MMA.

The game looks real good and it has a cool career feature where you can customize you fighter from his looks to his gear. From there you have starting skill points but must train in them all to be the best. Over time by winning fights you earn money to improve your training as well as gear and then move up to be fights from all around the world.

It has a ton of names from the world of MMA and a well-designed and fun to play versus system. Hey, if you bought Fight Night might as well give this a try too.

Next Time

There are a few more games coming out next week, but if I had the time and the cash I would pick these up. Next week the wallet onslaught continues with a new list of upcoming games worth buying. Until then claim your weeks and start taking under the table jobs.

gog.com sale: 2010 Spring Promo, huge sale!

Beyond Good & Evil
Beyond Good & Evil

gog.com sale: 2010 Spring Promo, huge sale

To celebrate the coming of Spring, Good Old Games is having a huge sale on all their top selling games. Let’s see what they are offering this weekend!

1. BEYOND GOOD AND EVIL™ (30% OFF) $6.99
2. DISCIPLES 2: GOLD EDITION (50% OFF) $4.99
3. DIVINE DIVINITY (50% OFF) $2.99
4. EVIL GENIUS (50% OFF) $4.99
5. FALLOUT (50% OFF) $2.99
6. GOTHIC 2: GOLD EDITION (50% OFF) $4.99
7. HEROES OF MIGHT AND MAGIC® 3 (30% OFF) $6.99
8. MYST: MASTERPIECE EDITION (50% OFF) $2.99
9. RED BARON PACK (50% OFF) $4.99
10. SIMON THE SORCERER (50% OFF) $2.99

About each game:

1. BEYOND GOOD AND EVIL™ (30% OFF) $6.99

Praised by almost all adventure gamers as one of the top adventure games of all time, Beyond Good And Evil actually lives up to its hype.

The Good Old Games version includes the manual (16 pages), hi-res wallpapers, the soundtrack, and artworks.

2. DISCIPLES 2: GOLD EDITION (50% OFF) $4.99

You will like this game if you like games like Heroes of Might and Magic and Age of Wonders. It’s that same kind of strategy fantasy game.

This versions includes all of Disciples II including Dark Prophecy, as well as new scenarios, and all the three expansion packs: Guardians of the Light, Servants of the Dark, and Rise of the Elves. The Good Old Games version includes the manuals (3), hi-res wallpapers, in-game soundtrack, artworks, and avatars.

3. DIVINE DIVINITY (50% OFF) $2.99

We’ve promoted this game before and it’s a highly praised diablo-clone action RPG but with its own special style.

The Good Old Games version includes the manual (37 pages), wallpapers, prequel story to Divine Divinity (31 pages), in-game soundtrack, artworks, and avatars.

4. EVIL GENIUS (50% OFF) $4.99

Ever want to be Dr. Evil from Austin Powers? Here is the perfect Sim-strategy game for that!

The Good Old Games version includes manual (31 pages), hi-res wallpapers, in-game soundtrack, artworks, World Domination Starter Kit, avatars, as well as the English, French, German and Spanish language versions.

5. FALLOUT (50% OFF) $2.99

Fallout 1 is a game that changed the ways computer RPGs were from that point on. This to me is a game that created a golden age for that genre.

The Good Old Games includes the manual (124 pages), hi-res wallpaper, Fallout series wallpaper, Fallout Bible (205 pages), reference card, in-game soundtrack, original soundtrack, artworks, avatars, and PipBoy avatars. So you get a LOT of Fallout for just $3.

6. GOTHIC 2: GOLD EDITION (50% OFF) $4.99

The Gothic series pack a lot of interesting RPG aspects as well as replayability. For some reason these games have become their own classic series from one of our favorite studios, Jowood.

The Good Old Games version includes manuals (78 pages), hi-res wallpapers, soundtrack, and avatars. Gothic 2: Gold Edition includes Gothic II and the expansion pack Gothic II: Night of the Raven.

7. HEROES OF MIGHT AND MAGIC® 3 (30% OFF) $6.99

Apart from Panzer General, the Heroes of Might and Magic games are awesome turn-based strategy war games. Level up your heroes (generals) which modify the performance of their armies.

The Good Old Games version includes manuals (209 pages), soundtrack, and creature tables. You get the original game as well as the two expansions, Armageddon’s Blade and The Shadow of Death.

8. MYST: MASTERPIECE EDITION (50% OFF) $2.99

If you like adventure games and you haven’t played Myst then I don’t know what to tell you…

The Good Old Games version includes the manual (17 pages).

9. RED BARON PACK (50% OFF) $4.99

People might think World War I is cheesy but flight combat was extreme back in that war. It was a test of pure skill. No bullshit computer to calculate a lock-on from a missile back then. Just the machine, your machine gun (if it worked) and your enemies.

Red Baron is probably one of the top flight combat sims of all time. If you love WWI stuff or flight combat, you need this game.

The Good Old Games version includes manuals (306 pages), maps, and reference cards. In this version you get Red Baron 1, the Red Baron: Mission Builder, and Red Baron 3D (a heavily patched version of Red Baron 2).

10. SIMON THE SORCERER (50% OFF) $2.99

A must for fans of the old Sierra and LucasArts adventure games, although this one was made by Adventure Soft.

The Good Old Games version includes the manual (7 pages), Simon the Sorcerer series wallpaper, as well as being able to pick between playing the subtitled and talking version of the game.

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Click here to go to Good Old Games and see the sale!

Memories of Gaming 1997-2003

3dfx logo - a symbol of quality
3dfx logo – a symbol of quality

Memories of Gaming 1997-2003 by Honorabili

Around the year 1997, I started to go a lot to ebgames to buy a lot of PC games. Rather than go for whatever was the top title that week, I would always check out what games they had for sale in their bargain bin. I did buy hit games like Carmageddon, Fallout 1, Master of Orion 2, and Grand Theft Auto 1 but for the most part from 1997 til about 2003, I stuck to buying cheap games. The bargain bin had a lot of failed games that were either bad or had failed in their marketing and distribution and nobody knew about them or they were simply budget titles that did not have the best graphics but had awesome enough gameplay that they got released.

My criteria for buying these games was that they had to cost usually about $1-10. For me to buy one that was $15, it had to have been highly recommended or praised. This shopping included buying used copies of games as well. I also bought a lot of stuff based on the brands of developers and publishers. Almost anything that got made by Microprose and Interplay was bought for sure. They were my favorite company in those years up until Brian Fargo lost control of the company and Herve Caen destroyed the company. Because I would still play the popular titles at the time but I would also played a ton of obscure and lost titles, I gained a good understanding as to why games and gaming companies fail. As far as Microprose goes, went they got liquidated I remember buying all of their games (multiple copies too) for 25 cents a piece!

Back in 97-03, my life consisted of going to college, hanging out with my friend Bruce and little brother, watching a ton of VHS movies which we usually rented from Future Video or Hollywood video (both are out of business now), playing a ton of video games, and buying video games almost every weekend. Usually Bruce or my brother and I would go and scout out 3-4 stores at a time seeing which ones had the best deals and stock. We would go a lot to The Falls, Miami International Mall, Dadeland, and later Dolphin Mall. I usually had a policy of buying at least one game each time I went into those stores, even if it was a crappy $1-2 game (of which I bought plenty of!). I remember one time that Bruce and I went in to buy what was either Fallout 2 or Carmageddon 2 and we ended up walking out with about $300-400 of cheap games.

After buying a bunch of these games, we would test out a bunch on the crappy LAN we built using our main machines which were initially powered by AMD K6-2’s and our bitch computers usually were a bunch of trade-ins I got from my PC repair/building business that were Celerons or Pentium I’s or 686’s. Sometimes we would just setup multiplayer games of a specific game to see if we could get it to run because maybe the multiplayer component of a game was utter crap.

I remember very well when I tried to run Carmageddon 1 on my AMD 486 DX-4 100 Mhz and the game was a slide-show. Quickly after that I jumped to my AMD K6-2 266 Mhz with 128 MB of RAM and a Diamond Stealth 2000 video card tied to a Creative 3dfx Voodoo 2 with 4 MB of RAM. I got addicted to Glide games quickly… Thanks to my gaming I got a lot of orders for gaming computers which paid for my college and taught me more about the real business world than many classes I took and books I read ever were able to show me.

What I like about 97-03 was that I saw the explosion of graphics acceleration for PCs. We also experienced the graphics acceleration and CPU wars. Some casualties of the graphics acceleration were were 3dfx, S3 and PowerVR. Some victims of the CPU wars were Centaur, Cyrix, and VIA. I remember the race to hit 1 Ghz with AMD hitting it stable with their Athlon and Intel’s 1 Ghz P3 being a complete mess that melted. A lot of hardware that comes to mind of these days are: 3dfx, the TNT 2, Voodoo 2 and 3, AMD K6-2 and K6-3, Pentium 2 & 3, Athlon and Athlon XP, Matrox, ATI vs nVidia, Radeons vs GeForce cards, AMD vs Intel, SDRAM & DDR, PC100 & PC133, introduction of SATA drives, introduction of RAID to gaming PCs.

Around these years we also started to see a differentiation between the kind of gamers that were attracted to PC gaming vs console gaming. I also began to see that for PC gaming some years were good strong years and some years just about nothing good came out.

In these years we also saw a giant growth in the availability of better broadband and the explosion of the internet (and the dot com bubble burst). In terms of gaming this improved multiplayer games and the availability of pirated software and games. We saw stuff like Scour and Napster and WinMX rise and fall. Then came torrents, which are still going strong.

Apart from the usual pirated games, we saw the rise of emulation. Emulation has always been around just about, even in the 60s and 70s with mainframes trying to emulate rival companies operations. Certainly around the time the AMD K6-2 and Intel Pentium II were commonly available we saw a lot of good NES and SNES emulation, as well as Sega Genesis, and even c64 (which doesn’t take much to run) and the Amiga emualators (which took a lot to run when they first came out). Playstation 1 emulators were out, as well as Nintendo 64 but initial performance and availability of these was terrible. Around this time I got to know well sites such as zophar.net. You also saw the growth of MAME and ROMs for all sorts of systems going around.

These years also saw an explosion in video game and computer music remixing. I even took part of this, even killing RKO, the home of c64 remixes. General video game remixing blew up on sites such as OverClocked Remix. I made a lot of good friends at remix64 and micromusic.

Some PC gamers in 1997-2003 were either of the camp that cared only for framerates (FPS junkies) or image quality. Around the late 90s, I felt that 3dfx had the best graphics but lowest frame rates, then came ATI, and with nVidia having highest frame-rates but lower quality renders.

We also saw around these years the rise of the mp3/ogg files. Many games before used proprietary sound formats and also a lot of MOD tracker formats. CD quality audio became a standard for games around this time. Initial games at this time had actual CD audio tracks incorporated into the game CDs.

Other trends include the further increase of popularity of first person shooters in the form of the Doom games, Quake series, Unreal Tournament series, Half-Life, Counterstrike, Medal of Honor and Call of Duty, Far Cry, etc. We saw just about the death of turn based strategy games and the explosion of more real time strategy games. Although Ultima Online was around, then came the explosion of Everquest (which made me a lot of money), and other MMOs.

Conclusion:

These were great times for gaming for my friends and I because back then we had the time to do it. Later on complications such as girlfriends and wives and shitty jobs and children interfered with our hobby. The equivalent of me getting cheap games these days are the Steam sales and the gog.com sales. I have enough old games that I can relive parts of the old days any day I want! (well, except having my old friends to LAN it up with)