VG Tribune

Wasteland 2: Director’s Cut Review

September 20, 2018 / 8:48 PM

By: Jesse Waldack

Thanks to Nintendo Dads Podcast Patron Zach Bohhannon for writing the following review for Wasteland 2: Director’s Cut

Title: Wasteland 2: Director’s Cut
Developer: InXile Entertainment
Publisher: InXile Entertainment
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Release Date: 9/13/2018
Reviewed by: Zach Bohhannon

I have to admit that in my thirty years of video gaming that it wasn’t until recently that I became a fan of turn-based games. So for a long time, strategy games and any RPG game with a battle system that requires you to attack with one character at a time has stayed way off my radar. But since buying the Nintendo Switch, a lot of that has changed for me. I’ve become a fan of strategy games and JRPGs. Throw into my recent attraction to the genre that post-apocalyptic worlds proved my favorite setting for games, movies, and books, and Wasteland 2: Director’s Cut became a game that caught my interest after it was announced for Switch earlier in the year. And even though the game was already available on other consoles and PC, I decided to wait for the Switch version.

Wasteland 2 is a game by InXile Entertainment. In a lot of ways, the Wasteland series acts as a spiritual successor to the original Fallout games. Like the early Fallout games, Wasteland 2 uses an isometric camera. You control a party of four protagonists who are part of the Desert Rangers, a rag-tag group enforcing the law in this barren, post-apocalyptic world. You can customize your characters from the beginning, or decide to move forward with the default names, skills, appearances, etc. I chose to play with the default party members.

You move around the overworld controlling a pin, and you can go to any number of settlements on the map as you choose. Along the way, you’ll face different challenges, and there are several things you have to manage. For instance, you have to keep track of how much water you have and be sure to stop and fill up at an oasis as you come across them. You also will encounter enemies for random battles, though you have the option to try and run away.

The combat is on a grid and is similar to a game like X-COM. You have to manage both finding cover for your party members, but also strategically knowing when to attack, and all movements use AP (action points.) I have to admit that I have little experience with these kinds of games, most of that coming from Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle. But while that game was approachable for newbies, Wasteland 2 is more complex, and if you are someone who has been playing PC strategy games for a while, then you will have an advantage.

In the performance department, it’s clear that the game was downgraded to perform on the Switch. The post-apocalyptic landscape looks a touch more laid to waste compared to its console counterparts, and the game also fails to maintain a steady frame rate. It feels choppy when moving around, but it’s nothing game-breaking. But you can expect to witness some dips, especially as more characters appear on the screen, especially in battle. The voice acting is solid, though the text is a little small, especially in handheld mode. That is unfortunate in a game that requires a lot of reading to not only fully understand the story, but also to play the game, as you’ll be reading a lot of tutorials to understand all the mechanics.

If you’re a veteran of grid, turn-based strategy games, then I think you’ll love Wasteland 2. The characters are fun, and the post-apocalyptic world executes the genre tropes and conventions excellently. You don’t need to have any knowledge of the previous game to enjoy the story, and the game’s refined battle system and robust inventory UI will feel at home for you. For myself, as someone who is newer to the strategy genre, I felt a little overwhelmed. I think with more time playing it, I could come to enjoy the game more, but it did not grab me out of the gate like I hoped it would. It’s possible that this is a game I could come back around to in the future and enjoy, and I hope that happens because I love the world and the story.

Thank you to InXile Entertainment for providing us with a review copy.

About the author /

Having played Intellivision and Atari games since he was six, Jesse has not only grown up with video games, but has seen just about everything. A husband and father of three teenagers, he still tries to squeeze in a game or three when he is able.

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