WET is an over the top, no holds barred action fest
WET is, at its very core, a love-hate game. You’re either going to love it or you’re going to hate it, there are no two ways about it. Designed to look and feel like a classic Hong Kong action movie in the vein of Hard Boiled or a Tarantino Grindhouse flick such as Kill Bill, it’s an over the top, no holds barred action fest from the moment you select New Game to 10 minutes before the end credits roll.
You play Rubi Malone a fixer who solves problems for those who have the resources to pay her. At the start of the game Rubi is a woman on a mission, she’s been hired to recover a case with some delicate contents. After a short tutorial explaining the controls and Rubi’s considerable acrobatic prowess, you are let loose to hunt down a chap named Simmons who has what Rubi wants. So starts your adventure down a path of murder, revenge and a whole lot of blood and bullets.
There are a few things that make WET different from the likes of Stranglehold or Max Payne. Firstly, and most noticeably, WET’s slow motion feature engages every time Rubi jumps, dives or slides while firing at enemies. Secondly, players can target two enemies at the same time during this slow motion jump/dive/slide. Artificial Mind and Movement should be commended for how well they integrated these two elements into the game.
The slow motion never engages outside of combat and lasts until you stop firing. The split targeting does a brilliant job of thinning enemy ranks, one gun auto locks on the closest enemy in Rubi’s field of vision while the second is manually targeted using the Right Stick. However both guns fire simultaneously even when your manually targeted gun isn’t aimed at an enemy. This is fine for the pistols which never run out of ammo but for other weapons it tends to deplete your ammo pretty quickly.
The third is Rage mode which consists of noir inspired black, white and red pallets which resemble Frank Miller’s Sin City. Rage mode is manually controlled and lasts as long as the designers choose. Rubi moves faster and her attacks do more damage. Once enemies are killed in rage mode, they disappear as if hastily erased from the pallet.
Rubi gains Style Points for dispatching enemies with, erm, style. Head-shots and groin-shots as well as more creative manoeuvres such as slashing an enemy from a slide or wall run, or shooting enemies while swinging from poles, all award players extra style points. These style points can then be used to purchase upgrades for Rubi’s abilities and weapons, such as the ability to run up a standing enemy’s body and launch herself into the air before slashing him with her sword. It is also possible to purchase more straight-forward upgrades, such as increasing Rubi’s pistol fire rate or damage.
Unlike most shooters, WET does not allow players to pick up weapons. Rubi has 4 weapon sets to choose from that are unlocked as the story mode progresses. Rubi’s default weapons are her twin Pistols. These can be substituted with either a set of dual-wield semi-automatic Shotguns, dual SMG’s or duel Dart Crossbows which fire explosive darts.
Through the Story Mode, which lasts about 5 or 6 hours depending on the difficulty level, we stuck mainly to the pistols. There are parts in which this is not possible, such as when fighting one of the game’s many mini-gun wielding enemies who can only be killed by pumping them full of lead before players must capitalise on a quick-time event that kills them in a suitably satisfying and graphic manner. In WET, all boss fights are handled using quick-time events which set up finishing moves.
Although we usually don’t like quick-time events that are thrown in due to lazy game design, WET’s developers did a superb job integrating them into the gameplay without making them feel contrived or forced.
One of WET’s strengths is that throughout the story-mode, levels are designed in line with the plot not the other way around. Stranglehold is a game that is quite similar to WET, however, unlike WET, each level is the same. While they might look different and take place in different parts of the world, after the third level everything starts feeling as if you’ve done it a million times before. In WET however, the level design, although many levels feature the same elements, does manage to keep it fresh.
The plot is not going to win any awards and I don’t think it was intended to, although it does have one or two surprising twists. Our main complaint with WET is the disappointing ending. One would think that a game which opens with players jumping from car to car as they speed along a busy highway whilst gunning down passing enemies would have an awesome ending. Much like the final anti-climactic 10 minutes of Kill Bill Vol. 2, WET left us feeling disappointed.
Visually speaking, WET isn’t stunning. The Gaia engine looks dated, but the addition of the stylised old-school-grindhouse-cinema feel makes up for the technical shortcomings.
There is some replay value to be had with a challenge mode and 3 unlockable difficulty levels.
Overall a worthwhile purchase, even if just to give you something to play while you wait for Borderlands or one of the other soon to be released AAA titles.
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