Parents' Guide to

Wanted: Dead

By Joey Thurmond, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 18+

Cool blend of swords and guns can't save bad story and cast.

Wanted: Dead game cover: An illustration of the "Zombie Unit," a police special forces division. The female protagonist poses with her hand over her katana's handle. Three male characters stand behind her with various firearms. Another woman in a cop uniform holds a fluffy orange cat.

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Is It Any Good?

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Parents say: Not yet rated
Kids say: Not yet rated

The gameplay in this action title will sell many people on its premise, but the horrendous story and out-of-place mechanics will simply let them down. Being able to seamlessly switch between shooting and sword-fighting in Wanted: Dead sounds dreamy, and the game lands the fundamentals well enough. Movement, aiming, and melee combat feel good, especially when you can parry enemy attacks with a katana block or pistol shot, which is key to surviving and thriving in the fray. This is especially important since enemies are fast and will always get in your face, which prevents you from only relying on your firearms, and also makes cover pointless in every level. All of the weapons look and feel good, and pulling off special takedowns on a group of foes is cool to watch, but encounters become monotonous after a couple hours. Enemies have little variety in their moves and are poorly balanced. Even on the easiest difficulty (which is not only unavailable from the start, but also insults the player if it's chosen), the challenge is barely tolerable when these frequent difficulty spikes arise. Several game crashes also frustrate progress.

An incomprehensible story hampers the experience further. It says a lot without saying anything, with promising themes about law enforcement protecting corporate interests, and the morality and philosophy surrounding robotic sentience. Still, these concepts never go anywhere with meaningful or evocative dialogue. It'd be one thing if the game was intentionally comedic or zany in tone, but the voice acting and writing are so uninspired and wooden that they might just put you to sleep. Even worse are bizarre mini-games that are completely out of place between the paltry five levels to play. In the end, Wanted: Dead may have something promising buried under its core gameplay, but everything built on top of and around it falls apart.

Game Details

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