We've played around ten hours of Wasteland 3 on PS4, and we're having a blast. This is a post-apocalyptic RPG to be savoured, with great writing, interesting characters, and a lot of player choice. So far, it easily sits alongside the best traditional RPGs on Sony's system, like Pillars of Eternity and Divinity: Original Sin 2.
But we will say this: if you find that particular strain of old-school CRPG overwhelming or intimidating, don't be put off playing Wasteland 3. Compared to the high fantasy examples we've just given, Wasteland 3 is a much more accessible experience. It's basically Fallout with XCOM combat, and a lot of its systems are nicely streamlined.
That's not to say Wasteland 3 lacks depth, though. Character progression, for example, is a core part of the game. You have a list of key attributes, skills, and perks that you can invest points into, and your goal is to form a well balanced party, built around the two custom heroes that you create at the beginning of the adventure.
Growing your characters is seriously addictive. The more you develop a particular skill, the more effective it becomes. Later perks tend to be incredibly powerful, and there's so much fun to be had in carving out a specialist role for each of your allies. Your various attributes also feed into the branching dialogue system, where skill checks allow you to put your character's abilities to use when making increasingly important decisions.
If you're already a fan of CRPGs, then all of this will sound very familiar. But rest assured: this is shaping up to be an excellent example of the genre. It's laced with the kind of dark humour that you'd expect from the veteran developers at inXile, and it feels like every choice that you make has weight to it. Obviously we're still quite early in our journey, but we've already made decisions that have impacted our relationships with the game's numerous factions. We can't wait to see what happens next.
It's also worth noting that Wasteland 3 has a standalone story. While it does take place after the events of Wasteland 2 -- which is also available on PS4 -- you don't need to have played the previous instalment in order to understand the plot. Your heroes -- or indeed, antiheroes -- are Arizona Rangers who have found themselves stranded in the snowy hellscape that is post-apocalypse Colorado, and much like you, they're fresh on the scene.
Admittedly, we didn't play a lot of Wasteland 2, but its sequel has us well and truly hooked. Really, the only thing we take issue with is the game's technical performance on Sony's current-gen console. Don't get us wrong, it's perfectly playable, but it is buggy. We've had party members get stuck on terrain, and we've seen numerous townsfolk glitching out. Our cursor has disappeared while navigating menus, and at one point, we got trapped in a conversation and were forced to reload our save. Again, it's not the kind of stuff that's going to outright ruin your experience, but it's still annoying.
We should have a full review of Wasteland 3 for you in the near future, but until then, let us know if you'll be bracing for a nuclear winter in the comments section below.