From the developers of Shadow Tactics, Mimimi Games have created yet another amazing real-time tactics game. In Desperados III, you play as John Cooper and his posse who work together to take down outlaws in this stealthy western title. Wait a minute. A stealthy wild west game? Hold your horses because this is one fantastic adventure that you won’t want to miss.
John is on a mission of revenge, and over the course of the story, he recruits a band of eccentric gunslingers to help him take down the nefarious Company. While there are some tense moments, the story isn’t too spectacular. Where it really shines is the characters and how they interact with each other. They all have their own motivations to join in on the adventure, and this results in certain missions only having access to some characters. Need your sharpshooter to take out the guy in a tower? Too bad. He doesn’t work for free and you’re short on doubloons.
Each level will have you playing as one or more characters to quietly take out enemies and work towards specific objectives. Whether it’s clearing the train tracks of debris to keep the payload moving or pickpocketing the saloon owner for information, each character brings forth a unique toolset to maneuver around obstacles in your path. Sure you’ll have pistols and dynamite. This is the wild west we’re talkin’ about. However, if you try to blast your way through each level, you’ll end up at the business end of a bandits shotgun in no time. Instead, you’ll have to plan each move very carefully and use your stealth skills to silently take enemies down.
Characters have their own skills for accomplishing this, but will usually need some teamwork to get the job done right. For instance, Kate can easily move through a crowd with a disguise but has no rope to tie anyone up after she kicks their teeth in. If you need her to take out an enemy, then she’ll need some help. She could be used to lure an enemy towards a hidden ethically questionable doctor with a lethal injection waiting for them, or maybe just to draw someone’s eye for a moment while their friend gets a knife to the jugular. She also has a perfume bottle that can be used to cloud someone’s vision to allow friendlies to sneak by. All of these are viable options to get through an area and that’s just one character. Most enemies will have multiple people watching them, so you’ll have to come up with some creative solutions to get around them without alerting the whole area.
Showdown mode is available to plan coordinated attacks. This is a tactical pause that allows you to give each character a command to be executed at the same time. It becomes very useful when trying to dispatch multiple cowboys at once. Setting up a multi-layered attack which takes out 4+ enemies simultaneously is definitely a satisfying feeling.
Later on, you get a character, Isabelle, that doesn’t quite fit with the genre. She uses voodoo magic in a game that originally felt more grounded. While the magic elements aren’t the most graceful fit into the game, the mechanics she offers are downright fun. After all, who doesn’t want to mind control a bad guy and force him to do your dirty work?
The game reinforces trial and error style gameplay by constantly reminding you to quicksave every minute by default. At first I thought this was kind of annoying, but it helped after a few forgotten saves. Save scumming can feel a bit like cheating sometimes, but the difficulty of getting around some areas make this a very welcomed feature. It also frees the player up to try some crazy strategies with zero consequence.
Levels are fairly large and take some time to complete. I found myself taking up to 3 hours on one level. Loading up a new map has an almost overwhelming amount of enemies, but it’s all very believable given the setting. Sometimes you’ll have to fight through an entire town or a whole wedding, so the environments should be fairly large.
Mimimi does a great job of bringing the setting to life through the sounds and animations. The music in particular fits very well with the mood of the game. Most of the time you’ll be hiding in the bush waiting for enemies to patrol into the perfect position, and the music somehow keeps the mood lively while maintaining a western theme very well. The animations and overall graphics are very smooth. I didn’t notice any slowdowns or frame drops in the levels. This remains true even when rotating the camera repeatedly to find the perfect angle of view.
Desperados III offers an unforgiving tactical adventure that is sure to scratch the itch for fans of the genre. While challenging at times, executing a perfectly timed coordinated attack feels quite satisfying, and will leave you thirsting for more.
This review was written based on a digital review copy of Desperados III for the PC provided by Mimimi Games and THQ Nordic.