In 2005, Oddworld Inhabitants decided to take a chance with a different kind of adventure game from what it was used to making. That game was Oddworld: Stranger’s Wrath, released on the Xbox through Electronic Arts. It was a breathtaking experience, a tour-de-force in design and action. It combined third-person platforming with first-person shooting, using some rather creative “live” ammo. (In short, bugs and rodents that could perform a number of purposes.)
The game didn’t sell well upon release but has since gone on to be the subject of a number of re-releases. Just Add Water, for example, gave it a new life on both PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita, where it found a huge following. Now, it’s back again, with the help of the developers at Square One and the publishers at Microids. We’re here to tell you – Oddworld: Stranger’s Wrath is better than ever.
Stranger In the Night
The game follows a Clint Eastwood-Esque cowboy named The Stranger (well, that’s not his name, that’s what we call him). He journeys his way through a series of towns run by some interesting chicken-like folk, completing bounty missions. He uses his effective (yet surprisingly non-violent) ways to subdue them, vacuuming up and “depositing” them back into jail.
It’s a great concept for the game, but there’s a deeper story here. It’s one involving a mysterious character building a dam and an interesting history that somehow ties in with The Stranger. It leads to a revelation that’s a real game-changer, making the latter part of the game that much more exciting. (Relax, we won’t spoil it here.)
Stranger’s Wrath truly succeeds with its gameplay. Most of it is in third-person when it comes to traversing the beautiful world you’re going through. However, it’s also got first-person shooting elements, where you use your critters to distract and capture your prey. All these years later, it remains surprisingly fresh, adding a dose of strategy to the proceedings. Not to mention it’s a hell of a lot of fun.
There are some things you’ll need to adjust to, mainly with Stranger’s somewhat limited jumping style. Once you get into it, however, Stranger’s Wrath feels just as good as it did in the “good ol’ days” of gaming.
It Looks Better Than Ever
We played Stranger’s Wrath across a number of platforms, including Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 5, and Xbox Series X. We’re happy to say that, no matter what version you go with, it looks absolutely gorgeous.
The game runs at a beautiful 60 frames per second, only having mild bits of slow-down in the Switch’s handheld mode. Otherwise, the tranquil beauty that Square One has kept in the game is fantastic. The levels look better than ever, and the Stranger’s animations are still charming. Watching him “dust off” any damage he’s taken is pretty cool, and makes you wonder what would’ve happened if Eastwood did the same. (What? He’s a tough guy, he can take it.) Stranger’s Wrath has never looked better, and we’re here for it.
Likewise, the audio is also superb. The music sounds remastered throughout, even though it’s still the classic soundtrack through and through. The voice acting is also excellent; and the sound effects are a trip, especially the cute little ammo effects.
If there’s one thing holding back Stranger’s Wrath, it’s that some gameplay elements are mildly dated. This is a game from the mid-2000s, after all. However, most of it still remains surprisingly fresh; and after an hour, you’ll love what it has to offer.
Mount Up With Oddworld: Stranger’s Wrath
I wish Oddworld: Stranger’s Wrath got more appreciation back in the day, as it remains one of the best original Xbox games ever made. Thankfully, Microids and their team have seen just what the game is capable of, giving it the second chance it humbly deserves. The gameplay is fairly easy to grasp and appreciate, and the visuals and sound have never been better. That story is something else, too. If you’re up for a good ol’ fashioned adventure or just feel like hunting down some scummy bounty, Stranger’s Wrath is worth enduring.
VIBE Rating: 9/10
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