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Desperados III review for Xbox One, PS4, PC


Platform: Xbox One
Also On: PS4, PC
Publisher: THQ Nordic
Developer: Mimimi Games
Medium: Blu-ray / Digital
Players: 1
Online: No
ESRB: M

It’s not too often that I’ll settle down to play the third game in a series that I hadn’t heard of previously, and be seriously taken aback by how damn good the game ends up being, but Desperados III is certainly that type of game. Having just released this week on Xbox One, PS4, and PC, this marks the first time the series has hit consoles, with prior releases being available only for PC/Mac going back to the original game in 2001. Desperados III is also a prequel for the series as a whole, making it a perfect jumping-on point for new fans such as myself. 

So, assuming you’re in the same position I was and have no prior experience with the series, you might be wondering what type of game Desperados III even is. It’s a real-time tactics stealth game, which is a mouthful, but does manage to cover most of the bases. In Desperados III you take control of western hero John Cooper, who needs to make his away across increasingly complex maps and scenarios, avoiding enemies, civilians, and using the environment to either hide from or take out his various foes. The presentation is from a top-down isometric perspective, with the ability to directly control the camera, move it around the map for a better view of upcoming hazards, and zoom in and out as needed. 

As you advance through the story, John will be accompanied by a handful of characters, all with unique abilities that will help you complete objectives. For instance, John can swim, climb, use a coin to distract enemies, shoot up to two enemies at once with his pistol, or silently toss his knife at nearby enemies. Whereas the burlier Hector can’t climb, but can carry incapacitated enemies without a penalty to his movement speed, and can also lay down a bear trap to kill unsuspecting foes. You’ll find each character has their own strengths and weaknesses like this, and each story mission likes to play around with which characters you’ll have available, so you’ll have ample opportunity to sample all of them. 

You’ll find that all of this activity also controls really well too. Despite being the first entry in the series for consoles, I don’t think you’re losing anything when playing Desperados III with a controller. I played on an Xbox One X and had no issues with giving commands, quick saving, or directly positioning my characters. Default button mapping feels spot on overall, and it’s easy to cycle between your available characters and their abilities quickly enough. 

Desperados III is also a really great looking game overall. The western aesthetic is spot on, complete with a period-appropriate soundtrack. There’s a lot of detail within the environment too, with lots of terrain variety between each map. The occasional city maps are fun to explore, and it’s pretty easy to locate interactive objects and enemies with a helpful highlight option. Also, the vision cones to show you where an enemy is looking and how far out they can see is super easy to read. This doesn’t necessarily mean the game itself is easy, there are certainly a number of puzzle-like layouts that can throw you for a loop, but if you make an error it’s at least easy to tell how you made it. 

Overall, I’m really, really impressed by Desperados III. It went from being a game that wasn’t really on my radar, to definitely being one of the best games I’ve played all year. If you’re like me and haven’t played a single game in the series so far, this seems like an excellent place to start. I highly recommend checking it out, you won’t be disappointed. 

Note: THQ Nordic provided us with a Desperados III Xbox One code for review purposes.

Grade: A+