Release date: Jun 16, 2020
Developer: Mimimi Games
Publisher: THQ Nordic
Genre: Real-time tactics
Platforms: Microsoft Windows · PlayStation 4 · Xbox One
Links to Purchase:
PS4 Collector's Edition: https://amzn.to/31VJV6j
Xbox One: https://amzn.to/31IGZJX
Xbox One Collector's Edition: https://amzn.to/2C57Rct
*Review Copy Provided by THQ Nordic*
Cowboys, Outlaws, shootouts, and stealth? You get all that and more in Desperados III in a RTT or Real Time Tactics format with a heavy emphasis on not only the strategic planning and execution but above that it’s stealth aspects that are integral to how you play the game. Desperados III serves as the prequel to the first entry which originally released in 2001 on Windows and is the first new entry in the franchise since 2007’s Helldarado and is a made both for old fans of the franchise as well as a starting point for new players who have never had any experience with the franchise. With this essentially rebirth of the franchise, the question looms of whether this is a game that is classic and worth getting into or is it just another dead outlaw in the Wild West? Well….. Let us mosey on into this review.
The story of Desperados III is set before the events of Desperados: Wanted Dead or Alive and explores the origins of series protagonist John Cooper. We follow Cooper as he tracks down notorious bandit leader Frank, the killer of his father James Cooper, and along the way he runs into Dr. McCoy hired by the DeVitt Company, Hector Mendoza, Isabella Moreau, and Kate O’Hara as you travel all over the 1870’s Wild West and seeking revenge and justice..
The way this game plays is pretty unique as from first inspection and based on the point of view with how the camera is pulled back; you’d assume that it would be a typical RTS or Real Time Strategy game where you move only so far and in so many moves and then from there select another unit and then rinse and repeat: that is where things in Desperados III are significantly different from the typical RTS genre.
Desperados III plays out in the way that you can move around with your main character Cooper and his band of outlaws including Dr. McCoy, Hector, and Kate O’Hara. Where the game differs from the traditional RTS is that it incorporates a lot of real time actions with you using the Left analog stick to move your characters around the environment and into various positions while positioning your camera in the best position for yourself to be able to survey the map with the games focus being on stealth.
The game borrows some elements from other games such as Shadow Tactics and more famously Metal Gear Solid with how enemies have their patrol routes and you can do certain things to draw their attention which will lead to them asking “did you hear that?” or “what was that noise” which was a call back to the MGS franchise.
The game’s biggest aspect is its focus on stealth and how you approach each level and its objectives. You have levels that will either have you in the midst of a town with civilians that you have to navigate through (and or kill) while making your way to your goal or on a map with nothing but enemies requiring you to use stealth and the environment to maneuver about. You can turn off lamps, throw fires on oil spills to burn up enemies, push boulders on them and more.
Each character has unique abilities that you can use to both get to your objective and take out enemies along the way. Cooper has the ability to toss a coin that has a radius effect of creating noise and drawing attention to where you throw it along with being able to use his 6 shooters to shoot 2 different enemies at once. Dr. McCoy can throw his bag that shoots out a stunning gas allowing you to sneak up on an enemy and take them out while hes other ability is to use a sniper rifle to take out enemies from afar. Hector has a bear trap named Bianca that he uses to instantly kill most enemies of which you can use his whistling ability that has a large radius to draw enemies to the exact area he whistled. Kate can throw perfume which will stun enemies temporarily and blind them, she also has the abilities of changing outfits to suit the area shes in and also flirting with enemies to distract them from the others.
Abilities all have cool downs and will require you to wait a few seconds to use again such as the coin toss and whistle while other items will have both cooldown and limited usages like Coopers’ 6 shooter and Hectors’ sawed-off shotgun. These abilities/items can be replenished at specific chests you find on the maps.
I should mention that you will be restarting missions many times. Why? Well because with every point of progression, including every minor one, will have the game prompt you to quick save so that you can pick back up wherever you mess up or if you want to take a different route. While many may view the constant prompts and saving and reloading as immersion breaking, I personally am not bothered about it and keeps me reminded that this is a video game of which a lot of games don’t do.
Graphically, the game looks amazing with a lot of attention to detail in the environments and more. You are not given close ups of the characters as the camera perspective is kept at a slanted overhead view, however, even with that it is still a beauty to look at. Towns are all well designed and incredibly lively with various people, critters, and more populating the various missions you undertake.
Explosions, rain, gunshots, fire, and the motions of water all look incredible and realistic; the rag doll physics of how enemies, NPCs, and the player characters die or react to attacks is phenomenal to say the least.
Trains, buildings, and more all have a great look within the Unity Engine look good and especially the enemies from the normal enemies, long coats, and more. The main cast from Cooper to O’Hara are all unique in their looks and stand out from the rest of the NPCs and main cast of enemies yet perfectly blend into the world of the old wild west. The Unity Engine truly shines in this game and shows what it can do as well as the craftsmanship of the team that made the game.
This game has that good old time at the corral western feel to it. The voice acting is top notch with each character having good southern cowboyish drawls with perfect timing and cadence with their deliveries. When it comes to the music for each level; it all fits with that western sound that gets you in the mood to mosey on down and quick draw on some outlaws.
Environmental ambience is really well done with the sounds of wind, rain, water, fire crackles, explosions, animals, and more are well done and bring you into the world.
Not really a lot to speak about here as its all good.
So what’s the downsides of Desperados III? Well the enemy AI can be dumb at time with certain things you do to draw them away from you or to you can either be a hit or miss. Sometimes when sneaking the enemies won’t see you when they are directly above you and in other times, they will see you from a mile away and immediately put your enemies in alert mode.
Due to the inconsistencies of the enemy AI a lot of the levels can either be incredibly short or incredibly long and no matter how you play it, the enemy AI can either be fun to contend with or a true nightmare.
I came into Desperados III with very low expectations and not thinking I’d ever enjoy the game because from what I saw of trailers it didn’t seem like it was much fun, however, once I had hands on wit the game and had time with the characters and world and I couldn’t put it down. From the engaging story of revenge to a lovable cast of characters to addictingly great gameplay and ambience; you simply cannot go wrong if you decided to pick up Desperados III and your time with this game will have you wanting to go back and play Desperados I and II. 2020 has seen a lot of must own games and in my top 10 games of 2020, Desperados III is in that tier list and is a game YOU NEED in your collection! Don’t sleep on this gem oh and
Y’ALL COME BACK NOW Y’HEAR?