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Video Game / Desperados III

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Desperados III is a Real-Time Strategy Stealth-Based Game, developed by Mimimi Games (of Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun fame) and published by THQ Nordic, released on June 16th, 2020. It is the second Numbered Sequel to Desperados, and the fourth entry following Helldorado.

Set in 1875, the game is a prequel to Desperados: Wanted Dead or Alive, once again following the gunslinger John Cooper, with some old and some new faces joining his would-be gang of bounty hunters. The Quick-Action feature returns under the name Showdown Mode, optionally pausing the game in order to chain multiple commands, allowing them to play out at the same time.

On September 2020, Mimimi developed a three-part DLC, Money for the Vultures. Taking place three months after the base game, Baton Rouge’s sheriff’s wife, Rosie, hires Cooper and the gang to retrieve Vincent DeVitt's wealth.

Reveal Trailer, Gameplay demo, E3 Trailer

The game provides examples of:

  • Addressing the Player: As a rule, the “Mission Failed” screen spells out just how the player managed to get a game over. However, during the Las Piedras mission, interrupting Isabelle as she’s healing Cooper’s leg by knocking her out will result in a “Mission Failed” screen where Isabelle directly chastises the player. You even get an achievement for it.
  • The Alcoholic: One of the targets in the second mission, Wild Marge, has a knack for whiskey, constantly ordering more as soon as she's finished. This can be used against her by poisoning the supply barrel.
  • All Men Are Perverts: Except for the Long Coats, all the men can be distracted by Kate. Although the extent varies: while Ponchos generally can be seduced by Kate's wiles, they are far too professional to move from their posts. It doesn't work if Kate tries to lure away a man who is talking with a woman and/or a Poncho; they will hold their friend back.
  • And Now for Someone Completely Different: One of Baron’s Challenge levels lets you play as Isabelle’s cat, Stella, as she sets out to rescue Doc.
  • Angry Guard Dog: Guard Dogs appear as occasional mooks that function differently from human guards. Though they only have one small, primary view cone, they are able to detect characters through bushes, walls, and other forms of cover even when crouching and are quick to attack if they spot you. Also, while being detected by one doesn't raise the alarm by itself, their barks will draw human enemies to the area to investigate, making it harder to remain hidden. They can also see through Kate's disguises.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: The game somewhat bends its own rules to guarantee the most hassle-free experience.
    • None of your characters create sound while moving (except for when they have to move a body or wade through water), even while running, which lets them avoid detection by slithering past the guards inches away from them. What is more, quite literally bumping into them in itself will not raise the alarm; as long as your character vacates their vision cone as the guard turns around, they’ll simply go “huh?” and go about their duties.
    • All of your characters have a ‘winding’ animation to their skills e.g. unholstering their firearm. These are purely cosmetic and as long as the skill of your choosing is off cooldown, you can use it instantaneously.
    • Your characters, if knocked unconscious for whichever reason, will come to far faster than any guard.
      • That said, despite the unconscious state having a timer, picking anyone up — friend or foe — will ‘extend’ the timer indefinitely. In plain English, they won’t regain consciousness if you hold onto them.
    • Party banter will continue to play even if you pause the game via Showdown Mode. This is handy if you want to listen to what your characters have to say when the alarm is about to be sounded (which cuts the banter off).
    • Animals that can be aggravated by Cooper’s coin will also be provoked by Kate’s perfume.
    • Guard Dogs will be lured by McCoy’s bag just like any other human guard. They’ll also, somehow, manage to open it and will be similarly blinded.
  • Anti-Hero: All the playable characters are this to varying extents. While they are fighting an evil corrupt company, all of them are ready to kill without hesitation as shown during cutscenes. Depending on the player's actions they will either be Pragmatic Anti-Heroes (if the player tries to minimize the casualties among the mooks) or Unscrupulous Heroes (if they do not). Under the control of a merciless player who even kills civilians, they become straight Nominal Heroes.
  • Artificial Stupidity: In the Las Piedras mission, the guards will sometimes stop on the tracks while inspecting a body or searching for their friends, only to get themselves run over by the train. Then another guard may notice the dead body — which is counted as an accidental death and therefore doesn't trigger an alert. They will go investigate themselves and also get run over by the train. Their stupidity actually can even make your life harder if you're aiming for the No Casualties badge but can save you time if you want the Kill Five Enemies with the Train badge.
  • Ascended Extra: Rosie is a minor character and antagonist of the Baton Rouge mission. She becomes the Quest Giver of the DLC missions and is more prominently featured as Hector’s would-be lady friend.
  • Badass Longcoat:
    • Cooper has gotten himself a longer coat and is as much of a fast gunslinger as he's previously been.
    • Doc returns with his signature black coat from the previous games, though this time it’s trimmed with purple instead of burgundy-red and he can't use it as a distraction.
    • Long Coats are this game’s Elite Mook. They can't be distracted, see through disguises, are resistant to gunfire (taking three shots to kill), and only Hector can kill one in melee unless they're stunned by a gunshot, Doc’s gas vial, or Isabelle’s Connect first.
  • Balance Buff: The abilities of the five playable characters have been somewhat reshuffled compared to their Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun counterparts, some to a greater extent than others.
    • Cooper effectively plays almost exactly like Hayato with the major change being given a second gun.
    • Doc is given melee options and his bag as a distraction and as a medical kit to rectify the Crippling Overspecialization that Takuma and snipers in the Stealth RTT genre, in general, suffer from.
    • Hector, as the equivalent to Mugen, is given the Bear Trap and whistle ability from Yuki as well as a whiskey flask that heals only him. His shotgun is the nearest equivalent to Sword Wind, but targets in a cone as opposed to a circle and is limited by Hector's ammo supply.
    • Kate plays almost exactly like Aiko only with pickpocketing skills and the inability to kill or bind mooks with her melee.
    • Isabelle's skillset is the furthest departure with her voodoo making up the bulk of her abilities along with an animal to distract enemies.
    • Guns in general are much more useful due to greater diversity in firearm types and availability of ammo.
    • Shadow Mode's equivalent, Showdown Mode stops time entirely, as opposed to slowing it down, unless you're playing on the hardest difficulty.
  • Bear Trap: Hector has a giant trap with huge, sharp teeth in his arsenal. The teeth cause trapped enemies to bleed out after some time, making it more of a lethal tool than a conventional immobilizing trap.
  • Big Bad: Vincent DeVitt, the boss of the DeVitt Company, is behind all of Cooper and Co.'s woes. He's a Non-Action Big Bad though, relying on Frank and his cronies to do his dirty work.
  • Big Good: Marshall Wayne who has been investigating DeVitt for a while. Rescuing him is Isabelle's main motivation for much of the plot, and when you do so he gives you your penultimate mission.
  • Black-Tie Infiltration: The Casa DeVitt mission for half of your team and where Cooper and Kate impersonate guests of DeVitt's party.
  • Boisterous Bruiser:
    • Hector is a big, strong, and loud brawler who lives for a good fight and a good whisky.
    • Kate's uncle is cut from the same cloth.
  • Bound and Gagged: One of the core game mechanics for those aiming for non-lethal runs. All of the playable characters can knock out their enemies, but the unconscious mooks will wake up after a while. However, the characters (sans Kate) have the ability to tie up unconscious NPCs to prevent them from moving after they were knocked out (while presumably gagging them as well, even though the game doesn't say it, given the sound clips that play during the animation). There's actually even a gameplay reward for doing so: tied-up enemies can be used to lure other mooks, as they will come to free the prisoner if they see them before raising the alarm, which can be used to set up an ambush. It even works on Long Coats and Ponchos who are otherwise immune to most of the other tactics to make them leave their post.
  • Breather Episode: The Baton Rouge mission is a lot more lighthearted than all of the previous ones. First, there is its premise: the gang got plastered the previous night and creatively ransacked the entire town during the night. You never witness the actual event, only its aftermath which includes dressing up a scarecrow in a dress, a bull somehow getting onto the roof of a saloon, Hector sleeping with the sheriff’s wife, and McCoy getting horse-kicked across the face. The mission itself is peppered with humorous touches, mostly coming from the comments made by the not-so-bright citizens out for your heads, with most of them believing that the swamp witches or Satan himself had come to their town. You're even actively encouraged not to kill anyone since the game leaves you with no lethal weapon.
  • Bullet Time: The game slows down when your character is in an enemy’s plain sight, giving the player precious moments to react — unless you’re playing on the Desperado difficulty where detection is nigh-instant.
  • Call-Forward:
    • In the first mission, McCoy pulls off a I Surrender, Suckers stunt that was commonplace in WDoA and will bullrush the survivor should Cooper eliminate only one of the two guys holding him at gunpoint.
    • At one point, McCoy mentions discovering his knock-out gas in a swamp near a small town called Jennings. Come WDoA, and the people of Jennings try to hang him.
    • In Baton Rouge, Kate notes that a poker tournament will be happening there soon and ponders the possibility of participating. When John laughs her off, Kate fires back, saying that she’d already beaten him once. Kate does indeed compete in a tournament some six years later.
      • Kate is shown to be pretty new to poker, but in the first DLC mission, she says that she's been improving her skills greatly. By the time of the original game, she's become a professional gambler and cardsharp.
    • During the first DLC mission, Kate explains that Cooper is late because he was working on a bank job with Samuel Williams. When Doc notes that he's never heard of this Sam, Kate responds that John will — eventually — introduce Sam to him. The two first meet in WDoA.
    • The entire third DLC mission takes place in Pablo Sanchez’s fortress of Eagle’s Nest — only without Sanchez himself, naturally. Hector even references someone called Diego who’s been sizing up the fort for his son.
  • Changed My Mind, Kid: McCoy leaves the group after Cooper screws everything up by trying to challenge Frank alone and getting the gang captured and sent to the Company's gold mines. The next two missions are done without him. However, he chooses to come back and arrives to save them from DeVitt after the latter manages to wrestle Hector's sawed-off from him and was about to kill them all. It’s later confirmed that Doc knew where to look for the gang as he’d consulted Marshall Wayne beforehand.
  • Chinese Launderer: In Baton Rouge, there is Sam Wong's Laundry, fitting to the game's The Wild West setting.
  • Clown-Car Base: Barracks can send waves of reinforcements from a relatively small building. These are limited in number and can be viewed by hovering the cursor over the building's alarm bell.
  • Cold Sniper: Just like in all other Desperados games, McCoy is the sniper of the group and by far the most emotionally distant and the most businesslike; for most of the game he is Only in It for the Money.
  • Color-Coded Characters: Much like Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun, characters are strongly identified with a color to make their actions easier to identify in the heat of action. Cooper is teal, McCoy is purple, Hector is orange-brown, Kate is peach, Isabelle is dark green. This extends to the objects they are interacting with. Enemies tend to be associated with red, civilians with pale yellow, and friendly NPCs with bright green.
  • Conflict Ball: Cooper firmly grabs hold of it at the end of Chapter II. Having finally cornered Frank, Cooper wants to challenge him to a duel alone. Kate and Hector both wisely protest, and Cooper responds by shooting Hector in the shoulder, crippling him for the remainder of the mission and forcing Kate to look after him. Cooper then heads in, loses to Frank, and gets himself and his friends captured. Justified in that he’s been obsessed with Frank for the better part of a decade and has been cheated of revenge several times already.
  • Corrupt Politician: Flagstone’s Mayor Higgins is on the DeVitt Company's payroll and sold Kate's ranch to them behind her back. Kate is murderously displeased.
  • Cosmetic Award: Completing a stage once will reveal a number of badges that can be earned. Difficulty ranges from fairly easy (e.g. “open all the cages” in the bayou mission) to completely and clearly insane (e.g. “do not save” or “do not use a character’s entire kit” in that character vs. seven enemies scenario), but there are no gameplay rewards attached to them.
  • Cuteness Proximity: Isabelle's cat, Stella, can be used as a distraction. Normal guards can't resist petting her when she’s near them.
  • Darkest Hour: The end of the second chapter of the game when all five characters are captured and shipped off to be worked to death in the DeVitt gold mines. The ensuing Las Piedras mission also qualifies as McCoy’s departure had punched a hole in the gang’s morale and Kate very nearly follows in his footsteps.
  • Defector from Decadence: Hector used to be part of Frank's gang. He quit after Frank asked him to kill a teenager, a young Cooper.
  • Developer's Foresight:
    • If the player manages to trigger the alarm while your gang’s bantering between themselves, they will immediately fall silent and continue their conversation from the point where they left off once the coast is clear.
    • In Isabelle's intro mission, if you try to rescue Doc using a goon mind-controlled by Isabelle, he'll kill them, and Isabelle will comment that he in all likelihood needs to see a friendly face rather than an enemy. A puppet can still save all other characters.
    • Long Coats shot by a mind-controlled mook will remember the person who did it and shoot that individual when encountered.
    • Isabelle can put characters that are already under the player’s control under her Mind Control to entertaining results as all of the characters — Doc and Hector in particular — will have distinct reactions to it.
    • Isabelle's Connect has a ton of secret synergies that a clever player can utilize. For instance, the game states that Hector's personal healing item (a flask of whiskey called "the Good Stuff") is too strong for anyone else to use. If you connect Hector to a guard and have him take a swig, the connected guard instantly passes out. Another example includes using Connect on one live mook and one tied-up one, then chucking the latter into a body of water which will drown the other mook even if they're on land. This even plays a special drowning animation.
    • In the O'Hara Ranch mission Hector and Doc bet on who will get the most kills. They'll keep track of their progress by counting each one out loud and they'll keep counting up to a hundred which, normally, is not possible to achieve as there are only 85 enemies on the entire map. If you cheat and keep spawning mooks for them to slaughter, as soon as one of them gets to a hundred, they'll stop and, depending on who won, will have a unique exchange.
      Hector: (if he got to a hundred first) Hah! One-hundred. How many you got, Doc?
      McCoy: I think we're done counting. You've made your point.
      Hector: Come now, Doc. I'm always here for a rematch.

      McCoy: (if he got to a hundred first) That makes a hundred. What's your tally?
      Hector: Uh...think I lost count. Let's say it's a draw.
      McCoy: That sounds more like capitulating, Mr. Hector.
  • Difficulty Levels: Beginner, Normal, Hard, and Desperado. Raising the difficulty also changes the enemy mob types and setups in the level. Desperado also disables the pause feature of the Showdown Mode.
  • The Dog Was the Mastermind: In one of the Baron’s Challenge maps, you are tasked with taking out four gang leaders. One is a chicken called El Pollo Mateo. The chicken's description says, "The chicken is behind it all. Put an end to its schemes."
  • The Dragon: Frank is DeVitt's top enforcer, and the one carrying his orders on the field.
  • Dragon Their Feet: Frank quits DeVitt's employ just before the heroes carry out their plan to capture the latter. Therefore, after DeVitt is subdued and shipped off, there's a final mission in which the heroes go to confront Frank who has returned to his old hideout in Mexico.
  • Easy Level Trick:
    • The New Orleans mission where the gang looks for Marshall Wayne involves going over three different locations with a fine-tooth comb for evidence. Any of the three informants can hold the incriminating letter and the game randomly determines it every time you play it. Every informant is surrounded by hordes of bodyguards and civilians who will call for the guards if they witness you using any of your skills, so ordinarily, you’re required to slowly and methodically chip away at the guards before you can approach the informant. Or you can simply get McCoy into position, get him to snipe the informant, then waltz in with the disguised Kate, and pluck the letter off the guy’s still-warm body. And the fact a chunk of the second part of this mission where the gang makes their way to DeVitt’s storage yard can be skipped by taking a shortcut near Café Chez Manu is sure make one’s life much easier.
    • Casa DeVitt, the penultimate mission, has our heroes infiltrate DeVitt's well-guarded villa during a gala full of people to try and kidnap him. The initial plan was for the group to cause a distraction, either using fireworks or a fancy contraption in the backyard to distract people away from the main plaza, leaving DeVitt alone with a few guards. This requires elaborate cooperation between the four characters to systematically eliminate DeVitt's men stealthily until they can proceed with the plan. Or you can just eliminate a few guards on the balcony and get Isabelle up there then have her mind control DeVitt once he wanders into range, getting him out of the guards' views, knocking him out, and carrying him to the extraction wagon, finishing the mission. Kate and Cooper don't even have to do anything at all besides reuniting with the others. In fact, there are even two badges that can be earned by not using any of Kate and Cooper's skills and having Isabelle Mind Control DeVitt.
  • Elite Mooks: The Long Coats are the only enemies that can't be killed in one hit (except by Hector in melee). They can't be distracted by conventional means and also see through Kate's disguise.
  • Enemy Chatter: Enemies close to each other will have a chat if the camera pans to them. These conversations will occasionally provide hints and/or deepen the lore.
  • Equal-Opportunity Evil: The DeVitt Company has no problem hiring women and black people as their muscle.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: DeVitt smuggles slaves and while many goons under his employ will enthusiastically “look after” them, the player will just as often encounter mooks that express their discomfort at the notion.
  • Everyone Has Standards: The heroes don't always distinguish themselves by their moral sense, but their idle comments during the bayou mission make it clear that they all loathe slavery.
  • Evil, Inc.: In the public eye, the DeVitt Company is a respectable if a tad ruthless railroad company. Behind the scenes, however, the company dabbles in slavery by using legal loopholes to bypass its ban, kidnaps people and works them to death in the gold mines, and uses violence to take the lands it wants.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: How Cooper meets and grows close to all of his companions. He bails Doc out during a train robbery; Doc saves him right back. He runs into Kate during a wedding heist. Isabelle saves him during a shootout. And Hector spared his life as a kid after Frank ordered his execution.
  • Foreshadowing: The citizens of Baton Rouge mention several times 'swamp witches' and 'swamp witchcraft'. The next mission introduces Isabelle who can use voodoo.
  • Freudian Excuse: Implied with DeVitt if he is telling the truth during his ramblings to his guards after his party is ruined. Apparently, as soon as he was old enough, his father threw him out of the house in the streets with only his clothes and a dime, and let him fend for himself.
  • Gameplay and Story Integration: The DeVitt Company doesn’t exactly provide its hirelings with the best armaments or equipment, McCoy notes at one point, which explains why your enemies have a tendency to miss your characters during a shootout — especially at longer distances.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: In the third mission, Cooper's and Hector's objective is to kill the local head representatives of the DeVitt Company. However, due to how the engine works, the game will also count them 'dead' even if they were only knocked out, trussed up, and hidden somewhere (for instance in one of the closets of the brothel for Wild Marge).
  • Gender Is No Object: The DeVitt Company employs plenty of gunwomen in addition to gunmen. This isn't purely cosmetic either; female mooks are immune to Kate's wiles and will also dissuade their male colleagues if Kate tries to lure them away if they're nearby.
  • Good is Not Nice: The protagonists face off against bandits and the corrupt DeVitt Company, but they are also jaded people who are not above using lethal means of ridding the world of their foes. They will also rough up civilians if they can't avoid it, such as knocking out someone so that Kate can steal her clothes to disguise herself.
  • Guns Akimbo: Cooper carries two revolvers which let him take down two enemies at once. Interestingly, he carries two different models: his signature Remington New Model Army from previous games and a Colt 1851 Navy.
  • Heal Thyself: Hector carries a flask of the Good Stuff, a swig of which will completely restore his HP. The tooltip says it's too strong for everyone else unlike McCoy and Isabelle who both can use their medical skills on anyone, themselves included.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Hector, in the backstory, used to work for Frank. He switched sides when Frank asked him to kill Cooper who was just a child at the time.
  • Hero Must Survive: Losing any of your characters in any non-scripted sequence is a mission failure.
  • Hopeless Boss Fight: When Cooper confronts Frank in the New Orleans docks, the player is given control to allow for one action only: drawing Cooper's Colt Navy revolver. Unfortunately, Frank is quicker on the draw and shoots Cooper in the leg which puts him out of action for a while.
  • Hypocritical Humor:
    • Hector chastises Cooper for resorting to poisoning a vat with whiskey, arguing that a killer should look their victim in the eye. This is coming from a man frequently using a giant bear trap (which he named) to kill others as Cooper points out.
    Hector: I don't know, amigo. You kill a man you look him in the eye.
    Cooper: Like when you use that giant bear trap of yours?
    Hector: Hey, leave Bianca out of this!
    • One of the enemy thugs delivering a brief eulogy to another deceased mook in the same mission.
    Gunman: Bill... was a good man. Never hurt a fly. Beat his wife like there was no tomorrow, but who doesn't, eh? You rest in peace there, Bill.
  • I Call Her "Vera":
    • Hector refers to his giant bear trap as Bianca. Even the tooltips get in on this; in a mission where Bianca is replaced with a rake, the tooltip refers to it as "Not-Bianca".
    • Cooper refers to his revolvers as "The Old" (Colt Navy) and "The New" (Remington New Army).
  • Instant Death Stab: Cooper uses a Bowie knife to quietly take out targets. Seeing as this is a stealth game, the targets die fast with minimal noise.
  • Instant Replay: New to the series, a post-game map replays your routes and actions at x32 speed. It also tracks your kills and knockouts, saves, loads, and which abilities you used.
  • Interface Spoiler: Right from the first mission in the game when you hit the 'pause' button and see the control scheme, you can already see locators for the controls to execute Showdown Mode with McCoy, Hector, Kate, and Isabelle, well before any of them have debuted in the story.
  • It's Personal with the Dragon: Vincent DeVitt is the main antagonistic force, but Cooper's true beef is with his top enforcer, Frank, a retired outlaw responsible for the death of his father.
  • Justified Tutorial: The prologue features a fourteen-year-old John assisting his father, James, in tracking down a bounty. James instructs him in all the tricks and tools of the trade and, by extension, the player regarding basic gameplay mechanics.
  • Last Lousy Point: There's an achievement for killing or incapacitating all 31 of the NPCs named after Mimimi developers. Made worse by the lack of in-game progress tracking specifying which ones you've already eliminated, as well as some NPCs having names but not being considered part of the achievement.
  • Leave No Witnesses: One of the Baron's challenges and a few mission badges ask you to murder absolutely everyone on a map (excluding civilians and guards residing in their barracks).
  • Little Useless Gun: Kate's Derringer is an aversion. While it has the shortest range of all other guns at your disposal, it's still just as lethal as other guns and is a lot quieter than Cooper's revolvers or Hector’s sawed-off.
  • Losing the Team Spirit: McCoy’s departure at the start of Chapter 3 does a number on the gang’s morale and very nearly splits them further.
  • Make It Look Like an Accident: Environmental kills won't cause surviving enemies to sound the alarm. While they will scour the area in a panic, they won't call reinforcements or fail any “remain undetected” objectives. Bizarrely, this even applies to accidental deaths copied using Isabelle's Connect, meaning that a guard who suddenly gets crushed to death by nothing in the middle of an open field will still be treated as an accident by anyone who sees it happen.
  • Master of Unlocking: McCoy, as always. He even boasts about being able to crack open Vincent DeVitt’s safe despite not even looking at what kind of lock he’ll be facing.
  • Mugged for Disguise: Kate can disguise herself as a civilian and walk in her enemies’ plain sight, with only the Long Coats and the dogs being able to recognize her as an impostor, but it always involves stealing the clothes of another woman after knocking her out.
  • N.G.O. Superpower: Officially, the DeVitt Company is a railroad company. However, its massive wealth stemming from its gold mine and slave trade allows it to maintain a small private army and to have several gangs of criminals working for it. It's powerful enough to control a city such as Flagstone and to put New Orleans on complete lockdown.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Hector is basically a sanguine Bud Spencer, who dropped his curmudgeonly nature.
  • No-Gear Level: Baton Rouge, somewhat. Your characters have no weapons but retain their distraction skills. DeVitt Goldmine can also be played this way for a badge. Several of the Baron’s Challenge levels also take away every method of harming or incapacitating enemies directly. Downplayed in Casa DeVitt. Cooper has to do without his revolvers but retains all his other abilities, including his knife.
  • Non-Action Big Bad: Due to being, in Cooper's words, a "rich asshole", Vincent DeVitt relies on Frank and all his guards to do the fighting for him. Though he's not as weak as he appears, as he was able to get the drop on Hector and steal his weapon, and knows how to use a shotgun.
  • No-Sell:
    • Female mooks are immune to Kate's charms and Long Coats will spot and identify her on a moment's notice.
    • Using Kate to try and distract DeVitt himself during his gala party will result in Vincent recognizing her and sounding the alarm.
    • Downplayed with Long Coats and McCoy’s gas flasks. Normally, the gas knocks everyone, including your party members, out cold. Long Coats are immune because of their bandanas, but the gas will still weaken them, allowing any one of your characters to melee them.
  • Only a Flesh Wound:
    • One of Cooper's lines when being damaged is "just a scratch," which includes getting shot.
    • Averted with Kate's uncle who gets hit in the shoulder by a gatling gun bullet but claims ‘it looks worse than it is.’ He quickly collapses and dies from the blood loss.
  • Pacifist Run: Aside from the tutorial, most missions can be completed just using distractions and non-lethal takedowns; if a mission asks you to eliminate a target, tying them up and hiding their body will be enough to complete the objective. Some missions (such as New Orleans) give a medal for finishing them without killing anyone. There's no explicit encouragement or acknowledgment for playing this way more generally, however, and characters will still kill during cutscenes.
  • Purely Aesthetic Gender: Subverted. At first, it seems like female mooks are just there for the sake of it, but there's actually a gameplay mechanic behind it: Kate's distraction techniques won't work on them.
  • Rake Take: On the level where all your equipment is replaced by non-lethal versions, Hector's bear trap is replaced by a rake that invokes these for a non-lethal KO.
  • Real-Time with Pause: Showdown Mode pauses the game (except on the highest difficulty) to allow the player to line up actions from several characters at once. The game's final confrontation cannot be won without it.
  • Replay Value: Some of the game badges are mutually exclusive (e.g. in the "Until Death Do Us Part" one badge is earned by not using the Gatling gun and another is earned by killing at least 15 enemies with it), making it mandatory to replay the mission if the player wishes to collect all the badges. Even when badges theoretically aren't exclusive, it's often way too impractical if not impossible to actually earn them all on a single gameplay; for example, the speedrun badge is all but unobtainable unless the player forgoes the badges earned by not using a certain skill (as they limit considerably the strategic possibilities) or by doing a non-essential action that requires a detour from the main quest.
  • Sacrificial Lion: Kate's uncle, a boisterous Irishman capable of holding off an entire squad of goons with only Cooper and his niece by his side during the shootout at the O'Hara Ranch, dies of blood loss after getting hit by a gatling gun bullet. His death motivates Kate all the way.
  • Save Scumming: Expected and encouraged by the game to the point that you are reminded if you haven't saved in a while. The mechanic is so prominent, in fact, it’s the main highlight of Desperados III announcement trailer.
  • Ship Tease:
    • Between Cooper and Kate who are shown to take a liking to each other during their adventures. She Big Damn Kisses him just before the beginning of his climactic duel with Frank. But seeing as these two are an Official Couple in all other Desperados games, it might come across as Foregone Conclusion.
    • Between McCoy and Isabelle, though it's more of a Belligerent Sexual Tension flavor. The two of them constantly bicker and make bets, but McCoy keeps coming up with reasons to stick by her which she subtly teases him for, and when he temporarily leaves the team, Isabelle explicitly comments that she misses him… before calling him an idiot. Kate is very much aware of what’s happening between these two, and the “belligerent” part gets seemingly downplayed in the DLC — mostly due to Doc being Out of Focus for its duration.
  • Short-Range Shotgun: Downplayed with Hector's shotgun. One can't deal damage outside the range cone highlighted when equipping the weapon, though it has a decent range along with the spread allowing you to hit multiple enemies.
  • Shotguns Are Just Better: Hector's shotgun fires in a cone-shaped arc, but anyone inside that cone is dead, allowing Hector to take out swathes of mooks with a single blast.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Between his name, his status as a retired outlaw working for a railroad company owner, and all the dialogues centered around him ultimately missing the good old days of the Far West before the railroad brought modernity to these lands, it's pretty clear that Frank is a huge loving homage to, well, another Frank. Especially when you see Cooper's backstory and learn that like the other Frank, this one forced the protagonist into a position where they were responsible for the death of a relative.
    • One of Kate's select lines refers to a certain other western-themed series:
    Kate: These violent delights...
    Isabelle: I've got friends on the other side.
  • Showdown at High Noon: Frank loves these, to the point of setting them up intentionally even when he could just shoot his enemy instead; at one point DeVitt even complains about it.
    • In particular, there's one when Cooper finally catches up to him for the first time, although the results are scripted.
    • And later, the final encounter of the game consists of one of these, although you control everyone except Cooper in order to eliminate Frank's men at the same instant when Cooper and Frank fire.
  • Slavery Is a Special Kind of Evil: The DeVitt Company uses slaves which it “procures” with the help of criminal gangs on its payroll, and this specific action is shown to particularly disgust the main characters.
  • Stab the Scorpion: When Cooper and McCoy first meet, Cooper saves McCoy from a pair of thugs. McCoy returns the favor by aiming his gun at Cooper, prompting Cooper to respond with an annoyed "really?" only for McCoy to fire and shoot the third thug creeping up behind John.
  • Starter Villain: Big Ann, the leader of the gang attacking the train that Cooper is using to go to Flagstone, is the first antagonist of the game and isn't mentioned after her gang is defeated. She's also a Lone Wolf Boss as she doesn't have ties with the DeVitt company; in fact, her actions even indirectly oppose the company as she's robbing one of their trains.
  • Stealth-Based Game: To an extent. While sneaking around is the most effective way to pick off enemies, even on higher difficulties a gunfight can be a sound plan, as long as it's started on your terms.
  • Stop Poking Me!: All five playable characters will have a violently visceral reaction if you repeatedly click on them.
    • Cooper will tell you a story about an overly inquisitive fellow who lost his finger and, among other things, call you a jackass.
    • McCoy will "do inventory" i.e. detail just how many different quick-acting and extremely deadly poisons he has in his bag before inviting you to choose one.
    • Kate will recite a little verse about her past suitors and how awful all of them were before directly comparing you to one.
    • Hector will first laugh at being tickled, then start flirting with you (and assuming you’re Bianca) before reassuring you that, no, he wouldn’t dare look at other women.
    • Isabelle will use her Mind Control on you and compel you to wipe all of your save data.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Since this is a prequel, Sanchez and Mia (who are met only in Desperados: Wanted Dead or Alive) can't appear. Hector and Isabelle take their places as the hard-drinking Big Guy with a shotgun and Sixth Ranger with the Team Pet and darts that can make enemies attack each other, respectively.
  • The Guards Must Be Crazy: Enemy AI is extremely predictable and easy to manipulate. Tropes Are Tools and this is to the game's favor as exploiting this is a gameplay cornerstone. That said, the guards actually avert the worst aspects of this trope — they'll notice if their buddies have disappeared and spend some time looking for them, for instance. New players to the game or genre may also be surprised at just how far the guards can see and what they will react to.
  • The Roleplaying Game: Pegasus Games released a pen-and-pencil tabletop game based on the game.
  • They Call Me Mr Tibbs: McCoy is quick to correct everyone that his correct title is “Doctor” whenever someone calls him “Mister.”
  • This Is Something He's Got to Do Himself: Cooper insists on this when he catches up to Frank for the first time, to the point of shooting Hector to make him stay away. It doesn't end well.
  • Throwing Your Sword Always Works: Cooper carries a knife, which he can throw for ranged kills, and something he expresses great pride in when equipping it.
  • Too Dumb to Live:
    • Mayor Higgins still tries to marry Kate after having already sold the deed of her family's ranch behind her back. Somehow, he expects that this will have no repercussions for him. Frank rightfully points out that this was a stupid decision during their meeting.
    • Magnus DeVitt, the brother of Vincent DeVitt and antagonist of the second DLC mission, definitively is. It's one thing to gloat in a message that you hid your brother's money while revealing your identity. It's another to keep acting like a Smug Snake and to belittle the armed people who cornered you alone on the roof of your mansion in order to ask you about said money, after having probably neutralized and potentially killed a good chunk of your guards. Killing him actually even gives a badge.
  • Truce Zone: Sort of. You can freely move in the streets of Flagstone, New Orleans, and the public-allowed parts of the DeVitt Mansion (though only with Cooper and Kate who are posing as guests) without getting shot at, as long you are not caught doing anything suspicious. This also allows Kate to use her usually disguise-dependent abilities without said disguise.
  • Unintentionally Unwinnable: In Baton Rouge, McCoy is unconscious and needs to be carried to a boat at the end of the level. Hector can throw bodies he's carrying, with no requirement that he (or anyone else for that matter) be able to reach that location by any other means. The boat has an unreachable roof, but throwing McCoy on there doesn't count as bringing him to the boat, and the game only tells you this when you've completed all the other objectives in the level. Hope you didn't quicksave in the meantime.
  • Videogame Caring Potential: The game allows for non-lethal attack options, but there's actually no penalty for killing enemies. And since the lethal actions are slightly more efficient and convenient as they don't need the characters to spend time tying up the enemies, players opting to defeat non-lethally as many enemies as possible only do it because they want to be merciful. Some of the mooks have dialogues that slightly humanize them or genuinely funny lines, making some people willing to incapacitate them non-lethally. It's even possible to finish some maps without killing a single soul, and there's actually a reward for doing it in the New Orleans, Las Piedras, and the final Devil's Canyon missions.note 
  • Videogame Cruelty Potential: On the other hand, the game also allows you to be creatively mean with the unlucky mooks and NPCs you come across.
    • You can knock out an already unconscious goon as many times as you want as long as they're not tied up.
    • You can kill a goon while they're already tied up and defenseless. There's even a reason you might want to do so since you can use them to kill another NPC remotely using Isabelle's Connect.
    • The mission in Baton Rouge only gives you non-lethal weapons which means that killing requires more effort than non-lethally taking them out. You can still find ways to do it, and there's even a badge for killing enough of them. It's worth noting that this time you're not up against the DeVitt Company or a criminal gang, but against Baton Rouge's citizens who think you ransacked their town and robbed the bank. And while shooting on sight is Disproportionate Retribution, they have legitimate grievances against the gang. Also, they seem to be acting more on misinformed stupidity than true malice.
    • Some of their idle dialogues can be surprisingly good at humanizing the mooks. Some of them will invite another to play cards or to have a drink after their shift as part of their stock lines during a conversation. There are even instances of more elaborate dialogues humanizing them. For instance, in the Casa DeVitt Mission, it's painfully obvious that one of the Long Coats, named Bill by the other characters, has a crush on one of the gunwomen of the estate and tries to ask her out every time he passes near her during his round, but Cannot Spit It Out. You can still kill them if you want.
    • Unlike previous games in the series, killing an innocent civilian is no longer an automatic mission failure by default (or even penalized in any way, outside of the game keeping track).note 
    • Isabelle can Mind Control enemies into killing their allies, including people who are clearly close friends they were just having a conversation with.
  • Weapon-Based Characterization: Each of the main cast has a variety of weapons and tools at their disposal:
    • Cooper carries a pair of revolvers that allow him to dispatch two enemies at once. He also uses a Bowie Knife for both close-quarters and ranged kills.
    • Doc uses a Colt Buntline Special using a custom stock and rounds for long-ranged, nigh-silent kills. He also has an array of medical equipment, such as a syringe with poison, chloroform, and swamp gas bombs that give him greater versatility than other snipers in the real-time stealth tactical genre.
    • Hector, as The Big Guy, prefers larger, noisier weapons, such as his axe, sawed-off shotgun, and Bianca.
    • While Kate prefers to use her feminine wiles, she still wields a Derringer, which is quieter than other firearms.
    • While Isabelle's blow gun can't kill anyone directly, it does have useful puppet and link abilities, making this a case of Abnormal Ammo. For melee kills, she does use a small sickle.
  • What Did I Do Last Night?: The Baton Rouge mission starts in the morning after a night involving things like a bull somehow getting onto the roof of a local saloon, improbable cannon fire ricochet aiming, local militia mistaking McCoy for Satan, and suspicion of swamp witchcraft. On top of that, Hector slept with the sheriff's wife, and that alone makes the gang motivated to get out of dodge.
  • What Measure Is a Mook?:
    • In general, the characters never give a second thought to the mooks they kill, even during situations in which it's very unlikely that all these people (or even a majority of them) are criminals: for instance, the guards of Higgins Estate or the citizens of Baton Rouge.
    • The Casa DeVitt's mission objectively forbids you to kill Vincent DeVitt, as the Marshall wants him alive to be judged or to kill any of the guests. The lives of the many guards of the estate are free game, however. While most of them are implied to be criminals part of Frank's gang and other gangs of outlaws, Vincent DeVitt is arguably a much more evil human being than them. It's even possible that some of them are mere guards doing their jobs, with no ties to the Company.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: The rest of the party reacts this way to Cooper insisting on confronting Frank alone, shooting Hector, and getting everyone captured in the New Orleans Docks mission. Hector and Isabelle forgive him fairly quickly, but Doc quits on the spot (albeit not permanently), and Kate very nearly does the same — Hector convinces her to give Cooper another chance.
  • The Wild West: The setting of the game, and it includes many of the Wild West tropes.
  • Would Hit a Girl: None of the heroes have any compunction attacking or even killing female opponents. Or female civilians, for that matter, should the player feel merciless.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Enemy mooks are willing to kill the fourteen-year-old Cooper during flashbacks.
  • You Killed My Father: Cooper wants to kill Frank because the latter is responsible of the death of his father.