HomeVideo GamesGAME REVIEW | "Wanted: Dead" Delivers Killer Cyberpunk Chaos

GAME REVIEW | "Wanted: Dead" Delivers Killer Cyberpunk Chaos

GAME REVIEW | "Wanted: Dead" Delivers Killer Cyberpunk Chaos

Some folks crave video games with complex stories and huge worlds; others just want to destroy some shit! Wanted: Dead, from the team behind Ninja Gaiden, is certainly the latter, as it bears the soul of an early 2000s slasher with a slice of shooter for good measure. Thankfully, even with the wanton blood and severed body parts that are thrown at players’ faces, the action never gets old!

Taking place in an alternate timeline in Hong Kong, Wanted: Dead has you control Lt. Hannah Stone, a cop that serves as part of a police force’s Zombie Unit. They’re in charge of dealing with mercenaries, gangs, rogue militaries, and the occasional android uprising or two. But after capturing a female android, hints of a major conspiracy start to swell from the research. It leads Hannah and her Zombie Unit to find out what the hell’s exactly going on!

The game allows players to choose what they feel most comfortable with: the sword or the gun. As Hannah is capable of both, players may want to test drive either to see what best suits their gameplay needs. However, many with find that mixing up both will be the real key to victory, especially when one sees what they deal with. You see, the enemies aren’t exactly slouches by any means.

Whether you are facing hired goons, androids, or yakuza henchmen, Wanted: Dead never lets you take the easy path. They come in droves, to the point where you’ll find yourself overwhelmed by the enemies on-screen. And they’re not one-shot targets; they unfortunately have the same problem as The Black Knight from Monty Python and the Holy Grail! You can cut off an arm or leg, and they’ll still be trying to kill you!

It’s this level of difficulty that makes Soleil Ltd.’s latest game one that keeps you on the edge of your seat. One second, you think you’ll have the upper hand in battle; and the next, you are dead and starting from the previous checkpoint. And damn it all, those checkpoints aren’t even forgiving in the slightest! (I uttered many a cuss word when I saw how far back I had to go in certain situations!)

However, I did get a big laugh over when the game asked me if I wanted to switch to the easier “Neko Mode”. While it does make defeating enemies a little bit easier, they still offer a hell of a challenge due to their overwhelming numbers. At least you get to play Hannah wearing adorable cat ears, which is a sight that’s even cute on a trash-talking Russian girl with a robot arm. It also helps with earning points better, which can assist on unlocking key elements in your Skill Tree.

With the Skill Tree, players can boost health, ammo count, and even learn new finishers that aid in certain situations. Wanted: Dead also features a pretty good weapons system, where you can upgrade parts and make your gun look as snazzy as it is deadly. However, I was a little disappointed to see that you couldn’t upgrade your sword, seeing as that tends to be your go-to weapon. Thankfully, no matter the skills or weapons you have on-hand, it never takes away from the fun this game delivers.

Watching as Hannah slaughters one group or enemies after another never gets old. Since there are multiple finishers you can perform, the sight of gore and chaos on-screen delivered one exciting moment after another. Even though I liked my sword more than my gun, I still had fun taking headshots or watching someone’s arm explode into blood and meat bags! And when you found a chainsaw in a level, prepare to smirk like your Ash Williams killing Deadites!

However, with it being a throwback to 2000s gaming, there’s one aspect that Wanted: Dead could’ve left in the past. Your allies in combat are as competent with a gun as a Stormtrooper shooting a Skywalker! Because of this, you’ll find yourself doing all of the work while your teammates might as well shoot in the air. Yes, they get lucky once in a while, but it’s very, very rare!

There’s also a slight problem with the narrative. It’s not bad per se, but it’s not exactly memorable. They made some great characters, but they gave them a story and script that feels like one of the direct-to-video From Dusk Till Dawn movies. One thing I did like were the anime flashback scenes, which were brought to life Hannah’s back story and explained why she was a victim of being in the lower class system. With that being said, the overall story could’ve used a bit more work.

On top of the main campaign, there are some surprisingly fun mini-games to be found. At the police station, you can kill time playing the crane games to unlock secret songs and goodies, or play a retro shooter that’d fit well in an 80s arcade. There are also a couple of rhythm-based games that involve Hannah singing (hilariously) horribly at karaoke, or — yes — eating ramen to the beat of the music. One can also better their shooting and combat skills in training, as you try to earn a high score and sharpen your fighting techniques.


  • Fantastic action and gore
  • Fun and unique mini-games
  • Good mix of shooting and melee combat


  • Boss battles are rage-quit tough
  • Ally AI is kind of dumb
  • Story is not as exciting as the gameplay


Wanted: Dead delivers a GameCube-era level of calamity with a modern-day look. While the gameplay seems easy enough at first, the mayhem you experience will make sure you never tire of the shooting and slashing. Sometimes we need a game to turn our brains off and just have fun with it; Wanted: Dead gives us exactly that, and then some!


Promotional consideration provided by Paul Walker-Emig of Plan of Attack. Reviewed on the PC via Steam.

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The J-POP king of America, Evan has been bringing the hottest sounds of the Land of the Rising Sun to the English-speaking public since his college radio days. He's also an expert in the gaming, anime, & manga realms, never afraid to get critical when the times call for it. Born & bred in Boston, he achieved his biggest dream yet by making the big move to Tokyo, Japan in Summer 2023! For personal inquiries, contact Evan at evan@b3crew.com. For press/band inquiries, write to us at thebastards@bostonbastardbrigade.com. (Drawing by AFLM of Wicked Anime)