In 2020, good games appeared on the assembly line. So many, in fact, that some real highlights went almost unnoticed. Reason enough to point out once again why the fantastic Desperados 3 is more worthwhile than ever a year after its release.
A recommendation from Alexander Gehlsdorf
What actually is real-time tactics?
To explain the appeal of Desperados 3, I first have to look back more than 20 years. In 1998, Commandos: Behind Enemy Lines was released and practically overnight the genre of real-time tactics emerged from the ground. In it, an elite Allied unit carries out secret missions behind enemy lines during World War II.
Secrecy is the top priority. Whoever triggers the alarm increases the already demanding level of difficulty into the practically impossible. Some missions even punish such carelessness directly with a game over. The principle is known from stealth games, but Commandos moved the game principle to the iso perspective.
The most important feature of the genre: the opponents’ cones of vision. A big part of the game is analyzing the patrols of the German soldiers and looking for loopholes; Paths, corners of houses or hiding spots that are at least not in the enemy’s field of vision for a short time. From there, one of the guards can be switched off unnoticed, which in turn opens up new gaps and the whole process starts all over again – opponent by opponent until the mission objective is achieved. In a way, this is reminiscent of Sudoku or similar puzzle games. This requires a lot of patience and means that some of them can’t do anything with it, while I don’t get bored even after hours. That is why I have been wishing for the series to return for years.
Death and resurrection of a genre
The early 2000s were the heyday of real-time tactics. In addition to the Commandos series, Desperados in particular made a name for themselves as a worthy representative of the genre that moved the scene of the puzzles to the Wild West. However, there were also some titles that were almost forgotten today, such as Robin Hood: The Legend of Sherwood or Star Trek: Away Team. After Desperados 2: Cooper’s Revenge and the unfortunately mediocre Commandos 3: Destination Berlin, the air was out after a few years and the hype was over. The genre was basically dead.
Or is it not? In 2016 the unthinkable happened and the real-time tactic was kissed awake from its slumber. The brave prince was called Mimini Games, a studio from Munich, which published the fantastic Shadow Tactics: Blades of Shogun; Incidentally, one of my first tests that I was allowed to write for GIGA.
The enthusiasm was not only shared by me, but also recognized by awards such as the German Computer Game Award and the German Developer Award. The real-time tactic was back! The success report did not go past Kalypso, who now owned the license for Commandos. So not only was a new series part promised, but also the classic Commandos 2 was re-launched as a remaster.
However, the fact that Mimimi Games is currently on the genre throne was proven by Studio 2020 with Desperados 3, which I was able to choose as the best genre representative so far in my test. So if you can’t get enough of the western setting since Red Dead Redemption, you have a very special kind of replenishment here.
Desperados 3 was just the beginning
A year has passed since Desperados 3 was released, and yet after a while I keep clicking the desktop icon. This is partly due to the original bonus missions that have been added since the release. They send me back to the familiar locations of the main game, but turn the rules upside down. In a mission, for example, all weapons are taken from me, instead I have to puzzle my way through the level completely defenseless and make the death of my mission goals look like an accident. Hitman sends his regards. In another mission, the opposite is the case, as I have to transport a stationary machine gun on rails to the other end of the level and of course make ample use of its firepower.
On the other hand, three paid DLCs have now been released that add completely new locations to Desperados 3. Including the classic Eagle’s Nest, which fans already know from the first two series parts. So there is always something to do in the Wild West.
However, Mimimi Games already has the next iron or potato in the fire. That’s not just how the studio works at the still secret Code named sweet potato, but is expected to be released by the end of the year Aiko’s Choice Another independent expansion for Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun. So enough games to bridge the waiting time for Commandos 4, which will hopefully be released at some point.