Reviews - Updated on April 9, 2022

If it is customary to say about strategies and quests that these are dead genres, then about real-time tactics, we can safely say that the genre has never really lived. There was the Commandos series, the Desperados series followed in its footsteps, and three years ago Shadow Tactics made a good attempt to re-enter this genre. And it turned out that the authors of the latter do not intend to abandon a risky undertaking: they recently announced the third part of Desperados after many years of silence in the series.

At IgroMir, I managed to play Desperados III and ask the authors about something.

Heroes from the Highway

But first, I will remind you what kind of series this is, because in the 13 years since the release of the last part, many have already forgotten. Desperados: Wanted Dead or Alive was released in 2001 and largely copied the newly popular Commandos series about a special forces unit deep in the rear of the Third Reich. Only brave soldiers in Desperados have been replaced by a team of adventurers traveling through the Wild West in search of the sinister El Diablo.Desperados III game preview

Meticulous rendering of the environment is much more important than the actual quality of graphics.

But the principles of game mechanics remained the same. Before the player’s eyes is a huge map, which is patrolled by numerous enemies and guarded both by the main goal – where to lead your squad – and a lot of objects of lesser importance, but no less worthy of penetration. The player controls a handful of fighters with unique skills, which, in combination with each other, allow you to either get where you need to without making a fuss at all, or arrange a shootout, but on such favorable terms for yourself that the enemies will never shoot at the good guys.

Desperados was good, including the originality of the controlled heroes, the eccentricity of their skills, which made it possible to pass the same area of ​​the location in a million different ways. Where the thug Sanchez strangled the villains like they smoke, the swindler Kate could straighten her stocking in time (and distract the enemies from how a crowd of unwashed thugs sneaks along the other side of the corridor), Dr. McCoy – shoot the uncomfortable sentry through half a map with his revolver with a telescopic sight, and the Chinese Mia – to poison the enemy with a dart so that he falls into a psychosis and shoots his own comrades. Moreover, each of the heroes had not one special skill, but a whole set to make any style of passage possible.

Desperados III game preview

In addition to enemies, the map is full of neutral NPCs. In the event of a mess, they usually take their legs, but as long as the heroes act covertly, they do not hand them over to the bad guys.

The sequel was released only in 2006, and after that the series went into retirement following the source of its inspiration. Well, this is not counting Helldorado (2007) – a strange game with the same mechanics and the same characters, but already devoid of the charm of the original. And that’s it, until last year we didn’t know anything about the sequel, until THQ presented the Desperados III trailer at gamescom 2018.

The advance of civilization

1879 The American frontier, hitherto wild and untamed, is slowly industrializing. Big capital comes, a simple person means less and less, and it is against this background that the plot of Desperados III will unfold, preceding the rest of the series. However, not much attention will be paid to the plot. As in all such games, it only serves as an excuse for you to break into someone’s secret lair, cut down a bunch of bandits or hijack a submarine there.Desperados III game preview

The review sector is divided into sections: where the sector is painted with stripes, the enemy will not notice the crouching “desperado”; in a zone with a solid color, it will no longer be possible to hide.

Desperados III will not even tell a story in the traditional sense, but a context-sensitive story, or something. The characters you control will share their thoughts about different places, events and people, and what kind of thoughts they will say – it already depends on the composition and in what order you will visit certain regions. So the authors from Mimimi Productions intend to reveal the characters without forcing the player to watch cut-scenes or otherwise tying his hands.

By the way, about the heroes. Of the old parts, only three will return: John Cooper, Dr. McCoy and Keith O’Hara. They will be accompanied by two debutants: Hector, a whimsical hunter with a shotgun, and Isabelle, a sorceress with voodoo magic. Of course, she knows how to control enemies with the help of dolls! But it’s not even that that’s interesting, but her charms that connect two people you don’t like. Throw one of them into the water and the other will choke.

What marvelous expanses for bullying open up before us! The only pity is that neither the drunkard Sanchez, nor the black as pitch, the bomber Williams, nor the Eagle Eye Indian will see them. It’s understandable why Mimimi wants to add new heroes, but if they manage to keep the old brethren with their characteristic abilities, then it would be ideal.

Stealth without a freebie

As for the gameplay, Desperados III leaves almost all the postulates of the genre intact. The player commands several heroes (there were two in the mission I studied), tries to get them between the guards’ vision cones, or uses all sorts of distraction methods: leaving something in the wrong place, for example. Many opponents behave like obedient idiots familiar to stealth – they walk along looped routes and always peck at the bait. Although they still have a few surprises to offer. If you lure one bandit from the detachment, then his comrades will soon notice the loss and even rush to search. True, in the demonstration mission, they were not so diligent in looking for friends, but this, I believe, was done for beginners to quickly get used to it.Desperados III game preview

More big-eyed leaders will hand out slaps to their subordinates if they miss something or take the bait.

Moreover, in Desperados III there are patrols that even go to the toilet with the whole company, so the bottle of tequila you left will attract not one “muchachos” who can be easily beaten on the back of the head with a fist, but a whole platoon of armed guys. Both are very useful for such tactics, because they help to break the vicious circle of “Looted, stunned, hidden” – you will have to use other opportunities, since there are enough of them.

Moreover, in each location there will be special events during which you can intervene and turn everything to your advantage. In the demonstration mission, two duelists could be seen ready to shoot each other. Throw a coin away from them – and then one vilely shoots the other in the back. The developers promise that there will be enough such things to affect the style of passing.

No Time for Quickcloud

The game will not punish either cruelty or abuse of the save system. It’s important, I’ve been told, to leave the player with different paths to overcome obstacles, including those that require the F5 and F8 keys to be pulverized. Some users try different schemes in turn, loading after failure, others stubbornly try to implement one plan, changing individual details after each download, others find bugs and especially need quicksaves. Mimimi does not want to put spokes in the wheels of any of them.Desperados III game preview

Skirmishes in stealth are usually squeamish, but we have a western here, by the way! Meet me at noon on the main street!

And in general, Desperados III itself reminds you that you have not been saved for a long time, and does this somewhat more persistently than Shadow Tactics. What an abuse!

And at the same time, Desperados III offers the option not to press the download button as soon as you accidentally slept or did something wrong. Showdown mode is activated by pressing Shift and is a pause, but not active, as you might expect, but improvisational, or something. At this time, you can issue one order to several soldiers to deal with the patrol, for example, and avoid the general alarm. The actions available in Showdown, as far as I understand, are the most straightforward: shoot, throw a knife, or something like that.

The authors expect that Showdown should evoke duels stereotypical for the Wild West, when it is decided in a split second who will live and who will die. I’m not sure how I managed to convey this spirit, but such a dramatic pause allows you to complete some ingenious scheme, in the middle of which your fighters made eye contact with the enemy’s sentries. Just complete not according to plan A, but according to plan B – with blood, screams and shooting.

Desperados III game preview

An example of a well-played Showdown: three shots – and no one even had time to utter a peep in response.

The only limitation for using Showdown is a 6 second cooldown, and the authors have also calculated this. With the help of the mode, you can turn the game into a kind of tactical action: call a pause, issue commands, look at the result, after 6 seconds call a pause again, issue commands … However, you won’t be able to go through the whole game. There will not be enough ammunition – there are not enough cartridges so that the player tries to think with his head, and not with a revolver.

Well, to be honest, this mode is also designed to keep newbies who may not have the patience to download the same place ten times.

***

It’s nice to see that Mimimi not only exploits familiar mechanics, but also tries to add something new and original to it. Yes, one of the innovations is designed to interest players unfamiliar with the genre, and in this regard, many “oldfags” got a reason to accuse the series of “rendering”. Maybe they are partly right, but what else to do with this genre so narrow that the games released in it in recent years can be counted on the fingers of one hand? Just try to let outsiders into it. To do this, even the whole mission at the beginning of Desperados III was assigned for training: it is linear, simple and obvious, but a beginner, passing it, will not swear and will not run back to Fortnite.

On the other hand, Desperados III will also have more difficult conditions (the same patrols, more attentive enemies like the Gestapo from Commandos) and new ways to distract the enemy – for example, with a cat, unless you feel sorry for her, because the bandits tend to kick our brothers mustachioed. Finally, it’s nice to know that the game avoids many of the limitations of not even its own genre, but neighboring ones. In Desperados III, there will be rewards both for not killing a single enemy, and for slaughtering every living thing in a level.

And to the delight of the opponents of subtitles, Desperados III will have full Russian dubbing.

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