Wasteland

Copyright: © 1987 Electronic Arts Inc
Genre: Role playing games

Role playing games

Wasteland
Review 1:
Wasteland is a top-view, turn-based RPG, where you control a group of
characters and set out to stop whatever it is that threatens the world on
this occasion. Yet in my opinion, Wasteland is more than this, I consider
it the best RPG ever developed, and there is now doubt that the game was
groundbreaking in its time. Instead of using a rigid class-based system
("you can't do that because you're a paladin, not a fighter") Wasteland
used a skill-based system, meaning your character can do anything you
like, providing they have the necessary skill. This allows you to create
flexible characters and truly ROLE-play, your characters develop a
persona based on how they develop under your command, as opposed to a
pre-determined path chosen at the start of the game. But skills are not
the only item of interest in Wasteland; for what sets the game apart from
even some modern games with better graphics and systems is the colourful
world the game is set in. Wasteland is set in a post-apocalyptic world
where you control a party of 4 "desert rangers", vigilantes who try to
maintain order in the chaos following the fall of modern civilization.
The game's many and varied locations are both engaging and imaginative,
and you will be further and further drawn into the world the more you
play. As with many other games (like Bard's Tale), the current owners of
Wasteland are sitting on the rights, and the sequels being developed for
Wasteland were never published, and no more can be created. The game does
however have spiritual successors in Fallout 1 and 2, both of which draw
many elements from Wasteland. Overall, Wasteland is a well-designed and
engaging game, not to be missed by any who consider themselves RPG fans.
Find it and play it!

Review 2:

My most favorite RPG ever, and one of the very few games that earned a
permanent place on my hard drive since the first time I installed it,
Wasteland is an epic post-apocalyptic RPG that set new standards for the
genre that arguably have not since been matched. Set in the California
after World War 3 nuclear holocaust, the game casts you as a band of
Desert Rangers, a vigilante group intent on bringing some order into the
bleak, chaotic society. from town to town, gradually uncovering a
sinister plot that threatens what's left of mankind. Just how good is the
game, and why does it deserve to be in every RPG gamer's collection?
George Shannon's eloquent review for MobyGames says it much better than I
could: "Even with outdated graphics, the setting sets one's imagination
aflame, using familiar elements from life and including them in the game,
but overlaying the horror of nuclear war on top. While some of the darker
elements aren't as evident, it's still very obvious throughout the game
that there is a detailed, thoughtful, and even meaningful
post-apocalyptic theme everywhere. Another element that makes Wasteland
such a great game is the character development system. Most RPGs have a
player select a class for a party member - but what IS a class? Does it
let YOU role-play? No, the class tells you what and how to role-play.
Does it enhance the game? Perhaps, but once the class is defined there's
no real development OF the character - A level 1 knight has the same
desires, goals, and value systems as a level 18 knight. Wasteland uses a
skill and attribute based system, periodically giving a character
'points' to use on attributes and skills, as well as having skills
increase through use. But moreover, the character development doesn't
stop when you use up the points - many places in Wasteland allow a
character to separate from the rest of the party and engage in some solo
activity - maybe hooking up with a prostitute, or venturing into a
cat-and-mouse game within the mind of an android. Stuff like this builds
the character individually, and thus, the party. By the end of the game,
I look at my characters and not only see what they are (level 20
Corporals, demolitions dude, charismatic leader, tech expert...) but what
they went through... their individual victories and tribulations. This
makes for a very powerful gaming experience. In other areas, Wasteland
does quite well. Graphics are average to outstanding. The play balance is
nearly perfect - the advancement from one area prepares you quite well
for the next, neither too hard nor to easy. Not many sounds are included,
fortunately they are simple and do not get repetative. Overall, even
without the character development, Wasteland is just plain fun. With such
a positive personal slant on Wasteland, it's hard to define problems with
it. In some places, the appearance of enemies is too 'generated' (they
pop up out of nowhere, Bard's Tale style) and are seemingly endless. Some
enemies and situations are a little too 'weird', but Wasteland isn't
supposed to be about realism. Some plot elements are a little cliche, but
most are handled quite well. Wasteland is an amazing ROLE-playing game.
The setting is thorough and detailed, your characters can get into all
sorts of trouble, as individuals and as a party. This makes Wasteland a
unique experience every time." It is too bad that the official sequel
Mean Time was never made, and Fountain of Dreams, Electronic Arts'
"unofficial sequel" is extremely disappointing. With a unique skill-based
system that lead to many excellent adventure-style puzzles, intriguing
plot with tons of '80s references, and a truly epic scale full of many
hidden surprises and subplots that guarantee hundreds of hours of play
and replay value, Wasteland is simply a must-have. If you wonder where
Fallout came from, this is its true predecessor (and a game I infinitely
enjoy more than Fallout series). A classic in every sense of the word.
 

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