I remember very well playing Oddworld: Abe’s Exoddus on the original PlayStation. I enjoyed the puzzle aspect of it, but it stunk too highly of Out of This World on the Sega Genesis. I can’t tell you how many swear words I shouted to the sky over this one. However, this is NOT those games. Oddworld: Stranger’s Wrath was first released on the Xbox way back in 2005. Yes, the original Xbox, not the Xbox 360 or One (damn Microsoft and their console naming). It got pretty high ratings back in the day, but I had never played it back then for one reason or another.
Fast forward to the dawning of the age of the sweet little Nintendo Switch game system we have all come to love and admire. Someone thought it would be a good idea to go back and pull forward some games that many of us may have never been able to play. This is wonderful and I highly suggest that we support this until that fateful day when someone finally wakes up to the fact that what we really want is Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem from 2002. I think that I will just say this every time I get to review a game from this time period.
Stranger is probably one of the coolest video game characters ever created. I liked him immediately. He is your average bounty hunter in the Oddworld universe. You will control him through either a third person or first person view. This is actually a very cool aspect of the game and probably revolutionary for its time. Your job is to bring in bounties to earn Moolah to pay for some mysterious life-saving operation. Good, we have a moral reason to put bad guys in prison or to kill them.
I am going to warn you right now, this game plays like it was made in 2005, because it was. Now this may be fine. You’re buying this game because you were a fan of the original and you really want to play it again. You don’t need this review. Just go ahead, make the purchase and have a wonderful time. If, however, you are like me and have no ties to the 2005 release, this review is for you. Should you drop your hard earned (or mom and dad’s money) on this? The answer is actually a mixed bag from me.
The graphics are sharp and crisp and move as you would want on the Switch. I didn’t notice any slow downs or terrible tearing or anything like that. Graphically, Stranger is well designed and there are a lot of fun things to see. Stranger’s Wrath is aesthetically pleasing and there are interesting character designs that may tug at your humor strings a bit.
The sound is another story. The voice acting is ANNOYING. Back in 2005 you had a lot of games that would just re-use character models because of reasons that I don’t know. Maybe it was the memory, maybe they were lazy, and maybe it was because of financial reasons. But the fact remains that you will see many characters that sound and look almost exactly the same and the voice of those characters was intentionally made to try to be funny. They are not funny. They are irritating unless you are 12. Then you may be a little more forgiving.
Where this game really pushes me to the brink of extinction lies in the gameplay mechanics. First of all, a camera that can’t go into a mountainside or that gets hung up on anything has always been a sticking point with me. You tend to get stuck on stupid things that you can’t see, immediately frustrating the experience. Add to this the fact that your up and down camera movement in third person is extremely slow becomes an issue very quickly. So you’re telling me that if I can see the bottom, I can jump down there and take no damage? Great! Let me just push up (down if you don’t invert your controls) and see where the bottom is. Any second now… and I can almost see it 10 seconds later but no I can’t because it doesn’t go that far. Let’s just jump off and see… dead. Okay. Thanks.
First person is not much better. It can be great and fun, but the issue I had was trying to shoot the little critters so that you can reload your weapon. See, your ammunition consists of live creatures that you have to hunt to replenish. Yes, it’s very cool. I played using the sticks to control Stranger and had a really hard time hitting anything at all because the reticle was very touchy. I grew very tired of this game because of it.
Like I said before, if you are already a fan of Oddworld: Stranger’s Wrath, you don’t need my review to know whether you should buy it or not. If, however, you are on the fence because you aren’t sure if it is your cup of tea, just remember that the controls are very dated, the game is probably very accurately translated to today and it feels like it. That said, I did like the game on the most basic of terms. If you can get past some of the issues I had with it you could have a very fun time helping Stranger get some Moolah.
Oddworld: Stranger's Wrath Review
- Graphics - 6/106/10
- Sound - 4/104/10
- Gameplay - 6/106/10
- Lasting Appeal - 5/105/10
Final Thoughts: WORTH CONSIDERING
Oddworld: Stranger’s Wrath is a high definition remake of a game that was originally released in 2005 and plays like it. Third person games from that era had camera issues that were really frustrating to work with so expect that going in. The story is cool and the character design is very good. If you can forgive the controls being very touchy then you can have a lot of fun with this game.