Wanted: Dead review for Xbox, PlayStation, PC

Platform: Xbox Series X
Also On: PS5, PS4, Xbox One, PC
Publisher: 110 Industries
Developer: 110 Industries
Medium: Physical/Digital
Players: 1
Online: No

Wanted: Dead is one of those games that looks great to me visually but go in with very low expectations. I say this only because I?ve heard next to nothing about this title up until the last month with a press release and trailer, and it looked very familiar gameplay wise. There is not only gun combat, but the game heavily relies on melee combat. Sounds a lot like “Devil’s Third (a Wii U game from back in 2015)”? but to be fair, I will share the official description of the game to help explain it better.

“Wanted: Dead is a new hybrid slasher/shooter from the makers of Ninja Gaiden and Dead or Alive. The game follows a week in life of the Zombie Unit, an elite Hong Kong police squad on a mission to uncover a major corporate conspiracy.”

When you start the game you meet the diverse team that will be joining you along this campaign and at first glance thought this was maybe a 4 player co-op game. Nope, this is a single player game, and you only play as one of the characters, Vivienne Niemantsverdriet who is the leader of the Manu Military. Before diving into Wanted: Dead I noticed there was some live action cooking segments blended into the trailer which led me to checking developer 110 Industries YouTube page.

I must give it to the marketing team for going in on the pregame content like a miniseries focusing on Vivienne?s life before moving to Hong Kong and its literally a cooking show! This is so out there but I appreciate all the effort as this is they type of content you would expect from Grasshopper Manufacture. If you are interested in the game, be sure to check their YouTube before you do.

With all that out of the way, let?s find out if I enjoyed the game. Well? Kind of. The developers have been up front and honest about what to expect with the game and well, let?s just say, it?s really hard. I did not do well during my time with the game and have gotten stuck more than I would liked to throughout the game, and there were times I needed a break… a break before I broke something in my house, that is.

One thing about having the hybrid combat is you need to have super tight controls and also be able to juggle both mechanics well. In this case this is a team effort on the development side and the player side. With your sprinkling of story cinematics, you get thrown into the action fairly quickly and need to deal with a steady influx of enemies. There is shooting mechanics like any third person action game and the ability to cover, which is one of the weakest aspects because you cannot map it to a button. It?s instead walk to the location, and it will auto cover.

As someone that first thinks of Gears of War as one of the best cover-based shooters I feel spoiled when this mechanic falls short. This is not that type of game, so I get it, and the developer wants you on your feet and being active while putting heavy focus on the melee aspect which is swordplay and with a hint of handgun quickfire. You have a wide amount of tutorials you can do before you get started to help get better, and I may need to simply spend more time there.

The enemies are relentless and I found myself always running out of ammo then having to juggle 3-5 enemies using melee and dodging, which you will have to earn points to unlock most the helpful skills like wait for it? Grenades.  You heard correctly, you do not start with that ability to carry or toss grenades and need to unlock a skill for it.

The skill tree can be accessed at any time which is good at least, but takes time to get the points needed to unlock the meat and potatoes of skills. Also, there is weapon customization which can be accessed via drones peppered throughout the levels. Personally, I found myself barely using this since I almost never have enough ammo to care.

I want to focus the point that my skills in the game or lack thereof will not hinder the score and I?m not bashing the game but just hoped certain aspects were different. There will be fans that will enjoy the challenge and I commend the developers that listen to their community and have built the game with them in mind.

The visuals are great, and the story may be a tad generic but fits well into the kind of world they built. I hope to get  better at the game and think we need more games that bring melee action into the blend of shooters, but the controls need to feel just right for it to work on a grand scale. Wanted: Dead is an okay hybrid game and despite it giving me vibes from my time with Devil?s Third, this is a way better experience overall and would-be players should check all the videos before making that final decision.

Note: 110 Industries provided us a Wanted: Dead code for review purposes.

Grade: B-