War. War never changes. But what does change are names and likenesses, to protect the innocent. And as a result of that, you’ve likely never heard of the original Wasteland, released back in 1988 on the Apple II. The reason you’ve never heard of it is because EA kept the rights to that official name, while Wasteland creators moved on to what would eventually become the immensely popular Fallout series. Now, thanks to a successful Kickstarter campaign, the world is poised to finally see the other thread of that divergent reality.
Boasting a persistent world that changes based upon your decisions, a party system where every created character has meaningful and unique skills to contribute to a situation (as no one can learn everything), and a nuclear wasteland environment rich in humor and nostalgia, Wasteland 2 now seems to be ironically attempting to return to its roots in more ways than one: where Fallout was the spiritual successor to the Wasteland sequel fans were clamoring for, Wasteland 2 is becoming the Fallout 2 sequel that we’ve all been dying to play.
Picture Baldur’s Gate or Icewind Dale but with AP based ranged and melee combat, and you start to get an idea of the scope and depth of the experience. Though it is only in the Early Access beta stages, those willing to deal with the occasional crash and bug report can dive in now and start playing with skills and character builds. The nature of the divergent experience makes it well worth the time and investment — the level of replayability is hugely apparent, as from the beginning moments of the game you’ll see missed opportunities where you could have influenced conversations in particular ways. And as time goes on and more content is added, those possibilities continue to grow.
If you’ve ever had an interest in computer RPGs, chances are you’ve enjoyed playing a game spawned, influenced, or remarkably similar to Wasteland. And though you’ve likely never heard of Wasteland before, Wasteland 2 is undoubtedly a game you will hear much more about in your (hopefully) non-post-apocalytic near future.