elcome back to another exciting segment where we take a glimpse into some of the most exciting and iconic games that have made a mark in history, and some of the hidden gems of the retro era.
The Oddworld games never set the world on fire with their sales: they have heart. The passion so clearly put into developing the world is apparent in every scene in Oddworld: Strangers Wrath HD. A game that originally appeared on the first Xbox in 2005, but with so much love and time put into crafting and enchanting this alien world, it seems like some annoying design choices and anger enducing levels somehow slipped into the final product. Still, once you are entertained, it makes for an experience that is worth the occasional Slog.
There were times when I was playing Stranger Wrath that I forgot that this was a last generation. The HD visuals look great and nice touches like lens flares really help capture the raw view of the dangerous world that Stranger lives in.
The world itself is also well developed. Places you visit feel like actual places with quirky characters and funny dialogue that help sell the universe. Stanger, too, is a mostly charming protagonist, though sometimes with a slow draw make him look a bit dum, but even if Stangers a bit of a dullard, his story isn’t (well mostly).
Stranger is a bounty hunter who hunts criminals in Oddworld in an attempted to raise money for an unexplained surgery that he needs to survive; that’s all that you need to know as you drop into the world and begin collecting bounties.
Occasional parts of the plot drag, as mission after mission seems slotted in to extend the length of the game but the twist (which I won’t spoil here) is great. Stangers Wraths story may not be the stuff of Oscars, but the clear attention to detail kept me engaged in the world and wanting to see it through to the end.
Part first-person shooter, part third-person action game, Strangers Wrath has a bit of an identity problem. It doesn’t do either exceptionally well but it does blend them together better than you might expect.
Shooting feels pretty good even if a bit floaty. The platforming is fairly limited in scope and the third-person combat is a bit clumsy, but combat stays fun thanks to the weird arsenal of living ammo that Stanger shoots outs of his cross bow, while in first person. Each of them has different abilities, and gives you an array of options to tackle each skirmish. Want to set up a trap where your vicious little monsters chew up your opponents to death? Do it! Or maybe you prefer to go silent and lure them in with an annoying little mammals and then wrap them up with the spider? Go ahead! It’s up to you to decide to tackle each situation.
For a while, the ammo options gives Strangers Wrath a flare that makes it utterly unique, but as you complete bounty after bounty, it starts to feel noticeably repetitive, with scares few enemy types making for some pretty predictable encounters. Each bounty may bring you to a new part of the environment, but they all follow the same formula, go to an area, fight the minions, then subdue or kill a boss. Some bosses mix things up, but more often than not they're just bullet sponges that you have to pull the herd on. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I never stopped having fun with it, but by the time the game makes a major plot shift and to somewhat less major game play change, I was more than ready. Problematic difficulty spikes, this also added to the pacing issue.
Oddworld: Strangers Wrath is one of the more unique games to come out of the last generation. It may drag a bit at times, and doesn’t do shooting or platforming majorly well, but it blends the genres together into an almost always fun run. Annoyances aside, Strangers Wrath is a good title and a testament to the love put into creating the Oddworld universe.