Mimimi Games is a relatively young name and yet in recent years this small teutonic team has produced some extremely interesting works, first and foremost Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun that had catapulted RTT lovers – and in particular, the fans of the Commando series – into the fascinating lands of the Sol Levante.
In short, let’s talk about the perfect candidate for the relaunch Desperados , a franchise that retired with the spin-off Helldorado in the ‘distant’ 2007, but who now seems ready for his coveted return to the scene. Under the supervision of THQ Nordic, the ambitious third chapter takes us back to the hypnotic Far West of the first interactions, in which we find a pinch of Shadow Tactics and some decidedly intriguing news.
Stories of bounty hunters and voodoo witches
The Desperados III events will take place between the United States and Mexico and will focus on the origins of the iconic protagonist John Cooper and those of his historic raiding companions. It is therefore a prequel with all the trappings, set about ten years before the story of Wanted Dead or Alive (2001) to expose a completely unpublished story, but still familiar to the eyes of longtime fans .
The first mission, which will act as a tutorial, will see us in the shoes of a very young Cooper, intent on following in his father’s footsteps in his usual bounty hunter routine. On this occasion we come into contact with the basic mechanics of this real-time strategy, purely based on stealth action and on a visceral approach to the trial-and-error formula . The quick saves will always be available to allow us to reload the game and thus remedy yet another false step committed. Too bad that, at least on consoles, the slow uploads limit the use of this feature making it somewhat frustrating.
Desperados III promises to entertain the player with a campaign that is as compelling as it is full-bodied. The path of John Cooper will cross, first of all, that of the dark Arthur ‘Doc’ McCoy , a doctor who boasts talents … unique. The two will be forced to collaborate to eliminate an annoying bandit group: we will first take control of Cooper, the classic gunfighter armed with a double revolver and throwing knife, and then move on to the more discreet McCoy, equipped with a silenced sniper rifle and with a powerful poison that can inject into the bodies of the unfortunate on duty.
From the first missions, Mimimi’s intention to propose a varied roster, whose different capabilities can be combined in a lethal mix to be used on the battlefield, is evident. For example , we will take advantage of Kate O’Hara’s seductive abilities to lure targets into Hector Mendoza’s (huge) traps , and we will take advantage of Cooper’s agility to climb certain heights and obtain an advantageous line of fire against the guards below. Finally, Doc’s deadly talents are accompanied by the supernatural powers of Isabelle Moreau , a mysterious new entry who will complete the quintet with her ancient voodoo techniques., thanks to which it will be able to mentally convey the movements of the enemies or take control of animals and other living beings.
The backgrounds linked to each member of this compact roster reveal an at times intriguing writing, but one that often and willingly stumbles in the redundant stereotypes of the western genre. Nonetheless, the story of John Cooper and its partners will delight us with some engaging sequences to say the least and even with a couple of twists, albeit not particularly unsettling. The narrative sector does not foresee real qualitative surges , but will succeed in the task of cheering up the carefree player until the end of an adventure to say the least delicious.
The demanding missions of the campaign allowed us to get to know a brilliant level design, which pushes the player to carefully study the surrounding environment and to evaluate the possible interactions with each element of the scenario, be it natural or artificial. We have therefore exploited the vegetation and some makeshift shelters to get around our target, getting close enough to make a stealth elimination – which will not necessarily have to be lethal. The already mentioned verticality of some levels opens the way to further strategic options and exponentially expands our field of vision, revealing new and unpredictable approaches to battle.
This peculiar system introduces us to a gameplay with countless potential, capable of constantly changing according to the approach chosen by the player and the tactics that he will be able to baste. It should also be said, however, that a game like Desperados III can be particularly difficult for the neophytes of this strategic subgenre : the massive presence of bandits and guards in some scenarios leave very little space for maneuvers that are not extremely tight or precisely executed surgical. The violent clash with the aforementioned trial-and-error will be inevitable, but there remains the risk, and the fear, of surrendering to a formula that is sometimes too punitive.
In any case, when the situation seems on the verge of precipitously precipitating, our fighters will always be able to resort to the brutal firepower offered by their own arsenal . At that point we will let John Cooper unleash his revolvers, while the good Hector will take care of the groups of more nourished enemies, favorite victims of his devastating sawn-off shotgun. Once the area has been cleaned up, we can take refuge in the nearest hiding place or, why not, take advantage of the wide streets of the city to blend in with passersby.
In the most agitated situations, however, we can fall back on Shadowmode , a dynamic view through which we will ‘freeze’ the action on the screen. We will take advantage of this extra time for the implementation of the strategies we have designed and, above all, for the simultaneous execution of certain moves – for example, chaining two or more eliminations to trigger them at the same time or by placing a couple of characters in different points of the location. This feature will simplify the lives of many players , except for those who opt for the higher challenge levels.
Further support is embodied, paradoxically, by that same AI that should regulate the behavior of enemies. Should, because most of the times we have seen confusing and far from ideal actions in order to maintain order during patrols. On several occasions, moreover, the enemies have not in the least reacted to the excessive amount of noise produced by us, allowing us to continue towards the goal in total serenity (perhaps too much).
The GOOD & BAD and the controller
We tried Desperados III on consoles, more precisely on PS4 Pro , where the production packaged by Mimimi Games offers some additional features dedicated to the mid-gen. On the Sony flagship it is in fact possible to choose between two different graphics modes , one focused on performance – prioritizing the frame rate – and the second linked to resolution. We chose the first, preferring the fluidity guaranteed by the 60 FPS at a glance that, after all, does not even seem so amazing.
Of course, every scenario in the isometric world of Desperados III is made with great care and attention to detail, even with marked tendency towards realism. We ventured into the arid desert and the most putrid lagoons, stopping in the chaotic cities to raid the saloons, often popular with individuals far from recommended. We are impressed by the excellent variety of locations, but the latter struggle to conceal the obvious limits of the technical sector identified in the mere polygonal rendering, as well as in the poor definition of some textures.
Desperados III will not be the revolutionary and glorious return of the historic franchise, but it will certainly deserve the attention of the ‘old’ fans of the series, who will find in this third chapter the unmistakable essence of the original RTT launched twenty years ago. . Mimimi Games hits the target, but stumbles in some flaws on the technological front, clashing with an AI that is anything but brilliant and with a visual sector that is not always exceptional. The powerful campaign and the fun gameplay will entertain the player, as long as the latter has the right amount of patience.