I was really excited for W2 to come out and that I stayed away from early access just made me even more excited. Of course, going in I did not expect the game to be "Fallout, but with--" but also did not know exactly what to expect given Wasteland 1 was, well, significantly before my time. A lot of the complaints leveled at the game are not complaints I share. I don't care about graphics. As long as the interface is coherent and the graphics are crisp enough for me to tell what's going on, that's enough for me. In fact, I really liked how nondescript a lot of the NPCs were in Fallout and Fallout 2 because that better allowed me to imagine what they looked like. Gameplay is brutal and down to the wire, resources come and go (at least in Arizona) in a feast-or-famine pattern, so trips back to Ranger Citadel felt really satisfying, especially with a few requisitions stored up. The difficulty of the combat and the challenge of the resource management create a consistent tone. I like a lot of the incidental writing as well- like in the Fallouts, NPC descriptions are evocative without being too wordy. Place descriptions are pretty good too. A minor nitpick is that the item descriptions frequently have typos. Now, as a disclaimer I've only just breached LA, so I don't know exactly, where the narrative takes its big concepts, but there are a few things that are extremely disappointing so far. The narrative starts out strong in my opinion. Vargas' opening narration sets the stark tone and establishes the mystery and lack of information in the world effectively. His voice actor's pretty good, too. I also like the early quests dealing with Highpool and Ag Center, as well as the Rail Nomads quest. I think these sequences are well enough designed insofar as there's not necessarily a perfect option, but there's enough maneuverability to get a functional outcome that makes you feel like you did your job at least competently. Where the game starts to lose me is when Matthias came in. I've already seen too many doomsday plots in post-apocalyptic stories. The fact that they call themselves "Children of the Citadel" feels way, way too much like a retread of the Children of the Cathedral in Fallout 1, but with tech instead of mutagens. Frankly, I think the idea of someone threatening the existence of yet another crapsack world is just plain boring and derivative. It got even worse when Dugan showed up with his robot army in LA. Again, I've seen all this shit before. It's neither new nor interesting and after Fallout: New Vegas refreshingly departed from world saving and doomsday villains, I expected much more out of this narrative. Another issue I have with the writing is how "relentlessly bleak" is conflated with "mature" all the time. One of the most obnoxious parts of the game, I think, is the series of radio transmissions from the dying woman in Happy Valley. They drag on and on, especially when the woman to decided to sing all of Amazing Grace into the radio. I get it. The wasteland is bleak and depressing. Stop bludgeoning me. Furthermore, certain narrative beats sacrifice the opportunity to do something interesting for the chance to be darker. For example, Damonta is built up to be this big exciting location, then when you show up, everyone's dead. This would feel punchier if you encountered a settlement beforehand that was actually thriving. When you hear that Vargas sent a team ahead of you into LA and then that Angela's in a helicopter you just know that a.) the team's going to die (heaven forbid someone on the protagonist's side other than the protagonist does something useful and succeeds at it) and b.) the helicopter's going to crash. Of course. Because this is a dark and gritty story and whenever helicopters are involved in dark gritty stores they have to crash. Boring. I'm not saying all the writing is bad. Incidental dialogue is really well handled. The merchants and farmers of the wastes feel believable. A lot of the Rangers come across as really respectable and likable. I enjoyed my interactions with Vargas, Mercaptain, Sagarra, and Eggleston. I've heard Angela's a neat companion, though I missed her completely in Arizona. I like Pistol Pete and I'm enjoying the Rodia quests so far. Even some of the bad guys are compelling. I though Danforth was an intriguing tragic figure, for example. The issues with this game's writing are mainly that it leans hard on tired cliches for its broad story arc and that it forgoes originality and interesting writing at times to bludgeon the player over the head with more dark grittiness.