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- ● L S. Matthew Vice Video Games · Gaming · Nintendo · Nintendo Switch

Waste­land 2: Direc­tor’s Cut ★★★ Plat­form: Switch

It’s not all doom and gloom in Nin­tendo’s neck of the woods these days. True, the Switch now has a paid sub­scrip­tion ser­vice it can barely jus­tify to play games on­line and its re­lease sched­ule still con­sists of cheap, throw­away indie ti­tles and ports of old games with nary an ex­clu­sive killer app in sight — but at least some of the ports are re­ally good.

So if you’re in need of a salve to soothe the burn of your ex­pen­sive hy­brid ma­chine still not quite liv­ing up to its po­ten­tial, you could do worse than Waste­land 2. It’s been on PC and other con­soles for a while, and I’m quite sur­prised it came to the Switch.

But the fact is that Waste­land 2 is great. It comes to us from Brian Fargo, one of the cre­ators of the cel­e­brated orig­i­nal Fall­out games of the late ’90s, and is a spir­i­tual suc­ces­sor to these games. Set in a post­nu­clear-apoca­lypse, Waste­land 2 tasks the player with cre­at­ing a team of four wannabe Desert Rangers who are keen to prove them­selves to the only or­gan­i­sa­tion try­ing to main­tain law and or­der.

Your first as­sign­ment — in­ves­ti­gat­ing the death of an­other ranger — leads to a far big­ger story with plenty of side mis­sions and dis­trac­tions along the way. The world is huge, filled with en­e­mies to fight, hid­den items to find and plenty of char­ac­ters to talk to, re­cruit, rob, what­ever.

Like its spir­i­tual pre­de­ces­sors, the com­bat is of the top-down, turn-based va­ri­ety, where both the player and their en­e­mies spend ac­tion points to move around the bat­tle­field, use weapons, take cover, heal them­selves, etc.

It’s pretty damn mer­ci­less too. This is no JRPG where you can tank 20 hits be­fore need­ing to heal — in the waste­land, you die fast. So fight smart.

The con­trol scheme is a bit on the clunky side, es­pe­cially when it comes to di­rect­ing a char­ac­ter to use a par­tic­u­lar skill on a par­tic­u­lar item. But once you get the hang of it, it be­comes sec­ond na­ture. Games of this breadth and depth are what the Switch sorely needs. Now it just needs a few orig­i­nal ones.

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