From what I understand about the Wild West, or at least pop culture’s fanciful projection of its mythology, there wasn’t much in the way of subterfuge. Cowboys shot each other loudly, with guns, on horseback, yee-hawing to their heart’s content.
Yet, somehow, Desperados 3 makes the notion of the stealthy frontiersman look not just viable, but like a plausible portrayal of how conflict went down in the West. It’s not, of course, but the fact that Mimimi Production’s real-time strategy game successfully conjures the illusion is testament to the studio’s talent when it comes to the tailored science of tactics titles.
Having released the critically acclaimed Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun in 2016, the developer was given the chance to bring back the Desperados IP, which originally started life with Desperados: Wanted Dead or Alive in 2001. The RTS series has been MIA since its 2007 threequel, Helldorado, but Mimimi is bringing it back for a new era of PC gaming, replete with all the modern updates you’d expect from a contemporary reimagining/sequel.
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Watching a demo preview of Desperados 3 in action, in advance of its debut at this year’s Gamescom 2018, it’s clear that a lot of love has gone into maintaining the spirit and essence of the original games. Key characters like Cooper are here, complete with his distinctive throwing knife that series fans will be familiar with, but Mimimi is expanding the cast with new playable fighters too, such as the heavy brawler Hector, who can lay bear traps and kill multiple foes with a wide-sighted shotgun.
Players will take control of several of these characters at once, completing story-based objectives throughout a series of large, varied maps, usually by infiltrating heavily guarded locations and taking out a wagon’s worth of enemies in the process. There’s an echo of Hitman (opens in new tab) to Desperados 3’s tightly wound sandboxes, as players are encouraged to device unique fatalities using the environment around them. You might, for example, be able to poison a brothel’s whiskey barrel to asphyxiate its owner, or set a large tugboat on fire to enflame any outlaws situated within.
And stealth is definitely the focus here. Find yourself caught in open combat, and you’ll often be hard pressed to survive the stream of bullets and blood that follow. That’s what gives Desperados 3 its deeply tactical heft, though, which is exactly what will appeal to both old fans of the original series and people following Mimimi’s work after Shadow Tactics. Like that game before it, Desperados 3 isn’t playing to the mainstream crowd, but when so many titles try and fail to be ten games in one, you have to admire Mimimi’s dedication to the genre it knows and loves.
Desperados will be out on PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One next year, alongside all the other new games of 2018 (opens in new tab) and beyond that you can read about here.