Just Add Water's Western delight.
I was not an Xbox fan and so I missed out on the wonderful world of Odd. I played about with Abe on the first Playstation and looked forward to the next game on the PS2. Screens were shown but then a shift was made to the Xbox. Oddworld had jumped ship.
Strangers first made its console showing way back in 2005. I didn't know anything about the game until it showed up on the Playstation 3 in glorious HD. I won't dwell on that game version only to say that this pumped up the excitement as to the thought of a PS Vita version. I waited and waited, then Christmas came early on December the 18th as Stranger arrived on the Vita just in time for everyone to enjoy its delights over Christmas.
So with so many ports getting a rough ride how does Strangers play on Vita? One word, brilliantly. As soon as you boot the game up, from the loading screens to in-game the graphics they all look stunning on the Vitas screen, lighting, dust, smoke, and water in fact everything from the PS3 version is here. The sound is also very well done and even with just the Vita speakers the stereo sound is crisp and clear. Loading, unless I’m mistaken is quicker on the Vita than the PS3.
Strangers is a bad ass bounty hunter and the game sets you up in the wild west of Oddworld. Your job is to hunt down and bag the outlaws that are creating havoc over the game world. You get money for bagging your prise but the game wants you to try and work out how to take them down and capture them rather than kill them by rewarding you with double the "Mulah" the in-game currency. Your goal I won’t spoil. You can spend money upgrading, but again I won’t spoil things.
Being a first person/3rd person shooter the shooting is done in first person. I play the game mostly in this view. The game would have had a perfect 10 but I found myself at times wanting to throw the Vita at the wall. Why? The developers have decided to have the rear touch pad as 'punch' while in FPS mode. I would find myself punching out at every slight move of my hands. The full rear pad is used not just part of it. I hope the developers take note and patch in an on/off option to turn it off. 3rd person mode is used for fast travel (running like a horse) and some simple rope and jump platforming.
The ammo is the games freshest idea. You shoot small animals/insects to devastating effects, I won’t go into detail as each new type is a joy to see on the end of your crossbow. Stranger can boost his health bar using up energy that slowly builds back up.
Oddworld Strangers Wrath is a hard game. I'm playing on normal and in parts the developers have truly tested my gaming skills. Why Strangers Wrath scores so high is the fact that after all the years the game still feels fresh like it was developed for today's consoles, not last gen. A next gen PS4 Strangers Wrath 2 would be incredible.
These days a game that makes you smile so much deserves to sell well and I hope the developers get the rewards they deserve. To date Stranger has 704 ratings with 4.79/5.0 stars in the UK store so I feel my review is on the nail.
Like I have pointed out the town hubs will having you pan the camera round to admire the fantastic would that Stranger struts his stuff. Don't hesitate, buy it now.
By Kristian Salkeld
Thanks to JAW for all the support.