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The parents' guide to what's in this game.
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What 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.
What's it about?
WASTELAND 3 is a squad-based, turn-based role-playing game (RPG) set in a dangerous post-apocalyptic world. You first choose a team of Desert Rangers trying to rebuild society -- despite several attempts to stop you in your path -- and choose your weapons and upgrades carefully in order to win several skirmishes throughout your missions. While navigating around a (mostly frozen) wasteland that was once Colorado, you'll unravel more of the story (but you don't need any prior knowledge from previous games). That starts with a trip north to investigate the actions of The Patriarch, the violent ruler of these lands and his three siblings, who've broken off into warring factions. Against the backdrop of this deep (and twisting) story and while exploring these treacherous grounds, you must tactically position your squad on a battle map and plot out your moves in order to win each fight. You'll also be tasked with interacting with characters (and choosing how the conversation and actions go), building a new base, training new recruits, and deciding how to leave your legacy in this brutal world. The game also supports online multiplayer matches.
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.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about violence in video games. Is the impact of the violence in Wasteland 3 affected by the blood and gore shown during play? Would the impact of the violence be the same if there wasn't so much blood and gore in the images?
Is there a reason that there's so much profanity in Wasteland 3? Is it for comical effect, is it because this is how some people talk, or is it to drive the action of the story further? Would the game have the same impact if the language wasn't as strong?
- Platforms: PlayStation 4, Windows, Xbox One
- Price: $59.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: Deep Silver
- Release date: August 28, 2020
- Genre: Role-Playing
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Adventures, Misfits and Underdogs, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires, Robots
- ESRB rating: M for Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Sexual Content, Strong Language, Use of Drugs
- Last updated: September 21, 2020
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