By: Corey Lack
Wasteland 3 was third installment of the long-running Wasteland franchise. It is a very strategic based game that involves a lot of preparation even from the initial character creation. I actually had to restart the game after playing for only twenty minutes on multiple occasions because I didn’t build my characters the right way.
The plot for the game involves the organization from the previous game, the Desert Rangers, travelling to Colorado in order to strike a deal with the man ruling now the post-apocalyptic state. However, on arriving in the wintery state, they are attacked by a local bloodthirsty gang and most of their forces are either killed or captured. Two of the remaining rangers manage to fight their way to their allies and set about the fulfilling their part of the deal and taking care of the leader’s traitorous children along with other enemies they face throughout the state.
The characters are certainly different from each other and each bring a different sort of something to their interactions. Just the children of the Patriarch alone are all very different from each other with Liberty, the eldest child and only daughter, being a bloodthirsty tyrant, Valor, the youngest, is a weak-willed computer expert, and Victory is a psychopath that drugs people into becoming his slaves and brutally slaughters the rest. The different characters that can join the player characters are also very different from each other with each bringing a unique set of skills and personalities. That said, aside from the first two the player unlocks, I never used any of the others because they offered nothing my starting characters didn’t already have.
In terms of the gameplay, well, I already mentioned having to restart a few times. That, in my opinion, is not a point in its favor. However, once I got the hang of it, I proved my team was definitely one to be feared as I was laying waste to just about every enemy that I faced. By the end of the game, even the massive scorpion-shaped robots, called scorpitrons were little more than annoyances. Outside of combat, you move the whole team either through an area or through a map, interacting with various characters. In combat, the game becomes a turn-based strategy game with each side taking a turn. It is a lot of fun when in combat and building a balanced team really makes things easier regardless of who the enemy is or how many there are.
In terms of plot, however, I’d have to say this game is pretty lacking. The overall plot is rather lackluster and forgettable. Also, beyond references to the Patriarch, visiting other locations beyond what the story required added very little to the overarching plot. As such, I would often forget where I was supposed to be going for the main plot or what I was supposed to be doing on the world map.
Additionally, the end “moral decision” was pretty stupid. Before I get into it, I’m putting a big SPOILER WARNING right here. So, a returning character named Angela Deth wants the player to help her overthrow the Patriarch and his admittedly oppressive regime. However, the Patriarch is supposedly the only one that can send supplies to the Rangers still in Arizona and without them, they and the helpless people they protect will fall to bandits, raiders, and mercenaries. Deth wants to temporarily take over for the Patriarch and supposedly this will give the aforementioned Rangers a place to start over. However, this still leaves the innocents at the mercy of the aforementioned bad guys, something Deth claims to want to prevent in Colorado. As such, she will effectively doom one state while potentially saving another. For me, it was a total non-starter for that as yes, the Patriarch should not be in charge, especially after a few facts come to light, but solidifying the Rangers’ hold on Arizona should be first priority before picking a fight with another major power and overthrowing a regime.
Wasteland 3 is a pretty decent game, but is probably best enjoyed by those that like more strategy-heavy games. Also, with the plot being rather disappointing, I wouldn’t suggest going to it for that. That said, it was fun enough that I’d recommend giving it a try if you have a strategic mind for games. I’d give it 7.5 Morningstars out of 10.