Wanted: Dead Review – A Complicated Legacy

Does Ninja Gaiden Finally Have A Successor To Its Legacy?

Wanted: Dead Review
  • Story And Setting
  • Gameplay
  • Visuals And Performance


Ninja Gaiden fans may find a lot to like here, and maybe others will too, but don’t come to Wanted: Dead expecting a masterpiece. It is simply a solid action game with a lot of great combat.

  • Developers: Soleil
  • Publishers: 110 Industries SA
  • Release Date: February 14, 2023
  • Platforms: PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Xbox Series X & Series S, and PC


  • Great Combat
  • Fun Skill Tree


  • Bland Story
  • Unimpressive Art Style

Our Wanted: Dead Review is an analysis of a game that we have been playing during the last two weeks, and it is a hack-n-slash title with shooter mechanics and a strong slasher component. It was developed by Soleil, a video game studio that is made up of veterans of the Dead Or Alive series, and most importantly, the Ninja Gaiden franchise, something that any fan of those games will immediately be aware of after the first few action set pieces.

This product is neither more nor less than what Itagaki’s Devil Thirds should have been, a project so “hyped” that in the end, it turned out to be a complete disaster. And with the next few paragraphs, you will find out if we are facing a worthy successor to the vaunted Ninja Gaiden, or if we are perhaps even facing the natural evolution of a saga that has left its mark on the industry. So join us now to discover the world of Wanted: Dead!

Story And Setting 

Wanted Dead Review
Story And Setting.

In Wanted: Dead, we play as Hannah Stone, leader of the Zombie Unit of the Hong Kong police, as she investigates the dubious activities of the Dauer Synthetics corporation. The cast of colleagues and assistants from the police station (which will be our base of operations) provide a lot of variety in the types of NPC supporting characters.

In addition, we must add that within the cast characters, you can also find Stephanie Joosten, who is remembered for playing “Quiet” in Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. Stephanie also contributes to some of the songs from the game’s soundtrack, a very successful mix and match of music that emphasizes the tone of a game with such frenetic and bloody action.

Moving back to the actual narrative, we have a story that is very well connected with the emotional threads of our protagonist Hannah’s past, as we dust off the links of a conspiracy that reaches the highest levels of this dystopian society. And of course, we are not going to spoil anything for you, but the story isn’t exactly something you would call good. Without actually being a tale worth remembering, the setting and performance work behind the scenes to give it the necessary touch to be an original, flashy, and over-the-top experience. It’s fun and it’s goofy, and that’s what counts in the end.

But as it has happened in countless other titles with similar settings and mechanics, the important thing in this genre of video games is the gameplay, and that is what we are going to discuss next in this Wanted: Dead Review.



Wanted: Dead, is described by 110 Industries and Soleil as an action, Hack-N-Slash, and third-person shooter. And the truth is that such a mix could be striking and even disjointed… but…! NOT AT ALL! The combat mechanics are basic and one by one they complement each other. First of all, the melee combat with the katana is very striking, with spectacular choreography and a number of amazing execution animations, it’s very bloody and very rowdy.

On the other hand, with the shooter mechanics we have a cover system and a wide variety of firearms that drop from enemies when they die. The standard pistol and an assault rifle however will always accompany us by default, and they are customizable at any checkpoint in the game, from the barrel to the scope. All these enhancements will vary the statistics and performance of our weapons, from precision to recoil, cadence, damage, etc.

The pistol is more useful for quick shots and serves to further improve our melee combos, while the assault rifle is used for more sustained, but inaccurate, fire. Additionally, the pistol is fired automatically when pressing the triangle or the Y button, so you don’t even need to aim it.

It is also important for us to highlight the Skill Points system, which will allow your to unlock different abilities in the “Skill Tree.” These include some diverse skills, that range from equipment improvements to a greater health pool, and even more complex combos. You earn more skill points and you fight, and in turn, unlock greater abilities. 

Overall, the combat feels frenetic, bloody, and fun, and the combos are key to having a good time. It is undoubtedly very reminiscent of the aforementioned Ninja Gaiden or even WET. Additionally, Wanted: Dead has a health system similar to DOOM, where we can recover some of the damage received with well-timed executions, encouraging you to keep on moving.

The whole thing is a ballad of swords and bullets like in few games we can find, and above all, it does it with a frightening naturalness. The missions really encourage us to vary our strategy, instead of focusing on only one style of combat.

The boss fights for the most part were very grand both in mechanics and in difficulty, despite the fact that some sections with “elite” enemies were more difficult. It’s like an explosive cocktail, in which at least three boss battles will be burned into your retina for a long time.

Special mention goes to the side activities that we can participate in, from a ramen eating competition, to a karaoke rhythm game, a retro arcade game, a shooting range, and even a crane game that allows you to gather various figures and collectibles. They help break up the monotony of the gameplay and let you momentarily focus on something other than combat for a while.

In terms of duration, we completed the game on normal difficulty in about 15/20 hours, but logically, its difficulty factor plays an important role at certain points in the game. Sometimes it can be difficult to find checkpoints, and if you die before reaching one of them, you will have to return to the last one where you left off. The game has 5 levels, which, it must be said, vary greatly.

Visuals And Performance

Wanted Dead Review

Wanted: Dead is a love letter to those games from the 6th generation of consoles that stood out more in the playable section than in the technical one, and logically this video game is further proof of that. It is not a game that is a graphic marvel nor does it pretend to be, but the developers of Soleil have managed to weave together an exquisite artistic style with Wanted Dead, despite not having excessively detailed graphics. 

It can be quite ugly at times, but you’ll spend most of that simply buzzing past locations as you hunt down enemies either way. So while it is disappointing, it’s not a tremendous loss.

If it is true that the game has some quite notable frame drops in the Series X version, and despite not being something that has turned our playable experience into something unpleasant, it must be said that in a game that is not graphically demanding, the levels are closed and with some corridors, it must be noted.

But in general, the game does what it has to do, and that is why we believe that it is not the most correct thing to buy Wanted: Dead for graphical fidelity but perhaps for other of the many positive aspects previously mentioned in the review.



Wanted: Dead has a lot of things going for it, but it never really excels in any of those apart from the combat. The story is fun, if not exactly deep, or something that will stay with you after the credits roll, and the art could have been significantly better. Right now, you could fool someone into thinking that it is a mobile game, if not for the otherwise decent cutscenes.

Ninja Gaiden fans may find a lot to like here, and maybe others will too, but don’t come to Wanted: Dead expecting a masterpiece. It is simply a solid action game with a lot of great combat.

This has been our Wanted: Dead Review. While you’re here, consider checking out some of our other articles. 

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My name is Álvaro. I am a Spaniard living in the Netherlands and a lawyer by profession. In my spare time, I create informative content about the video game industry, with a special focus on Xbox.

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