Top critical review
13 people found this helpful
Good way to kill time (and outlaws)
on 28 August 2005
Oddworld is a fascinating set-up for games, and so far they've been great. I personally was never much good at the original Abe sojourns on the Playstation, but I still played and loved them. I also found Munch's Oddysee very enjoyable, if simplistic. Stranger's Wrath is, at the risk of insulting it, just as easy to handle as Munch, but it's much more satisfying.
For one thing, you're finally a force to be reckoned with. Gone are the possessions, the obsessive sneaking and the one-wound-and-you're-dead fights. In Stranger, you run about knocking out bad-guys and "bagging" them (using a kind of vacuum cleaner - think Ghostbusters). You also tend to use "live ammo," meaning lots of small bugs and animals that perform all the functions of ammunition, only they occasionally mutter to themselves. This idea sadly isn't given its full potential - only one type of ammo talks, and it's more an inane gibbering anyway - but it's still fun. It's also refreshing to have to "catch" your own ammo.
Despite the more satisfying set-up, however, and even bearing in mind an excellent story (that includes a very good twist that I wouldn't want to spoil), this doesn't have much replay value. Suffice to say, once you know all the facts, some of the game feels pointless. Also, Stranger represents another attempt to break out of the level-by-level approach to games, but it's not as free roaming as it would like to think. You still feel herded from one point to another. And then there's the types of villains you face: they're only ever so easy a toddler could do it, or the most impossibly frustrating thing ever. The final boss, for example, forced me to resort to a cheat code. Well, if it's that or a nervous breakdown. Finally, even if you've completed it already, you still can't skip the cutscenes. Thanks to some seriously annoying voices, this is guaranteed to drive you mad.
I'd recommend this to anyone who likes Oddworld and wants to see it expand a little, but it's certainly not fit to be the final game, and it doesn't really deliver on its own hype. Fun, but more disposable than I'd hoped.