Roundup: 'Wanted: Dead' Is Off To A Rough Start With The Critics

Old school action game Wanted: Dead is now out in the wild, and to be frank, it's sounding like some critics wish that it never managed to escape from developer captivity. This Ninja Gaiden-like is intentionally a bit of a throwback, so it's worth keeping that in mind here, but yeah, early reviews and impressions aren't exactly glowing for this Xbox title.

Here's a look at what the critics are saying about Wanted: Dead so far:

Destructoid (7/10)

"A hangover of abandoned game design, dressed up in unruly aesthetics and powered by cyberpunk Pat Benatar. The unforgiving gameplay and changeless, repetitious action will leave some appalled, but the radiant cast of reprobates, silly mini-games, baffling dialogue, and shameless commitment to the bit results in one of the most bewildering, hypnotic releases in some time. Simply put: Wanted: Dead is a fucking train wreck, and you better get your ticket punched."

CGM (7/10)

"At the end of the day, Wanted: Dead won’t likely appeal to most people, but thanks to its undeniable charm and over-the-top approach to gameplay, Soleil’s latest will likely garner a cult-following and, at the very least, warrants a look for those interested."

PC Gamer (6/10)

"Wanted: Dead is an intentionally messy throwback, one that some people are going to adore while others lament. All the AA jank of a PlayStation 3 action game wrapped up in a janky 2023 modern gaming bow."

Push Square (5/10)

"Wanted: Dead is, at its worst, a frustratingly bad action game, but in its inexplicable presentation, nonsensical storytelling, and baffling character dialogue, it's difficult to completely dismiss. There's undeniable fun to be had here in a so-bad-it's-good kind of way, and that might even be enough for the game to secure cult status somewhere down the line. But for now, you'll need to slog through some of the most jank combat in full-price gaming to squeeze enjoyment out of the experience. Wanted: Dead is a truly fascinating mess."

Wccftech (5/10)

"Wanted: Dead feels like a callback to the worst games of the Xbox/PS2 era. The game has a distinct lack of polish when it comes to its enemy design, and, combined with the horrid voice acting and confusing storyline that's only explained through supplementary material, it feels like the ultimate case of wasted potential that could've become something better had the developers put a bit more thought into it."

Pure Xbox (4/10)

"Wanted: Dead is an incredibly disappointing action effort that presents some decent ideas but fails to execute any of them properly. The idea of fusing hack and slash combat with shooter mechanics has lots of potential here, and the cyberpunk setting is initially intriguing. However, in practice it's all very clunky and janky and frustrating and beset by performance issues. There's a bunch of odd side activities thrown in to try to lighten the mood between battles, but it's just not enough in the end. With a very weak narrative, poor voice-acting, rubbish action and drab level design, this is one game that's best avoided."

IGN (4/10)

"As someone who considers themself an action game buff, Wanted: Dead let me down on just about every front. Its combat may be fun for a few hours, but eventually I realized that it was just a pool of shallow water to splash around in. The fights never evolved in any interesting or meaningful way, the minimal enemy variety never challenged me to change up my tactics, and worst of all I always felt weak, even when I fully maxed out the skill tree. Add on bland visuals, a distinct lack of personality and charm, and frequent crashes, and it all amounts to one of the first big disappointments of 2023."

The Xbox version of Wanted: Dead is currently sitting at a not-so-great 54 on Metacritic at the time of writing, with the PS5 version on 55 and the PC version on 60. Those of you looking for pure old school jank may find something to like here, but truth be told, you'll probably have to wade through some poor gameplay decisions to get there.

Were you looking forward to this one? Let us know your thoughts on these impressions down below.