Mimimi Games brings authentic real-time strategy tactics to the wild west in the hard-hitting prequel to the already established franchise, Desperados III. While traditional spaghetti westerns are synonymous with high noon showdowns, hammer-fanning gunfights and runaway stagecoaches, this particular title slows things down to a crawl as the player stealthily sneaks their way around the wild west infiltrating enemy towns, taking down formidable opponents without tripping alarms, all in an effort to avenge the protagonist’s father’s death in an all-out gripping plot of bitter revenge!
Blending key mechanics from XCOM and drawing inspiration from Hitman and Metal Gear: Solid, Desperados III offers a well thought out, real-time strategy challenge that encourages the player to employ a variety of different stealth and diversionary tactics to complete each mission. Leveraging a unique top-down, diorama style level design, each map features vast early American frontier landscaping brilliantly capturing the gritty look and feel of the old west. Much like the rolling hills of the wild west, each map is hauntingly large. While daunting at first, this openness is designed to give the player a multitude of different avenues to approach the mission. Whether the path is to climb up a mountainside, or snake around bushes and swampy gulches, each map gives the player endless opportunity to experiment with various paths in order to find cover, attain vantage points or engage with an enemy patrol team.
Playing through the eyes of a hardened outlaw, and gang leader John Copper, the player goes undercover commanding a team of uniquely skilled allies that come equipped with a myriad of tools and innate skills to help get the job done. Each mission features a multitude of ever-changing parameters which gives the player endless flexibility to formulate and execute their strategy to complete the mission. While Desperados III is a stealth game at heart, it is essentially up to the player to choose how to approach each task within the mission. They must decide which character to use, which item to employ and how they will execute. Every plan will always have many complexities to weigh out. Whether one’s approach is guns-a-blazing or leveraging carefully calculated stealth take-downs, each level comes packed with an assortment of weapon loadouts and items that can be used at will to complete various actions. However, this game challenges players to carefully assess the map’s layout, terrain, enemy patrol patterns and nearby environmental risks in order to work out a plan and execute it. Keep in mind that not every method of attack or takedown will be effective. The game invites players to continually experiment with the entire arsenal in order to find the best path to victory. It’s through this careful planning and timing that will ultimately allow the player to achieve victory over some of the most menacing foes in the west.
Desperados III‘s assortment of challenging bad guys does not falter when it comes to intelligence. The enemy AI is truly a force to be reckoned with. Do not expect to draw a loaded derringer and rid the town of baddies in this title. This roster of dirtbags actively looks for signs of danger and suspicious activity within their surrounding area before engaging. They react to changes in light and moving shadows. They will notice items that are seemingly out of place. Patrol teams will notice and likely raise alarms if members of their squad suddenly go missing. Finally, (and if that’s not enough) some of the more advanced enemies in the game may even see through disguises if the player begins acting suspicious or gets too close.
While the enemy’s sharp AI is challenging, a larger challenge is working through the game’s grinding replay mechanic. Most missions do require a fair amount of trial and error before players are able to refine their strategy and test the limits of their plan. One often needs to rehearse and rework the plan before executing it. Long, rampant trial and error sequences painfully begin to feel like groundhog day before one sees the plan come to some semblance of fruition. This may become a turn off for players looking for instant results, or who are trying to rush through a mission. Depending on the complexity of the map and mission, levels can take hours to complete. Essentially, patience becomes a key factor in the player’s plan to complete the mission. By that same token, practice makes perfect. Once a plan comes together, leveraging all the tools and weapons as necessary, using the skills of your posse creatively and essentially pulling off the perfect plan adds to quite an intense sense of accomplishment! Victory through complex planning becomes intoxicating and fuels the motivation for the next mission. This is where Desperados III begins to shine, as the game tests the player’s patience and rewards their willingness to experiment.
What’s a western without a good old fashioned gunfight? In an era where the standard 6-shot revolver was the cowboy’s best friend, players will find that as the game progresses, it’s best to keep the trusty ‘peacekeeper’ holstered during some of the seemingly difficult missions. Most missions are passable by using stealthier weapons (throwing knives, bow and arrows) and diversionary or distraction tools to complete tasks. Some of the more quick skilled maneuvers involve ghosting around enemies and clearing the objectives of the map silently and inconspicuously without taking down a single enemy. Guns are great, but items are stealthier. Using the environment and minimal items to make an assassination look like an accident really pays off in terms of satisfaction!
Overall, Desperados III boasts an incredibly refined and uncompromising real-time strategy gameplay mechanic that will test the limits of even the most seasoned players of the genre. Where most strategy games come from in science fictionesque backgrounds, the haggard wild west of Desperados III setting brings a unique and fresh take on the genre. While the game does require frequent repetition and seemingly endless trial and error exploration through some of the objective sequences, mission success becomes highly arousing once a carefully thought out plan is smoothed out and finally comes together! Players can expect about 30 hours of stealthy gameplay from this title, and can serve as a great change of pace for anyone looking to sharpen their critical thinking and analysis skills at the same time!
Desperados III is now available on all popular gaming platforms.