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    dkirschner's Desperados III (PC)

    [January 11, 2022 03:05:56 PM]
    Either Desperados III is a little easier than Shadow Tactics or I’m just becoming cleverer after playing these two back-to-back. I couldn’t complete Shadow Tactics’ last level, but I’m almost done with Desperados—on the last set piece of the last level. It’s certainly one of the most daunting, but I’ve just about cleared peripheral enemies and am zeroing in on the boss and his goons. (I had to pause for a meeting.). Desperados’ levels are wonderfully large and complex, but they are taking less time than Shadow Tactics’ later levels, which I take as evidence that I’m getting better. (Go me!).

    In this last level (which I have now beaten because my meeting is over; it was epic [the level, not the meeting], especially the final showdown), you control all five characters. Three begin on one side of a canyon and two begin on the other. You can bring them together at a couple points, and I chose to do it at the first opportunity and take the left side of the level to the church at the end. There were some seriously difficult pieces of the level. At the very end, before the church, were like five Long Coats and some other enemies at one end of a narrow bridge. I managed to slip a couple characters behind them and pick off a few enemies before I was able to (or figured out how to) take out the Long Coats. At another spot in the level were like five snipers on rooftops, all watching each other. I have learned that in those kinds of situations, sometimes the best thing to do is just cause chaos (use Isabelle’s mind control, for example) and sort of scatter the enemies for a minute. Ideally, you can pick off a couple while they are away from their regular positions on alert. Then, when they reset, they are easier.

    I can’t describe the final showdown too much because that will give away story bits, but suffice it to say that it’s a unique set piece. Cooper is surrounded and has one bullet in Showdown Mode. You have to use the other four characters to kill enemies, without being detected, and end the level by using their actions in conjunction with Cooper’s in Showdown Mode to kill every last enemy at the same time. I feel like a genius after beating Desperados III.

    I said most everything else that I had to say in my previous entry. One thing I didn’t mention though is the post-level recap, which is fun to watch. After each level, you get to watch an abstracted version of your playthrough. All your characters are represented by different colored shapes on a 2D level map. Enemies are represented by red squares (and Long Coats by sheriff’s stars). When you click “play,” all the little shapes start moving around, with lines tracing where your characters move and little skulls popping up when you killed someone. It’s a neat reminder of the previous 90 minutes’ successes and failures and always triggered memories of this or that time I got lucky or came up with a good solution to get past a tricky part.

    Oh yeah, one other thing I learned with like two levels to go is that there is a "speed up time" button. I wish I would have known that sooner! Was there no tutorial for it? Or did I miss it or forget it? It's obvious enough on the UI. That's what I get for not paying close attention, I guess!

    I would start a third Mimimi tactics game right now if there was one. These have been fantastic, especially Desperados.
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    [December 27, 2021 05:10:42 PM]
    This is indeed Shadow Tactics: Wild West. It runs on the same engine and looks and plays nearly identical. And, as expected, everything is more polished and refined. I particularly enjoy the greater attention to telling a good story and weaving together the threads of the five characters. We've got a backstory for the main character that we play through that serves as motivation for the current activities, a better geographical journey with a more defined map, and the other characters have a bit more going on than in Shadow Tactics.

    I am surprised how similar the characters are in playstyles to those in Shadow Tactics! They all still have a close-up attack (except Kate can only knock out people with hers, not kill them); they all have some sort of distraction; they all have a gun (or guns; except Isabelle, who I just got and who is actually different than the others, very neat). Cooper is Hayato. He throws a knife instead of a shuriken and distracts with a coin instead of a rock. Literally the same playstyle. Hector is a hybrid of Mugen (can kill the Long Coats [aka Wild West Samurais]) and Yuki (he uses a trap and whistle, just like her). The doctor is a hybrid of Mugen (tosses a bag on the ground to lure enemies) and Takuma (he's your sniper), etc., etc. The fifth character I got, Isabelle, pulls some tricks I remember recently from Dishonored 2. She can "link" enemies together and whatever happens to one happens to the other one. She can also mind control an enemy. I am looking forward to playing with her more, as I believe she is the only character who has anything that is really new to the game compared to Shadow Tactics.

    There are some other cool changes to the Wild West setting. Mud and sand function just like show regarding footprints. When you knock out enemies, you can hog tie them and render them useless, instead of just having to let them wake up and start patrolling again. The environmental kills are more intuitive now. The UI for triggering them makes them more visible, so I've been hitting horses with coins, for example, to make them kick the enemies walking behind them, or shoving under-construction walls over on top of chatting enemies, or kicking enemies into empty graves, or whatever. There are dedicated "safe zones" in some levels, again with UI information letting you know when you're safe and when you're in enemy territory. One big improvement is that Shadow Mode now pauses the game, which lets you plan collaborative moves better. I didn't like that it was in real-time in Shadow Tactics; this is a really useful change. One big change to Desperados, which fits the Wild West theme, is that there is more focus on guns. There are way more ammo crates laying around levels, and you have more freedom to use your guns to shoot your way through some situations. I like this, because the game is still totally stealthy; now I have this loud option, which I've started using more at the end of levels when I'm nearly done and still have a lot of ammo. Just bam bam bam! instead of continuing to sneak about.

    As I played two levels today, I realized that Desperados reminds me quite a lot of a tactics version of Hitman. There are big, intricate levels with environmental things to interact with; you have all these characters with a little variety of weapons and distractions; one character can even wear disguises; maps are starting to have numerous objectives where you "get in and get out"; etc. In the level I just started, for example, you have to help Isabelle find a man she's looking for. There are three enemies in the level who might have information about him. You can track them down and kill them, and you can eavesdrop on conversations in the level to get information faster and (I think) go straight to the one that actually has the info. Then I think you'll have to go find this guy (he's been captured by the bad guys) and rescue him (which could be the following level, not sure). It feels very much like being dropped into one of Hitman's super complex levels and being tasked with assassinating three people before escaping.

    If there are three chapters, then I'm about halfway through, and that would seem to add up to the estimate on Definitely enjoying this game and I find it more interesting than Shadow Tactics. Looking forward to some more this week.

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    dkirschner's Desperados III (PC)

    Current Status: Finished playing

    GameLog started on: Tuesday 21 December, 2021

    GameLog closed on: Tuesday 11 January, 2022

    dkirschner's opinion and rating for this game

    This is going to be difficult, I can tell. ------- It was awesome. Fantastic tactics game.

    Rating (out of 5):starstarstarstarstar

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