Desperados III Review
It has been 14 years since the events of Desperados II: Cooper’s Revenge (ignoring the disappointing 2007 spin-off, Helldorado), but the good news is that we are finally heading back to the Wild West to explore the origin of everyone’s favourite gunslinger, John Cooper as Desperados III is finally here!
Desperados III blends both real-time and turn-based strategy with stealth mechanics that creates a unique experience similar to Mimimi Games’ most recent title, Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun. The key to surviving the 30-hour story of Desperados III is
saving at every instance patience and persistance — This contradicts the traditional stereotype of Wild West games such as Red Dead Redemption and Call of Juarez Gunslinger where gun slinging action, bar room brawls, and riding off into the sunset are at the forefront of the game.
Desperados III acts as a prequel to the game that started it all, Desperados: Wanted Dead or Alive, as players resume the role as John Copper. Like the previous two titles, Cooper is out for revenge and there is only one way Cooper knows how to get it — with blood. Cooper will come face to face with his demons as players will explore the numerous areas of the Wild West during the 1870’s as not only the main protagonist himself, but also as the four playable members of Cooper’s gang who all bring a host of unique skills and tools to the party.
Right from the get go you are reacquainted with series favourites John Cooper and Arthur ‘Doc’ McCoy — Cooper has, as what can only described as an unlimited amount of coins, which can be tossed to not only distract enemies but also startle horses (hint,hint). While series regular McCoy has a bag full of tricks (pun intended) and a deadly silenced rifle that can be used to pick off enemies from a distance.
These two aren’t the only familiar faces you will come across throughout the campaign; the seductive Kate O’Hara also returns to the gang along with her ability to pickpocket enemies, disappear into a crowd by changing clothes and use her ‘charm’ to distract enemies. Unfortunately there are no signs of series favourites Sam, Sanchez, or Hawkeye, but Desperados III does introduce a couple new gunslingers to Cooper’s gang — Hector Mendoza and Isabelle Moreau. Hector’s best friend is none other than his beloved Bianca, a bear trap that is as lethal as it sounds, while fellow newcomer Isabelle adds a supernatural dimension to the series thanks to her participation in the art of Voodoo.
This is where Desperados III turn-based mechanics shine — Showdown Mode allows you to effectively pause the game and step-by-step plan your actions of your characters. This allows you to coordinate your characters together for tasks such as distracting enemies so the other one can sneak by unnoticed, synchronise gun battles to ensure all enemies are killed before anyone can trigger the alarm, or for executing the perfect murder thanks to a number of interactive hazards.
Like Hitman, there are a number of ways to kill a man and what better way than to make it look like an accident? Desperados III encourages players to use this method as it is not only extremely satisfying to drop boulder on a number of enemies or to poison a keg of whiskey for an unexcepting consumer, but at the conclusion of each mission the game will grade your actions based on its scoring system. This means the quicker and more efficiently you can dispose of the tasks required by the mission, the higher your score.
Be prepared — You will spend a lot of time hiding in bushes to not only remain hidden out of sight, but to eavesdrop on conversations and study the movement patterns of enemies to help develop the perfect plan. But unlike your favourite western movie, the outcome of these plans usually involves pressing F8 to quickload your previous save file until you finally get it right, or simply give up and go in all guns blazing!
Throughout the story, players will travel through the gorgeously detailed lanscapes of Mexico and the USA. It is no Red Dead Redemption, but Desperados III is a decent looking game as far as RTS games go with the sheer amounts of maps a real highlight. Maps are significantly bigger than previous games and add to the complexity of each mission. Some maps will highlight an obvious route to explore, while some maps will force you to snoop around and assess each access point before determining a course of action.
- GAMEPLAY - 91%91%
- GRAPHICS - 81%81%
- AUDIO - 77%77%
Desperados III is a welcomed return for RTS games to the Wild West — Players will be tested by the challenging and at times, frustrating stealth mechanics that will push your patience to the limit. I felt that its 30-hour campaign was slightly too long for Cooper’s below-par story, but the addition of its four playable characters compensates for this and adds depth to the story. Desperados III’s unique blend of RTS and turn-based strategy combine to create a unique experience that every RTS fan will thoroughly enjoy!