This year’s E3 may not have had as much retro goodness as previous years. However, tucked away at the Natsume booth was a cult classic that’s being given a new lease of life. So get ready to lock ‘n’ load, as Clint and Annie step back into the wild west gunslinging battleground that is Wild Guns Reloaded.
Now whilst Wild Guns may not be one of the best known games of the 16-bit era, it undoubtedly deserves to be. Back in the 90s Wild Guns was a breath of fresh air. It not only offered a unique arcade inspired gameplay experience, and it did so with a lot of style and flair.
As such, you’ll be happy to hear that not a lot has changed, despite the 22 year absence. Now don’t get me wrong, this isn’t to say the game is an aimless re-release. What I mean is that amongst all the new stuff, the game is pretty much the same as the original. Unsurprising, given that this is being created by the same team that made the original all those years ago.
The connection to the Super Nintendo original is clear right from the get go. You see, just like in the original, myself and my partners were immediately ambushed and thrown into one almighty firefight outside of a 16-bit western saloon. In fact, the barrage of bullets continued right up until the very end of the demo.
All in all, this created a ruthless and intense experience, much in like many games of the 8 and 16-bit era. This clearly speaks to any retro gamer, and is bound to deliver that nostalgic feeling, just as it did for me. Though for more modern gamers, this may be too much, too hard, too quick.
Maintaining The Core Aspects
In terms of controls, despite the move to PS4, the controls are the same as always, with players frozen to the front of the screen as though in a shooting gallery. From here the analog stick can be then used in order to both move the aiming reticule whilst you shoot, and your character when not shooting. Ultimately, by keeping the control scheme as it was and not buckling to modern demands, Natsume have maintained one of the core unique aspects of this title.
Although, as with the gameplay, the control scheme could be divisive for new gamers. For many Wild Guns is a game that’s extremely easy to play. However for others the control scheme can take some getting used to. Either way, it’s this uniqueness in part that has made Wild Guns one of the best games you’ve probably never played. Just another reason why this remake is more than welcome.
That’s not all though, as just like many 16-bit titles, Wild Guns Reloaded has aged extremely well. In fact, despite playing this in a packed out E3 conference booth, the quality really shone through. To be honest, even if you told me that there had been no upgrades to the graphics, I’d still say this was good enough for the current generation.
So What’s New Then?
So it’s still the Wild Guns that many will know and love, but what exactly is new then? Well first up is the fact that now the game supports four-player local co-op. Something I was lucky enough to try out as part of my hands on.
This really is a nice touch, and definitely intensifies the experience compared to the original Super Nintendo release. It’s also nice to see a game supporting offline multiplayer in this day and age. Although having four of you on screen at the same time did seem to reduce the challenge somewhat. Whilst also making everything all a bit chaotic from time to time.
Another new aspect is the addition of new characters. However, whilst Natsume have teased more characters to meet the four player experience, it was slightly disappointing to see that players 3 and 4 were merely re-skins of Clint and Annie. Hopefully though this will be different within the final release.
In fact, whilst I certainly welcome the four player mode, I actually find myself more excited to see all of the additional stages, weapons and bosses that have been added. Unfortunately though, most of this wasn’t on show within the E3 demo. This is just something we’ll have to eagerly await the final release for.
Like A Returning Old Friend
All in all, Wild Guns Reloaded felt like a welcome friend who had returned from a long time away. Yes they may have changed slightly, but deep down they’re still that person you know and love. What’s more, for those who’ve never played the original, Wild Guns Reloaded looks set to offer an older way of gaming on a big budget console.
To put it simply, based on my brief hands-on time with the wild west gunslinger, this is definitely one new title that is looking sure to be a must have for any retro fan. Heck, based on both the uniqueness of the original title, combined with I saw, I’d even go as far as to say this is a game that could be worth the time of any PS4 owner. Clint and Annie will return in Wild Guns Reloaded later in the year, and Rings & Coins will be on hand to see if the final version lives up to the quality of the E3 demo.