A diary of sorts, wherein I moonlight as a games writer. Under haphazard construction.
Previous bit here! https://shinkemuel.wordpress.com/2014/09/22/wasteland-2-the-story-so-far/
It’s been a few weeks since I last played Wasteland 2, so to keep the journal rolling I’ve had to take glance through my characters’ attribute screens and quest log to remind myself just what’s been going on. Steam tells me I’ve been playing for about 30 hours now, but I’ll be damned if I can remember half of it. Looking at my to-do list has been.. educational. Apparently I have an ongoing quest to collect shit for someone.
“Dog shit, cat shit, cow shit, bat shit, it don’t matter; the rangers need some ammonium nitrate ASAP!”
Apparently someone also rewarded me handsomely for finding them a functional Phillips CDi for their retro console collection. Huh. That ones does ring a bell. Stuff’s coming back now.
I’d been playing for about 12 hours when Element’s team were first welcomed inside the Ranger Citadel, returning from their mission to find the killer of one of the order’s elites and to set up radio beacons to establish the source of some disturbing radio transmissions which were apparently related. In our pursuit of tall places to affix the beacons, we had prevented the spread of a mutagenic plague, picked through the ruins of what had been a major water reservoir and began scouting out (read: getting our asses repeatedly kicked around) a raider slave commune, all of which the top brass apparently wanted to reward us for.
It should go without saying that there are some very broad plot points which could be considered spoilers below.
This is what happened next:
Not gonna lie, I’ve been too busy playing Wasteland 2 the past few days to actually find time any to write about it, and soon I’ll have played so much that I’ll probably start forgetting stuff. I’m making myself sit and write a bit now to reflect on the awesome start I’ve made before progressing any further.
I say “awesome”. It’s been a hell of a lot of fun at least.
The story of Wasteland 2 begins with your party of greenhorn Desert Rangers being despatched on their first mission: to investigate the assassination of one of the organisation’s elites. It’s serious business, and a job that’s perhaps a little too dangerous for rookies. But because resources are stretched thin and the pro teams are all occupied, the task falls to you. C’est la videogames. Best of luck.
Unlike their tabletop brethren, “roleplaying” games on PC often require the player to make a certain amount of effort to actually play the role of the characters they are given. Either we get a blank slate, only to be written upon if we go out of our way to do so, or a character with a personality so malleable that they’ll never hold a shape on their own, no matter which dialogue option you choose. Whilst loads of games do a good job of encouraging consistency through things like Mass Effect’s Paragon/Renegade points, or by weaving stories so linearly around the characters that it’s difficult or impossible to stray from their path, actually thinking about who your character is and how they’d act is pretty much always optional.
Assuming the role of a team of clueless rookie vigilantes in Wasteland has been pretty much effortless, however, because the game is really fucking difficult.
You stride out into the desert armed with your smart-assed toaster repair skills, a big stick and now idea whatsoever how to swing it, and you get chewed up hard. There are no toasters to repair, nobody to wittily back-sass, and you can’t hit shit. If it weren’t for the wonderful man at the Citadel gate who gave you a free sawn-off scattergun, you’d be spending most fights doing literally nothing but run around and get shot, but even pointing that in the right direction without catching allies in it’s cone of death’s a challenge. Because oh god is friendly fire a thing in this game. You realise very quickly that you’re gonna need to learn how to crack safes, or else the competent members of the party are gonna run out of ammo and medkits. You’re gonna need to get better at repairing things that aren’t toasters to overcome obstacles. You’re gonna need to learn to mod weapons. You might want to take some practice with that shotgun.
This is how my team have all been doing.
When I played Wasteland 2 at Rezzed I enjoyed it, but like so much stuff these days didn’t plan on picking it up anytime soon. It looked like a lot of fun, but wasn’t what I was really in the mood for. So many games, so little time, yah yah yah. Maybe when it’s inevitably on sale at Christmas, I thought. Playing Shadowrun Returns last week after scouring my “Untouched” list on Steam for mouse-only games I could manage with my broken collarbone changed my mind for two reasons:
1. It reminded me how much I love CRPGs, and how I’ve been meaning to start Planescape Torment or re-play Fallout sometime soon. I’ll probably do neither now that I’m going to be busy playing Wasteland. (Sorry, Greg.)
2. It made me want to play one that didn’t feel a bit crap. Not really crap! Just a bit crap. Like the last Shadowrun game. (Sorry, Mike.)