The GWJ CRPG Club - Game 11: Wasteland 2 (In Progress)

Math wrote:

I'm currently running around LA and collecting cat litter, of all things. Bought some new weapons which doubled my damage-per-AP, so that's nice. My rangers are currently in the mid 20s level-wise.

Heh. Cat litter is an epic quest item, for sure!

Sounds like you're making solid progress, most excellent stuff.

I finished up the Rail Nomad Camp and then headed straight to Darwin's Village.

This has been tough, more from an ammo conservation and medical supplies standpoint than anything else. Zombies take a lot of bullets to bring down, and I ended up not being very smart in solving a quest, which resulted in burning through a lot more ammo than I needed to. We're down to our last bullets, but I think we've figured out the main quests in here, so I'm hopeful we can make it out.

Really fun area, though. I was tempted to save scum it because of some less than optimal starting situations, but I'm just pressing on and seeing what happens.

The main four characters are Levels 11-12 now, so making progress in upping their skills. It's nice now that their Delayed Gratification quirks have kicked in to be able to make some fast progress through skills.

Really enjoying this at the moment.

Got in a good session this evening. Finished up Darwin's Village, went back to the Citadel, then went back to the Prison to try to make progress in that area.

Had one crazy fight in the Prison area when I did a stupid thing on the pig quest, but came through it surprisingly okay. I even thought I saved the pigs but yeah, that didn't end up turning out so well. I feel like I'm messing up about half the game quests.

Got stuck in the prison area with no apparent way forward, but then left and promptly got unstuck. I think. Now I'm heading back to the Prison to try to get in again.

Lots of combat, and our main four characters are all up to Level 14 now. Good times.

Played for a bit more tonight. Everyone in the main party is up to Level 15 now. We're in the Canyon of the Titan. We couldn't finish up The Prison yet so I basically just wandered around the map some. That seemed to sort out the main quest issues, and now we're back on track.

I'm enjoying the game quite a bit, but the world map navigation is tedious at best. I like the visuals, but the thirst mechanic, the radiation mechanic, and the frequency/similarity of random battles aren't the game's strong points.

I've done a boatload of sidequests and now I pretty much have to either

Spoiler:

save Rodia from the Leatherjerks or go fight some surprisingly deadly nuns. Either way it's going to be a tough fight.

As for random encounters, I invested a ranger in Outdoorsman and have had maybe a handful that I couldn't evade the entire game.

Math wrote:

As for random encounters, I invested a ranger in Outdoorsman and have had maybe a handful that I couldn't evade the entire game.

Aha! That explains a lot, thanks. I don't think I have anyone with any skill in that, except maybe for some default points that were in Angela Deth. She just left my party so I'll start tossing some skill points into Outdoorsman with ... someone.

Speaking of Companion NPCs, I'm trying to figure out who to get next and think I might go hunt down Takayuki, even though his intelligence is only 2. I could use a melee tank hauler character and he looks like he'd fit the bill. With an INT of 2, I'd have to concentrate on his blade skills and maybe one other thing (heavy weapons?), but I think I could make that work.

That'd give me:
Rose
Ralph (concentrating in shotguns)
Takayuki

Up to Level 16 now, making progress through the Canyon of the Titan. Fun area, and super big. I've probably been in here a couple of hours now and I feel like I might still be short of halfway through the area.

I went back and picked up Takayuki as a replacement to Angela Deth. He's all melee, which actually is working pretty well. We've got enough medic kits now that it's not a problem to patch him up after a fight, and he's certainly able to suck up some damage. That INT of 2 is going to be a pain, but I'm still thinking he might be a pretty functional fighter for us.

I'm really locked in now, though. Enjoying the mood of the game world and its characters, and finding combat and character progression motivating.

I finished Rodia, having to savescum like a motherf****** to repair their radio tower. I collected enough cat litter in the process to upgrade my rad suits too.

My NPCs are Vulture's Cry, Pistol Pete, and newly-recruited Brother Thomas.

Math wrote:

I finished Rodia, having to savescum like a motherf****** to repair their radio tower. I collected enough cat litter in the process to upgrade my rad suits too.

My NPCs are Vulture's Cry, Pistol Pete, and newly-recruited Brother Thomas.

Nice! You must be getting fairly close to the end if you've picked up Brother Thomas? That's great. I just got the Radiant Personality perk on my leader, so that if I want to replace a current companion I can do it with anyone who has a charisma requirement.

I've officially save-scummed once now, just last night. I didn't want to lose a couple of weapon mods that had a 50% chance of breaking, so I replayed the sequence until I'd gotten both of them off without breaking them. I feel slightly dirty.

I unofficially save-scummed again, when trying to get into the DMB base in the Valley of the Titan. But then everything worked out without needing to reload, so yippee! I don't feel dirty about this.

It does sometimes bum me out when I fatally break locks and whatnot, that prevents me from getting stuff from safes and other objects scattered around the world. But I'm trying to just plow on and forget about it.

Hit Level 18 tonight, and cleared the first segment of the Temple of the Titan. Between the Canyon of the Titan and the Temple of the Titan, this stretch of the game might be my favorite so far. Really liking the story and decisions in here. I called it a night as we entered Damonta. I hope to pick up there tomorrow.

Takayuki, with his bladed weapon attacks, it proving pretty helpful. He took out the boss in the final battle at the Temple in one turn, with a series of 4-5 bladed attacks. Chop chop chop. Fun times.

In the course of running through the area, we upgraded almost all our weapons now too. I like the synergy we're getting in combat. Even Ralphy's shotguns are coming in handy, now that I've added a choke to his shotgun that enables it to fire farther. And one of our main rangers has a decent energy weapon that's finally doing decent damage as well. We're doing pretty well in combat, which is quite fun.

Made it to Hollywood last night. My rangers are all near 30 and I'm capping out most of the relevant skills for each.

I had to retry that fight in

Spoiler:

Wittier several times, cause the synth sharpshooter would instagib (like, actually kill) one of rangers pretty regularly. Also, RIP Provost, the best latin-speaking buddy a ranger posse could ask for. :(

Nice work, Math! The end is in sight, sounds like.

I didn't get a chance to play last night, but hope to do so this evening.

More progress. The final radio has been installed and we've reestablished contact with HQ; our radsuits have reached maximum effectiveness; and we're on what I assume to be the final leg.

Spoiler:

I got the feeling that there were a lot of sidequests in Hollywood that I blew right past. Twenty hours ago I would have been all for doing them, but I'm pretty much in "get it done" mode and can't be bothered.

I sided with the spy/torturer faction of the Church, solely because he promised to let me use the radio. I was surprised when he did not betray us in the end, honestly. I had some frustration with this quest which was caused by my thus-far reliance on the right-click context menu for using skills on objects. The eyeball case only gave the "brute force" option which instantly turns everyone hostile. Turns out you can manually use lockpick on it safely. Wonder how many other alternative paths I've missed because of this.

I looked up a table of all the weapons in the game and I am, in fact, at the last tier. Feels good to crit for 300-400

Awesome, good luck with the final stages! Looking forward to hearing how it goes. I always have fears that I’ll never be able to beat a final boss in a game. Forever stuck at 99%.

I played a bit in Damonta last night, just explored the first small part of the area. Excited to see what’s here and maybe finish up AZ over the weekend. I’m looking forward to a chunk of gaming this weekend.

Main party is up to Levels 19-21 now and we're making good progress through Damonta. Lots of fighting in here. We've fixed the radio tower, but there are still some things to do before we've got the area all taken care of. I was concerned that the robots might give us a hard time, but so far we're doing okay in combat. Takayuki's blade skills are awesome, and our energy weapon wielder is doing really well too.

Still enjoying this a lot, thinking I might be able to make it to California this weekend. I'm wondering, is that about halfway?

We're up to Level 21+ now, done with Damonta and Silo 7. We've just got a few things left to wrap up in Arizona, then I think we're on to California for the next stage in the game. Really having a great time with this one at this point. If all goes well, I think we'll be into California this weekend.

I'm still messing up a good number of the quests, though. If the game asks me to save someone or something, it's a pretty good bet that the thing will end up broken or the person end up dead.

I'm pretty happy with the results of the whole nuclear quest though. I'm glad I chose what I did there. Chalk one up for the good guys.

Nuclear Quest Spoiler...

Spoiler:

We sided with the DMB militia, but defused the nuke instead of sending it back to them. When we got back to the valley, they were charging for passage and it looked like they killed all the cowboys in the camp there, so wiping them out as we passed through felt like an appropriate response.

Woot!

IMAGE(https://i.imgur.com/cAj42ye.jpg)

More progress, Level 24+. Have left Arizona behind...

Got the California base up and running, just starting to explore the countryside and have our first bag of kitty litter.

Steam says I'm at 46 hours now, but 2-3 of that was spent on an aborted first attempt. So probably on pace for about a 90-hour game if this is the halfway mark.

Fighting is much harder now, we just got wiped out by a group of robots. Things went better on the second round, but quite a few of our weapons just aren't doing enough damage. Need more firepower fast and hopefully some better armor too.

Nice work. For myself, I think leaving AZ marked like the 2/3rds point of the game; but that could be because I started having less patience for doing sidequests once in LA.

Myself, I won last night.

Spoiler:

Hardest fight was definitely the last one vs Matthias. Those synth sharpshooters/gunslingers have absurd range (like half again my sniper's) and the 4 of them could easily focus-fire a ranger to death in a single round. After a few attempts I huddled behind cover and made them come to me, which worked pretty well.

I liked the now-standard slideshow at the end, though it made me realize that we Rangers left several spots (Rail Nomads, Canyon of Titan, Damonta) in reeeeaallll bad shape.

Overall, I clocked in at 36 hours. Final thoughts:

  • The first 10 hours (Ag center/Highpool) were the ones I liked most. The combat felt snappy, the quests had good "choices and consequences", and skill-use felt meaningful.
  • After that, the game didn't really introduce anything new except for locations and characters. Those were interesting, generally, but there were absolutely zero new mechanics.
  • Combat didn't really have enough tactical options to remain interesting.
    • Trying to specialize a character in more than one weapon class is suboptimal until the very late late game when you'll have points to spare.
    • Some weapons classes (shotguns and SMGs, in my experience) are trash compared to others. Primarily because of the armor/penetration mechanic.
    • Grenades and other consumables quickly become outclassed damage-wise by your firearms. Enemies also rarely clump up, and if they do it's around one of your Rangers anyway.
    • Most tactical choices boil down to: do I move/crouch in order to increase my hit% and then shoot once, or do I shoot twice with a lower%?
    • Endgame to-hit chances are so high (even at long range and in burst-fire mode) that the above point is less important.
    • In theory the choice between conductive/heavy and light armor is an interesting one, but in practice I put the one Ranger who could wear heavy in heavy and left him there.
  • I feel like the story relied a little (maybe more than a little) too much on Wasteland 1 to drive it. Like, I read though the CRPGAddict's Wasteland 1 posts and had a vague recognition of many names and places, but it often seemed that the game wanted me to care a LOT more about them than I had reason to, based solely on Wasteland 2.

In terms of GWJCRPGClub games that I've played, I'd rate it above VtM and Arcanum, but below BG, DA;O, and Witcher 3.

The late game location change really killed my interest in the game after doing so much work in Arizona I’m just not emotionally invested anymore.

I'm at Level 25+ now with our main party, finishing up Rodia. We were able to upgrade everyone's weapons pretty quickly in California, and except for our shotgun wielder, we're dealing an insane amount of damage. With upgraded armor too, fights are much more manageable. We just take things down so fast. Optimizing each character around one weapon type is most definitely the way to go.

______

Congrats, Math, on finishing up and reaching Level 5! Most excellent work, and a nice write up. 36 hours is a nice brisk pace too. I'm pretty sure I'll be at least double that by the time I'm done.

I totally agree about the character specialization and weapons. My weakest fighter right now is my shotgun guy, and I'm not using SMGs. When I face SMGs in combat, though, they seem to pack a nasty punch, especially if my team is bunched up.

I haven't used a grenade at all yet. My bladed melee fighter has about 30 of them on him.

I've only got the one melee fighter with heavy armor as well. I think it's 9 now, which is turning him into a pretty good damage sponge.

I'm glad you mentioned the head shots and whatnot. I totally forgot about those, and have a number of characters who are almost always shooting at 100% chance to hit. I should aim for the head more often.

WizKid wrote:

The late game location change really killed my interest in the game after doing so much work in Arizona I’m just not emotionally invested anymore.

That's interesting. I was the opposite. It's like a whole new game now, and I liked how at the beginning of California you have to secure your base, etc.

Lots of progress in California tonight. Main party is up to Levels 31-33. We've got our radiation suit upgrades. We've just arrived in Hollywood, so still a good amount to do, but the story feels like it's starting to narrow to a climax.

Our hit chances are so good now that we're able to target specific areas on enemies to really tilt things in our favor quickly. Hitting legs to slow enemies down, hitting arms to make them miss when they fire, and body shots to make the next shots do more damage. I'm really liking our pistol wielder for those things because she's got so many shots per turn. With 3-5 shots per turn, she can really mess up a number of enemies in just one turn.

I played another hour tonight, just crossed 60 hours in the game so far. I made some good progress sorting out the quests and characters in Hollywood, and moved one quest line forward quite a bit. We're now Level 32+ with everyone.

I'm starting to get a sense that Hollywood might be a bit like Angel Oracle, the other large California area I've been to so far. I was both impressed and disappointed with Angel Oracle. I was impressed with the complex and winding quest lines that wove together, and that I was constantly trying to figure out which side offered the larger element of good. This is a recurrent theme in the game as you explore areas: neither side is usually good, and you're trying to pick the lesser of two evils if you are trying for a good outcome. But Angel Oracle's quests broke for me in a few places, and I had to look up what to do next because of it, and even then they kind of stumbled along for one odd reason or another. The sequencing and triggers just didn't hold up to how I explored the area.

Hollywood is starting to feel like the same thing. I'm faced with some hard choices, and I'm not sure the quests aren't going to break on me. The good thing is that the game always seems to give you a way to move forward, if it's even just kill everyone and drive on.

So after writing that blurb last night I decided to play "one more hour". That turned into 6 hours and 3am. Garg. I'm really locked in and the end is in sight.

Characters are Level 35+ and we're done with Hollywood/Bastion area. I'm really happy with the quest outcome I got there.

Spoiler:

Sided with Veronica and McDade and got Hollywood and the Bastion to reach a peace agreement.

As much fun as I had playing through the area, there were a handful of places where the complexity of things kind of broke the progression. I was quick to Google stuff when I got stuck like this. I think that's almost necessary to avoid frustration in California as a whole. The ambition behind the California quest lines is remarkable, but they fell a bit short in addressing all the possible ways things can play out.

I'm pretty happy that I stumbled onto one of the secret skills...

Spoiler:

Our sniper now has a 100% critical hit rate, which is AWESOME.

I think I must be less than 10 hours away from the end, for sure. Heading to the final area(s) that lead to the last battle.

Man, GB, you've really stormed ahead with this one. Impressive!

ubrakto wrote:

Man, GB, you've really stormed ahead with this one. Impressive!

Thanks! I'm really enjoying this one for whatever reason. I think it might be my favorite RPG that we've played so far. We'll see how this last stretch goes, though.

Pfft.

Final battle spoilers...

Spoiler:

Made it to the final battle against Matthias. Really fun, LONG battle, but we hung on and won. Sweet!

But ...

Vargas got killed during the fight, and I must not have been paying attention to the final instructions about setting off the nuke after the battle, so I stood around and did nothing while the Cochise AI went on and on. Because Vargas was dead I didn't get a reminder to go downstairs and set off the nuke, so yeah, we lost.

Grrr.

I'll refight the last battle again after dinner and this time I hope to get it right.

EDIT: And done! Got it right the second time, credits rolled. Really enjoyed this one, I'll post some thoughts soon.

Godzilla Blitz wrote:

Pfft.

Final battle spoilers...

Spoiler:

Made it to the final battle against Matthias. Really fun, LONG battle, but we hung on and won. Sweet!

But ...

Vargas got killed during the fight, and I must not have been paying attention to the final instructions about setting off the nuke after the battle, so I stood around and did nothing while the Cochise AI went on and on. Because Vargas was dead I didn't get a reminder to go downstairs and set off the nuke, so yeah, we lost.

Grrr.

I'll refight the last battle again after dinner and this time I hope to get it right.

EDIT: And done! Got it right the second time, credits rolled. Really enjoyed this one, I'll post some thoughts soon.

Yeah, I had all the non-party NPCs get killed in the last fight. They will be remembered as heroes.

Some final thoughts on Wasteland 2...

This was my favorite game of the eight I've played in the CRPG Club so far. For whatever reason, I locked on to the combat, the mood, and the environment and had a blast.

Took me 70 hours to finish, but 3-4 hours were on an aborted first save. I played 50+ hours over the past 14 days to complete the game, including a couple of nights up until past 2am.

Plusses
I enjoyed the combat and how it progressed over the game. Going from ineffective and scrounging for bullets to total badasses by the end of the game was a hoot. The weapon upgrades had just the right balance, and the weapon modding system was fun to work with as well. With the perks and skills and targeting, it had just the right amount of complexity for me.

I also liked the character progression, the CLASSIC system, the perks, and the skills. I just felt like a great model for tactical combat and world exploration.

I appreciated the characters, the quests, and the world. Felt so rich in places, and they did an awesome job of creating some hard choices. There was very little clearly good and clearly evil, and remarkably, with some quest that had so many choices and linked interactions, things didn't break fatally.

Voice-acting. Well done in most cases. Really added to the mood.

The Little Things. Cow tipping. Cultural references (Leibowitz was my favorite.). Some of the random items you'd find. Just added a ton to the game world.

Negatives
Percentage-based skill checks. Too much temptation to save scum. With the exception of weapon mod removal, where I save-scummed a half dozen times so I didn't lose a weapon mod I really liked, I avoided save scumming. It's decidedly not fun, however, to win some fight, find a safe, and not be able to open it up unless you run through a half dozen reloads to hit on that 12% chance of success. The game encourages you to "come back later", but seriously, who is going to do that? Especially when you're leaving behind a huge chunk of the game world when you go to California.

Quest complexity. It's great that they had such elaborate quests, but it kind of sucked that they fell apart inexplicably in a good half dozen or more places in California. Fortunately, Google always helped identify ways around the stickiness, but it felt like the game needed to either simply the quests or play-test them better. There was just too many dead ends in quest lines in CA in particular.

Quest tracking. The log sucked, and the lack of quest markers meant you'd be looking at a good amount of wandering around trying to find someone if you forgot where they were.

Spoiler:

Getting any character with a synth part in them taken over by Mattias at the end of the game. If you had 3-4 characters like this, you'd be totally hosed. Just a horrible decision. I knew it was coming and so only had Rose in my party, and was able to disarm her before the battle. But I'd be pissed if I couldn't finish the game because of this.

But yeah, the negatives don't get close to overcoming the positives to me. I had a blast playing this.

I agree with the voice-acting, but it was overshadowed by the constant re-use of portraits and models. Kinda breaks the immersion when you run into a quest-critical guy with the exact same drunken-farmer portrait as the half-dozen other farmers in the game.

Tempted to give this another try. First impressions crashed rather spectacularly, although that may have been due to RPG burnout after D:OS2.