Title: Wanted: Dead
Developer: Soleil Ltd.
Publisher: 110 Industries
Platforms: PlayStation 5 (reviewed on), Series X|S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC
Release Date: February 14, 2023
A hack-and-slash third-person shooter with constant chaos, smart enemies, and an entertaining plot, 110 Industries and Soleil delivered a truly fun (and sometimes enraging) title in Wanted: Dead.
You follow a week in the shoes of Lt. Hannah Stone, a tough Hong Kong cop leading an elite and unique squad through a mission to uncover and deal with a huge corporate conspiracy. It takes place in a dystopian and cyberpunk version of Hong Kong full of neon lights, people with cybernetic modifications, and hardcore enemies who are smart and have different ways of attacking (and killing) you.
As far as the technical aspects of the game, it could have been a little better. Cut scenes look a little worse than actual in-game graphics and kind of outdated, as if done in the 2010s. It’s a little distracting in the beginning but it becomes forgivable as you play the game and get a better feel for it. Though the game is hard and is definitely a must-have for the 6th gen consoles, it doesn’t take itself too seriously. It feels like the focus was more on the gameplay and story than the actual look. The voice acting and dialogue also felt more comical than they needed to be which, weirdly enough, fits in with the kind of game that Wanted: Dead was made into.
It did have a few glitches that I encountered, like an attacker being spawned inside a container and being stuck there, not allowing me to move on to the next area as it still counted him as alive. Another issue I encountered more than a couple of times was game crashes, and they happened at the worst time possible: right after beating a boss that took me a while to figure out. Insert expletives and heavy sighs here.
Wanted: Dead is a difficult game by nature. The difficulty choices are presented in the beginning of the game, and it made me chuckle a bit. The choices are Normal, Hard, and Japanese hard. What in the world is Japanese Hard?
For a casual third-person shooter gamer like myself, Normal was plenty enraging and satisfying. The most frustrating point of the game is the fact you need to hit each enemy with what felt like over a dozen shots each in order to do any real damage, and this is while more than a couple of enemies are attacking you at the same time. Not a lot of save spots, which makes it a little annoying when you’ve been playing for over 30 minutes and die, having to not only go through the map over again, but do all your skill tree updates again from your last save point via the Gunsmith.
I did manage to unlock Neko Mode. Neko Mode is when you’ve died enough times to unlock the “easier” difficulty setting for the game, which only makes it a little easier and gives you more med kits. If you happen to also uncover this new difficulty level, do not be harsh on yourself! There’s no shame in wearing cute kitty ears that scream out “I DIED TOO MANY TIMES SO THE GAME IS TAKING PITY ON ME” for the rest of the game.
For seemingly being a squad-based game, it fell short with the player not being able to command any of the squad members at any point. The squad also doesn’t do any kind of significant damage to any enemies, including bosses – where it would be such a good help. There are some skills you can unlock in your Skill Tree that involve Herzog incapacitating an enemy and tossing them in your direction so you can kill them off, but it doesn’t evolve from that.
The skill tree offers moves, damage reduction, incendiary grenades, Herzog moves, different finishing moves, and more. You unlock new features and improvements via experience points. Piece of advice: try not to die after unlocking skill tree abilities before you save your progress. You will lose all the new ones.
Wanted: Dead has an arsenal of weapons, attack combos, and finishing moves for the player to enjoy. The sword and gun combos are fun and they look really cool, and there are over 50 unique and brutal finishing moves to unlock and discover. There are a few ways to use your attacks: you may use your handgun, your katana, a combination of your handgun and katana together, and whatever other guns you may have like a real third-person-shooter. The game switches back and forth from a third-person shooter to a hack-and-slash flawlessly, and it keeps you entertained as you find new and exciting ways to finish off your enemies.
The controls are pretty responsive, there isn’t much of a lag or any issues translating commands from pressing buttons to executing actions. There are a lot of different controls and combos you can perform, but it all works perfectly together and becomes easier to remember as you play, especially the parry button. You can reassign buttons on the settings screen, which is always nice.
Wanted: Dead also has fun mini games for the player to enjoy whenever the action and constant killing (and maybe dying) require a break to recover from.
Practice your aiming and timing in this awesome target practice with two modes: timed and untimed.
Ramen Eating Contest
Yes. A Ramen eating contest. Press buttons in rhythm with the song and finish your ramen bowl before your opponent does. It will make you, the player, hungry. Why does food always look amazing in video games??
Feel like relaxing a little bit? Then step right up into this Karaoke booth. Just like the ramen eating contest, press the buttons while keeping up with the song to get a higher score.
I must admit that I was very entertained by this game and I really liked the constant shooting and slashing as I went from one level to the next. The game is very fluid and it never loses momentum, and it honestly serves up a really fun and exciting time for the player. You will get frustrated with your deaths and loss of progress, and you will die a few times while scratching your head trying to figure out how to beat your current boss, but you will have a fun time. The game was made to be hard, and it definitely succeeds in that aspect.
The outdated graphics, campy voice acting, cheesy dialogue, and other small inconsistencies ultimately don’t stop the player from having a good time with the game because, honestly, you’ll be too busy trying to make your way through the rooms to pay attention to anything else.
I do recommend it if you’re the kind of player who doesn’t get hung up on not having flashy graphics and understands the actual vibe the game is trying to put out. And, of course, if you are the kind of player who just absolutely loves to bullet spray, slash, stab, and dismember your enemies, and don’t mind dying a lot in order to do that.
Wanted: Dead (PS5) Score: 7/10
Wanted: Dead is a game made to entertain, and while it does have some inconsistencies and imperfections, it does just that.
A copy of this game was provided to App Trigger for the purpose of this review. All scores are ranked out of 10, with .5 increments. Click here to learn more about our Review Policy.