Wild Bastards Is About Some Very Particular Bastards

Wild Bastards Preview

Wild Bastards declares itself to be the spiritual sequel to the stylish 2019 shooter Void Bastards. If you played that game, it probably made a lasting impression. It’s not the first shooter to employ a comic book style (would that be 2003’s XIII?) but where other games kind of look like generic cels, Void Bastards looked like the style of a particular artist. Studio Blue Manchu is fairly small, and you can feel the personal touch. Do you want to get locked in a particularly crazy graphic novel? Now is your chance.

Dreams in the Void

Though the original Void Bastards drew inspiration from games like System Shock, that wasn’t quite how it felt to play. Rather than an immersive world or a story, Void Bastards played out as a roguelite. In the game, you navigate through nodes on a map as you complete cyclical runs. Between missions you can adjust your character and loadout. You worry about resources that your character carries and also bigger resources that drive the meta-game.

Void Bastards was a really great setup for a game, but it quickly ran out of steam (no pun intended). The procedurally generated space station rooms can only arrange themselves in so many combos. Though I am sure there are squintillions of permutations, the different modifiers and enemy types weren’t enough to really hook. me. This is a good game, it just needs more to it.

High Noon on the Edge of the Galaxy

More is here. Wild Bastards is changing the Void Bastards formula in a couple of critical ways. First off are the characters. I don’t really remember the characters in Void bastards. I remember a blur of discontented barrel chested loudmoths. Wild Bastards flips the script by setting up a squad. It’s the kind of team that could really use those short videos Team Fortress 2 used to run. There are 13 different characters and they play reasonably differently. The ability trees are different for each character and they all fit into fun shooter archetypes.

A further divergence takes us down to a planet’s surface! Void Bastards felt dark and sterile. Wild Bastards has environments that are as colorful as its characters. There are snowy cliffs and verdant woods, and all of this does wonders for breaking up some of the sameyness of the shooting. This specificity shows great ambition. You are going to remember particular characters in particular fights on particular planets. You might even pick one as your main.

Ragtag, Infinite Potential

The best things Wild Bastards has going for it is the potential for diversity. Unfortunately, that kind of thing is hard to assess with the game still in development. The shooting mechanics feel good to play, though the busy graphics may be too much for some. Maybe I’m out of practice with FPS games, but I had to give my eyes a rest between levels. The content in the game already feels much tighter than the developer’s previous effort but how can you judge the quantity of a thing that is still being made?

That’s going to be the critical question: can Wild Bastards keep its high level of energy going in the long haul? I think signs are promising. I especially like the way the relationship system is shaping up. It proves that the developers understand that the characters are the real hook, and if people want to hang out with them, they will want to play the game. I think they are on to something. I thought the tone landed on the right side of the maniac LOL random humor that makes me roll my eyes in Borderlands. It’s clear that Blue Manchu knows this game needs to impress, and I will be very curious to track the development of Wild Bastards. Maybe, like a desperate team of specialists brought together, they just might bring this plan together.

Thank you for keeping it locked on COGconnected.

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