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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
On one hand, members of your Desert Rangers group are positive, as you're fighting to bring order back to a post-apocalyptic world. But you're killing several thousand people in the process, using a variety of weapons and tactics to inflict the most damage in the shortest number of moves.
Positive Role Models
At start of game, you can choose your characters; mix of genders, skin colors to choose from. Not much diversity in age and no option to choose character with physical disability. Still, there's good representation. Characters want to help society but tend to enjoy violence in order to achieve goals. You will be faced with ethical decisions that can change the story paths somewhat, plus you can be brutal, compassionate, or somewhere in the middle.
Ease of Play
A few difficulty levels off the top, so you can choose what suits your skill level, but even on simplest settings you're presented with grid-based combat screen and no direction on what to do. It will mostly be trial and error for those not used to these kinds of games.
Violence & Scariness
Very violent, bloody, and at times gory. During combat, you can use variety of ranged and melee weapons to kill enemies, often resulting in blood-stained corpses (contrasted against often snowy/icy terrain). You can use guns, shoot exploding barrels, and use hammers to kill enemies in turn-based combat system. Some cutscenes show violent imagery, like head shots and corpses hanging from nooses, as well as dismemberment, disembowelment, beheading.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Sexual comments and implied/suggestive imagery (like a male character pleasing himself, but clothed and the view is from behind). Players can also visit a brothel and pay prostitutes for sex acts -- not seen on camera but with sensual moaning sounds heard after the transaction.
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Very strong profanity, including words in dialogue like "c--t," "f--k," "s--t," "s--t stain," "a--hole," and more.
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Products & Purchases
While there aren't any details yet, it will have post-release DLC (downloadable content). This is the latest installment of the Wasteland franchise.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Lots of drug references: a cannabis leaf image, a cocaine-like white substance on tables. Players can use nondescript drug-like enhancements, too, which could cause the screen to blur (implying intoxication).
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Wasteland 3 is a role-playing game available for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Windows PCs. This is the latest installment of the Wasteland franchise and is a very mature title. It contains a lot of violence, blood, and gore, including the ability to use all kinds of weapons to kill enemies. You'll see head shots with blood splatter, cutscenes with dismemberment, and exploding bodies. There are also sexual references (but no nudity), including visits to a brothel to pay for sexual acts with a prostitute. In one scene, a man looks like he's pleasing himself (seen from behind and clothed) and makes a comment about not being able to stop. There's strong profanity, including words like "c--t" and "f--k." Drugs can also be seen and consumed by the character during play.
Is It Any Good?
This is a deep, challenging, and gratifying game. While not without its faults, Wasteland 3 will no doubt please fans of the series and rope in some new recruits, too. As in previous games, you'll select Rangers to play as, each with their own style and weapons; outfit your characters with better equipment; and upgrade your gear and attributes over time -- as with most RPGs (role-playing games). During combat sequences, you'll see a grid layout over the part of the map you're on and will want to find cover and spend your acquired AP (action points) on each offensive or defensive move you make per turn. You'll know when there's not enough AP to perform the task you want, or if the move is out of range from your specific location (like wanting to shoot an exploding gas tank near two enemies). You'll have access to some human and robotic help with sidekicks and NPCs (non-playable characters), too, should you enlist their help along the way.
Even though there's an Easy setting and a few optional and short tutorial elements (like how to heal yourself when injured), there isn't any direction when you land on your first combat scenario in this game. As a result, there will be a lot of trial and error to figure out how to play. There were also some questionable combat results, like being right beside an enemy but not landing a shot, while on the flip side, taking someone down easily from afar. Hopefully this can be fixed with a downloadable patch. Despite the aforementioned issues, and some random bugs and loading screens that could take an extremely long time to complete, Wasteland 3 is a fun old-school turn-based game that checks off most of the boxes. It's a brutal and violent game that delivers on its promise of tactical combat, memorable characters, and scenarios, along with a good story that has decent voice acting.
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