If you were just perusing screenshots, you might be fooled into thinking that Wild Guns: Reloaded is just another in an endless string of remasters and HD upgrades, but it's much more than that. Developed by the team that created the original Wild Guns, Wild Guns: Reloaded gives the underappreciated classic a nice new coat of paint and adds a handful of new features to keep things fresh. The most notable of the new additions are the two new characters Bullet and Doris, who facilitate the added 4-player co-op mode.
For the new players in town Wild Guns: Reloaded is a fast-paced arcade shoot-em-up that also functions similarly to a shooting gallery. When you are firing your weapon you are immobile and the stick moves your guns cursor. You also have some alternate movement capabilities that can be used like jumping and rolling to dodge enemy fire. It's a fun, challenging, and ultimately simple arcade shooter. Like most games designed with the arcade aesthetic, Wild Guns doesn't really have much of a plot. Clint and Annie are a space cowboy and cowgirl respectively that are blasting their way through a futuristic steampunk western setting.
The two new characters are more than just fresh skins to look at. Both offer a unique style of gameplay that isn't available with Clint or Annie. Bullet is a dachshund equipped with some sort of flying combat vehicle that can lock on to enemies. Bullet himself runs around on the ground and you have to control the two independently. If the vehicle is hit, it will be stunned and leave you unable to fire for a brief moment, but you will only lose a life if Bullet himself is hit. Considering that fact along with the lock-on, I think Bullet was meant as sort of an "easy" mode character, but I actually found him somewhat difficult to play as the lock-on made it more difficult to prioritize targets.
The other new character, named Doris, uses grenades and cannot pick up other weapons. Holding down the fire button will increase the number of grenades she throws when the button is released. Her grenades are powerful, taking down most non-boss enemies in a single hit, but she's very slow. This isn't very conducive to my normal method of dodging and shooting that I had grown so used to in the original Wild Guns. All of this is a very long way of saying that the new characters are fun and interesting but when it was time to stop messing around and complete a level I found myself falling back on Clint and Annie.
That being said the new characters do add a big dose of fun to the co-op. Not only is it great to be able to get yourself and 3 friends to huddle around the screen for some Wild Guns the already frantic action is made even more chaotic with grenades constantly exploding and dogs running around. They work well in tandem with Clint and Annie as well with Bullet acting as crowd control, Doris targeting the big baddies and Clint and Annie mopping up everything in-between. By the end of the night, my friends and I were all half-drunken messes shouting orders at each other and surely pissing off the neighbors, which is what every good co-op game should seek to achieve.
Unfortunately, there is no online play in Wild Guns: Reloaded, a feature that left me scratching my head at its absence. I understand that Wild Guns: Reloaded is best played in local co-op and I agree that would surely be the optimal experience but it still seems like a no-brainer to throw online play in, especially considering the fact that Wild Guns: Reloaded is a full retail release. The amount of content on offer may be a sour note in more ways than that as well. The only other new content brought to the table is a couple new stages and bosses. The new stages and bosses are great, one of the bosses particular being perhaps my new favorite, but Wild Guns: Reloaded is still a game that can be completed in a few hours if you know what you're doing. With those things in mind the game becomes a difficult recommend for me unless you're someone who has friends over for couch co-op frequently in which case I can see it making it's way into a regular rotation. There is also an online leaderboard that may give score-attackers some extra mileage. So if you like Wild Guns and have some friends to play with then call em up, grab some pizza and beer, put on a Ninja Turtles beanie or something (you probably have one you dork) and pretend the 90's weren't objectively bad for a few hours.
Wild Guns: Reloaded was reviewed on PlayStation 4 (Affiliate) using a code provided by the developer.
Wild Guns: Reloaded takes everything fun about the original and cranks it up to eleven, but the value proposition might be too much for some.
- New Content for a Classic Game
- Nostalgic Fun
- Value Proposition