Survival in the Old West was about more than just who had the fastest draw, because it also took guile, cunning, and some well-planned shenanigans to make a name for yourself. At least, that's the way of the West was won according to Desperados III. The game isn't full of the fast paced action one usually expects to see in a Western, but rather it takes full advantage of the stealth aspect of the gameplay, challenging players to think way outside the box to tilt the odds more in their favor. The game does a great job of making players feel as if there's always a way to win even when objectives might otherwise seem impossible. And it's not that Cooper and his gang are overpowered, but rather they have the right tools and teamwork to pull victory from the jaws of defeat.
Missions in Desperados III feel less like battles and more like puzzles to be solved. Most missions have multiple solutions, giving players the freedom to play the way they want. This can mean stealthy assassinations, environmental booby traps, or letting the lead fly in an all-out ambush. Most mission even allow players to complete their objectives in non-lethal way. The game's Showdown mode is key here, pausing the action and allowing players to create intricate plans, playing characters' abilities off of each other as a sort of Rube Goldberg machine of mayhem. And if things don't quite work out the way they planned, players are encouraged to use the game's quicksave and quickload features to try out different plans of attack. Unfortunately, by taking away the consequences of a poorly laid plan, it also takes away a chunk of the game's challenge. Plus, the trial and error method of play can feel a bit repetitive after a while. Still, the strategic gameplay is solid and the story is plenty entertaining, making this Wild West adventure more than just a one-horse town.