In 2001 Spellbound Entertainment, German development house also known for Arcania: Gothic 4, release Desperados: Wanted Dead or Alive. As is well known, it is a real-time strategic with marked features stealth, based exclusively on combat and the achievement of mission objectives, through a progressively more demanding challenge.
The progenitor of this genus, or rather subgenus, remains Commandos: Behind Enemy Lines, born in 1998 and the protagonist of a videogame trend that depopulated among the PC users of the time. Personally I have always preferred (albeit with Hamlet doubts) the dusty one Desperados, mainly for sentimentality towards all western products. The brand – after the half failure of the second chapter, although courageous in proposing a hybrid gameplay between the management with a top view of the party and completely three-dimensional phases – is finally back on the screens of fans with a prequel who knows a lot about revival.
Old dear Wild West
Desperados 3 in fact, it chases the glories of the past. I say it now, to make things clear: the game does everything for recall the first chapter, starting from a classic gameplay (old school, old school players would say), without giving up the comforts of the 21st century. I also note that after the bankruptcy of the Spellbound, to take the baton of the saga is the already known Mimimi Games, developer of the excellent Shadow Tactics.
The game, you can already guess from the mission-tutorial, is a prologue: a choice for sure Snips, which on the one hand allows you to wander in the vast range of western scripts without flooding a plot made complicated by Desperados 2, on the other it does not deprive itself of some protagonists iconic of the series. The user must therefore follow John Cooper, Doc McCoy, Kate O’Hara and the new entries Hector and Isabelle in a (classic) story of revenge and intrigue, to be solved with the usual smoking guns. The plot, while not shining with originality, is pleasantly enhanced by a good characterization of the characters and, above all, by an exceptional English dubbing in terms of interpretation and accents. For the less English speakers, I would like to point out the presence of subtitles in Italian, which will surely be appreciated. As always, I don’t go too far into narrative issues, just know that the story does its job, holding up very well the real highlight of the production, namely the gameplay.
The great advantage of this Desperados 3 is the ability to propose features and game systems basically already seen and digested, but with a appeal fresh and in step with today’s needs. The game features visual guides that mix directly with the landscape or with props, minimizing interaction with the cumbersome “diaries” of the game (which remain present, but which are of very little use). At the same time, with a return in style all’isometria, the player has a large number of skills and commands available, all of which can be activated either via shortcuts or via mouse clicks. Finally a system is introduced retention of the actions that each party member can perform, so they can act simultaneously, but without having to ask the player for Herculean efforts.
Very pleasant, although reduced as always to rather intercom sequences, are also the interactions environmental, quite numerous and well integrated with wide-ranging maps, which often leave the player good freedom, especially in terms of choosing the different objectives and approaches. Of course, as I have already widely reiterated, Desperados 3 it does nothing to innovate, fully embracing the prerogatives and peculiarities of the genre. The maps are therefore nothing but levels of increasing difficulty, full of secondary roads, binary interaction elements, hostile characters with defined characteristics (and practically without autonomous AI) and aims standardized. Despite the huge number of usable skills (and the objective complexity in managing the full party), the only real risk is to “open your eyes” and realize that, basically, Desperados 3 it is a beautiful interlocking game. Fortunately, the great heterogeneity of the maps, the settings, the characters and their pleasant characterization during the game actually make impossible break the magic.
Technically Desperados 3 completely abandon any ambition of three-dimensionality, with a sponge stroke evident compared to the second chapter. I personally believe that the change of witness wanted to underline the glories of the first title, placing itself as a worthy successor to the moment of maximum form of the brand. This is demonstrated by the choice to develop a prequel, is an approach to the game basically classic. A classicism that also transpires visually, with stylistic choices decidedly referring to Wanted Dead or Alive. Although there is no almost pencil stroke of the predecessor, turning towards a heavier digitization, Desperados 3 it shows itself with soft and pasty lines and very warm colors. Despite this, the final result is still “realistic” or at least plausible, managing to withstand both the most easygoing and the most tense moments. One also comes to help column sound valuable, perfectly integrated with the narration and the development of the most exciting game actions. Finally a big applause to the general fluidity and convenience of input and rendering of the PCs: in such a game it is fundamental and I am happy to say that there is very little as user friendly as this Desperados 3.