Wanted: Dead (PC) Review

By Sandy Kirchner-Wilson 14.02.2023

Review for Wanted: Dead on PC

Published by 110 Industries and developed by Soleil Ltd., Wanted: Dead hit platforms in 2023. The developer has talents who worked on Ninja Gaiden and Dead or Alive, the influence of which can be seen in the game. They've poured a lot of time into carefully creating the world and running campaigns that offer interested players the chance to watch their in universe cooking show and showing off their minigames and in-game arcade games in various trailers. So, how does this new venture fare?

Join Hannah Stone, from Zombie Unit, as she and her team engage in camaraderie and take care of business. Players join Zombie Squad, a specialised police unit, for a week in their lives. Wanted: Dead takes place in a cyberpunk Hong Kong where cybernetics are big business. The player lands in the shoes of Stone as she responds to a call of people stealing from the Dauer Synthetics headquarters. Things kind of blow up and the characters are at risk of losing their visas. One strong point is that the characters all seem to be from different cultures and have very distinct personalities and accents. From this point the focus shifts onto character relationships and how they deal with a big plot they become embroiled in. Most of the time the story is enjoyable but rides in that bizarre area where the tone is both enjoyable and odd simultaneously; it can feel like an experimental game from the 360 era with its writing and structure sometimes, though that is not a negative but simply an observation. Much of the story is presented in cutscenes with backstory typically being explored between missions.

Screenshot for Wanted: Dead on PC

The world of Wanted: Dead is really cool. The semi-futuristic world is punctuated with pop culture and some very unique references and in world curiosities. There is a cooking show which is fully produced, stream-able online and features the gunsmith character from the game who allegedly has held lots of different jobs. There are scenes where narrators hop in with facts introducing different things from the world and pun vending machines with knockoff products. It's fun world building in an eclectic way only this game could pull off. Also, there are lots of cats so cat lovers will find extra love here. It's honestly quite an interesting and expansive world that extends past the game itself.

Gameplay promises to combine 3rd person shooting and melee combat, and with some staff having credits such as Ninja Gaiden, it seems like a perfect route for the game to go. In theory this is a flexible approach and should lead to interesting battles, however in practice there is too little ammo to focus on shooting for any extended period of time and melee killing gun toting bad guys is doable but often drains health quickly if they get a shot off. That is to say it's not always balanced in a way where experimentation is rewarded. However, the controls feel good, chaining Stone's quick katana attacks before rolling backwards and shooting an enemy further back doesn't get old and does feel suitably stylish! Fighting focusses on that counter and rebound system that many action games use now rather than focussing on huge complex combos; however, a few more combos wouldn't hurt.

Screenshot for Wanted: Dead on PC

In terms of gameplay balance the main level stretches are great and slashing through hordes of enemies feels very satisfying, especially when all the abilities are unlocked, giving the player a huge amount of options. Enemy behaviour is quite good; they'll do things like take cover and pull grenades when they lose their legs but the melee enemies can be a little one note - different weapons but basically the same animations on each. Bosses are here too and have some very cool designs, feeling a little like Ghost in the Shell, but every boss has moments where they feel cheap. The tank boss can trap Stone in a corner doing damage every time the invincibility frames run out until game over. It's odd, given the general quality of the rest of the game, but once players find an optimal way to fight the boss they go down without too much hassle. There are also other ways of improving the statistics of Stone by upgrading and modding weapons. This is possible during missions at checkpoints as well as before missions begin. The options for customisation are vast and it helps balance some of the bigger skirmishes in favour of the player.

There are collectable documents that deepen the story scattered around each level and the between-mission police station. Between missions is very much a different thing from the action levels. The game takes time to expand the characters and build their relationships using small intermission scenes and with a handful of fun side activities; things like a rhythm game for eating ramen, crane games and more. These little side activities are surprisingly fun and a nice break from the action. During some of these it's also possible to explore cases Stone is linked too and see some of her history. We also get some scenes animated in a 2D anime style that also help fill in the story.

Screenshot for Wanted: Dead on PC

Visually things are slightly mixed but ultimately the overall game feels stylish and characters, while occasionally awkward, look great and are quite expressive. There are lots of shiny surfaces, destructible detail items in the environment and plenty of effects when fighting. Modelling work on characters is slightly odd but again full of character and clearly fits their personalities. In terms of music there is a lot of variety: both instrumental and vocal songs. Most of the vocals pump out during quieter points of the game and the rest is a mix of thumping tracks to keep the excitement level high. These tend to fill out the atmosphere of the levels and reinforce the action.

There are a few things to note in terms of technical aspects. Running the game on older hardware, even with a NVME SSD (one of the fastest kinds of storage) there are points where level streaming seems to take a few seconds, meaning players are treated to a barren level visual for those few seconds. Some character animations are a little odd and the bosses can be a smidge unfair.

Screenshot for Wanted: Dead on PC

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

Wanted: Dead is a great action game, it has flashy visuals, violent combat full of blood and dismemberment, and mostly it has a great interesting if unusual story, carried by interesting characters, external influences and sinister plot. The world is built in a cool, refreshing way and the moment-to-moment gameplay is engaging though sometimes simple. It promises something unique, and it delivers something not only unique but recommendable to fans of futuristic worlds and action games.


Soleil Ltd


110 Industries





C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   


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