Originally available on the PS3 a few years ago, french developer Eko Software has ported its twin stick shooter Wanted Corp. to the PS Vita. Compared to the original game, the PS Vita version has lost the multi-player as there’s only a single player campaign, but besides that, the game seems to be the same.
In Wanted Corp. you play as the intergalactic bounty hunters Neal H. Maddogg and Irina Zimoy on their mission to capture or neutralize alien creatures who have escaped from a prison ship when it crash-landed on the planet Oddellia. Both Maddogg and Irina are out for the big money as they are offered 895 000 000 credits if they accomplish the mission successfully.
The game begins with a short intro where Seersys, an artificial intelligence, explains what has happened on the planet Oddellia. From there you will get to the main menu where you can start a new campaign or continue a game, visit the store, do training missions, or access the leaderboard and archives. There are also options to change the level of music, effects, and voices, the interface position as well as to turn subtitles on or off.
Each mission starts with an intro where Seersys gives details about the players next task. During a mission, you can either play with Maddogg or Irina and switch the playable character at anytime. This is also necessary sometimes to be able to proceed as each character has different weapons and abilities. While Maddogg is more a fighter who uses guns and grenades against the enemies, Irina has psychic powers like magnetic rings and artificial lightning. As there are two ways to deal with the enemies, it’s important to explain the pro and contra of each method. While neutralizing the fugitives is easier, you will earn more credits when you capture them, but this will get harder in the later missions.
As you play with one of the bounty hunters, the other character is controlled by the AI. Depending on your strategy, you give your partner commands to either neutralize or capture the creatures. You can also ask your partner to protect you which is useful in situations when Maddogg has to move items from one place to the other. Archives can be found during the missions to get background information about the research that the Pharmatech Group has done on the planet.
As Wanted Corp. is a twin stick shooter, you control the bounty hunters with the left stick, aim with the right stick and fire or use power with the R button. Dodging to avoid enemies is done with the L button while changing the fire mode or the power with the circle button. Changing weapons (Maddogg only) can be a bit tricky as you have to press the triangle button repeatedly. Using a first aid kit and changing the playable character is done via the touch screen.
As Maddogg is using weapons, you have to pick up ammo which you get by destroying boxes and also some enemies leave it behind. Normally there is enough ammo, only in the last two missions you should be using it more wisely. Irina’s psychic powers are endless and only limited to her abilities. Earned credits can be used in the store to enhance the health bar, upgrade weapons and the abilities of the bounty hunters which is really needed in the later missions. If your bounty hunters are still not strong enough, you can replay earlier missions to earn more money.
Generally, I had an enjoyable experience with Wanted Corp. on the PS Vita. The first four missions in the jungle are shorter and easier with a playtime of 10 to 25 minutes each. After a boss fight, you head over to the swamp in episodes 5 and 6 and these missions can take around 30 minutes. The most time you will spend in missions 7 and 8 which are set in a secret base and by far the hardest missions with a playtime of at least 45 minutes each.
As you need to upgrade the bounty hunters to be able to survive in the later missions, you will have to replay some of the missions which will also help to improve your ranking in the online leaderboard. What I really liked is that once you have failed a mission, you can restart from the last checkpoint. It’s also possible to use an amount of credits to continue but this will cost you some money which you should better invest in upgrades. You can also reactive one character while the other one is still alive but this is a bit tricky while a horde of enemies is attacking you.
Wanted Corp. runs quite well on the PS Vita with some good graphics and nice lighting effects. Unfortunately, there are some technical errors as the game crashes sometimes at the beginning and also possibly at the end of the playthrough. There is also an error with the first boss fight as he stops moving and it gets too easy to beat him. Another error happened in the last episode when the characters moved out from a descending elevator and I couldn’t see them anymore.
The music fits the game well and Maddogg and Irina also talk to each other during the missions to give some clues what to do next. Loading of the missions takes sometimes and be a bit annoying when you have failed a mission and have to restart again.
Wanted Corp. is an enjoyable twin stick shooter experience with its exotic setting on an alien planet. Capturing and neutralizing all the fugitives is fun, only the later missions can get frustrating as there are too many enemies at once. One of the outstanding moments in the game is when you control a machine gun robot and you can shoot everything down. Due to the crashes and the technical errors with the first boss fight and the elevator, the overall experience has suffered and Eko Software should have done more quality control with the PS Vita port. But in the end the game is still recommandable to all who take that in mind.
The review was written by Michael. All screenshots are from the PS Vita version.