Say Hello to Wanted Dead, The Jankiest Game of 2023 (My Favorite)

A Wanted: Dead screenshot shows main character Hannah Stone with her Zombie Unit crew spoofing the Supa Hot Fire meme.

super hot Wanted: Dead.
Screenshot: Soleil / Kotaku

To remember Devil’s Third? Former Dead or alive Bizarre Tomonobu Itagaki’s 2015 Wii U-exclusive combos War Gears And Ninja Gaiden to create something pretty jerky but unlike anything I’ve played at the time. Devil’s Third finally fell, but the idea of ​​a character action game with first-person shooting and third-person combat settled in my mind as I hope someone, somewhere, will try it once again. But now, finally, Wanted: Dead answered the call. This is the craziest, craziest game of 2023 and I’m glad it’s adopted.

Developed by the people who worked on it Dead or alive And Ninja Gaiden, Wanted: Dead It’s a hybrid shooter-slasher game that feels like the evolutionary next step for. Devil’s Third. You play as Hannah Stone, a hardened convict-turned-cop… so, the story is a bit irrelevant. There’s something about a tech company that produces artificial humanoid workers due to capitalism and sells them to various global military forces, but the narrative lags behind the game’s actual premise: A week in a human’s life. Suicide SquadA unit as if long-time officers were sent to do the job are either too scared or too incompetent to manage. So, with an assault rifle, a pistol, a katana, and a whole host of other weapons, flaming and sword-swinging weapons, you reveal their relationship by chopping up humans and synthetics (“synthetics”) or stuffing them with lead. real and fake.

Wanted: A dead image of hero Hannah Stone fighting in the rain against some military soldiers.

picture: 110 Sector / Soleil

How does this look in practice? if you can imagine Dividetrench-based shooting mechanics mixed with Ninja Gaiden‘s extremely fierce sword swing, you will start to get the picture. Basically, you can switch between melee and ranged combat on the go and take down enemies individually or with both styles simultaneously.

To be more specific, Hannah Stone is a master swordsman and expert marksman; she can hold a pistol in her right hand and a katana in her left hand and do some brutal combos if it’s the same thing. She may also step back to fire the assault rifle to thin the herd before chopping up the remaining thugs, she says. As agile as she is, Hannah is crunchy and satisfying as she darts across the battlefield, blowing off one man’s head, shooting another in the leg, initiating one of over 50 unique finishing moves, and then turning another man into Swiss cheese. This is cyberpunk Ninja Gaiden With weapons, except Hannah isn’t a ninja. He’s just a human with a robotic arm, a terrible smoking habit, and a lot of really crazy characters around him.

The relationship between these characters, who are Hannah’s other three teammates in Zombie Unit, forms the main component of the game. Wanted: Deadmadness. Hannah’s crew, all of her fellow inmates, are brutal. Between Alexander “Doc” Flotsky’s overly sarcastic tone, Arnold “The Beast” Herzog’s misplaced feminisation, and Manolo Cortez’s arrogant demeanor, the Zombie Unit is this group of misfits who sort of get along because the Captain commands them.

But really, the activities they do while they’re not at work and the conversations they’ve had during that time, Wanted: Deadmadness. For example, after a cutscene (played by Stefanie Joosten, who plays Quiet), where Hannah has the Gunsmith set her assault rifle. Metal Gear Solid V: Ghost Pain), you are suddenly immersed in a random series about the history of ramen.

Wanted: Dead – Seven Minutes of Combat Gameplay

Shortly after, Wanted: Dead presents you the first Yakuza-esque rhythm minigame: A ramen eating contest where you have to do when you press the button to finish a bowl of noodles with Herzog. If you jump fast enough you’ll get another bowl that adds another row of buttons. I never understood what the score meant in the end because I was too busy laughing at how jarring it all felt; As soon as you’re done eating ramen, it’s time to ground the idiots.

that’s what makes Wanted: Dead namely bananas: the meaningless juxtaposition between crazy and violent. It’s a game that doesn’t take itself too seriously, despite the political intrigues that form the background. It makes a sobering plot point about the love the two synths share, but instantly leaves it for an exaggerated boss fight with a flame sword-wielding scumbag. Or there’s a discussion about “cuck culture” at the gang’s favorite restaurant, and it’s suddenly cut short. Wanted: Deadsecond Yakuza-esque rhythm minigame: a song along with99 Air Balloons” by the German new wave strong pop group Nena. As if the game wasn’t silly enough, video sequences like Sam Barlow’s are interspersed between the fight and cutscenes. Immortality and anime cinematics reminiscent of Studio Trigger Cyberpunk: Edge Runners. Great, it doesn’t make sense, and I don’t care. Wanted: Dead This is the most fun I’ve had with a game this year.

This does not mean that the game does not have real faults. While combat is satisfying, it can become predictable and primitive after a while, especially after maximizing Hannah’s skills and activating New Game+. The shot isn’t quite as accurate as here War Gears or Fortnite, to be serviceable at best. The action figure-like character models are odd, with their extremely dead eyes and oddly glowing skin. The voice acting is disgusting, it gives me the energy that I just got out of bed to deliver the most lines I’ve heard in a minute. And the enemies are both silly and obnoxiously talkative, largely just teasing you endlessly as you stand around tearing them apart one by one. Some enemies offer a good enough challenge, like Snake Eyes-looking ninja heists, but most of the others are bait. The difficulty mainly comes from a handful of tough bosses, sparse checkpoints and bugs.

A Wanted: A dead image of hero Hannah Stone cutting a soldier with her katana.

picture: 110 Sector / Soleil

About these. Developer Soleil invoices Wanted: Dead As a “love letter to sixth generation consoles”, which stands for GameCube, OG Xbox and PlayStation 2. And like some games on these older systems, Wanted: Dead It features sparse checkpoints scattered throughout its five levels. If you die, you’ll be back for up to 10 minutes, which means you’ll be fighting the same enemies over and over, just to get back to your previous spot. Combine that fact with a variety of bugs, from entering inaccessible rooms to unintended damage that causes inconsistent frame drops and outright game crashes, and you’ll see the same handful of brown corridors and boring buildings over and over again. the same combination of one or two katanas is sickening. This can be frustrating, but tolerable thanks to the game’s highly skilled combat.

I went out for a drink with some friends recently. In a dimly lit and noisy crowded bar in New York, someone asked me what I was playing. While I’m busy with Team Ninja Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty of late, instead I gushed over the attentive group for about 10 minutes. Wanted: DeadHe calls it one of the most memorable games of 2023. And even though February is not over and (I think…) I have had two beers, I wholeheartedly support that statement.

Is it a good game? This is subjective. I can say it’s a bad game because it’s buggy and jerky, but I don’t think it’s true either. Honestly, it’s a mid-game, but mid-range in the best possible way. A game of throwing everything at the wall to see what will stick, knowing that there is no Velcro to stick to the wall. Wanted: Dead Brave to bring all these different ideas together and even though it didn’t win any awards, it will stay with me.



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