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If you are a fan of hack n slash games or have even been a fan of series like Ninja Gaiden. Wanted: Dead has probably been on your radar in some form or another. It also helps that the makers of the Ninja Gaiden franchise developed this title as well. But outside of that hope to reclaim former glory in the eyes of a new IP. Wanted: Dead is far from anything that I’ve wanted in a game.

There is a lot of wrong turns here made with this title. One of the tropes is that the game is a “love letter” to the sixth generation of consoles. While I agree with that statement, I believe the devs forgot to give us the good part of that generation in this game while only providing us with the bad parts of that generation.

Bad Guys Turned Good

The game’s story follows a unit named “Zombie Squad,” an elite Hong Kong police force that is tasked with uncovering a conspiracy against a major corporation. That’s about all there is to the story. I struggled to follow or really be invested in this world and care about it. There are a lot of reasons for this. One of the cutscenes is relatively boring to watch. The characters are dull and don’t even get me on the voiceovers for this entire cast. I could not get over how dull and boring the main character Stone’s voice was. While Stone’s voice was the worst offender, the rest of the cast was just as bad.

Hack and Slash? Hack and Nah

The gameplay was also very troubling. Wanted: Dead tried to mash up two genres into one. On one hand, you have a hack-and-slash style game along the lines of Ninja Gaiden. Then on the other hand you have a third-person shooter with terribly implemented cover-based mechanics. The shooting felt off and the drastic change from the camera when you swapped from slicing and dicing away at your foes. An over-the-shoulder camera angle for shooting was very jarring and I could not get used to the flow of combat.

The enemy AI is also another problem with the game. A lot of time I would find a spot where one after another enemies would line up for me to pull off the perfect headshot. Or a lot of times the enemies would even run away from me. Forcing me to chase them down, sometimes even halfway across the map.

Another issue I had with the gameplay is that you have three skill trees that you can upgrade. But even with a fully maxed-out skill tree, I felt just as weak at the end of the game as I did at the beginning of the game. You’re supposed to be this badass squad and you never get that feeling. A lot of my frustrations came from the random difficulty spikes in the game and poorly placed checkpoints. There would be many cases where I would be moving along just fine through the game and then bam! All at once everything was being thrown at me and I would be bombarded to my untimely death. To then find out that the past 30 minutes of my playtime was lost.

Mini Games Highlight

Outside of the hack-and-slash and third-person shooting mechanics. Wanted: Dead has quite a few mini-games that you can find yourself playing. From singing some karaoke, or slamming down some ramen, to grabbing collectibles from a claw machine. These mini-games were the highlight of my time in this world.

A Technical Mess

Now with all my gripes with the game. Its performance and bugs were the absolute worst. I thought maybe it was because the review period was missing the day one patch. So I wanted to see if after full release the issues got any better. I was wrong.

Usually, I don’t harp on technical issues when I look at reviewing a game. But that’s mostly because a lot of the time those issues never had an impact on my enjoyment of the game. But when you take a technical mess that is Wanted: Dead and pair it with just an overall lacking of fun. You reach another realm of despair in my head.

Tack on top of the terrible performance and how clearly it is displayed that this game is very unoptimized. I juggled both the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S versions of the game in my playthrough. Regardless of which version I played I still had multiple performance issues across each platform. There would be a lot of cases where there were random slowdowns or framerate dips. There is no Quality or Performance mode for the game so what the devs set the game to be is where you are at on each of the respective platforms.

The Finale

It honestly pains me that I came away from Wanted: Dead with so much disdain. I was honestly so relieved when I reached the game’s credits. Pre-release I was actually excited to get my hands on it. It looked like a great callback to past generations of games. But misses the mark at every single turn along the way. From its technical issues to gameplay issues and the overall design of the game. It’s a hard sell to recommend this game.

Integrity Corner

Logan spent 13 hours hacking and slashing his way until the game’s credit hit. Unlocking 40/55 of the game’s achievements along the way. The game code was provided by the publisher for the purpose of this review.

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Check out my last Review here!

Wanted: Dead

$59.99
4

Gameplay

4.5/10

Sound Design

2.7/10

Graphics

6.2/10

Story

2.5/10

Pros

  • Mini Games are fun.

Cons

  • Plagued with Performance Issues
  • Voice Acting
  • Forgettable Story and Characters
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