first finish: my WL2-DC review (minor spoilers)

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demeisen
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first finish: my WL2-DC review (minor spoilers)

Post by demeisen » July 13th, 2017, 5:02 pm

I know I'm late to the party, but I just finished WL2 for the first time, with the DC. I played it a bit before the DC came out, but for a few reasons never finished. I figured I'd have another go with the DC, and I'm glad I did. Thoughts below, and some suggestions I'd like to see in WL3, if indeed InExile is still accepting those at this stage.

First, a big thanks to InExile for the game and the post-release DC! The original didn't quite have enough meat on the bones to hold my interest for the whole length of the game, but the addition of aimed shots, the perk system, and extra voice acting really fleshed the game out nicely. It shaped up to be one of the better RPGs of recent years. There's a lot of really good stuff here, and a few annoyances. Overall, I'd put this up in the 9/10 territory.

Detailed thoughts (a little long, but I wouldn't bother if I didn't think it was a nicely made game):

World Building
I really liked the post-apoc vibe, and feel the game pulled it off quite well. The typical elves-and-orcs fantasy genre is a bit overdone, so this was a nice change of pace. The sheer amount of background ambiance: the weird and disturbing random radio broadcasts, the variety of junk such as you might expect in a post-apoc world, it all contributed. I especially liked the feeling that all these communities had their own local culture, being now cut off from anyone else, and had evolved in different ways with different problems. Nice job on this front. Also there were some interesting scripted world-map encounters, like the Fab Five bunch, or that one vendor who gets mad if you don't buy something. Small gripe: too often you can steal stuff from right in front of people without them getting mad. Many nice little touches around too, like birds that get startled out of bushes when you walk by. Stuff most probably don't even notice, but it adds to the world. World building: 9/10.

Humor
It was a good integration of humor into the game. Only in a few cases did I find it a little off putting, but most of the time it worked, without being too in your face. The sheer amount of 80's references was impressive. Buried ET cartridges indeed... the "second to last of the V8 interceptors". Fun, without breaking the game feel. 8/10.

Weapon Balance
A clear improvement from the pre-DC, but still could use some work here and there. I like the intent of it: that different weapon classes have tradeoffs, and act and feel differently in combat. I could stand to see some changes: perhaps shotguns damage falling off with distance, being more damaging very close than even an assault rifle, but falling off to very low damage as range increases. I never found heavy weapons too compelling. Melee felt nice now: I used a bladed char with excellent success. Energy was a bit weak even against robots, except for the one unique weapon. Still, an improvement over the base game. (Oh, and you missed the chance to make the IBM Model M keyboard a bashing weapon, as it would amply suffice in real life). 7/10

Combat
Aimed shots added a lot, over the base game. I found uses for all the categories, although torso less than the others, since you often have weapons that can pierce that armor. It might work better if enemy armor got a little higher, like 12-15 where armor piercing topped out at 9, so you'd have a late-game reason to use torso shots. Also, maybe head shots should always have a small chance of failure: too often with a high combat skill you could get 100% on headshots, so... why not? Still, the base of the system worked nicely and added a lot of interesting variety. I wouldn't mind seeing the idea expanded for WL3.

Weapon modding was great too. It could stand a little more variety: often there was a clear "best" set of mods to use. I could imagine things like flash-bang grenade launcher attachments which cost the enemy AP or CI at the cost that you can't also equip an underbarrel flashlight. Or slug rounds for shotguns: more single-target damage up close, but no cone angle. Etc - more things to force tradeoffs and add variety. The system is a great idea overall, so I really hope it gets expanded in WL3.

I also like the cover system, and would like to see it expanded for WL3 to include several varieties of cover. Maybe light cover in tall grass that adds concealment but no damage mitigation. Or heavier cover that decreases your attack chance, but makes you really hard to hit without heavy weapons. Dunno - just more types!

Many of the unique weapons were underwhelming compared to stock ones. In only a few cases did I use them. Nice ideas, but somehow they often seemed like inferior choices.

Random stuff: I ended up wishing for defined formations, POE-style. I liked that elevation matters in combat. Please don't decrease the team size for WL3! The 4+3 format worked nicely. Also, please don't simplify, e.g, the perks and quirks. Some could use tweaks to become useful, but I liked the variety.

Combat system overall: 9/10

Voice Acting
Decent, with some rough spots here and there. I'd have to go re-listen to form a better opinion. I liked the Brother Thomas character.

Difficulty and Resource Constraints
I played on Ranger, and kind of wish I'd done SJ. The hardest fights were fun, but there was a lot of riff-raff combats with little risk.

I felt way over-resourced through most of the game. Even when I had three characters all using 7.62 (two AR, one SR), I was swimming in the stuff, without ever using any of the money or finding-stuff related perks. Ditto for most others (although I made little use of automatic weapons; maybe that matters here). Ditto for healing kits, surgery kits, etc - I was buried in the stuff. I felt the overly generous resources kind of hurt the survival feel of the game a little, and I wouldn't mind an option to chop all the resources down by a factor of maybe 2 or 3 for ammo, and even more for some other things. I'd like to run out of ammo sometimes, to force the use of a backup weapon skill. I'd like more of a survival feel, I guess. This is probably my biggest balance gripe: it felt too much like a land of plenty, at least after the first mission or two.

Resources overall: 6/10

Bugs
Nothing preventing me from finishing the game, but I tended to get crashes on loading zones. I'll post a stack trace in the tech forum. Game version: GOG, Linux. Also, to play at all I had to find a forum tip about using ulimit -Sn 65536, or the game would open too many files at once and get killed by the OS. Could stand to add that to the start.sh script! Anyway, no obvious broken quests, though I didn't finish a few, probably more my fault for not knowing what to do though. In a few cases it was not clear to me how to proceed on a quest. 7/10

So yeah. Good stuff. Nicely done, InExile. Now I'm looking forward to WL3...

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