Review – Desperados III

All the fun of the wild wild west

Courtesy of the folks at THQ Nordic and Mimimi games, for the past few days I’ve been getting stuck into Desperados III. The title recently released for Xbox One, Ps4 and PC via steam, and is a great new entry into the RTS genre. Very familiar gameplay, with a new story and some well crafted levels, I think this one is a must buy. Find out why in the video just here, or read on as usual for the extended written review

The Basics

The gameplay in Desperados III will be instantly familiar for any fans of the classic Commandos titles, or the more contemporary Shadow Tactics. The title has been brought fully up to date with crisp visuals, and sees you reprising the role of John Cooper, and follows his quest for revenge through the wild west. The strategy in the title will take some thought, and a fair amount of stealthy and measured play to get the best out of it.

Each character brings their own unique abilities and equipment to the missions. Using these, you’ll need to visualise and execute your strategy, in order to progress through a decent number of challenging levels. As well as planning in real time, I’ve been happy to see the return of the tactical planning step Showdown Mode. This allows you to plan out multiple character moves, executing them at the same time.

Also making a return from Shadow Tactics is the very welcome quick save and quick load feature. The title is built around save scumming, and if you spend any time with the title you’ll use these prolifically. About to kill a guard? Save it. About to make a run over an open area? Save it. Just killed a guard? save it. When (not if) you fail, a super quick reload will get you back to where you were to try again, or replan and attack from a different angle. These features are so inherent to the gameplay that if you don’t save for longer than a minute, you’ll get a little warning box to remind you.

Parent’s Eye View

Desperados 3 is rated by PEGI at 18 and above, and by the ESRB as a Mature 17+. This is one which I definitely do agree with. The main front and centre aspect is of course the inherent violence within the title. You’ll be looking to take out hundreds or even thousands of enemies during your time in game. You can approach this in multiple ways, guns, knives, poison, giant bear traps, take your pick. For the more violent methods, there will be blood, and even during poisonings the audio provides some fairly real last gasps of your dying foes.

In addition, there are sexual themes within the title. As you may expect from the Wild West, brothels and topless ladies are hanging around here. Language is also prevalent within the title, with heavy hitters scattered throughout, and drug references using alcohol and deadly poisons.

Overall, with the complexity of the title and the content provided, I am definitely saying this one is suited to adults only.

Fans of Commandos or Shadow Tactics will be happy with this latest RTS gem

The Run Down

Visuals – Great: The isometric visuals will of course be a familiar sight for fans of the franchise, or other Mimimi games like Shadow Tactics. There’s a good range of motion and zoom on the camera, and I’ve found no issues with a lack of view or detail. Zoomed right in, the visuals remain crisp and clear, and well defined aesthetics are provided throughout.

Audio – Great: Right from the title screen, Desperados III provides a great Western soundtrack. Absolutely on theme, and well created, the music in the title instantly pulls you back to the frontier, and the times of the old west. The voice acting in the game is also a great selling point, and I was actually a little surprised at the quality here. Voices are suited to the characters, and there’s some genuinely good emotional range. Sound effects are well worked, and with the exception of a train whistle which pierced my ears at one point, very well rounded.

Narrative – Good: Reprising your role as John Cooper, your story here is based around revenge. While there’s not a huge amount of story when in level (with the gameplay focusing mostly on just killin’) the between level cut scenes to weave a decent narrative, and it’s one which kept me fully engaged.

Replay – Great: Desperados III is truly built on replay. The levels themselves give secondary targets and achievements, to give you a decent enough reason to go back in and play again, even if you’ve managed to get top marks previously. Of course, the real replay here is based around the quick load and quick save features. You’ll be replaying micro portions of each level many times, and the weird thing is that I’ve actually really enjoyed it. The only slight annoyance with the load and save feature is that the reminder to save, if you haven’t for over a minute, does block off a small portion of the screen.

Overall the Pixel Bandits Gunslinger Level for Desperados 3 is Grab It. I’ve always been a fan of this style of Real Time Strategy. After previously playing Shadow Tactics Blade of the Shogun, I would have put a number of old gold coins on Mimimi doing right by the old west, and they’ve followed through in fine style. Desperados III looks good, it sounds good, and it plays beautifully. If you enjoyed Shadow Tactics or the old Commandos titles, this one is an absolute must buy.

Working with your teams, you’ll need to overcome situations which at first seem insurmountable
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