Wanted Corp Review
Just as my iPad is quick becoming the place developers are sending all their physics-based puzzlers, my consoles, especially their online marketplaces, are getting to be the place I can expect to find all manner of dual-stick shooters. I blame last year's excellent Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light as the catalyst for the deluge, and let's just say not all the games that have followed have been all that great. The latest dual-stick download is Zoo Corp.'s Wanted Corp., a PS3 exclusive. You can probably tell from my tone that this one doesn't quite match our favorite tomb raider's last game, but you could do worse if you want a simple, cheap co-op blast-a-thon.
Wanted Corp.'s spin on the dual-stick formula is an interesting one; instead of constantly backing away while shooting, you'll be asked to capture some of your enemies in a mechanic that both makes the game feel fresh but also slows things down considerably, something that feels very odd in a dual-stick shooter. But I'm getting ahead of myself. Wanted Corp. puts you in the role of not one, but two bounty hunters who are a little down on their luck. Fighting the universe's worst, while collecting their bounty on their heads, is the team's only way out of the hole, and that's where you (and a friend, if you want) come in. It's a tale you've been told millions of times before, but luckily, like most games like this, the plot fades quickly into the background.
As far as the gameplay goes, if you've played a dual-stick shooter before, you'll know what to expect here. The two main differences come from having to switch between the two differently-powered bounty hunters and the capturing mechanic. The switch-off between the hunters (only in single player, in co-op, each player controls one... duh) is seemless and works well, but you'll probably eventually find the one you like and stick with them. Luckily, your computer-controlled partner isn't a complete moron, and you'll spend much less time than you might expect cleaning up their messes. The capture mechanic is a bit of a different story. Having to deal with downed and trapped enemies, especially because you'll be using the face buttons to do so, slows down the frantic dual-stick action, making the game feel like something else entirely. Don't get me wrong; the idea is a good one. It just doesn't quite fit with this game style, and what you get with Wanted Corp. feels less like a Minigore or Lara Croft and more like a normal, top down shooter.
Wanted Corp. isn't a bad title, just one that follows a million others like it and one that makes a design choice that doesn't quite fit. It can't quite make it to the heights some other recent dual-stick games have, but for $10, you could do a hell of a lot worse.
Final Rating: 65%. There are certainly worse games out there.