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Desperados 3 review | PC Gamer


Need to know

What is it? A real-time stealth tactics game set in the Wild West.
Expect to pay $50/£45
Developer Mimimi Games
Publisher THQ Nordic
Reviewed on GTX 1080Ti, Intel i7-8086K, 16GB RAM
Multiplayer No
Link Official site

Desperados 3 has no dearth of handy tools, so it’s hard to pick a favourite. The brutal bear trap that clamps its jaws around anyone unfortunate enough to walk over it has to be a contender, but I’m also rather partial to the darts that let you kill two enemies with one blow—through magic, no less. None of them saved my arse quite as often as the humble F5 and F8 keys, however. The rest of my arsenal would be useless without them.  

Every one of its stealthy encounters is a puzzle, and every puzzle is a chance to experiment and, more often than not, fail. Desperados 3 is all about a team of specialists working in sync, using preternatural precision and timing to overcome impossible odds, but the journey to perfection is full of slapstick escapades and catastrophes. A split-second or an inch can mean the difference between an effortless display of teamwork and a team full of corpses, but with quicksave in one holster and quickload in the other, you’ll get there eventually. 

Maybe your very clever attempt to drop an entire wall on someone was foiled because a guard turned around and spotted you at the last moment, so you try again but this time send someone in a disguise to distract them. Another enemy might see through their disguise, however, but not if you’ve made this mistake before and wisely remembered to plonk down a trap right in their path. That leaves a conspicuous corpse on the ground, though, and the alarm is raised once again, but next time you’ll remember to have someone waiting in the bushes to dart out, grab the cadaver and hide it. Eventually, through trial and error, you’ll create the perfect plan and rack up a high body count. 

(Image credit: THQ Nordic)

Though it’s a prequel to 2001’s Desperados: Wanted Dead or Alive, Desperados 3 is really Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun‘s successor. Like Mimimi Games’ last real-time tactical stealth affair, it’s got smart—but not too smart—enemies, intricate maps overflowing with opportunities for murder, a quintet of proficient killers and sneaks, and best-in-the-business vision cones. As one of the greatest stealth games of the last decade, the Edo-era romp is a tough act to follow, but its Wild West cousin looks to some other brilliant stealth games for inspiration. 

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