In the small world of video games, a duration of fifteen spring is roughly equivalent to an eternity in other fields. Despite its HD suffix, “Oddworld: Stranger’s Wrath” therefore inevitably bears the brunt of the years. Its outdated structure and outdated graphics may even put off some players who would not have known the title in the past. But it would be a shame to stop at these low considerations because the adventure retains all its qualities in terms of atmosphere and universe. It is still not every day that you can use animal ammunition in a western atmosphere! If Stranger’s Wrath HD is still missing from your record and the Switch is your favorite console, this port will certainly convince you.
The universe of Oddworld has been regaling us for many years, whether through original adventures or well-felt remakes. The year 2020 will also be the year of the release of Oddworld Soulstorm. In the meantime, it’s The Stranger who comes back to talk about him with the arrival on Switch of Oddworld: Stranger’s Wrath HD. More remaster than remake, this port arrives a little late but is still welcome.
Should you believe in the HD suffix ?
If Abe is certainly the best known member of the Oddworld universe, Munch and the Stranger also made a name for themselves in the early 2000s on the very first Xbox, one with its odyssey, the other with his Wrath. And it is the latter that particularly interests us today, since Oddworld: Stranger’s Wrath HD arrives on Switch. However, you should not be fooled by the HD suffix … which was already on the box of the PlayStation Vita version eight years ago! So don’t expect to be amazed. The game remains correct graphically, especially in portable mode since the absence of details in the sets is less remarkable, but we are still very far from the standards of 2020.
Let us never forget that this simple HD remaster was born the first time on PC in 2010, and it tackles a title released on Xbox in 2005. Impossible to work miracles in such conditions. We are not dealing with a remake like New ‘n’ Tasty or the future Soulstorm. This Switch version still has the good taste to offer us a revisited user interface, which abandons the huge menus and icons of yesteryear. The nostalgic player can still go to the options to switch from the UI 2019 to the UI 2015 if he wishes.
As for motion gaming enthusiasts, they can aim directly with the right Joy-Con thanks to the gyroscope integrated into the controller or, in portable mode, by moving the screen directly. Naturally, it remains possible to aim only with the stick, but it is then more difficult to be precise.
Oddworld : Srtranger’s Wrath – The scenario
The scenario is in any case not very difficult to grasp since it revolves around the Foreigner, bounty hunter having to collect a large sum of money in order to undergo a mysterious surgical operation. The pretext to go hunting for bandits is therefore all found.
The biggest highlight of the game certainly resides in the character gallery that is offered to us. Heroes, antagonists, simple passers-by, all are colorful and memorable. Even if the universe is at first very distant from that of Abe’s Odyssey, the Oddworld paw is therefore indeed present. The western atmosphere that characterizes Stranger’s Wrath HD is also worth a detour, the game succeeding in skillfully using the clichés of the genre without ever losing a gram of originality.
The gameplay revolves around several main principles, starting with the possibility of capturing dead or alive enemies, the second option being more profitable than the first. Not insignificant, the difficulty is softened by the possibility of restoring the stranger’s health bar using his energy bar, which has the advantage of regenerating itself.
So do not hesitate to play cautiously, hide, and seek to isolate enemies in order to capture them more easily, and as peacefully as possible. It is possible to alternate between a third person view and a subjective view. We will favor the first for exploration and to beat enemies with punches, while the second is essential to be able to use the crossbow. This emblematic weapon can accommodate two different types of ammunition at the same time, to be chosen from a panel not stung from the beetles. Indeed, the ammunition is animal, and therefore alive. Pulling a squirrel can attract an enemy to a specific location, the Bolamite spider immobilizes its target in a web, the polecat makes the opponents vomit, the armadillos repel them, the fuzzles (snarling hairballs) can serve as a mine , bats are explosive, etc.
Ultimate refinement: before being able to use animal ammunition, you must first hunt them in the wild thanks to the zap, an electric shot which also activates certain mechanisms and detonates certain barrels. All this aspect of the game still works perfectly but, the same cannot be said of all the other components. The general structure of the adventure and the level design thus seem dated, because they force us to go back and forth which can quickly prove to be repetitive. This is particularly the case in the first part of the adventure, the second half of the game being much more interesting. And, as we have seen previously, the graphics smell a little too much in 2005. So you have to take this Switch version: a good way to perfect your gaming culture, and not a title capable of competing with current standards.