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Rock Paper Shotgun's Massive Wasteland 2 Preview

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Rock Paper Shotgun's Massive Wasteland 2 Preview

Preview - posted by Infinitron on Thu 1 August 2013, 22:36:49

Tags: InXile Entertainment; Wasteland 2

Rather than drawing them out over several posts, Rock Paper Shotgun's Nathan Grayson chose to gather his impressions of Wasteland 2 in one huge article. It has an unprecedentedly large amount of new details and information about the game. Here's an excerpt describing the game's opening and its tactical combat:

Wasteland 2 begins with the “retirement party” of a Wasteland 1 Ranger named Ace. But it’s a joke, you see. The punchline is that Ace is dead. Welcome to the Wasteland.​

It’s here that you’re handed your first Ranger mission: investigate some seriously creepy radio signals that are clogging the airwaves all throughout your parched paradise of a homeland. Here, Fargo and co briefly demonstrate the ever-controversial keyword-based dialogue system. Now, when you mouse over a keyword, you actually get a readout of what your Ranger will say, thus preventing Commander Shepard/Cole Phelps-style rage explosions when you were just wondering where to find the little Scorpitron’s room. It still wasn’t the most elegant-looking solution ever, but it got the job done. Plus, inXile promised that most of the interface – admittedly rather clunky looking – was still placeholder. A few mock-ups of newer versions looked much cleaner.​

And so, we set off. Our first stop: a prison in Arizona that once served as Wasteland 1′s Ranger Citadel. Long since abandoned, it instead played host to all sorts of greedy gangs. Naturally, one, the Red Skorpion Militia, wanted to “tax” our intrepid four-person law enforcement party for, er, carrying guns, because… look this is a robbery, alright? Do they really need a good reason? Combat followed shortly thereafter. Without missing a beat, the world went turn-based – just like in the ’90s, before seamlessly flowing time was invented. At its most basic, the quick, painfully lopsided skirmish played out like a very simple XCOM battle, except with less cover and even more overpowered sniper rifles. Colored grid regions indicated range (green = very little chance of missing, yellow = mid-range, red = long shot) and it wasn’t long before the bandits had a change of heart and politely died. It was, however, extremely basic. Almost worrisomely so.​

For combat, however, that is only the very, very, very, very, very, very, very tip of the iceberg. The opening areas mostly consisted of melee enemies and flat lands without even the thinnest slabs of cover to hide their shame, but complexity emerged in fairly short order. I witnessed another, still very unfinished area with plenty of cover and enemies that flanked, sniped, and generally proved quite adept at making dangerously fatal nuisances of themselves. That, said inXile, is actually just the baseline.​

“We wanted to make sure that we were able to craft encounters,” explained project lead Chris Keenan. “A lot of the RPGs that we were playing, they had a basic AI set on them, and they just did that. Run to player, shoot, generally stand back this far. We want to try to make sure that we’re getting interesting behaviors with these guys as far as flanking opportunities that they can see. Actively using height to their advantage. Working in groups. Sending two guys around one way and one guy around the other way.”​

“There’s plenty of cover in the game, but it doesn’t feel manufactured,” added Fargo. “It feels more natural, like part of the environment. There are areas where there’s no cover and areas where there’s lots of cover. We’ll take that into account as we balance the game. We may give you a lot more enemies in areas where there’s a lot of cover, behind the scenes. Or there’s going to be snipers up on the roof, because we deal with height and distance as well, thanks to a modified Mercenaries, Spies, and Private Eyes rule set – kind of like the original Wasteland. So that might affect where we could make cover available.”​

“Another part of this, too, is that while you’re in combat there, you can still use your [typically non-combat-related] skills,” said Keenan. “If there were locked doors over on this side, you could drop bombs and use demolition skills. You could go unlock an area, which might take you to a little corridor that takes you up a ladder, and now you have a nice position behind another guy who’s up on the roof shooting down at you. He doesn’t notice you behind him.”​

Read the full preview for more information about the game's skills, factions and hardcore pig escorting mechanics.

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