DLC REVIEW: ‘Wasteland 3: The Battle of Steeltown’ Offers New Twists to Wasteland’s Formula (XSX)

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Wasteland 3: The Battle of Steeltown

Wasteland 3: The Battle of Steeltown is a tactic-based RPG developed by inXile Entertainment. It’s been close to a year since Wasteland 3 launched, and it’s time to head back to Colorado to fight for Steeltown. But as is always the case, things aren’t as simple as that. With different factions and multiple threats to consider, what choices the Rangers make, and whose side they take, will make all the difference.

Before I even began playing the DLC, inXile was already impressing me. The developer has opted to make the difficulty of Wasteland 3: The Battle of Steeltown scaleable. So players whose squads are level 9 or up can not only access the new gameplay immediately, it’ll be scaled to an appropriate difficulty for them. So if you have just started your adventure through the wasteland or are near your finale, you can jump into this new battle and expect a challenge appropriate to their squad.

Once the player reaches Steeltown, they will find anarchy awaiting them. The factory that makes the city of vital importance to the Patriarch is locked up tight, with no production happening. A mixed group of refugees and protestors are camped outside the factory. Some simply looking for safety from roaming gangs, others are there to demand they get to see family members who work at the factory but haven’t been seen for weeks.

After making your initial introductions with the factory’s representative via hologram, the area comes under attack from one of the local gangs. With this initial combat encounter, the DLC introduces one of its new mechanics: stackable status effects.

Several participants in the battle deploy electrical attacks. If a character is hit with enough electrical attacks, they will be instantly disabled and go down. While this is the first stackable effect the player sees in action it won’t be the last. Tar throwers are also utilized later on in the demo. These weapons make movement more difficult the more a character is hit by them.

Once the player clears this first fight, their journey into the factory and their mission to get it up and running can continue. I won’t go into details to avoid story spoilers, but needless to say Wasteland 3: The Battle of Steeltown will present the player with all the choice that has become synonymous with the Wasteland franchise. Players will be forced to weigh morality with practicality as they strive to get the factory going again.

Along with the franchise’s trademark choice-driven narrative, comes the tongue-in-cheek brand of humor players have also become accustomed to. This humor is delivered with just the right frequency and timing. It manages to come just often enough to keep the mission from becoming too overbearing, while not so often as to reduce the situation to a total farce.

A side note I also want to mention is how much more stable Wasteland 3: The Battle of Steeltown ran compared to when I played the core game at release. I experienced none of the bugs or game crashes that plagued my original playthrough here. If those aspects of the game were keeping you away when it launched last year, it looks like the game may be at a point that checking it out won’t be so frustrating an endeavor.

When all is said and done, I enjoyed this new adventure in the frozen land of Colorado. The challenging combat, choice-driven narrative, and fun humor are hitting on all cylinders in Wasteland 3: The Battle of Steeltown. If you enjoyed the gameplay of the original release, I can easily recommend checking this out.

Wasteland 3: The Battle of Steeltown is available on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series S/X, and PC.

Wasteland 3: The Battle of Steeltown
  • 8.5/10
    Rating - 8.5/10
8.5/10

TL;DR

When all is said and done, I enjoyed this new adventure in the frozen land of Colorado. The challenging combat, choice-driven narrative, and fun humor are hitting on all cylinders in Wasteland 3: The Battle of Steeltown. If you enjoyed the gameplay of the original release, I can easily recommend checking this out.