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July 2019

Desperados III

Platform(s): PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Genre: Strategy
Publisher: THQ Nordic
Developer: Mimimi Productions
Release Date: 2019

About Tony "OUberLord" Mitera

I've been entrenched in the world of game reviews for almost a decade, and I've been playing them for even longer. I'm primarily a PC gamer, though I own and play pretty much all modern platforms. When I'm not shooting up the place in the online arena, I can be found working in the IT field, which has just as many computers but far less shooting. Usually.


PS4/XOne/PC Preview - 'Desperados III'

by Tony "OUberLord" Mitera on June 18, 2019 @ 1:00 a.m. PDT

Desperados III is a real-time tactics game that lets players command a band of Desperados led by fan-favorite gunslinger John Cooper, who’s hunting down his nemesis.

Pre-order Desperados 3

Games like the Desperados series used to be fairly popular in the early 2000s but have since kind of faded away. Even the previous entry in the series was about 13 years ago. Desperados 3 doesn't seem to be affected in any way by the hiatus; from what I played at E3 2019, it is both a love letter to past games and the series itself, but it's also a great place for a new generation to check them out for the first time.

The game is a sort of prequel to the original games, starting in 1859 New Mexico and featuring John Cooper as a young boy. He was the protagonist of the previous two games, and the third outing explores both his adventures as an adult and how his story began. The game is intended to be much more story-driven than previous entries, and it'll show how the characters from the series met each other, including Doc McCoy and Kate O'Hara. The animations in the in-game cut scenes are even motion-captured, so although it maintains a top-down perspective, it adds surprising depth to the characters.

The gameplay remains very similar to the originals but adds plenty of modern touches. You move your characters by clicking on the ground and get them to do actions by holding Control and clicking on something in the game. The levels are dotted with bushes or other obstacles to entirely break the line of sight or break it for anyone who's crouching behind it. Bushes can also be used to conveniently hide bodies of fallen enemies, but you can also do things like chuck them off a cliff to dispose of them.

Each character has their own actions to either distract or eliminate enemies. Cooper has two revolvers, each with a separate cooldown and ammo count, to kill ranged enemies at the expense of making a lot of noise. He can also use his knife to take them out up close or at medium range, but in the latter case, the falling enemy still makes some noise that could attract nearby enemies. Distractions include Cooper's coin, which he can throw to redirect where an enemy is looking, or Doc's medical bag, which draws enemies to it and also gasses them if they open it.

It's in how you chain together these abilities that the important gameplay lies. To make this easier, you can always go into "showdown" mode, where you can pause the game and queue up one action for any of your characters. You can immediately execute the action from this mode or return to the real-time mode and execute them at the press of a button. You can also either execute all characters' actions or go for even finer control, character by character. It's a lot of fun to pull off things, such as John throwing a coin while Doc knocks out and disposes of a guard, and many times, such coordinated efforts are the key to succeeding in a level.

There are also other key tools at your disposal, such as right-clicking an enemy to see their current vision cone or holding right-click on the ground to see if any enemies can see that spot. Those sort of touches make Desperados 3 an easy game to pick up and play, but it still rewards a deft touch when it comes to using and coordinating your abilities. I look forward to playing more of the game upon its release.

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