… niche, and at times too fussy for its own good, but it’s also original and engaging and deeply compelling.
After the commercial and critical success of Rockstar Games’ Red Dead Redemption 2, it was inevitable, and welcome, that more titles would adopt a western setting. Desperados III is the latest to do so, and evokes that cowboy era with style and finesse. However, before you strap on your spurs and dust off that hat, understand that while Desperados III shares a setting with the likes of RDR2, as a game it could not be more different; and she’s as harsh as the desert sun at noon, pilgrim.
Desperados III is actually a prequel to the earlier entries and is very much of the real time tactics genre. You will play as five characters throughout the campaign, switching in and out on the fly, and stealthy shenanigans are the order of the day. In terms of gameplay, get ready for a whole heapin’ helpin’ of trial and error, as you attempt to sneak past enemies, alert them, get shot to pieces and reload the last save point to try it all again. It can be frustrating, downright maddening at times, but the sense of satisfaction you get from pulling off a perfect series of moves is deeply gratifying.
Graphically, the isometric POV is appealing, with large sprawling environments. Character models and voice acting are both superb, although sometimes the camera can be a little fiddly. In fact, “a little fiddly” is a good description for the game as a whole, as the tiniest of wrong moves can be the difference between life and (enraging) death, and newcomers to the series or real time tactics in general, are likely in for a baptism by fire.
Having said that, if you can key into the game’s subtle, and rather unique, rhythms there’s a helluva game here, replete with clever, ever-evolving gameplay, an excellent roster of characters with complimentary abilities and genuinely head-scratching puzzles to solve. Desperados III is niche, and at times too fussy for its own good, but it’s also original and engaging and deeply compelling. Just know you’ll be using your quick save and load buttons more than your trigger fingers, and you’ll have fun breaking in this wild horse.