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Last year’s most underappreciated action game gets big combat overhaul

Wanted Dead's neon drenched action just got a massive patch over a year after launch, but will it be enough to revive this guilty pleasure?

Last year's most underappreciated action game gets big combat overhaul: A screenshot from Wanted: Dead where the main character, Lt. Hannah Stone, points a gun towards the camera.

There’s something about Hong Kong’s neon-lit streets that almost demands that games be set there. It’s a setting that somehow never gets tiring and even when the game in question has a few problems, like Wanted: Dead, it still makes us fall in love with it. Well, sort of. The beleaguered action game has had a rough landing, overshadowed at launch and with more than its share of issues, yet it still managed to carve out a place in many of our hearts. Now, over a year after launch, the first major patch aimed at reviving its fortunes has just landed.

The issue around Wanted: Dead isn’t that it’s a bad game, it’s truly not, it’s that it missed the mark in a variety of ways. From bizarre voice overs and strange mini-games, to the combat being engaging and satisfying but running out of steam as you progressed through the action-adventure game. It was a case of almost getting things right, which for some helped it achieve cult classic status but ultimately drove away its potential audience.

Ninja Gaiden developer Soleil’s first major update for the game just launched and it has the game’s combat square in its sights. Wanted: Dead’s combat was one of the high points for the game, with the start and middle sections excelling in a Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance-esque approach to slicing up tons of foes. Sadly, as the game progressed and you filled out your skill tree, the endgame became a little more rote and the usefulness of some weapons, especially ranged, lessened.

A screenshot of a fight in Wanted: Dead where the protagonist is slicing up an enemy, blood and weapons flying in the face of her blade.

Now with patch 1.13, the game’s combat has been tightened across the board. The skill tree has been expanded with new skills and modified existing ones. Many of the new skills aim at improving the viability of gunplay as you progress through the game, with options like Sliding Shot letting you blast enemies when sliding, or Limb Shooter improving dismemberment chances with guns. Older skills have been updated too, tweaking the combat formula in impactful ways, such as being able to knock shields out of hands and adding the ability to interrupt enemy attacks.

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There’s a ton of smaller changes too, with balance changes for both melee and ranged combat, FPS optimization enhancements, bug fixes, control updates, and much more. It’s key to note that this patch is described as the first major update for Wanted: Dead, so we’ll be expecting more that will hopefully delve into some of other issues that have afflicted the game. Notably the 1.13 patch seems to have gone down well, with the rating on Steam moving in a more positive direction over recent days.

If an updated Wanted: Dead is something you want to dive into, you can grab the game on Steam for $14.99 with 50% off until Wednesday, April 24.

Should you want more Hong Kong inspired future goodness, why not slip over to our best cyberpunk games guide, where you can slice off a bit of neon for yourself. Alternatively, if it’s being part of the police force that appeals, our guide to the best detective games will get you ready for your first deerstalker.

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