PSN Review: Wanted Corp



If you’ve ever dreamt of a world where you could capture intergalactic fugitive gorillas by tossing electrified hula hoops at them, Wanted Corp might just be the game for you. Unfortunately, goofy set-up aside, it’s yet another serviceable, but forgettable top-down shooter with some interesting mechanics that’re sadly overshadowed by repetitive gameplay.

Wanted Corp puts you in the formidable shoes of moronically-named, Hulk Hogan-mustachioed bounty hunter MadDogg and his partner Irina. MadDogg makes use of beefy cannons and other assorted destructive weaponry, while Irina has psychic powers and can summon lightning or illuminate dark areas like a human glowstick. While most twin-stick shooters focus on frantic, fast-paced ‘kill everything possible’ gameplay, Wanted Corp supplements that action with a little strategy: Sure, you can blast everything to death, but you earn more cash if you capture the escaped convicts and transport them back to home base – an often tougher option since you’ll be contending with attacking enemies whilst trying to tag and bag your bounty.
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MadDogg, as the more brutish half of the duo, has a melee attack at his disposal, along with grenades and an assortment of firearms, and has to slowly wear down and wade towards incapacitated enemies in order to mark them for capture. Irina, as the more sprightly, graceful of the two, has the gift of telekinesis which allows her to throw debris around or flip distant switches. She can also summon a shield and toss out ‘strength rings’ – psychic laser hula hoops which bounce off walls and instantly imprison enemies upon contact, making them an easy bounty or simply keeping lesser enemies occupied while you focus on more immediately dangerous foes. It’s a fun mechanic, and the bounty system is a nice idea, adding a modicum of strategy – do you take the tougher route, capturing live enemies for larger rewards, or settle for less cash and just blast everything in sight? – but it only goes so far, and the larger game gets repetitive very quickly, not helped by clunky AI and awkward targeting controls.

You can team up with a friend through online co-op, and it’s the only real way to get a decent amount of enjoyment out of the game. The single player AI can be pretty idiotic at times, bounding into harm’s way against devastating enemies or wading head-first into turret fire. It becomes even more frustrating when you factor in the revive system: It costs a sizable amount of money to revive a downed ally, leaving you short-changed when it comes time to upgrade your stuff, and resuscitating a partner can be a near-impossible feat if enemies are still around thanks to the revive counter, which instantly resets to zero if you’re struck by an attack. Making things worse are the awkward controls; switching weapons and issuing orders to AI partners can be cumbersome, while the reticle targeting is never particularly smooth or intuitive. In a rare twist, the optional Move controls do make the targeting system more comfortable, but the ‘draw a shape to select Irena’s spells’ addition feels a bit too gimmicky.
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If you’re playing with a friend, things get more enjoyable, but sadly there’s not enough variety to make Wanted Corp stand out from the pack. Combine the clumsy controls and occasionally wonky AI with the lack of wider variety (each of the eight levels is a linear ‘deal with every enemy’ affair), the annoyingly overused, poorly delivered voice clips for each character and the drab backdrops and Wanted Corp never manages to be more than a serviceable, occasionally fun shooter.

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Wanted Corp is now available to buy on the PlayStation Network Store.