Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun had prerelease marketing that consisted almost entirely of “Did you like Desperados and Commandos? Then play this!”. It’s a pretty bold strategy when both of those series had been dead for a decade and weren’t the kind of mainstream hits that most people would recognize. Even so, the move paid off, and Shadow Tactics was praised as a great iteration on the isometric stealth gameplay those series were known for. Then, the Shadow Tactics team actually got to use the Desperados IP for their next game, and iterated upon their iteration of iterative franchises. Suffice to say, Desperados 3 doesn’t shake up the formula at all, it’s just another layer of refinement on a stealth system that works. Stealth where you can see every guard and every view cone is so fundamentally solid that all the game really needed was a polished interface, fun abilities, and interesting scenarios to use them in, and all three goals were met. At first, the characters seemed too similar to the ones from Shadow Tactics, but enough changes and powerful new abilities were included to make it fresh. The final character in particular allows for so much creativity that the game becomes something new entirely, and I played for hours just testing out all the possibilities. The variety in missions actually gives you a reason to take your time experimenting in this way, and it’s not just sneaking around plain bandit camps. However, one of my few criticisms of Desperados 3 is that you may feel like you’re always surrounded by bandits anyway, since you’re repetitiously sneaking up behind guys, killing them, and dragging them into bushes instead of slipping by without a trace. The variety in the other aspects is enough to keep things fresh, but I would certainly like to see some thought put into the ghost playstyle when the next game adds another layer of polish. It still might not be at the point where I would suggest this to people who aren’t stealth fans, but it comes extremely close. If you are a fan, it’s an unqualified recommendation.

Reviewed on Jan 05, 2021