Do any of you remember Star Wars: Bounty Hunter? It was a neat concept. The game saw players get behind the helmet of Jango Fett and seek bounties on various enemies on different levels. It was a very good and unique game because, for once, the game gave players a chance to seek a higher reward if they chose NOT to kill.
I bring up memories of this game because Wanted Corp., a new game available now on PlayStation Network, brings the whole dead-or-alive bounty system back. What Wanted Corp. is missing though is a far more interesting interpretation.
Wanted Corp. is a a twin-stick shooter centered around co-op play. The player(s) choose to play as the stereotypical and unlikely duo of Neal H. MadDogg, a top-heavy, meat-headed weapon specialist with a thirst for blood, or Irina Ys, a Russian agent with unique psychic abilities. These two make up a team of bounty hunters on a new assignment to hunt down fugitives.
The game plays much like you’d expect. Each character has unique abilities, which means there’s a great deal of teamwork involved in progressing. MadDogg is (for some reason) the only guy that can activate switches and drive giant mechs. Irina can use her powers to move bridges into place or destroy certain machinery.
Because you both are bounty hunters, many of the enemies you’ll face will have a bounty attached. This means players can either kill the enemies for an easy dispatch, or make an effort to capture them alive for a much higher reward. The reward money goes towards upgrading your weapons and health.
It sounds like almost any other twin-stick shooter because Wanted Corp. is about as generic as you can get.
When players start one of the eight levels, they’re given a briefing on why the duo is actually going to the level. These briefings are delivered by a monotone computer system, which ultimately doesn’t give the player any useful information, instead choosing to waste time and attempt to put the player to sleep.
The levels themselves will take players through a jungle, a swamp and a base. The levels are largely predictable. It’s safe to assume that every time you walk up to a door that doesn’t want to open, you’re about to be ambushed as Neal and Irina are struggling to figure out why the door is broken.
These little spats at each other would be a nice touch if the voice-acting didn’t seem like it was almost designed to annoy the player. Separately, Neal and Irina spot out the usual violence-driven remarks and threats straight out of any bad action movie. Each only has about three different lines, so players will learn to never want to hear “I’M RELOADING!” again.
It probably wouldn’t be as intolerable if it weren’t for the A.I. being all over the place. I realize that the game is meant to be played with another player in co-op though, while playing single player, the A.I. can go from destroying everything for you to helplessly standing in the middle of nowhere being flooded with enemy gunfire. Players can choose what kind of tactics the A.I. will take between neutralize (kill,) capture or protect, although they really don’t make any kind of difference.
Truth is that I actually replayed a previous level and let the A.I. do all the work. I finished an entire level without firing a single shot, only dodging attacks. Something about that isn’t right.
Add this with the fact that there’s no real map or anything of any kind, no waypoint, no way to figure out where you’re supposed to be going next and it leads to a very frustrating experience. The game even commits the cardinal sin of top-down games and puts objects in the way of the player’s view of the characters, without allowing any sort of transparency to “see through” the objects. I got lost underneath more than a few trees because I couldn’t see where I was going.
But the base of the game is centered around that monetary system. Everything in the game from upgrades to reviving a downed partner costs money. This means you’re screwed if your partner takes a dive and you don’t happen to have 50,000 credits lying around.
Once you have all the upgrades then…..what? There’s nothing driving the player forward. The story is mediocre at best and there’s no real high score besides how much money and fugitives you can collect on each level. There’s five pieces of intel to collect on each level, but the last thing players will be interested in is reading up on the back story of a game that isn’t very engaging to begin with.
I was hoping that the one thing that set Wanted Corp. apart might make the game worth recommending. Wanted Corp. is capable of using the PlayStation Move controller. Even that manages to be screwed up because it’s far too hard to accurately move the cursor around on the screen. Moving the cursor from one side of the screen to the other takes the smallest of movements, and there are no sensitivity tools to be found anywhere.
The game just gives off an overall feeling of “Why am I playing this?” There are other games out that fulfill nearly everything Wanted Corp. tries and fails to do. The game isn’t bad, but there’s really nothing to keep the player going forward. There’s nothing here that makes me want to play Wanted Corp. over absolutely anything else. If I really wanted to play a top-down shooter that has upgradable weapons and focuses on co-op play, I’d go play Dead Nation.
You can find better ways to spend $10 than this game. I was almost convinced that it’d be great if someone really wanted to control a twin-stick shooter with a Move controller, but with how broken it is, I really can’t recommend the game to anyone. The game fails to do anything well and different enough to set itself apart from the rest of the “meh” games on PlayStation Network.
This review is based on a PlayStation 3 copy of the game that we received for review purposes.
Wanted Corp. features some pretty addictive gameplay but ultimately, it fails to do anything well and different enough to set itself apart from the rest of the "meh" games on PlayStation Network.