When InXile Entertainment released Wasteland 2 in 2014, a dream came true for fans of the iconic retro RPG Wasteland. Finally, as Desert Rangers, they were again allowed to ensure law and order in the contaminated post-apocalyptic wasteland. The Wasteland role-playing games put you in a bleak future, more than 100 years after a devastating nuclear war. The few survivors are in constant confrontation with marauding gangs, robots and mutated atrocities that also populate this world. In terms of story, Wasteland 3 starts at the end of the second part without, however, requiring extensive previous knowledge. This time the Rangers end up in freezing Colorado, where the wasteland law enforcement officers are concerned with nothing less than the bare existence of their organization.

Off to ice-cold Colorado

In terms of game mechanics, Wasteland 2 and 3 are similar to the first two Fallout parts: You travel with a group of companions through the open game world, speak to survivors, solve quests and fight with villains.






Wasteland 3: Brutally good - We went through the backer beta



Wasteland 3: Brutally good – We went through the backer beta

Source: inXile Entertainment




The battles with the cover system are turn-based and what you can do depends on so-called action points. All actions (move, take cover, reload, hit, shoot, use medipacks, etc.) cost points and need to be carefully considered. While atmosphere, game world, characters and side quests were really good in Wasteland 2, the story of the main quest could not keep this level for more than 50 hours of play. In terms of graphics and presentation, Wasteland 2 was by no means up to date when it was first released. And there was still a lot of room for improvement in terms of game mechanics and the user interface. The Director's Cut, released in 2015, made various improvements, but did not solve all problems. For Wasteland 3 (buy now for € 59.99), which will be released on May 19, 2020, the developers have accordingly made a lot of efforts to offer a rounder, more comfortable gaming experience without affecting the grandiose atmosphere. As part of a play-back event with the beta backer version, which covers the first few hours of play, we were able to convince ourselves recently that inXile Entertainment's newest role-playing game really does meet the expectations this time.

Retro role-playing game with many good quirks

After choosing the level of difficulty and after the very atmospheric intro of the game you go directly to the completely revised character creation. In Wasteland 2 you created a battle group consisting of four rangers, which was then expanded by "guest fighters" as the game progressed. In Wasteland 3 you choose one of five pre-made character duos or just create two new starting heroes. In addition to the appearance, gender and starting weapon, you can also distribute points to 7 attributes and 22 skills. Why a duo? Because you can also play Wasteland 3 cooperatively with a friend who can get in and out of the game at any time. The salt in the soup when it comes to character creation, however, are quirks. Each hero can have one of 17 quirks that give you tremendous advantages in exchange for equally substantial disadvantages. If you choose the quirk "sadomasochist", his character takes 35% more damage, but also deals 50 percent more damage. "Desired death", on the other hand, ensures that your character cannot wear any armor, for which he receives three additional action points per round.






Wasteland 3: Brutally good - We went through the backer beta



Wasteland 3: Brutally good – We went through the backer beta

Source: inXile Entertainment





Bloody round fights







Wasteland 3: Brutally good - We went through the backer beta



Wasteland 3: Brutally good – We went through the backer beta

Source: inXile Entertainment




After the character creation, the game throws you into the first fight. Together with allied troops you have to keep a variety of opponents at bay. Battles are still turn-based, but not as in Wasteland 2, where there was a turn order for all characters. Instead, the various factions involved in the fight are now moving in groups. The battles feel smoother overall, but also more exciting because the developers have given a lot of thought to the war zones. In many places (not only in battles) the game offers you several solutions. What strikes immediately in the fights is the extremely high violence and splatter factor, which is so exaggerated that it is almost laughable again in many places.

My friend the snow tank

If you have played through the short introduction sequence with tutorials, Wasteland 3 really gets going. The Patriarch, your ally in Colorado, gives you an old army base as the basis for your operations. Here you can fill up your adventure group with the help of the character editor. Or, if you are not happy with your choice at the beginning, choose completely new heroes or create them. In addition, you may add two more characters to your squad, provided you find vigorous survivors to join you on your travels through the icy wasteland of Colorado. An armored vehicle provides the necessary travel comfort, which you can also use in certain battles (the first time in the tutorial). The weapon systems of your Kodiak (that's the name of the combat truck) are devastating and are primarily used to fight enemy tanks and drones. In the course of the game, you can upgrade the snowworthy vehicle and equip it with new weapon systems.







Wasteland 3: Brutally good - We went through the backer beta



Wasteland 3: Brutally good – We went through the backer beta

Source: inXile Entertainment




Quests until you drop

Even though we already know a little more about the story of Wasteland 3, we don't want to spoil the fun of finding out for yourself what is lazy in the state of Colorado. Your first main tasks are to bring the patriarch's rebellious children under control. Of course, that's not all. Right next to your base is one of the most important settlements in Wasteland 3, which is full of quests and challenges. At every corner, someone wants you to help him and rarely is such help possible without further ado. Conversations with non-player characters are much nicer and more comfortable to use in Wasteland 3. The virtual counterpart is even animated during story-relevant conversations.

Everything in Wasteland 3 looks more thoughtful and far more comfortable in the right places. There is also an improved graphic with a significantly improved presentation. We are also in good spirits that the developers will be able to translate the extremely high level of English screen texts and dialogues (which are not translated in the German version but subtitled) into German. If you are not a backer of Wasteland 3 and can now play the private beta, you have until May 19, 2020 to catch up on part 2. Or you can try the recently released remaster of the Ur-Wasteland, which is a really tough nut by today's standards.

My opinion

I would love Wasteland 3 too if it weren't so perfect

The gameplay in Wasteland 2 and in the improved Director’s Cut was anything but perfect: unnecessarily awkward in many places and uncomfortable in terms of the user interface. And yet the successor to Wasteland, for which fans had to wait far too long, was something like an uncut diamond. Wasteland 3 is an improvement in every respect, if the impression from the approximately three hours of backer beta version is confirmed. In some cases, there are only small, subtle changes to the gameplay that have a noticeable effect on the feeling of the game. Elsewhere, for example the presentation and graphics, the developers have filed a lot. All that remains to be hoped is that the main story will be a bit more gripping and versatile this time, and that the developers of inXile Entertainment will be able to fix the last bugs in the remaining weeks.

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