Wasteland 3 begins with the Arizona Rangers facing impossible odds against a cold, hostile state on the brink of destruction. The first threat my co-op partner and I had to fight was not the brutal Dorsey gang, but the co-op system itself. The first night we tried, we were unable to connect. We were also unable to connect on our third day, despite some previous successes. The lobby simply refused to acknowledge that the other player had joined.
Once my good friend and I were able to get the game successfully running, we each customized our own ranger and started to role-play. Unfortunately, Wasteland 3 had other plans. At the five-hour mark, my friend and I returned to Ranger HQ, ready to upgrade our base and prepare for a new outing. Instead, we were greeted by the Patriarch, in a repeat of the very first conversation at Ranger HQ. The base had completely reverted to its original state, even though my friend and I had retained our character experience and party.
Our entire mission log had cleared itself; there was no way to progress or reset the game besides reloading a previous save. The game regularly autosaves, but both our autosave and quick save were broken, as well as our most recent manual save. We had to return to an old save, losing 90 minutes of progress. This exact bug happened in another quest hub twice during one night.
The Wasteland franchise has not traditionally dabbled in co-op; 2014’s Wasteland 2 was a single-player experience. But it’s still shocking to find a game so broken. Developers inXile Entertainment are aware of the issues, as well as problems that plague single-player. The developers have been maintaining a running list of issues, marked as high priority, and upcoming solutions.
Wasteland 3 was scheduled for a May 2020 release date, but was later delayed until August.
There’s a lot to enjoy in Wasteland 3. I’m satisfied with the way the main Colorado Springs conflict played out, and I’m taking any chance I can to spite the law-abiding Sheriff Daisy. My friend and I once erupted in peals of laughter when the game presented us with a tough moral choice regarding a set of corrupt, rich youths, and it gave us the chance to go full Anakin Skywalker. But right now, the game is barely playable, and I’m hesitant to put any more time in until I can rest assured I won’t lose huge chunks of progress every time I return to a hub.