E3 is a place you go to see the latest games. The biggest, best, and shiniest new products the industry has to offer. It’s a show all about looking into the future – which is why I found it a little odd that I spent so much time looking into the past. In this case, looking into the past meant ignoring the new, flashy games for a short time and instead settling on playing a remaster of a game that’s over 20 years old: Wild Guns Reloaded.
Wild Guns Reloaded version is essentially the same game it was on the SNES. Most of the action takes place on a single screen, as you and some friends fire at at waves of enemies. It’s a simple but fun concept. You move your reticle around the screen and fire one enemies, but can also throw a lasso that will temporarily slow down the bad guy it hits. You can also melee anyone that dares get too close, and jump to either side to avoid incoming fire. An interesting mechanic is that you can’t move and shoot at the same time – so you can either stand in place and move your reticle around to blast enemies, or move yourself around too get a better position.
The biggest change in Reloaded, and one I got to experience for myself, is the ability to play with up to 4 players. This is definitely welcome in a time when fewer and fewer games are bothering with local multiplayer at all. The game becomes more frantic as more players join in, and it gets more enjoyable as each player picks up a controller. The two additional players also allow for more complex strategies than in the original. As an example, when I played, our team quickly designated a player to aim for the stronger, more durable baddies, while the rest of would focus on picking off the weaker enemies before they became too much trouble. We also found ti effective to have two players focus on each half of the screen, giving more attention to a smaller area and making sure no one slips through.
In addition to the updated gameplay, the graphics have been upped a bit to fit modern standards and displays. Widescreen is in, everything is rendered in 1080p, and a filter has been added to smooth over the pixels (whether this is better or worse is a matter of taste). It looks great, and the Wild Guns‘ wild west crossed with steampunk setting is still interesting to look at, with fun environments and creative enemy designs.
I didn’t spend long with Wild Guns Reloaded, but I spent long enough to remind myself of why I liked the original game so much. The two new characters and extra stages and bosses are merely a bonus – Wild Guns would have been worth playing again purely for the 4 player support. The game is a little shallow with only one player, but is a blast with a full roster, bringing me back to 20 years ago and reminding me why I like videogames so much in the first place.