After quite a wait, Soleil and 1101 Industries’ Wanted: Dead is finally in the hands of old school action game fans all over the world. It is bizarre, bloody and probably too steeped in early 2000s video games to appeal to everyone. But for the people who do love Wanted: Dead, it really is an awesome experience.
If you just picked up Wanted: Dead and want to give the game a fair shake, but maybe you are too young to have played many games from the PS2 era, you have ended up in the right place. As an old man gamer, I have seen and played games from just about every generation since home gaming started and I am here today to help you get on your feet and learn the basics of Wanted: Dead.
So if you’re ready to slice and dice with the best of them, pick up your trusty katana, strap on your cybernetics, and get ready to save cyberpunk Hong Kong with this Wanted: Dead Beginner’s Guide!
Claw Your Way to the Checkpoint
An unfortunate part of Wanted: Dead’s design is that it has maybe too few checkpoints scattered around its stages. If you are like me at all, you have probably found yourself losing a ton of progress because you fell in combat somewhere past the halfway point between checkpoints.
It is just something you have to accept as you progress through Wanted: Dead. It gets better after you unlock more skills and abilities, especially ones that help you heal, but you kind of just have to claw your way to checkpoints until that time. Remember to take cover whenever it is possible, and carefully scan the battlefield before you take action if you’re low on health. It’s fun to jump in and cut people up, but you’ll inevitably take a few bullets in that process. You have a few health packs you can use, but they go pretty fast if you are playing recklessly.
Parry, Parry, Parry
I know I say this in every guide, but if a game has a parry mechanic, LEARN IT. Especially in Wanted: Dead, since a successful series of parries open the enemy up to a takedown, which results in an awesomely violent animation every single time. Seriously, the fountains of blood are glorious.
The exact timing of each parry is tricky. It is a pretty complicated system, and not every attack can be parried for the majority of the game. However, as long as you’re paying attention while you play, the proper parry timings should come naturally to you. Just keep in mind that you need to parry right before the attack hits you, not while they are winding up that attack. This confusion caused me to mess up my parries at the beginning of the game as well, so I can’t blame you for making the same mistake!
For those attacks that can’t be parried (you know, the flashing red strong attacks), you need to use your handy handgun. This weapon is mapped to the triangle or Y button depending on your platform, and it will quickly become your favorite defensive maneuver if you learn how to use it.
This is because, just like successful parries, using your handgun to interrupt an enemy’s strong attack will also open them up to a takedown! It’s not clear if the takedowns after you stop a strong attack are different, but I do feel like I saw several unique ones when I used them. Your handgun never runs out of ammo either, so you don’t have to keep track of that.
Mix Up Your Attacks
The fastest way to be met with the restart screen is you button mash the same button in melee combat. The enemies in Wanted: Dead are not super smart, but they will catch on if you are just pressing the basic attack over and over again. Make sure to mix it up with some gun attacks and delayed button presses to do different moves and keep your opponents confused.
There is an entire list of combos you can eventually unlock, but it’s not necessary to use all of these if that doesn’t appeal to you. They are super cool, but you can get by with just mixing up your light and heavy attacks.
Within the first thirty minutes of Wanted: Dead you will be faced with shield-toting enemies. Melee attacks don’t work on them from the front, and guns are all but useless unless you can hit their feet, but even that is dangerous because they will shoot at you the entire time you take potshots.
The best way I found to deal with these enemies is to either 1) unlock the slow time skill and make sure they are in range, and 2) chuck a grenade in their vicinity. Both of these methods will result in their shield being blown up and taken away, making them vulnerable to your vicious attacks.