Let's dig into the “directorial version” of Wasteland 2: mechanics and interfaces
In my opinion, the most “fallout” fallout after the second is Wasteland 2 in the full version, which is Director's Cut. In the era of mirror remakes of games and films, this thing is very pleasing with the old spirit and new solutions. Therefore, I suggest digging a little under her hood in terms of a GameDev mechanic.
Let's start with the most important thing - this game follows the good old formula "World, game, players." Modern high-budget projects are aimed at ensuring that the player decides what is happening in the world and doesn’t miss any important actions. Maximum content in one go so that nothing is left overs. This is the way of a good movie. The path to a good game is a realistic world living in an ecosystem that can be shaken by the forces of one person only with very great difficulty.
So, the world of Wasteland 2 doesn't care about you. There are no happy arrivals at the last moment to save everyone, there are no NPCs waiting for something. Real time. For example, when you enter Highpool, a house burns there. Do not have time to put out - well, he stupidly burns. The second important aspect is the steep constantly moving plot, rather characteristic for its series of Bioshocks with its turns. Exciting from the first minutes, without a long swing. And this plot is really high resolution. Constantly offering a stern choice between morality, order and law.
And these are three different choices.
World, game, players
Let's start with the first and foremost. The world is more important than the game, and the game is more important than the players. This means that we see a certain global picture of events, and we really feel that we are not an omnipotent hero, but a team that works with what we have. A sign of a good adult game. The difference is very simple, and is easily demonstrated by the example of UFO: Enemy Unknown (old under DOS) and XCOM: Enemy Unknown (new 3D). In the first game, you play ecology - the aliens do not care about your plans and deadlines, they just figure the planet. In the second, all the triggers rest on your achievements. The alien base appears strictly after the capturing chain of captives. If you do not take a prisoner, you can develop for a very long time before it appears. Then the observation ship appears supposedly after launching the hyper-wave decoder, but it does not start until you have the ship you need to intercept - and so on.
In second place after the world should be a game.If players are more important than the game, then the game begins to "cheat" in their favor. Most often this is done for casuals, so that they are not afraid of complexity and do not leave. In the same Fallout 3 NV, it is quite difficult to meet after the first third of the game something that can effectively kill the main character (this is generally characteristic of all Morrowind series). In general, the superiority of the game over the players is most easily determined by irreversible elections. For example, this is the loss of fighters in the Jagged Alliance, the closure of certain Fallout endings as they act in cities, problems with food and wounds in This War of Mine, in general the ability to somehow mess up and ruin almost everything. Remember the same Far Cry series - it’s very difficult there to do something so as not to go along the story rails. Or the same Dragon Age, where these rails are generally nailed to the head of the protagonist. Another symptom is, roughly speaking, you can’t go and meet an expo, which is an order of magnitude stronger than you. And here it’s quite real.
And in Wasteland the plot is short, the world is conditionally closed, but at the same time we are left with so many great chances to shoot ourselves in the foot that this more than replaces the complete openness of the world and the variety of the plot. In this game, you survive, live, and not watch a movie.
And yes, the game is quite well "swinging" in terms of the strange actions of the players. For example, in Shadowrun: Dragonfall, you can’t do it in the cities, but here you are. Only inside the game there is also special mechanics for such a case - General Serpent Vargas will send you a special stripping squad. With whom you, by the way, are introduced at the end of training as an example of an unattainable ideal.
High resolution plot
Your first task is to survive. Everything in the first part is devoted to this. Your world is a small stretch of wasteland surrounded on all sides by radiation clouds. It is difficult to get food in the experimental agricultural center, and water - with no less difficulty - in Khaipul. Add here a fairly low speed of movement (on foot), communication with walkie-talkies and masses of hungry raiders. This is a world where everything around is dangerous, and you may not have time to come to the rescue. A vivid example of how not to be in time is given at the very beginning with the simultaneous attack of two settlements.
In terms of plot presentation, the game does two very large things that determine the ability to give “book” detail. Firstly, in it, like in the good old text quests, by and large, you can play without graphics.
This is a game of two screens - render and text. If you play tactics - yes, here is the screen in front of you, everything is as it should. But if you play hardcore RPG, there is something cooler. At the bottom of the screen there is a log screen where radio interception, the thoughts of the heroes and what they see are displayed.
This text feed describes everything directly in megabytes of text. You go, and there, with a quiet buzzing and clattering, a text appears describing what exactly is happening around. In the battle there is a battle log, which is familiar to us in the second Fallout.
Look, here is the text part about the bar:
Here's what on the main screen at this time:
Or like this in the dialog:
Most of the semi-detective and subtle quests are connected with reading these descriptions. And there are so many useful things that you directly feel how cool this affects the game.
The second cool thing in the presentation of the plot is a very competent work with the walkie-talkie. Perhaps it is the coolest here, much cooler than in the same Stalker (which before that was for me a model of a radio game). The same walkie-talkie is woven into the interface like a native and eliminates a bunch of unnecessary RPG elements. For example, the level increase was made insanely cool - you need to call the control and report that the detachment is alive, the status is such and such. Regular and extraordinary ranks can be assigned to fighters - these are the levels. By the way, when the character from the control is nearby, the same can be done right in the dialogue with him: a walkie-talkie is not needed.
Important talks constantly go on the walkie-talkie, shouts for help come into it, open air is heard in it, sometimes extremely interesting intercepts slip like a dialogue in the "unknown Slavic" - "Cheburashka, this is Shapoklyak, we are ready to go through the mountains." And in the second part, the walkie-talkie also becomes a way of knowing the world - the Mannerist show alone is worth what.
The same walkie-talkies are part of the world, all security rests on them. Therefore, one of the main tasks of the rangers in the first and second parts is to maintain the towers and set up their own repeaters.
And here is the local Ostankino television tower.
The high resolution of the plot is when there are a lot of details, but each of them is thought out and does not come from nowhere. It gives a good study of the world. Here are a couple of examples of such exact work:
See what the guy has in his hand? Machete from sharpened sign. Very suitable for the savage in the post-apocalyptic world.
Each character is well designed, everyone has a bright personality and a memorable character.
A chance meeting, a 20-second episode that does not affect anything - but what a beauty from the point of view of the role!
Magical objects. In addition to this book, there is also a can of cucumbers that cannot be opened, pre-war Ferby, with whom Piseppy Yorren never parted, and other wild things.
Read with great pleasure
In general, you can enjoy every detail - more text is written for the game than for a couple of books, and the “ears” of quick development do not stick anywhere. I must say that thanks to Kickstarter, the game received a budget even before the start of work, so it was made by Brian Fargo not as a thing for money, but as a work of art. Where everything is as it should.
And sometimes there will be surprises like the first meeting with a mortar nuclear shell. You will see the achievement yourself.
Interfaces incredibly cool convey the spirit of the old school, hardcore. The same dialogue, in fact, boils down to the good old choice of branches and answers from 1-20 options. But it can also be carried out using a text field - do not select words, but simply ask NPC questions.
Of course, ready-made options cover 95% of the branches, but sometimes there are also interesting things. Plus, a cunning player who has read all the texts in the lower screen can make a deductive conclusion and ask the right question before the game decides that it should appear in the dialogue.
Pan Andrzej Sapkowski in “There Is No Gold in the Gray Mountains” once said that a good fantasy book can be distinguished by map. The same goes for tactical game interfaces: the most important thing is the map. Here's the local one:
Pay attention to how exactly it matches the place in spirit and lighting:
By the way, this figovina on the left is the only metaphor - access to the world map.
Another good old hardcore thing is that when you want to do something not directly obvious, you need to take and apply the appropriate skill to the corresponding subject. As in the quest - first you need to guess that one fits the other, and then do it. The interface is like in F2 - choose a skill, poke at what you want to touch. The game makes hints only on very obvious things, such as a computer with a password - hacking, a locked lock - hacking and so on.
Cruelty and Realism
The formula "world, game, players" gives the game a completely incredible realism. And at the same time - determines her cruelty. For example, there are many situations where you can just observe but cannot help.
Example (story spoiler)
В бывшем центре рейнджеров, захваченным «Красными скорпионами», вы встречаете фермера, чью жену изнасиловали и зарезали. Когда ваша команда прибывает, он как раз копает могилу для двоих. В диалоге он объясняет, что именно делает, и что жить ему больше смысла нет – и, закончив работу, ложится туда и стреляется. Параллельно в этом же месте в эфире плачет умирающая женщина с другой стороны плато – и её тоже нельзя спасти, лекарств от её болезни нет. Это просто мир, он такой.
Survival games are generally characterized by some cynicism and cruelty. Here she goes into a special variety - you begin to understand why survival often requires keeping the enemies alive.
Лучший пример – разрешение конфликта с «Красными скорпионами». Сначала вы наблюдаете вот эти и подобные зверства в первой части игры, а затем добираетесь до их главного во второй. И внезапно оказывается, что он вообще-то хотел как лучше, просто получилась вот такая фигня. И логично его не убивать, а помочь, — и он когда-нибудь потом поможет рейнджерам. Личное (а его там много, не буду спойлерить) уступает место необходимости выживать.
So somewhere in the middle of the game you can gladly find another sign of adulthood - there are no "dark" and "light" sides in it . Neither good nor bad, and everything is constantly changing. The sworn enemy becomes a best friend, horror is often behind a beautiful facade, in the most prosperous cities real hell is happening ... The game each time asks you how ready you are for this and how ready you are to accept someone else's point of view. Probably the best illustration of this approach is the dialogue between Hiro and the Avalanche policeman:
“Well, yes, I was after the Creepy.” What did you think? What did I try to catch Raven?
- Something like that. I mean, he's a bad guy, right?
- Definitely. So if I were a policeman and if it was my job to catch the bad guys, I would be chasing Raven. But I am the Guardian of Order, and my job is to establish order. Therefore, I, like every Guardian of Order in the city, do everything in my power to protect the Raven. And if you were too intrigued to try to find the Raven yourself in order to avenge your colleague whom he killed, forget about it.
Hiro is offended by the idea.
“That's why everyone tells me: don't mess with Raven?” Are you afraid, devil, that I will attack him?
The violin points to the swords:
“You have something to do with it.”
“Why would anyone protect Raven?”
- Not the smartest idea is to declare war on a nuclear power.
- I'm sorry, what?
“Lord,” the violin shakes his head, “but if I knew how little you knew about what was going on here, I would never let you into my car.” I thought you were some kind of serious agent for special operations of the Central Executive Committee. You mean you really don't know anything about Raven?
“Yes, that is exactly what I want to say.”
- Okay. I’ll tell you so that you don’t get involved in something and cause even more trouble. Instead of a cannon, Raven had a torpedo with a warhead, which he stole from an old Soviet nuclear submarine. This is a torpedo designed to smash a group of combat aircraft carriers in one fell swoop. Nuclear torpedo. Have you seen a stupid stroller hitched to the "Harley" of the Raven? So, this is a hydrogen bomb, man. In combat readiness and on a platoon. And the detonator is connected to the electrodes implanted in his brain. If the raven dies, the bomb will explode. Therefore, when Raven appears in the city, we do everything in our power to be given a warm welcome.
Hiro just stands with his mouth agape, and I.V.
“Okay,” she says. - We will stay away from him, this I say on behalf of my partner.
Here, for example, one of the most important ills of the world begins with the fact that the guy sends out carrier pigeons so that the world does not starve. And when you find out how to ensure safety in the local New Reno and who needs it, or rather, whoever remains the only kind and honest, you are a little too awesome. But I will not spoil the pleasure.
So, each time you choose what is more important - personal enrichment, morality, law or order. And common sense is often so distorted that it directly makes you feel like a hero.
Again, I repeat, in the game there are no bad or wrong choices - and sometimes an instant fire would be the best dialogue option. When the game does not begin to punish you for this, you will finally realize that you are really changing the world and influencing the future. And at some point, the save function becomes redundant. She insures only against crashes of the game, but you understand that, in general, what for is not needed. Because the world is lively and cool.
Atmosphere and small details
Of course, the game would be incomplete without flirting with the old version and a good bit of black humor. Here are a couple of examples:
This is a remake of the cover of the old Wasteland of the 90s - it was all there in pixels. The direct connection of generations. It suddenly turns into green in another part of the world. Yes, peace after a nuclear war is not necessarily a wasteland.
Role playing slips in every aspect. Even in the interface elections:
Of course, the good old reprise from Westerns with a visit to the cemetery:
A mandatory point of the program is a meeting with a geek:
Markers confirming that the guys made the game on the board. Because they remember what it is:
NPC comments on what is happening around (oh, the monk who knows the world is especially happy about his sermons and moral torment are just crazy):
In the story, Carroll’s logic of tasks is also completely - for example, one of the most important tasks of an elite military unit is to find 7 bags of filler for a cat's toilet. Because these bags are the only excellent source of sorbent necessary for the manufacture of anti-radiation protection.
In general, the entire second part of the game gives extraordinary pleasure at the sight of the logic of various people. Here, for example, is an open-type prison, cameras are painted on the ground:
Monty-Python's humor continues a lot where. Here is a puppy, for example, cleaned out a shop from radtarakanov:
Of course, this cocktail is incomplete without an excellent role-playing system, tons of guns, numerous customization of everything and everyone - but at the same time, I repeat, there is nothing irreversible in the game. We didn’t download the necessary hacking skill - let's hit on dynamite, business something. Do not know how to repair nuclear warheads? Well, try cutting the red wire with the alarm removal skill. Sucks with diplomacy? Not a problem, let your most terrible hero intimidate the interlocutor. Eight screens of character parameters only, including skill highlighting.
By the way, inside the role-playing system, too much is great in terms of sharpening the fact that everyone in the team does something cool. There are 4 pieces of diplomatic skills alone: the ability to convince with logic, flattery, intimidation and trade.
This is one of the few games where the optimal build is not needed.
And of course, here is the most important thing for a role-playing game - weekend captions showing what happened to everyone and everyone depending on your actions:
So I advise.
Other materials in the topic - digging into XCOM , digging into This War of Mine , parsing databases , parsing interfaces-in-reality-games , mechanics of the flow of endorphins , story-oriented games .