At a first glance you see the images and videos of ‘Wanted: Dead‘ and think “yes, this is exactly what I thought of when they talked about a crazy mix of advanced weaponry and low-tech 90s retro-futurism”. That’s a thing. That’s what they said. And while it is easy to say, I think they also did a good job to deliver this kind of cyberpunk retro-futurism vibe. It doesn’t feel like some old VHS-based anime flick, it’s fresh and unique. So let’s dive right in and we’ll talk about Wanted: Dead.
Developed by the Japanese studio Soleil and published by 110 Industries, Wanted: Dead is a game that completely embodies its cyberpunk retro-futurism aesthetic. From the interface to the weapons, everything pays homage to classic sci-fi films. What really stands out about the game though is its soundtrack. It blends synth-wave and 80s-style rock music, creating a unique soundscape that perfectly encapsulates the spirit of the game. To me this was a really unique kind of retro feel while playing this slasher/shooter title.
Wanted: Dead offers an amazing retro-futurism ambiance
It’s a very intensive action game and the developers managed to create an interesting mix of using firearms as well as a sword. Beyond disembodiment and other violent encounters, this allows the player to create their own strategies on how they want to approach a particular hurdle in the game. Will they rush toward the enemies to use the blade, throw a grenade, or take them out from a distance with a rifle? If that’s not your style you can still find some features in the skill tree as you level up. It’s up to everyone to play how they want to play.
You can’t create your own alter ego but the character that they offer to the players are, at least in my opinion, interesting and appealing. If a developer studio really invested thought and creativity to design unique personas, I can accept that I can’t create my own characters the way I want them to look, even though this is considered a standard in our time and age. While not unusual for the genre, it’s also worth noting that Wanted: Dead is not an open-world game, and that it follows a rather linear way of progressing through the game. That’s not terrible but it will not be loved by people who are looking for open spaces.
It’s lovable but it doesn’t forgive mistakes
The ambiance and the characters are really well done. I was instantly in love with the setting and how they turned everything around. While it is certainly a personal opinion, I found the game too difficult to play and more punishing than rewarding. Of course, one can invest time to improve and eventually overcome the challenges, but I simply wish they would have added an easy difficulty setting for all those gamers who are not looking for a sweaty challenge and try the same part of a game over and over again. You might want to say that I’m just not that skilled and you might be right, but just to avoid a purchase that you could regret, do yourself the favor and double-check that you’re fine with the difficulty before you spend the money.
So that’s it all in a nutshell. Wanted: Dead is a lovely title was a great design but I found it personally too difficult to enjoy and the lack of an easier difficulty setting was frustrating enough to not continue to play the game for me. If you’re looking for a challenge then you could consider Wanted: Dead as a “souls-like” title and invest the time to best it of course, however, be aware of that fact before you buy it. That being said, feel invited to watch the footage that I recorded for you below. I hope you find it useful or entertaining.
Wanted: Dead is available on PC, Xbox, and PlayStation consoles, and with about 60 bucks it’s not on the cheap side of games, but if it looks like the right game for you, test it out. Some have claimed that it’s the best action game in recent years, so if you don’t mind a hard game it might be worth the money.
YouTube: Let’s Play – Wanted Dead [Gameplay, No Commentary]
Photo credit: All media shown is owned by Soleil and 110 Industries.
Editorial notice: We received a test version of the game to prepare the article.