Wasteland II: Director’s Cut on the Nintendo Switch is like reuniting with a best friend you haven’t seen in a year. And when you lock eyes with them, you see them a little happier, with a fresh new outfit on and killer shades. Once you start talking, you see that they are still the same person they always were, but they’ve got their mojo going on.
Simply put, there isn’t anything really new in this version. If you’ve experienced this version over the original, you know the added quirk system and voice acting greatly improves an already solid RPG experience. However, seeing this game run so smoothly on the Switch, with virtually no slowdown to hamper the experience, make it a special game on a special console.
That being said, it would have been nice to see some optimization in terms of the game’s small text, both in-game and in-menu. That would have made it the perfect version of a great RPG experience. Nevertheless, the rich and deep story, killer, customization options and novel-like tone and drama make Wasteland II: Director’s Cut an experience that Switch owners sick of first-party experiences on the system should gravitate towards.
In the end, those with an affinity for originality will cherish their time in The Wasteland the most. It’s a throwback RPG with its originals in the Table-top realm, but that doesn’t mean the experience isn’t tangible today. Thanks to the ongoing success of the Fallout franchise and shows that borrow from the tabletop genre such as Stranger Things- and The Wasteland has never been a cooler place to be.
Amazing Story: If you’ve experienced any of the Fallout games, Wasteland II takes that punchy, visceral post-apocalyptic story to the next level. You’ll be forced to make huge decisions about the people in your care and world around you almost immediately. The story is simply put, all killer and no filler.
Gameplay Depth: You’re going to make an investment into this game. It takes a good five or six hours to feel like you can handle yourself and after that, you’ll get beautifully lost in the experience. Combat is fun and tactical and exploration is a blast. This is a world that begs to be traversed through. The characters never feel phony and as a result, it’ll be hard to put down.
Wit Throughout: Even the loading screens have this gnarly wit attached. The experience and tone is apparent through every facet of the game.
Not Completely Optimized For a Mobile Experience: Small text (an issue on the PS4 and XB1 versions as well) hurts the experience as although there is a ton of voiceover work, you’ll be reading a lot as well. Add in the heavy customization you’ll be doing as well, and the small text in many of the menus aren’t ideal either.
Although there are some hiccups visually while playing on the go, Wasteland II: Director’s Cut is up there with Skyrim as one of the top third-party open-world experiences on the Nintendo Switch. Thanks to an amazing story, fun combat, deep exploration and customization and the type of tone that is akin to a novel and you have a wonderful 60-plus hour experience that grabs hold of you almost immediately. While many partook in this experience a few years ago on PlayStation 4 (in its original form and last year in its current Director’s Cut edition) and even before that on Steam, this version, just for the ability to take it on the bus and train, is a worthy adventure to go on again.
Patrick Hickey Jr. is the author of the book, “The Minds Behind the Games: Interviews With Cult and Classic Video Game Developers,” from McFarland And Company. Featuring interviews with the creators of 36 popular video games–including Deus Ex, NHLPA 93, Night Trap, Mortal Kombat, Wasteland and NBA Jam–the book gives a behind-the-scenes look at the creation of some of the most influential and iconic (and sometimes forgotten) games of all time. Recounting endless hours of painstaking development, the challenges of working with mega-publishers and the uncertainties of public reception, the interviewees reveal the creative processes that produced some of gaming’s classic titles.