Wanted Dead Review – Nostalgic And Boring

Title – Wanted Dead

Platforms – PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One and PC

Release Date – February 14th, 2023

Developer – Soleil Ltd

Publisher – 110 Industries

MSRP – $59.99

ESRB – M for Mature

Disclaimer – This product is being reviewed on Xbox Series X. A review copy was provided by 110 Industries for the purpose of this review. This review may also contain spoilers for certain gameplay and story elements. Watch at your own risk, you have been warned. Gaming Instincts is an Amazon Affiliate and does gain financial benefits if you choose to purchase this product on this page.

Do you miss old-school 3D action games from the sixth generation of consoles that featured a cast of silly characters with a bit of a sprinkling of cheese on top? Well…if you do, Wanted Dead might be the game you’re looking for. The most intriguing detail is the fact that it’s being developed by a mixture of Ninja Gaiden and Dead or Alive developers. However, despite the game’s efforts, Wanted Dead does have a few issues, particularly in the gameplay loop and how it’s structured. Without further ado, welcome to our review of Wanted Dead.

Old-School Style

As always, before we dive into any discussion of the core gameplay, let’s discuss the setting of the game and what you are getting yourself into. You play as attractive, hard-boiled Hong Kong police officer Hannah Stone. Hannah Stone and her crewmates plow through private military contractors, gang members, and mercenaries during their adventures. The game does have a story, but if you are looking for something super serious and engaging, I suggest you look elsewhere. The plotline is more of an excuse for you to hunt down the bad guys with your squad. The game is set in the near future. Think of Cyberpunk meeting Hong Kong. It’s a cool setting that you normally don’t see these days so I thought it was a nice touch.

As far as characters are concerned, Hannah and her mates are full of personality and goofiness. The cutscenes are filled with a lot of silly lines and cheese. It’s the exact thing you’d expect to see from a 3D action brawler for the 6th generation of consoles. For those who do not know, the sixth generation of consoles is the PS2, Dreamcast, Gamecube, and original Xbox era. It was a very special era indeed, and yes, I do miss those days. Times were simpler then, and it was easier to appreciate games than it is today. This is what Wanted Dead is trying to do, and if you’ve been missing that, then I think you’ll like the characters and the overall atmosphere of this game. It is very old-school in that sense.

If you are looking for some hardcore action thriller with intense cinematic cut-scenes and serious storytelling then turn away. It’s meant to be goofy, light-hearted, gory, and entertaining and it does a pretty good job at that.

The Boring Brawling Gameplay

Wanted Dead brings back the memories and nostalgia of good old 3rd person action melee titles. With this game also being made by former Dead or Alive and Ninja Gaiden developers, I thought I was going to be in for a huge treat. Ninja Gaiden was absolutely awesome back on the original Xbox. Sadly, that did not seem to be the case. Maybe I am too old now, or maybe I remember Ninja Gaiden differently, but the combat system in Wanted Dead is just not fun. It also doesn’t help that the enemies are extremely boring to fight. Throughout the majority of the game, I was only encountering 2-types of enemies: melee and ranged. The melee enemies for some odd reason have a ton of health and run at you like maniacs. The ones that carry ranged weapons die super easily and don’t pose much of a threat. And yes, there were boss fights as well, but they felt really gimmicky and cheap with severely outdated mechanics.

Wanted Dead advertises combat as fast-paced and challenging. You have your regular spammy attack combo like most 3rd person hack N slash games and then you also have dodge and a parry function. Some enemy attacks can be perfectly parried, and if the player does parry them, then the enemy gets stun-locked and can be brutally executed instantly with a finisher move. Hannah mainly relies on her sword, but she also has a pistol sidearm with infinite ammo that acts as a parrying tool more than an actual gun. In addition, she has a primary-range weapon that can thin out armed enemies. The sword is the weapon you’ll use the most. The game was not designed for you to kill everyone with your assault rifle. Instead, it’s more of a supplement to help you out in tough situations. The enemies also drop their own weapons and some ammo.

Wanted Dead

As you progress through the game you will also unlock talent points. You can specialize in different things like grenades, defensive abilities or offensives, or more into ranged weaponry. You can also unlock new combos for your sword. While this is all dandy, it doesn’t help the gameplay that much when the AI in this game is absolutely brain-dead. If you throw a grenade, sometimes they won’t run away from it, and other times they will. This goes for both enemies that are hiding behind cover and those that are standing in the middle of the room fully exposed to gunshots.

The structure of the game is stuck in the past. It basically proceeds as follows – clear a room of bad guys, a new wave spawns, move 20-30 feet into a new room and the same thing happens again. It also doesn’t help that anytime you kill an enemy they let out the same obnoxious death cry constantly.

Now granted you could say the same thing about any other video game today, especially titles like DOOM Eternal or even Gears of War and Uncharted. Yes, in most games you move from area to area clearing it of bad guys or monsters. However, it’s way too repetitive in Wanted Dead because the gameplay loop feels stale and not interesting enough like other modern titles. The one redeeming quality of the game though is the hub area. At a certain point in the story, the police station will act as your hub. You can go up and down different floors, explore different rooms, find and collect some collectibles for your trophies or achievements and interact with random NPCs. This breaks up the pace nicely. There is also a ramen-eating mini-game you can participate in with your fellow crewmates. It plays sort of like a rhythm game, where you have to press buttons at the correct time and see who scores higher. It’s a pleasant small addition, but once again it’s not enough to justify the awful repetition of the core gameplay loop.

Visuals and Audio

In terms of visual style, Wanted Dead is reminiscent of what was seen in the PS2 days. This adds a nice sentimental touch to what the developer was attempting. It definitely has that old-school feel to it. As a 3D hack N slash action game, it does run at a full 60 FPS and for a game like this it’s absolutely a must. However, there were quite a few frequent moments where the game was stuttering like crazy for a decent amount of seconds. While the stutters weren’t game-breaking, they definitely did not make the experience as enjoyable as it should have been. The game has very simple geometry, the character models are not complex and there is not a lot going on. Therefore, it was questionable why the game was getting stutters to begin with. I am willing to go out on a limb and assume it was either A) bad optimization or B) a bug that hasn’t been fixed yet.

As far as the overall visuals are concerned, you won’t find anything amazing here. The game is not breathtaking, nor do I think it was trying to be and that’s fine. The combat animations are pretty slick though and fun to watch, especially the brutal finishers. The game is stylish when it comes to combat. Think of it like John Wick but with a hot chick instead. That’s a huge plus in my book.

Wanted Dead

The voice acting can be a mixed bag. At times Hannah sounds like she’s dead inside and at other times it’s fun to listen to her. I don’t know, the voice acting across the board is very weird. It’s so weird that it’s almost fitting for the type of game this is trying to be. You won’t find any big well-known voice actors or actresses here, that’s for sure. The weapons and sound effects are okay, nothing too special, but they get the job done. The soundtrack in Wanted Dead is going to be a subjective matter. I think it’s decently fitting and gets the job done. Others might think otherwise.

Final Verdict

Wanted Dead is a game that strives to please gamers of old. While I appreciate that, I think the biggest issue is that the gameplay loop is not polished enough. Something just feels off and overly clunky as well. Maybe I am just stupid and don’t understand the combat system, but I’ve had a healthy share of action titles in my years of gaming. I’ve seen the good, the bad and the ugly. I absolutely adored older titles like the Onimusha franchise, Ninja Gaiden titles, and Devil May Cry. Also, the frequent visual stuttering and brain-dead AI just add more salt to the injury. I can tell you with full confidence that those games had better systems and more addictive gameplay than what Wanted Dead is offering. The game indeed nails its visual presentation, and the addition of a silly cast of characters adds to the overall personality of the game and its world. However, at the end of the day, gameplay is king and unfortunately, the king has decided to sit this one out. Wanted Dead will receive a final score of 6.5 out of 10.

Stay tuned at Gaming Instincts via TwitterYouTubeInstagram, and Facebook for more gaming news.


The combat is very repititve, enemy variety severly lacking and boss fights are boring as hell. This is not a very fun game, unless you have a strong tolerance for tedious gameplay loops


Simple visuals and art-style with super basic geometry. Runs at 60 FPS, but does have some weird stutters on occasion.


Serviceable audio and sound but the voice acting is weird


This game will bore you to death before you even face the 1st boss