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Desperados III

Posted by GG Goblin On June - 16 - 2020

Tactical stealth in the wild, wild west. Grab yer spurs and get ready to sneak. Yeehaw!

The wild west is a criminally underused setting for video games. Sure, there are a couple of big names out there, but I really think the world needs more cowboys. THQ Nordic and Mimimi Games have at least played their part by releasing the hardcore tactical stealth game Desperados III, taking players back to the wild west with more thoughtful gameplay than the usual cowboy titles. Fans of the setting may be slightly taken aback by the need to plan their approach to any of the varied missions in the game, but those who have already spent time in Mimimi’s Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun will know exactly what to expect, just with less swords and more guns. Not having a plan will likely end with a bullet.


With a top-down isometric viewpoint, the wild west has never looked so alive. Desperados III really does pack in a massive amount of detail. Each of the areas that the player will have to work through, heading towards their objective, will offer plenty of obstacles, from environmental obstacles to the various NPCs going about their business. Never is the player presented with wide open areas that feel boring, and there is always something interesting to look at. The colouring and lighting bring everything to life, creating an atmospheric world in which to sneak.

And sneaking will be what the player does much of the time. Despite the wild west setting, stealth is the best way to stay alive. The player will be given an objective and will then have to look over the upcoming area and plan a route. Wandering guards will cause problems, but being able to see the view cones will allow the player to spot the safe places, and many of the guards can be distracted to give the player a chance to sneak by. Running across roofs, hiding in bushes, all of this will be essential to reach an objective without coming to a sticky end.

The game gives an impressive amount of freedom as to how the player reaches their objectives. There can be environmental factors that can be used to their advantage, and then there are the selection of different abilities that come from the characters. Five different characters will be available for control, and each one brings something new to the party, from a humble thrown knife, to a sniper rifle or bear trap. It will be up to the player to choose which ability to use and when, adding to that freedom in how to achieve success. Some areas will require a specific skill to be used, but most of the game has that freedom. The player can get more aggressive if they wish as some of the characters are quite tough, but that chance of being overwhelmed is always there. Switching between characters is easy enough, and the chance to queue up actions for different characters and have them play out simultaneously leads to moments of supreme smugness. Of course, they don’t always work, but that just makes the successes all the more satisfying.


While the freedom of Desperados III is impressive, having all of that freedom doesn’t make the game easy. Desperados III is a tough game and the player should be prepared to die, a lot. The game doesn’t hold the players hand and expects many failures on the way to victory, all of which the player can learn from. There are different difficulties for those that want to tweak the game one way or another. There is also an excellent quick save system that not only pops a timer at the top of the screen to show how long it has been since the last quick save, but also keeps the last three saves ready for the player to access, ensuring that when a failure occurs, the player need not lose too much progress.

Trial and error will be the order of the day, learning not only to use the different skills of the various characters when they are available, but also learning to take advantage of the environment and the quirks of the different AI controlled enemies. Knowing how an enemy will react gives the player a better chance to plan, as some may be more difficult to distract from others. Those who are looking for more from the game will be happy to know that the missions have collectible badges with optional objectives, ensuring that players keep coming back to try and get them all. Also, missions can be replayed with different objectives and new rules that will mix things up for the player.


There is very little to criticise with Desperados III. Sure, some more action-oriented players will find the thoughtful gameplay a little slow, and it can take some time to get to grips with the controls. But players who embrace the chance to plan their way through the wild west with a variety of different, interesting characters, will find ample here to enjoy. With an enjoyable story and a great setting, Desperados III is a cowboy game for those who would rather sneak through the shadows than go in guns blazing.




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