We got to do a hands-on preview for Wanted: Dead at PAX West 2022. What is the best way to start any event? No, it’s not at a social mixer, drinking whiskey while listening to Troy Baker sing songs about The Last of Us. Instead, it’s getting together with friends to try out Indie party games and laughing.
This year at PAX West, I had the opportunity to do both. Both of these activities on different nights, allowed me to prepare for the show floor in the morning. On the third and fourth days of PAX, I met with Soleil Ltd. and 110 Industries to preview their upcoming game, Wanted: Dead.
For those who have not heard of Wanted: Dead, it is a game blending cyberpunk and 90s retro elements. Wanted: Dead is a love child from Ninja Gaiden, Dead or Alive, and there are elements of the game that reminded me of Wet. So why was this game in our top 5 games at PAX West 2022? Well, let’s dive into our rationale.
During the first meeting, I met with one of the developers of Wanted: Dead. Immediately, you could see his passion for this project. Wanted: Dead is the story of Lt. Hannah Stone; this game takes you through a week of her life as she leads a “Zombie” unit similar to the Suicide Squad to take down synthetics and terrorists.
The game will take place over a week of Hannah’s life with missions introducing new characters with different backgrounds along the way. After the daily mission is complete, Hannah will be able to meet with her team to relax and socialize; these social interactions will help Hannah to build a stronger bond with her while the player has fun through mini-games.
During the presentation, the developer took me through combat and the skill tree. Once the base skills are unlocked, the player can select how they want to level. Players choose between the offensive, defensive, and utility trees. Each style grants different combat mechanics that make each playthrough different and unique to the player.
For the demo, the developer ran through the level slaughtering those that got in their way using melee-style attacks to take down enemies. Each execution depending on where the enemy was hit felt unique.
According to the developers, there are over 50 unique finishing moves each with its own glorious animations. Due to time constrictions, I only got to see part of the demo. Thankfully, the developers and publication team allowed me to come back on the fourth day to have a hands-on experience.
Wanted: Dead Hands-On
Playing Wanted: Dead vs watching the developers play was a night and day experience. Honestly, the developers made it look easy, but that’s to be expected. The game’s gunplay mechanics although familiar due to the Division 2 and Gears of War felt lackluster.
It felt like the developers wanted you to participate in hand-to-hand combat rather than shooting your foes. The executions in the game felt smooth and when executed gave me an adrenaline rush.
The game’s parry mechanics take a bit to get used to but there is something oddly satisfying about shooting an enemy just to cleave their head off a second later. Most of the time, I could rush at the enemy, slice them up and watch them fall.
During our demo, I had the help of a handy medic to help resurrect me when I went down, but that would only work once per checkpoint.
Luckily for me, I was their last appointment on Monday, so I got extra time to play the game. I made it all the way to the ninja before getting stuck, but by getting there I impressed the developers. The ninja was no easy task and with enough time and practice, I could have taken it down.
In fact, according to the team, no player on the show floor was able to defeat the ninja on their first try and very few cleared it entirely. Just knowing that I got there was a sense of accomplishment after getting smacked around earlier on in the demo.
If you are a fan of Devil May Cry, Ninja Gaiden, Bayonetta, Dead or Alive, Wet, or Soulsbourne games then you will enjoy this game. Wanted: Dead is scheduled to be released on Valentine’s Day 2023 (2/14/23) across PC, Steam, Xbox, and PlayStation.