Wasteland 2 - Director's Cut

Nov 27, 2020
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Probably not many still playing this game, but I looked at @Kaamos_Llama 's post about Wasteland 3, and there were several posts about WL2 so I'm sure some of you have played it in the past. This isn't really a review as such, more of a summation of my experience from playing the game. I'll try to keep this post as spoiler free as possible for those who might yet want to play it, or for those who might want to go back and complete it.

I finally finished last night, after 331.5 hours (according to Steam), but that's starting from the beginning 3 times so it's hard to say how long a single play through for me would have lasted. You get a lot of "slide screens" at the end that summarize your successes, or failures, or how you completed certain quests.


What was surprising to me, was how few players actually finished the game. You get an achievement at the end (which is actually for reaching the final area, so I won't show it for spoiler reasons) which shows that only 10.3% of the players reached the end game. I was shocked by how low that percentage is. WL2 can be a difficult game, primarily I think because it's so dependent upon stats, skills, and perks; and how you build your characters (which is why I started 3 times). All those elements are intertwined and affect everything you do, from combat to conversation choices. It's very detailed, old-school approach, that I personally love, but may have been frustrating to some players.

WL2 is very open-ended in how you complete the major quests, as there are multiple ways to do them. It's not just a "good or evil", it's more of a gray area, where you have to guide your rangers by your own moral compass, and even if you try to do the best, or good, thing, you can't save everyone. There are some tough choices to make, and how you complete one quest, can potentially affect others. Very well done and very involved, one of the best "choices matter" RPGs I've played in a long time.

Combat is just great, turn-based and very tactical. Positioning, before & during combat, can mean living or dying. You don't always have the option, or chance to get to position your rangers before combat, but if you can get that first strike against a known enemy, it's a huge advantage. Another thing about combat is that there is a huge jump in difficulty once you leave Arizona for California. In fact, everything becomes more challenging, from combat to skill checks, and it will probably make or break your party of rangers.


I did look at some of the character build guides available, and while helpful to a degree, none of them really fit my play style. I could go on & on here talking about skills, stats, and perks, but I'll keep this post brief (for a change), but if someone wanted to know about my final party construction, I could give more detail.

Anyway, now it's on to Wasteland 3 for me, which I downloaded this morning, so I'll see how that compares to WL2. I know there were a lot of skill and stat changes, hopefully it's not too "dumbed down", and more of a refinement.
 
@mainer you put in some hours!

I did about 30 in Wasteland 2, and then restarted partly because the directors cut was released while I was playing, and partly because my party sucked :D All told about 120 hours to finish one playthrough. Apparently I finished it in 2018 and my memory is bad so I dont remember a lot of specifics unfortunately.

I do remember I had a lot of fun with it, interested to hear how you find 3, because I couldnt get into it as much for some reason and I wonder if I'll try again later.
 
IIRC theres a bit of wrangling because if you accidentally double up on skills by giving your starting characters the same ones as NPC's you meet early in the game its a bit inefficient. I also have a vague memory that maybe energy weapons and ammo are hard to find early on, and dont do good damage vs anything apart from robots, which also don't show up much until early mid gameish, and sporadically too.

Its probably not the most approachable game to people who might not have experience with older style RPG's, I think @mainer mentioned that somewhere before.
 
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Both of you restarted!? That probably explains the low completion rate. You're both experienced gamers so I expect your original parties were something sane, yet still didn't work. A bunch of people are going to just leave instead of restarting.
Its probably not the most approachable game to people who might not have experience with older style RPG's
IIRC theres a bit of wrangling because if you accidentally double up on skills by giving your starting characters the same ones as NPC's you meet early in the game its a bit inefficient.
I think that's the heart of the low completion rate for WL2, the skill/stat/perk system was so intricate, it was really easy to make a party of 4 rangers that just won't cut the long haul. And you'll reach a point somewhere late in the Arizona campaign where you'll know. I might be Prison Valley, or Canyon of the Titan, or Damonta. Combat becomes tougher, skill checks require high levels (8-10) to succeed, and there is no re-specing your rangers. I think the majority of players hit that wall and just weren't willing to start from scratch. It can be a brutal game for the inexperienced player of old-school type RPGs.

And as @Kaamos_Llama mentioned, it's further complicated by the other NPCs you can recruit and the overlap of skills. Even with 3 starts, I found that skill overlap was inevitable, it came down to a choice (for me) in keeping NPCs with skills I could use; developing those that were better than mine, and ignoring those that weren't. You basically had to tweak and develop them to your base group of four.

Take for example Pizepi Joren who you find late in AZ. She had overlapping skills of Perception and Smart Ass, which were less than my rangers, so I stopped developing those, but she also had a high Energy Weapon skill which I lacked. Over the course of the game I changed her development to include Kiss Ass, Assault Rifles, and Toaster Repair, all skills that my party lacked. It also helps when the NPC has a high INT score so it can be leveled up to an 8 to be able to get 4 skill points per level up (the majority of NPCs you can recruit have low INT and hard to level with enough skill points to matter).


 
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Zloth

Community Contributor
Wasteland 3 has respecs, thank goodness. You can also hire some of your own custom rangers, which makes the crafting system much more accessible. Just hire a custom, train up his crafting skills, and never let him out of the compound. There are still some crafting skill checks out in the world to give you some incentive to get the skills yourself, but they weren't enough for me to invest in past the first few (cheap) skill levels.
 
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I also have a vague memory that maybe energy weapons and ammo are hard to find early on, and dont do good damage vs anything apart from robots, which also don't show up much until early mid gameish, and sporadically too.
Energy weapons become useful late in the AZ campaign, and are critical at certain battles in California. Useful only with robots and turrets, and that doesn't include synth enemies or organics. If you're going to max out the Energy Weapon skill, you need to take the associated perks that will increase damage against other enemy types.



I do remember I had a lot of fun with it, interested to hear how you find 3, because I couldnt get into it as much for some reason and I wonder if I'll try again later.
So far, I'm liking it but not as yet loving it. With WL2 I immediately fell in love with it, with all the character creation details and how skills/stats/perks & quirks affect everything you do. It had a very Fallout 1 & 2 feel to it, not surprising because Brian Fargo was executive producer in all 3 games.

I haven't gotten far yet (6.1 hours), and only have gotten through the Dam Site and gone to meet the Patriarch, where I got lambasted by a bunch of quests and had to quit for the night. There have been a lot of changes, and I think they'll be more noticeable for those players coming from WL2 than those starting with WL3 without having played the previous game. Just some very early observations:

-Music and sound effects are fantastic. Gun shots are crisp and sharp, and while I haven't heard much of the soundtrack yet, there was a song that played during the final battle of the first area that was just awesome. I don't know what track it was, or if it plays in every battle, but I loved it.

-Skills, Stats, Perks, and Quirks have all changed or combined and a bit simpler in comparison to WL2, probably a result of those 89.7% of players who didn't finish WL2. It feels that those systems are bit overly simplified, but it's too early to know for sure. Some make sense, like putting both assault rifles and machine guns under the automatic weapons skill. A couple of comparison shots from WL3 & WL2:
Wasteland 2


Wasteland 3


-Combat is still great, maybe better as there seem to be more details available on the combat interface. It seems like there are more destructible objects on the battlefield as well. Exploding barrels! What's an RPG without exploding barrels?! There were a few in WL2, but those elements seem enhanced and more widely available in WL3.

-Conversations and interactions with major characters are more dynamic and up close than in WL2, though I'm still unsure about the conversation system itself.

-And WTH did they do to the inventory system? As you guys know, I'm pretty adamant about good inventory management. In WL2, every party member had his/her own inventory, weight limits based on the STR Stat, and everything, including ammo had weight. You really had to put some thought in what you could carry, a survival hardship that really added to the game. You could also rearrange you inventory to your preference, as well as easily moving items between characters.


In WL3, nothing has weight, it's a combined inventory for all characters, and you can't manipulate items to get a specific arrangement. Yes, there are category tabs you can use to filter out specific types of items, but it's too over-simplified for my taste. Plus it takes away a bit of the hardship choices and immersion.
 
Just reloaded Wasteland 2 turns out I did have a guy with Energy weapons, 2 Melee, 2 snipers and my player char had an Assault rifle. Looks like I didnt max out anyone with Surgeon (5) or Field medic (7) but everything else I covered with a 9 or 10, not sure how close the save is to endgame but I guess I maxed out everyone.

Interesting to read a direct comparison from someone who played back to back. I wonder if by polishing the game they wore off a bit of the charm. Everything sounds like an improvement but its not quite more tan the sum of its parts.
 
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@JarlBSoD - I never played the first version that came out, only the Directors Cut, but that was with a newer game engine (Unity 5 I think?), and while the graphics & character models wouldn't be considered "AAA", I thought they looked pretty good for an older game. Plus, in all the hours I spent in the game, I never once had a CTD or any technical issues.

If you like this kind of RPG (and you must since you were a kickstarter), it might be worth it to give the DC version a shot, plus you'll get to see your name roll by on the closing credits.
 
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@JarlBSoD - I never played the first version that came out, only the Directors Cut, but that was with a newer game engine (Unity 5 I think?), and while the graphics & character models wouldn't be considered "AAA", I thought they looked pretty good for an older game. Plus, in all the hours I spent in the game, I never once had a CTD or any technical issues.

If you like this kind of RPG (and you must since you were a kickstarter), it might be worth it to give the DC version a shot, plus you'll get to see your name roll by on the closing credits.
Yeah i know, DC has better looks so i should play it, i will come around to it eventually i am sure :) I have seen my name in the Credits :D Wasteland 3 was even worse for me, i got stuck due to a bug when the game was new and i never started the game again, i probably should since i have a massive Wasteland 3 box in my bookcase. (Kickstarted that one to)
 
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Looking into it, I found the reason for my brains insistence multiple times that energy weapons arent very good. Its because in the original game they werent, and it was rebalanced in the Directors cut.
That was one of the best improvements they made in WL3 over WL2. I never did find a really good energy weapon in WL2, and there were very few battles (and most of those in the last 1/3 of the game) that they made any real difference, so it was hard to justify (for me) to use those precious skill points to level the "energy weapons" skill when the weapons were weak and the uses were few.

In WL3, there are energy weapons available in all the weapon skills (as well as the "weird science" skill), and some of them quite powerful, so there's no need to try to build up a separate "energy weapon" skill, plus there are weapon mods you can find/buy/craft that can turn a ballistic weapon in to energy damage.
 

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