Desperados III

Game review by
David Chapman, Common Sense Media
Desperados III Game Poster Image
Violent Wild West action relies on cunning plans, teamwork.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

The world of Desperados III is filled with crooks and outlaws. And even though John Cooper has plenty of skeletons in his own closet, his story is one of redemption by helping innocent townsfolk deal with ruthless gangs.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Cooper and his crew are far from squeaky clean role models, often dancing in the grey area of morality. Still, they each follow a strict code of honor, striving to stop the spread of evil and injustice in the Old West.

Ease of Play

Each mission tends to have multiple ways to complete, and players are expected to discover these through trial and error, constantly using quicksaves to test out ideas. The Showdown mode also challenges players to come up with intricate plans that can test a player's strategic thinking and timing.

Violence

The game contains quite a bit of violence, with plenty of blood splatter and gore shown when characters are killed. There are also some graphic depictions of violence in some of the game's cutscenes. But it should also be pointed out that most of the game's missions can actually be completely in non-lethal ways.

Sex

The game's dialogue features occasional references to sex and prostitution in brothels. One of the main characters, Kate, uses her sex appeal to lure enemies into traps and ambushes.

Language

The dialogue makes frequent use of profanity, including "f--k," "s--t," "a--hole," and more.

Consumerism

The game is technically the fourth entry in the Desperados franchise and serves as a prequel to the prior entries of the series.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

The game features characters drinking and smoking, with references to both in the dialogue.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Desperados III is a stealth-based real-time strategy game available for download on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Windows-based PCs. The game serves as a prequel to the prior games of the Desperados franchise. Players control a crew of five unique characters on missions to eliminate gang members in the Old West. The game has a substantial amount of violence with plenty of blood shown onscreen, but most missions can also be played with non-lethal solutions. The game's dialogue contains plenty of profanity, as well as references to sex and drinking. One of the player's characters also uses her sexuality to distract enemies and to lure them into traps or ambushes.

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What's it about?

DESPERADOS III takes stealth-based tactics and strategy to the back to the gunslinging days of the Old West. The game serves as a prequel to the Desperados series, telling the origins of John Cooper's quest for redemption and how his band of misfits first came together in the name of justice. Joining Cooper in his mission are the seductive runaway bride, Kate O' Mara, the cool and calculated hitman, Doc McCoy, the burly trapper, Hector Mendoza, and voodoo mystic, Isabelle Moreau. Each comes with his or her own unique set of specialized skills, which players must use to overcome overwhelming odds. Players can also enter Showdown mode to pause the action and craft well-laid plans of attack sure to send opponents to meet their justice … or to meet their maker.

Is it any good?

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.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about violence in video games. Is the impact of the violence in Desperados III affected by the blood and gore in the game? Would the violence have the same impact if there was no blood included? Can things like optional "non-lethal" solutions in Desperados III help to challenge players to find alternatives to violence?

  • How does the stylized version of history presented in games, movies, etc., differ from the reality of those eras? Are there still things to learn from these often exaggerated portrayals?

Game details

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