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Review: Wasteland 2 for Nintendo Switch

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I played Wasteland 2 when it made its debut, four years ago. Despite my Love for Brian Fargo's work on Fallout 1 and 2, I never did manage to finish it. There's something about working in front of a computer, seven days a week, that keeps me from wanting to sit in front of my laptop during my downtime. However, in the weeks since I was given a review copy of it for the Nintendo Switch, I've been enjoying the holy hell out of it. If you're not familiar with the franchise, its premise is pretty simple. You and your squad mates are new recruits to the Desert Rangers: the only real peacekeeping force in post-apocalyptic Arizona. It's your job to range out and aid the folks under your protection. You'll kill bandits, attempt to negotiate peace between warring factions and uncover insidious threats. The game lets you choose whether you want to start with a squad of four pre-made rangers, each with different skills and strengths, or role your own. This time around, I chose the latter. As I accidentally created a pretty strong team, it's worked out pretty well so far. That's all I'll say about the game, plot-wise. Wasteland 2 might not be new to many of us, but there are some first-timers that might be reading this. I don't want to blow the story for them. I will however, talk about game play. All of the interactions you'll have with NPCs are text-based. Given the small size of the Switch's display, the game's development team could have blown it by making the text too small for older eyes, like mine, to read. But nope: everything is legible. Your choices and any questions you may have to ask during the course of the game are committed with the push of a button. So too is Wasteland 2's turn-based combat. There are explosions, silly animations of bodies being torn in two when a critical shot is made. You will upgrade your gear, endlessly. I remember being frustrated by how the game played using a trackpad. I'm pretty pleased with how the Switch's controls have performed with the game, though. Despite it being a port, it feels like it was made for mobile. I can't say the same for similar titles that I've played on the iPad. Planescape: Torment, for example, was a pain in the ass. I loved it, back in the day, but I could barely stand playing it with a touch interface. Some games demand physical controls. Given what a great experience playing Wasteland 2 has been, I've got a lot of hope for similar ports that'll be popping in the near future: Pillars of Eternity 2 and Diablo 3. Fingers crossed.

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