Oddworld Stranger's Wrath HD - ReviewBrent Galietti , posted on 26 February 2012 / 6,978 Views
When you think of games on the old Xbox, you likely think about Halo, Fable, and Panzer Dragoon Orta. (OK, maybe not that last one.) But there was also an eccentric FPS title on the big box, Oddworld Stranger’s Wrath, that shook up the genre while adding in the kind of hilarity that only Oddworld games can achieve. Now it has undergone the HD treatment and hit the PlayStation Store, looking for new outlaws to take up the crossbow. Odds are, you missed this game when it first released. Don’t make that mistake again.
Stranger is a bounty hunter who bags outlaws and brings them back to make moolah. Early in the game, you’ll find out that Stranger isn’t just making a living hunting outlaws; he’s collecting moolah for a purpose. The story that follows is actually quite riveting for an Oddworld title. It twists and turns throughout the game and you’ll be pushing yourself to see how this tale of hunting and self-preservation ends up for Stranger.
For the task of bringing down the Outlaws, Stranger uses only the finest of weapons. No, not an assault rifle - a crossbow. No, ammo is not arrows, it's living creatures. Yes, you read that correctly. In order to hunt down those nasty outlaws, Stranger must hunt down various critters and load them into his crossbow. Each critter serves a different purpose; Chippunks and Stunkz are support weapons that leave outlaws vulnerable, while Stingbees act as machine gun fire and Fuzzles gnaw into any enemy close to them with their sharp teeth. The experience is completely insane and unlike the vast majority of shooters, but it all makes perfect sense within the universe. You don’t question why Bolomites can release their spider web to trap outlaws, because it’s Oddworld and because it's really awesome to shoot spiders and dangerous furballs at enemies, watching them suffer for their misdeeds.
In addition to the first-person mode, Stranger can also be controlled in third-person. In third-person mode, Stranger is able to break into a full run, greatly increasing his speed. He’s also able to attack enemies with a spin attack or a headbutt, which makes for a good hit-and-run strategy. There are some short platforming sections spread throughout the game, best handled in third-person. Stranger’s jump is difficult to get used to; his first jump is not very high, and his double jump adds almost no height, so it’s all about adding distance. Thankfully, the platforming is not frustrating in the slightest, so this won’t bother you after you get used to it.
The most compelling part of Stranger’s Wrath’s gameplay is the boss battles. Each showdown with the wanted outlaws is different from the last, and will test all of your shooting and platforming skills to bag them. One time, you'll play guerilla warfare with a shotgun-toting boss. Then in the next showdown, you face waves of enemies while trying to climb across electric wires to reach the boss. And it only gets better from there. These battles are nothing like a traditional FPS boss, and Stranger’s Wrath continuously ups the ante to make every encounter memorable.
One incredible aspect of Stranger's Wrath is the atmosphere. The game feels like it's set in the Wild West, even with the warped visions of the Oddworld franchise atop it, and the new HD visuals allow you to appreciate the lovingly crafted world. The residents are bipedal chickens called Clackerz, who will converse with you and the other residents about the goings-on in the game, often giving hints as to your next goal. You can be their savior or their worst nightmare, if you're feeling deviant and want to beat up on some poor defenseless chickens. Location names are fun parodies of real world areas such as New Yolk City and Dead Hen's Pass. The accompanying music and sound effects set the stage well; you might even think you're playing in the real Wild West (if Billy the Kid shot exploding bats at people, that is).
Playing through Stranger's Wrath will take about 15-20 hours to complete. The campaign has three difficulty levels (Easy, Medium, Hard) so you can attempt to replay on a harder difficulty. Besides that, there isn't a lot of replayability here, though you can of course attempt to collect all of the trophies.
Oddworld: Stranger's Wrath HD beautifies the already wonderful world of the original game and brings the ridiculous and fun experience to a new console and a new generation of gamers. Stranger's Wrath was a diamond in the rough on the original Xbox and it retains that role on the PlayStation 3. For once, it's good to be a Stranger.
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