Oddworld Stranger's Wrath Review
Stranger's Wrath is a great game that brings together a few styles of gameplay startlingly well.
- Cool visual design
- Combines third-person and first-person gameplay very well
- Interesting plot.
- Cookie-cutter voices get old fast
- Voices all sampled at low bit rates
- Some of the boss fights feel a little one-dimensional.
Oddworld Inhabitants, the creator of the Oddworld universe, has turned out a few fairly different types of games set in the same unique universe. Abe's Oddysee looked like a 2D platformer, but was really more of a puzzle game, constantly forcing you to find the right path through a number of sticky situations. Abe teamed up with a wheelchair-bound fishlike thing named Munch for Munch's Oddysee, which took the puzzle-solving to 3D and played off the two-character team for much of its gameplay. The Oddworld series now sees its most drastic change yet with the release of Oddworld Stranger's Wrath. The new game's emphasis on action and its attempt to combine third-person platforming and first-person shooting means that this new Oddworld has little to do with previous games to bear the name, but regardless of its place in the franchise, Stranger's Wrath is a great game that brings together a few styles of gameplay startlingly well.
Stranger's Wrath may take place in Oddworld, but it also starts out with an Old West theme. You play as Stranger, a bounty hunter of unknown origins. You seem to be the only one of your kind around, and you'll spend most of the game taking on outlaws who are terrorizing various towns full of chicken-men. Why? To pay for your operation, of course. Near the start of the game, you'll discuss a mysterious operation with the local doctor. It seems that you need 20,000 bucks to pay for a procedure, and you'll earn the money the only way you know how: bringing in the bad guys. Along the way, you'll discover more about Stranger's origins and the nature of this secret operation. The game's plot, conveyed through the occasional cutscene, is definitely one of its strong points. It starts slow, but the gradual buildup pays off at the end of the game's roughly 15-hour adventure, which makes up for a lack of extras or alternate modes of play.
Stranger's Wrath combines a few different methods of control for a nice hybridization of multiple styles. The game's third-person perspective is where you'll do most of your jumping and rope climbing. It's also where you'll execute your melee attacks. Stranger can ram foes with a head-butt maneuver or knock them around with a Crash Bandicoot-like spin punch. You can also drop into a first-person view by pushing in the right analog stick. While it's nothing new for third-person games to allow you to get into first-person for a more-controllable view, Stranger's first-person view essentially turns the game into a full-fledged first-person shooter. You can still double-jump while in this view, but you'll move a bit slower, too.
Rather than go the standard FPS route of giving you newer and bigger guns along the way, Stranger's Wrath sticks you with one weapon--a crossbow--but gives you a variety of different ammo types. The crazy thing is that your ammo consists of bugs and other small forest creatures. This means you can hunt for more ammo if you need it, though you'll never need to spend a great deal of time doing so--the game usually provides you with good hunting spots right before each major conflict. Your default ammo is a lightning bug that charges up when you let it sit for a second or two. The normal shot is essentially worthless, but when it's charged up, you can use it to power bridges and other things in the environment. It also stuns most normal enemies with one shot. For faster, more effective stunning, you can collect spiders and shoot them at your foes to web the targets up for easy capture. As far as the other ammo types are concerned, skunks produce a gas cloud to incapacitate your enemies, bees come together to create a machine-gun effect, chatty squirrels can be used to lure enemies away from the pack so you can do them in silently, and so on. You'll even get your paws on some explosive bats that do some heavy damage when fired.
While you'll have a variety of ways to take out the opposition, the important thing is what you do with them after they're stunned. As a bounty hunter, it's your goal to bring the bad guys back alive. You capture enemies by running up next to a stunned foe and holding down the X button, which activates a vacuum that will suck the enemy up. Live enemies are worth more than dead ones, so it's in your best interest to stun them, rather than unloading on them with the heavy artillery. As you move through the game, it gets harder and harder to bring 'em back alive, but eventually you won't need to worry as much about purchasing upgrades--like extended clips and faster reloaders--so the money won't be quite as important.
- Player Reviews: 140
- Game Universe:
- Oddworld: Munch's Oddysee (XBOX, PC, GBA),
- Oddworld: Abe's Exoddus (PC, PS),
- Oddworld: Abe's Oddysee (PC, PS),
- Oddworld: Stranger's Wrath HD (XBOX, PC),
- Oddworld Adventures 2 (GBC),
- Oddworld Adventures (GB),
- Oddworld: The Brutal Ballad of Fangus Klot (XBOX),
- The Oddboxx (PC),
- Oddworld: Munch's Oddysee HD (PS3, VITA, PC),
- Oddworld: Abe's Oddysee - New 'n' Tasty (PC, X360, PS3, VITA)
- Number of Players: