When it comes to creating tactical strategy games developer Mimimi Games are no strangers. You may be familiar with their last entry in this genre called Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun that released back in 2017. If you’re a fan of the genre and missed that one I encourage you to go give it a shot (it’s still on Xbox Game Pass for a couple more weeks as of the time of me writing this review.) Now they’ve returned in 2020 with their next strategy game Desperados III. Is this trip to the wild west as good as their last trip to Japan?
The first thing I should mention about Desperados III is that you don’t need to have prior knowledge of the previous games to enjoy it. I had never played one before and looking back for this review I found that the last entries came out back in 2006 and 2007 so quite some time has gone by without this franchise being in the spotlight. The other reason you don’t need prior experience is because the story in this game is actually a prequel letting you see the origins of cowboy protagonist John Cooper as he seeks revenge for the death of his father. I also want to say right away that this game can be a little bit intimidating to get into but stick with it and you’ll see that it was well worth it. To help make things a bit easier it does offer you the option to play in one of four different difficulties with myself opting to go with Normal.
Desperados III plays out from a third-person isometric viewpoint and will have you relying heavily on stealth to have the most success in your missions. Over the course of the 30 hour or so game you’ll be in control of multiple different characters and all of them have their own unique traits, gear, and skills that you’ll have to learn the ins and outs of to be effective with them. Doc McCoy has the ability to use a suppressed handgun to keep things quiet or he can knock out multiple enemies at once with sleeping gas. Kate O’Hara on the other hand can flirt with enemies to get their attention or even disguise herself to safely pass by them. Isabelle can manipulate other’s minds with her priestess skills while Hector can trap them using beartraps. The game honestly gives you so many options to utilize with the various characters that it can be a bit intimidating. In reality though it just makes it more fun to replay missions and see how you can do things differently the next go around.
Each mission in the game will present you with a main objective but you’ll also be presented with optional challenges during them that will further test your skills. One mission might restrict your ability to save while another will place a time limit on you or ask you to kill enemies while making it look like they died from an accident. There are different enemy types and some of your character’s abilities won’t work on certain ones so you’ll have to adjust your strategy to meet the challenge placed before you at any given time. Paying attention to the wonderful level designs in the game is important too as you can utilize different things around you to take enemies out. You can cause things to fall on enemies, have a horse attack them, and so on. When you find a time where you need to do multiple things at once you can do so using the game’s nifty feature called Showdown mode. When you press the up button on the Dualshock 4 you can enable Showdown and this will cause time to freeze. During this you are able to set up multiple moves with different characters should you choose and when you exit Showdown it will all play out. Need to take out one enemy without another seeing you? Activate Showdown and distract one of them while you kill the other at that exact some moment.
With so many ways things can go right in the game there is also as much a chance as things can play out badly. In these times you may want to revert to a prior save and that’s very easy to do. Anytime I needed to save the game I just had to click the touchpad on the Dualshock 4 and I was all set. Anytime I felt like I could’ve handled something better and I had saved prior I just reloaded and gave it another go. Since this game can be tough at times I really liked just how easy it was to help yourself get out of a bad situation. Even if you forget to save often the game itself will provide regular reminders asking if you’d like to save. If you think this is happening too often you can even change the period of time it takes to pop up in the options. The only downside to the whole reloading your save process is that the load times lasted a bit longer than I would’ve liked.
It’s not just the gameplay in Desperados III that is excellent but the visuals and audio work as well. Every level in the game stands out from the last with all of them having their own unique look. You’ll go through wild west towns, swamps, busy city streets, and rushing rapids among others. For the audio I had a hard time finding any weaknesses in the voice acting as all of the performances were really well done. Likewise, the soundtrack was constantly changing up and felt like it always fit the mood of what was happening on screen. As for the trophy list the game has 37 of them in total and it won’t be easy to earn this Platinum. A lot of them will come easily enough but the one for earning 90 badges will take quite a bit of time.
Desperados III is nothing short of an excellent tactical strategy game. There is so much here to play through and the way it is designed you’ll be encouraged to go back and replay missions in different ways to pass optional challenges or to just see how you can do it differently. I also never got tired of looking at it as every level brought different scenery with it and the excellent voice acting and music just further complemented the rest of the package. There are some minor things here and there that could be better but as it stands Desperados III is a must play for fans of this genre.
*Desperados III is available now on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. Reviewed on a PS4 Pro. Review copy provided by the publisher for this review.
- Wonderful wild west tactical game
- Gives you tons of freedom on how to approach situations and offers lots of replayability
- Top notch voice acting and music
- Lots of visual variety and environments have lots of little details
- Saving is easy and makes getting out of a bad spot simple
- Load times are a bit too long for a game that has you reloading a lot
- Learning curve could be intimidating to some