E3 2019 Hands-On – Desperados III

Desperados III was my very first appointment for the first E3 I have ever attended. I have to admit I was a bit nervous sitting down with Founder & Creative Director Dominik Abe of Mimimi Productions. It doesn’t help that I have never played any of the other Desperados, but at least we had a little in common since he did also create Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun which I’m familiar with. Hell, we even did a preview for its board game counter part of the same name. I was so nervous that I was making rookie mistakes while playing and trying to ask him questions about a game and series I knew nothing about. However, once I settled down and sunk into Desperados III I found a fantastically deep real-time strategy game set in an authentic Wild West setting.

Desperados III is a modern real-time tactics game set in a ruthless Wild West scenario. You take control of a ragtag band becoming a highly functional group of unlikely heroes and heroines. On an epic journey through 1870s USA and Mexico, the team will face incredibly difficult odds and must outsmart vastly outnumbering gangs. On their mission to track down a nemesis whilst derailing a relentless corporate tycoon, the five distinctive characters use a wide array of skills to infiltrate, spy, sabotage, elude, steal, abduct, deviate, assassinate, blow stuff up… and as a last resort: shoot ’em down.

Desperados III

The flashback was nicely used as the tutorial, story, and character set up.

The demo started out in a flashback of the main character, John Cooper, as a kid. It ushered me through multiple situations where my father teaches me how to sneak, distract, hide, and eventually kill. All these actions have various different mechanics and rules within them that you greatly benefit you. Right clicking on an enemy will show their vision cone. If it is solid, they will spot you, if there are hatch marks through it, that means you will be hidden from his sight. Depending on the difficulty this can be turned off, requiring you to understand your surroundings and the mechanics better.

Another mechanic that stood out to me was the ability to pause the game and plan out certain actions. There has been careful balance put into this mechanic as to not make it exploitable. They limit you to only one action per pause, that way you can’t take out entire groups like with Red Dead Redemption 2‘s dead eye mode. For example, there was a guard standing next to some horses. I threw a coin behind the horse to alert the bandit, and once the bandit was in place, I paused the game to lineup my next attack and viewed other bandits to make sure it would go unnoticed. Once I saw it was all clear, I flicked the coin at the horse, making it buck and kick the bandit unconscious.

Desperados III

The enemy of my enemy is my friend.

After the demo flashback, it fast forwards to present time with a full grown John Cooper having to fight his way through a train raid. Classic Wild West. This is where I learned how to use my guns, I encountered a companion who specialized in traps and sniping, and I could use my knife for stabbing or throwing for stealth. The great thing about Desperados III is the full freedom to play how you want. Stealthily, guns blazing, lethal, non-lethal, the option is yours. I tend to always be stealthy, and I quickly learned that may be the best option in some cases as I was quickly gun downed in an open fire fight.

Dominik gave me a sneak peak at a few of the level designs they have, like a city area that is mostly neutral territory unless you step into restricted zones. You’ll need to explore the city to accomplish missions and side quests. There seems to be a lot to Desperados III. As I mentioned before I ran into a stealth focused companion, but apparently there will be five other characters you’ll get on your team and each is fully playable and unique.


I’m looking forward to Desperados III because not only does it have the solid real-time strategy gameplay that I enjoy, but it also has a time period that is a perfect backdrop for this type of gameplay. It’s a shame I haven’t heard of the IP before, but you better believe it’s on my radar now. If you like real-time strategy games, Westerns, and liked Shadow Tactics, then I implore you to keep an eye out for Desperados III.

Developer: Mimimi Productions

Publisher: THQ Nordic

Platforms: Coming in 2019 for PC, Xbox One, and PS4