Back during the days of the Super Nintendo, Wild Guns, was a game that I played a lot of. The sci-fi western setting, combined with the ability to take on the baddies with a friend while dodging a never-ending barrage of bullets was one of my favorite past times. Sadly, we just don’t get games like this anymore, so when Natsume had announced that it was porting the game over to the PlayStation 4, I had to check it out.
Game Name: Wild Guns Reloaded
Platform(s): PlayStation 4
Release Date: December 20, 2016
Price: $29.99 on PSN, $39.99 (physical)
Co-op: 4-play local co-op
With Wild Guns Reloaded, the original two characters, Clint and Annie, make their return while two new characters Bullet and Doris, tag along. Bullet, A dachshund that is accompanied by a robot that does the shooting for him, while Doris is the bruiser of the bunch, as she deals out damage by tossing grenades instead of using guns. The new characters add an extra flair to the game and handle differently than the original duo. Bullet, for example, can’t aim and his robotic companion does all the work, but it can also double up as an escape vehicle by carrying Bullet into the air. While Doris is a bit slower when it comes to movement and her firing is delayed as she has to tag a target before chucking grenades at them. She also favors a more advanced skill set as she seems to be more a companion character, as playing her solo tends to ramp up the difficulty.
Every character has the ability to use their main offensive weapon, a lasso to slow down enemies and can pick up power-ups found through the levels. In addition that, you also have access to a melee attack for when a dirty varmint gets up and personal with you as well as a dodge. Power-ups such as lasers, machine guns and more are picked up during the level as they’re dropped by various enemies on screen. Lastly, if you’re able to shoot down a number of enemy bullets that are pointed in your direction, you’ll fill up a gauge. Once that gauge is full you’ll be award with a Vulcan gun, which is not only the strongest weapon in the game but also provides you with invincibility for 20 seconds. However, once the gauge is depleted, the gun will disappear until it’s filled up again.
The game includes 6 levels that include the starting level, the ending level and four others that can be played in another order. During these levels, you’ll encounter your generic cannon fodder as you fight through two segments, each with a timer. As the first timer ends, you’ll encounter a mid-boss that has to be taken down. After which, the second segment will start with another mid-boss showing up once the level timer runs out again, followed by a confrontation with the stage’s end boss. There’s also an easy, normal and hard mode selection as well.
One nice addition with Wild Guns Reloaded is the option to play with 3 other players in co-op mode. Sadly, this is an off-line affair and I’m not sure how many PlayStation 4 owners have 3 other Dualshock 4 controllers laying around, yet alone enough people to play with them. During my review gameplay, I was able to get my children to play with me and that was still just 2 other players. Still, I’m happy to report that the game didn’t skip a beat with 3 players reigning bullets and explosions everywhere. I definitely feel that adding an online co-op mode or at least an online leaderboard would have provided the game with some much-needed longevity.
Graphically, the game looks just like it did almost twenty years ago on the Super Nintendo Entertainment system. The only change is that the game runs at 1080p@60fps. Definitely a nice addition, however, fans of the previous title will notice that this is the only change to the title. Tthe music still stands out and is full of butt-kicking music tempo jamming themes. The sound effects also do an ample job of conveying hits and damage, while explosions are just as satisfying. As an added bonus, gamers who are able to beat the game without continuing will be able to unlock the retro versions of the game music, allowing you to select between the both variations.
All said, the game is faithful to the original port and the Virtual Console port that landed on the Wii U back during 2014. However, the main kicker here is the asking price, it’s way too high. Currently, the game can be picked up on the PlayStation Network Store for $29.99, while a physical copy does exist and is sold directly via Natsume on Amazon for $39.99. For a title that is pretty dry in the extras department, can be beaten in less than an hour and possesses no reason to play it after the first playthrough, this needs to be cheaper. If the game had been priced at say $19.99 or even $9.99, I could recommend this for a lazy day game. As it stands right now, Wild Guns Reloaded is a hard sale. If you have to play it, wait for a sale or you may be a bit frustrated with the purchase.
A nice attempt that misses the mark
Wild Guns Reloaded is a nice blast from the past and one that definitely desires a playthrough. The main issue here is the fact that the game was a simple port with nothing really added with the exception of the 4-player co-op (local) and graphical polish. The lack of any online capacity will likely make many gamers ignore the title.The trophy omissions are also puzzling since Natsume took the time to upscale the graphical side of things but nothing else. The asking price is simply too high for less than an hour of gameplay with no online leaderboards, no online co-op, all of which simply kill any changes this title may have had.
I can only recommend this to all but the most dedicated Wild Guns followers.