Oddworld Stranger’s Wrath HD review
It’s been years since I ventured into Oddworld. There are fuzzy memories of chanting and distracting the Slogs of Sligs – or was it the Sligs of Slogs? – but they’ve long been shelved under ‘PlayStation nostalgia’. Stranger’s Wrath, the fourth game in the series, is an Xbox exclusive from 2005 – which means it’s only taken a mere seven years for it to cross into the light.
The good news is that while nothing is worth a near decade-long wait – except maybe a kidney transplant – it’s enjoyable enough to make the transfer into HD worthwhile. Our hero, Stranger, is a slow-talking bounty hunter selling his services in the even slower Wild West setting of Mudos.
Questing for in-game currency, Moolah, his mission is to capture a whole host of outlaws and deviants in order to save his own life with expensive surgery. No pressure or anything, then.
Gameplay switches intuitively between third-person platforming and first-person shooting. Satisfyingly, a tap of R3 pops you behind the barrel of the cowboy’s double-barrelled crossbow. It’s here, with its fascinating take on ammunition, that Stranger’s Wrath shines brightest.
No mere bullets are good enough for this bounty hunter – he’s got living creatures who happily speak to you while you take aim. “Yeah, you with the face,” squeaks Alvin, Simon or Theodore as you prepare to fire him into oblivion to lure an enemy.
You can load your weapon with a whole host of critters – from spider-esque Bolamites to bind your enemies, to furry brown Wookie balls with razor-sharp teeth who can be laid as a trap. There are no clips to pick up here – you need to hunt your ammunition down with a Zappfly. It’s a living electrical charge that sits fizzing on your crossbow as you wait for your choice of bullet to scurry into sight.
It’s an enjoyable and surreal experience. Smart dialogue and pointed cultural comment make this no different from its Oddworld predecessors, and a very welcome addition to PSN.