inXile entertainment's post-apocalyptic RPG Wasteland 2 is now available for testing on the PC. You can purchase the beta game through Steam Early Access for $60 and get all future updates for no additional charge.
Wasteland 2 is the direct follow-up to the 1988 title Wasteland. It depicts an alternate timeline in which the world was devastated by nuclear war in 1998. The player controls a party of Desert Rangers in their journeys through post-apocalyptia. They customize the equipment and skills of each Ranger and then lead them in turn-based combat. There are multiple solutions to each quest and consequences to each decision.
If the game sounds familiar, it's because Wasteland ultimately inspired the Fallout series. The popularity of Fallout and nostalgia for the original Wasteland allowed inXile to fund the game through a Kickstarter campaign. Players contributed over $2.9 million to the campaign.
The Steam Early Access version is feature-complete but inXile says that there are some rough spots. It doesn't feature the full content of the game, either.
"We’re including 30% of the game levels so you can see how Wasteland 2 plays: AI, gear, inventory, creatures, line-of-sight, exploration, world-maps, fast travel, dialogue, and more," inXile says on the Steam Early Access page. "Oh yeah: you’ll also get to test out the combat system. Hell, that’s a big part of the fun here. We’ve got a cartload of quests, memorable characters, NPCs who’ll be happy to join your party for a price (or for vengeance), and all the explosive fun of a radioactive monk without any of that actual radiation. During this early access phase we’ll be adding even more content in the form of new levels, killer weapons and NPCs and of course fixing those pesky bugs that the programmers put in the code."
The final version for the game won't be $60. By purchasing Steam Early Access, you're getting the perks that $55+ Kickstarter backers received. Like these backers, Steam Early Access customers will also get a free copy of Wasteland 1, two digital novellas set in the game universe, a downloadable copy of the official Wasteland 2 soundtrack and a concept art book. It's not clear what the final retail price will be. Kickstarter backers who paid $15 or more will get a free copy so the Steam price will be somewhere in that range.
The $60 price tag for early access does take it out of impulse buy range for most gamers. If you're on the fence about making a purchase, you should consult a few beta previews that have been published throughout the web. Also, be sure to check out the new gameplay trailer, entitled "The Butchers of Arizona."