Wanted: Dead – How to Unlock Easy Mode

    Take some of the sting out of enemy swords and bullets, and get a nice pair of cat ears in the process.

    Wanted: Dead is a love letter to a generation of action games that demanded much from its players. While it’s not quite Ninja Gaiden (2004), a game some of developer Soleil’s staff worked on, it’s very challenging. On top of that, as the game goes on and the difficulty climbs, checkpoints become more and more distant from one another. Dying near the end of one of these sections can be crushing, as it renders tens of minutes of Hannah’s skillful slaughter all for naught.

    While the combat is surely compelling, Wanted: Dead‘s weird factor is another strong source of the game’s appeal. If you’d rather be spending your time at the game’s claw machines, ramen stall, firing range, or watching stupifying cutscenes, there’s good news: a secret easy mode is available. The easy mode in Wanted: Dead is called “Neko-chan” and is the least challenging option available. It’ll also put a cat-ear headband on protagonist Hannah for the duration of the game.

    Cortez, Hannah, and Doc walking into Daeur headquarters. Hannah is wearing the Neko-chan cat ears from the Wanted: Dead easy mode.
    Wanted: Dead is so off-the-wall that cat ears don’t feel out of place in the middle of its bloody action.

    Does it work like in Devil May Cry?

    During my Wanted: Dead playthrough I had the sneaking suspicion that an easy mode would become available the way it does in the Devil May Cry series. After all, if sixth-generation action is your inspiration, you can’t ignore DMC. Upon further research, in a trailer dedicated to breaking down the game’s enemies, 110 Industries said as much: if you die a few times, you’ll unlock easy mode.

    This isn’t the case! At least not in my experience. In some of the harder sections I died 4-5 times before reaching the next checkpoint and I was never offered the ability to change the difficulty or notified another mode had been unlocked. From what I can tell there’s no option to change your difficulty mode at any point in the game. It’s not even allowed when selecting New Game Plus.

    If you’ve already begun playing on Normal and you don’t feel like you’ll persevere, keep this in mind. To play on Easy, you’ll need to start the game over, so quit Normal early if you’re not up to the challenge.

    The difficulty selection screen from Wanted: Dead.

    How to Unlock Easy Mode in Wanted: Dead

    In true retro style, you unlocked the Wanted: Dead easy mode with a button combination, not unlike classic cheat codes of old.

    • On the title screen, press Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Left, Right, Right

    You’ll hear a sound effect if you did it right. Head to “New Game” to check and see if Neko-chan mode is available to be certain. If so, you’re good to go. You’ll be able to enjoy the wild world of Wanted: Dead with less of a challenge.

    It’s interesting to note that the code is similar to the legendary “Konami Code” (Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, B, A, Start) and unlocks an easier difficulty while putting something on player’s heads, much like the Chicken Hat from Metal Gear Solid V. Soliel’s third-person shooter/slasher hybrid is full of video game references, so this is surely intentional.

    A Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain screenshot featuring Venom Snake passing the time by smoking while wearing the easy mode Chicken Hat.
    Venom Snake’s easy mode headgear is a bit more apparent than Hannah’s.

    Wanted: Dead is available now for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, and PC.

    BusterSwordBoy is a video game enthusiast who writes about them here, plays them live on Twitch, and talks about them endlessly to anyone who will listen. Subjectively believes that the PS2 is objectively the greatest console of all time, but also loves games from far older hardware, and new releases as well.

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