In 1978, the world was introduced to Boba Fett (and the Star Wars Holiday Special, but let’s forget about that), a character that returned in The Empire Strikes Back and established a basic law: bounty hunters are awesome. Unfortunately, in 2004 we were introduced to Dog the Bounty Hunter, and the basic law of bounty hunter awesomeness had to be revised: some bounty hunters are awesome. With the first law established, it makes sense that game developers would give gamers the chance to experience the intensity and excitement of the bounty hunter lifestyle, but we have to remember that the revision exists for a reason. Zoo Entertainment, developer of Wanted Corp, is giving gamers the chance to get back on the hunt, but where will it fall on the Fett/Dog scale?
Wanted Corp is a co-op, action-focused twin stick shooter in the same vein as Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light. Players are given the option to play offline or online as one of two bounty hunters, MadDogg, a guns and grenades hunter, and Irena, a supernatural/elemental hunter. The two are tasked with tracking Monkey Grunk and Barghest, escapees of a prison ship that crash-landed near a secret Pharmatech facility on the planet Oderellia. Hired by Pharmatech to keep the prisoners from getting a hold of important research, players will discover the secret research Pharmatech has been conducting and face off against hoards of enemies dedicated to keeping you from returning them to prison.
Wanted Corp does a lot of things that would easily fall on the Fett side of the Fett/Dog scale. The heavy focus on action, good variety of enemy types and the screen flooding with hoards of creatures to blow away makes Wanted Corp franticly enjoyable. There is a lot of money to be made by blasting enemies, but the job of a bounty hunter is not one-sided. Some enemies are worth more alive, and Wanted Corp gives both characters the ability to capture enemies and transport them back to the ship for extra money. Money can be used to buy health and weapon/ability upgrades that can significantly help in some of the tougher levels.
I found the eight levels that make up Wanted Corp to be enjoyable in both design and time. The levels are spread out between three environments that are around long enough to enjoy but don’t get too repetitive. Although the levels are linear, they are big enough to keep the player from feeling like they are being funneled from room to room. When you’re playing a level for the first time, and taking time to explore, it could take you between 30-45 minutes to complete. If you take a second run through the level, it may only take you 15-20 minutes to complete, making it a great game to pick up, play, and put down if your time is limited. Eight levels at about 30 minutes apiece make Wanted Corp a game that is easy to run through pretty quickly, which after this November’s huge releases may be a good thing.
Another perk of Wanted Corp is the online and offline multiplayer. If you play the game by yourself, you can switch between the two characters at will and issue basic orders to your AI partner. The AI isn’t bad, but it doesn’t come close to the skill of a human player. Having a friend to play with will make the tougher sections significantly easier to manage, and actual cooperation makes character specific challenges more functional in the level.
Wanted Corp is enjoyable and has some good things going for it, but major parts of the game fall on the Dog side of the Fett/Dog scale. The first problem that you encounter before even getting into the game play is the voice acting. The voice acting is not good, and the lines of dialog are super cheesy. At first, it won’t be much of an issue, but once you start playing, hearing the same line of dialog repeated over and over again, it will start to wear on you. An easy remedy to that issue is to turn the sound off all together, but that will result in the player missing the majority of the story.
Unfortunately, the story isn’t worth experiencing either and really brings down the overall experience of the game. Wanted Corp is an enjoyable game, but as a story it is empty and lacks depth. MadDogg and Irena are hunting escaped prisoners for a big corporation, midway through the game there is a bad, and predictable “twist,” that leads to an ending that doesn’t really conclude anything, and basically walks right into Wanted Corp 2. Based on the last cut scene of the game, I thought that there would be more levels, but then the credits rolled. Overall, the story is bland and lacks any character development.
As I stated before, the game play is enjoyable, but the character controls can be a bit frustrating. Both characters unlock new weapons and abilities as the player progresses, but abilities and weapons are difficult to switch between when the screen is flooding with enemies. MadDogg uses guns and grenades and, aside from some difficult aiming, he works the way he is supposed to most of the time. Irena, on the other hand, uses the ability to call down lightning and make shield walls. These abilities bring up a cursor that the player moves around the screen to aim. If Irena was controlled with a mouse and keyboard this would be fine, but that control does not translate well to a dualshock, and makes that character much more difficult to use. In my play through, I stuck to MadDogg, and only used Irena when it was absolutely necessary.
On the Fett/Dog scale, Wanted Corp falls somewhere in the middle, and that will depend on what you want out of it. If you were hoping for a twin stick shooter with a good story, then you ended up with Dog the Bounty Hunter in Mandalorian armor. If you were just looking for a fun palette cleanser after Saints Row or Skyrim, then you got Boba Fett with long hair and a dumb looking vest. Either way, there are better games out there in this style, but if you have already played Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light, for $10 Wanted Corp is not a bad choice.
Review copy of the game provided by publisher.