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Wasteland 2 first gameplay video reveals some interesting things (now in HD 1080p)

Saturday, 16 February 2013

It's coming (well that too: Grimoire). Wasteland 2.

The much expected messiah of party-based cRPGs. Brian Fargo's team InXile Entertainment have finally managed to come out with first actual gameplay video material for those who are interested in the game to look at. The game's promised development cycle is 18 months, which means the game should be out near the end of this year, and thus there's still loads of work to do for InXile team.

The gameplay video the team released recently in Vimeo and then in Youtube (with HD resolution 1080p option available) is very early build of the game, yet it already looks rather stable. The video reveals some interesting things about the game. Allow me to compile a quick-list about interesting features of the upcoming game revealed, and also if you're not familiar with Wasteland 2 at all previously, feel free to check one of my earlier articles of the game also to get a bigger picture of the game:

*See the gameplay video in the end of the post*

-Team seems to be size of 4 player characters (in the beginning at least)
-The first interior area you'll encounter in the game is Agricultural Center with first mission from Kathy Lawson

-You can use imported character pictures of pre-made ones
-UI (user interface) is artistically influenced by Fallout 1 and 2, and gives nice tone for the game
-UI is customisable so that you can drag different bars of the UI around, swap their position, and re-size them
-A "text window" plays heavy part in the game giving information about events happening around you such as: descriptions of different items and areas (most items have one in the game) setting tone for the game, combat events, and giving important clues & hints

-Dialogue uses keyword-system, whereas any dialogue options that are available for you to choose are single words (keywords) instead of full sentences to choose from. For example if you had an option to intimidate someone, the option would be just one word "intimidate" instead of something like "give me your goddamn money or I'll crush your skull!".
-The dialogue screen is divided into two sections: on the left are keywords that current NPC personally cares about, on the right are the more common and universal topics giving more general information ("rangers, plants, raiders" etc.)
-As you go on with your keyword-choices on dialogue you might open up new options and close existing ones
-There's also option to actually type freely any word or name in dialogue-screen, which can sometimes open up an additional dialogue branches otherwise hidden from you
-There will be less voice-acting, which gives InXile opportunity to create more varying reactions out of text-based answers from different NPCs (non-player characters) within the game world

-Camera is rotatable and it's possible to zoom in and out
-Walls will turn invisible when they get over/in way of your player characters, so that you can actually see them without having to rotate camera, which looks like a nice little touch

-Over 30 are skills included in the game
-Lock-picking is in and seems to play important role
-Breaking down doors is also possible by brute force or demolition
-Successful perception skill-check gives information about enemies, their field of vision, and objects

-The game uses two-stage fog-of-war system, which means that the first layer is the area that you have or have not explored yet, which means you'll see the terrain if you've explored it previously (memorised), but if you haven't you'll just see dark unexplored area - and second layer is your actual sight which reveals the enemies. You won't be seeing enemies on the area you have previously explored, in case you have no direct eye-sight on them.
-Enemies have their field-of-vision (sight), and if you're outside it, they won't spot you, which gives you chance for an ambush
-Enemies have "hearing" and do react to sounds (at least to some extent)

-Combat is turn-based and is based on original Wasteland game with some tweaks on it
-Combat will use hex-based battlefield, but you can hide hexes if you like
-Combat is relied on limited action points to spend for every player character and creature per each turn
-Each combat action towards enemy (shot, melee strike) has a chance-to-hit by percentage depending of your skill, weapon, distance, enemy size, and speed
-Friendly fire is on, so you can wound your own rangers if you get careless
-Different objects such as barrels, crates, and walls give essential cover for your rangers, decreasing a chance to hit for any enemies when you kneel behind them
-You will get XP (experience points) per an enemy kill

-Player attributes are presented in "C.L.A.S.S.I.C."-system which stands for seven attributes: coordination, luck, awareness, strength, speed, intelligence, and charisma
-Coordination in combat gives additional action points
-Awareness in combat increases your "initiative", which generally gives few more turns per combat sequence
-Strength gives higher maximum constitution (hit points) and higher melee damage
-Speed increases movement speed during combat

EDITOR'S NOTES: I feel that the gameplay video presented here really showed Wasteland 2 to be quite promising product. Game engine seemed quite fluid and solid. Personally I liked the two-stage fog-of-war, which gives sort of element of surprise as you have to have actual eye-sight to the enemies to spot them. Not being able to see any enemies behind the corners makes you plan your tactics more carefully. Still, game-engine wasn't as pretty it would be, if it used pre-drawn 2D backgrounds like Baldur's Gate, Planescape: Torment. The engine reminded me a bit too much of Jagged Alliance: Back In Action, but was surely heading towards bit more complex and polished fields.

One thing that combat video did not show was, if there is actual possibility to wound badly in combat and bleed. And does the game have diseases as well? Need for a medic or doctor could be a nice addition as well as stamina-attribute, which could run out during pacey combat. I think that Wasteland should have at least a slight "survival"-type of a gameplay element included, even if it would not be so extensive. I'd really wish these things could end up to the final product, but so far I have no clue whether they're planned to be included at any extent?

Keyword-system using dialogue options also left me wondering a bit. I mean it can work great or then not. Personally I'd like to have a chance to pick full sentences as an option for my speech on dialogue-phase, just like in Fallout. That gives me better feeling of actually role-playing my character. Single word? Meh. But maybe InXile can make it work. If the keywords actually represent meaningful actions towards NPC, rather than just being there for information-hunting whereas you'd just keep clicking through the all keywords to get different descriptions without real purpose of an action, the system could work. If the keywords are just an actual actions which you have to really consider, it will work. If they're there just for "give me information about keyword A, give me information about keyword B", it will get boring quickly. Also possibility to freely
type and keyword during dialogue is nice touch and boasts many possibilities to make the game more interesting, but we'll see how deeply will InXile use this option within the final product. I feel it's nice that they've taken a step to decrease amount of voice-acting with trade-off to increase NPCs text-based reactions and dialogue options towards player characters.

Breaking through the locked doors with several different ways also made me wonder: hopefully InXile will keep all separate skills and character builds unique and necessary with possibility to solve quests different ways with different character builds and party line-ups. I would not want to play game where each totally different type of party has equal chance to solve any quest around. Some quests and areas should be more rewarding for other type of characters than the others. But that's only my opinion. Overall I'm quite damn excited about Wasteland 2!

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