Shacknews Best Strategy Game of 2020 - Wasteland 3

Wasteland 3 brings a lot to the table, offering deep RPG elements on top of a fantastic strategy base that helps to make it the best strategy game of the year.


Just looking at the deep RPG elements contained within, it would be easy to write Wasteland 3 off as a strategy game, but that’s just not the case. While there are indeed some very good RPG mechanics in play, at its core, Wasteland 3 is also a strategy game, one that requires players to not only think about the move that they’re about to make, but also the move that they might be making four turns from now.

Every decision, every step, every conversation. All play into the strategy elements that push Wasteland 3’s story and gameplay forward. It is this chess-like base that helps form the strategy pieces that hold Wasteland 3 together. Sure, there are skill points, and some would probably argue that Wasteland 3 is more RPG than strategy. That’s a fair argument for sure. But everything about the choices you make and the rippling effects that they can have on the story and the world play out as a much larger bit of strategy, forcing you to think so far ahead of where you are at the moment.

As I mentioned above, playing Wasteland 3 is like playing chess in a way. You learn where to sacrifice things so that you can push ahead, and even learn when you need to sit back and let the pieces fall where they may. It is this expertly crafted system of choices and consequences that really helps to drive home the strategy feeling in Wasteland 3, something that continues to permeate the game, including in the combat phases.

Much like previous instances of the Wasteland series, Wasteland 3 features a turn-based combat system designed around Action Points. There is a lot that goes into play in combat, and much like the other chess-like parts of the game, combat forces you to think ahead. You will have to try to figure out what moves your opponent might make, find ways to pull them into traps, and just all around outsmart them if you want to walk away with fewer losses. One wrong move can change the entirety of the situation's outcome and could even send you fleeing with your tail tucked between your legs.

Wasteland 3 is an excellent blending of strategy and RPG elements. While the RPG elements are heavily placed atop, there’s no ignoring the fantastic strategy foundations that the game was built upon, helping it to earn the Shacknews’ Best Strategy Game of 2020 award.

Check out the other winners from The Shacknews Awards 2020 in our Year of the Games: 2020 article.

Guides Editor

Joshua holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Creative Writing and has been exploring the world of video games for as long as he can remember. He enjoys everything from large-scale RPGs to small, bite-size indie gems and everything in between.

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