Wanted: Dead Review (XSX)
Right off the bat Wanted: Dead from Soleil Game Studios had my attention. The one reason was two words. Single Player. No online, no multiplayer, no invasions from other players, just you and your controller.
In this day and age is the gaming market more suited to online/multiplayer titles for you and your mates to play together? Yes. Is a standalone single player game likely to have less longevity? Again, yes. But is there still a market for the single player titles? Well, I really hope so. More often than not I spend all day around people, talking and interacting with all walks of life. Even those who we would instantly mute or boot in a multiplayer game. So to me gaming is my solace. My alone time. My escape from the world and ‘real people’. So yes, I really hope that pure single player games continue to thrive.
Anyway, Wanted: Dead!
You pick up the Katana of Lt. Hannah Stone member of Zombie Unit, a hard core paramilitary police unit based in Hong Kong. Although a member of Zombie Unit, there isn’t a zombie in sight. Your mission sees you trying to crack a major conspiracy in corporate Hong Kong. Enemies of choice? Private military, gang thugs and hired mercenaries. And as you would expect as part of a crack unit, you don’t have to go it alone. Other unit members will aid you and even heal you if you succumb to your injuries. Just like a multiplayer game.
You even have access to a mobile armoury and workshop to keep you fully upgraded and ready to take on the next round of bad guys.
Run and Gun or Stop and Chop?
Armed with both bullet and blade allows you to approach each altercation in the manner you see fit. Working out the enemies weakness is vital. Charging at an expert swordsman with you sword drawn is fun but will no doubt end quickly, and probably not in your favour. But the same enemy will fall quickly to your bullets. So learn from Indiana Jones vs Whip Man, it might not be good sportsmanship but it is better than becoming a human pin cushion.
And with different weapons being dropped by the bad guys you can always find something to suit your preferred play style. Injure an enemy enough and you may even be able to carry out a stylish finishing move that combines both your gun and blade.
A Love Letter To The Sixth Generation Of Consoles?
This is a tag line being used in the marketing of Wanted: Dead. And while it looks nice enough, Wanted: Dead is by no means pushing any visual, or audio, boundaries here. Some of the areas are a bit bland and sparse of that ‘lived in’ feeling, making it feel more like an arena at times. Overall Wanted: Dead is nice to look at and plays well. For me it was on the hard side. I started on the easiest difficulty setting and really struggled at one point reasonably early on. To my surprise, after many a death, the game offered me an even easier mode. Hell Yes! I said, only to find, to my amusement, my hardcore Lt. Stone now had a lovely pussy cat ears headband on. A beautiful little touch from the developers. I should have grabbed a screenshot but then you would all have proof that I ended up playing in pussy mode…
Wanted: Dead rings back to the likes of Shadow Warrior and Serious Sam where there is plenty of fun to be had without getting too serious (sorry Sam). Wanted: Dead also also manages to include some little mini games and collectables on the side. It is a nice well rounded title with good presentation.
Unfortunately I can see it slipping by most people and into the bargain bin very quickly. A shame because the pedigree of talent involved in Soleil shows a huge amount of potential. So here is hoping Wanted: Dead has a good run and allows these developers to continue to create more games. Maybe the next one will be another Dead or Alive or Ninja Gaiden.