Wanted: Dead Review – If Only It Were Good

This is probably the worst game I’ve ever kind of liked. That title used to belong to Deadly Premonition: a game which, despite all of its charm, is awful to play.

Wanted:Dead, however, is a game with similar charm but, at times, competent gameplay. If only it were actually good instead.

The chaos of chucking a grenade into an office is always satisfying

The Story(?)

You play as Hannah Stone who is a member of what seems to be the cyberpunk equivalent of the Suicide Squad, except that they’re reformed criminals who are now acting as police.

The charm of this game comes from every facet of its construction: the dialogue is terrible, the characters and archetypes are incredibly pronounced, and the voice acting makes everyone sound like they are speaking in their third language (whether they are or not).

I came within an inch of doing a spit-take so frequently that I eventually had to keep my drink out of reach. Every aspect of the story, the themes, and the characters is ridiculous and fun.

Hannah’s pre-police backstory is told through a series of cutscenes, which are entirely animated in that they are anime. Many of the decisions like this are so odd that they demand to be respected.

The game also oozes character, even in the loading screens the characters recreate the Super Hot Fiya meme. Memes in games have no shelf life because of how long games take to make, but this one is so continuously funny to me because of how frequently you see it. I think it’s genius.

Man, I hate the white ninjas

Hack n’ Slash

The gameplay is an exciting mix of melee and ranged. You have a katana and two guns throughout the whole game. Each gun can be customized, and you can also pick up enemy weapons if you prefer. All of your attack options can be further enhanced through the skill trees.

Every enemy killed gives you points, which can then be spent on skills whenever you can pause the game. Aside from the typical “Do X faster/ more efficiently” skills which are slapped in to pad the feature, there are also some decent options.

You have your standard parry as well (something which you can upgrade to increase the parry window). I THINK this always works. I say think because there are instances in which I will almost certainly press it, and nothing will happen. Granted, I’m not good at this game, but I’m usually not this aggressively bad at timing inputs.

At times, I wondered why I soured on this game’s various charms. Why didn’t I also eventually sour on Deadly Premonition? Oh yeah, because Deadly Premonition was never difficult AND bad at the same time. You only get to be one.

I swear on my life that I pressed it

HACK & Crash

The game has five levels and five bosses. One for each.

The 1st level is great, and the boss is all right. The 2nd level is so unbelievably tedious and has so many bland, spongey enemies that I almost quit right there, and the boss is one of the worst bosses I’ve ever fought in my life. Every other level and boss is fine, and some are even good.

This game is pretty short, but it has what feels like an arcade difficulty curve. Every level was easy, and all the checkpoints came without much of a fight UNTIL that one checkpoint in every level took me an hour to pass. This turned a 6/7 hour casual game into a 12+ hour slog.

The difficulty comes from the accumulation of a lot of small annoyances. For example, at times, the game seems almost confused about whether it wants to be a hack-and-slash or a shooter. Now, both of these can work, but the moment it immediately stops working is when you are in a sword fight and are also being peppered with bullets from down the hall.

Or, when you’re fighting a brute enemy who, despite being within melee range, decides to empty his Gatling gun into what’s left of your health.

There are a number of these sorts of mini-boss enemies, and I never once enjoyed fighting any of them. The game seems to offer a quick solution to these enemies, though, as there’s a chainsaw that spawns in some areas. This chainsaw is an instant kill. PERFECT.

Ah, but of course. The killing animation takes two seconds, and you are neither given invincibility when using the chainsaw nor I-frames when in the animation, so anytime you use it, you come back to the game with NO health and soon get downed. What a power-up!

I hate so much of what this gameplay chooses to be. At least all of the finishers are fun and satisfying.

Thank god the finishers are great

Possibly Genius?

Something else that this game does exceptionally poorly is its minigames. Though I THINK these are supposed to be bad…?

There’s a karaoke minigame with two of the main cast belting 99 Luftballoons into the mics as you play a rhythm game that neither matches the lyrics nor the song’s melody.

There is also a ramen-eating minigame that has no purpose and has equally baffling inputs. There is a crane game with bad physics, a decent shooting range, and also a classic arcade shooter.

This game was made for people like me, and I think I hated it. This, more than any other cult game, is packed with so much crap that I honestly can’t distinguish between bugs and features.

Even AFTER a supposed stability patch, the end of the 4th level consistently dipped to a nigh-unplayable frame rate. The ninja enemies are just as tanky as the brutes, but they can down you in what feels like half the time and have so much more mobility. There are certain attacks that can knock you down and then hit you AGAIN before you can recover.

So much of this sucks, but when it all works, and when you clear a hallway with a grenade and then do three finishers in a row on the guy left standing, it feels great.

This game oozes charm, and you should watch the cutscenes on YouTube if you’re interested, but the game is full price; this is not a full-price game. I bought it when it was on sale for $30, and I still feel like I got ripped off.


  • Once in a generation charm
  • Occasionally fun combat
  • Satisfying finishers
  • Awful minigames


  • Ineffective guns
  • In level difficulty curves
  • Spongey enemies
  • Awful minigames

Wanted: Dead

Below Average

If they ever actually address any of the games weird problems, this could be a wonderful game. However, for full price, this sucks. Do not buy it unless you are a psycho like me.

Daniel Kelly
PS5 version reviewed.