Time to go to work
The third person shooter is an odd little genre, there are some truly great games and then there are games that should be great, but fall short of the mark due to some frustrations and certain issues. WET is a game that has a great start but kind of falls foul of some traditional developer thinking, not to say that it's a bad game, it's just one that doesn't fully shine.
Enter a new sensibly clothed heroine, Rubi Malone, voiced by actress Eliza Duhsku (Faith from Buffy) and backed up by a quality voice cast. Rubi does odd jobs and is a Wetworks Assassin, killing for money and her own personal code of honour. She's tough and no-nonsense and her story is told in a Grindhouse manner (look up Grindhouse on google) complete with cinema-style intermission pauses and grainy film filter. Rubi does a job one day and the inevitable repercussions come back to bite her pretty hard one year later. So Rubi packs her guns and goes globe-trotting in search of answers and people to shoot.
WET has a fairly solid control system and you can level up your character, getting better weapon damage and other cool additional skills like shooting from swinging poles or zip-lines. It's nothing new and it has been done before, however, WET brings a sense of cinematic grandeur to the proceedings that were only really seen in John Woo's movies and games like Stranglehold or Max Payne. If you're familiar with either of those then you're probably going to like WET quite a lot. The typical run/gun shooter controls are supplemented by the idea that Rubi can wall run, get airborne and shoot dual-wield pistols/guns as she flies through the air.
To help you, the game goes into slow-mo every time you jump forwards, backwards, evade and pull off a cool acrobatic move. This is the key to victory in WET since Rubi's health can often regenerate when she's got a high combo multiplier and the more combos she has performed and linked, the better XP she gets for upgrading her weapons/skills/life bar and so on. You can go from a wall run, into a dive, bring the sword she carries crashing down onto one foe, and then go into a ground slide with both guns blazing to finish with a human wall run and some more gunplay. Once you get the hang of it, it works really quite well and is suitably stylish too.
Gunplay, sword-slashing and violent dismemberment aside, WET breaks up the gameplay by offering some interesting additional elements: such as acrobatic level navigation, ala, Tomb Raider, Prince of Persia and other games of the type. Arena levels where you have to close a set number of respawn gates and so on before you can kill the remaining enemies, freeway style chase sequences with some minimal quick-time events and even challenging boss battles that require brains over brawn most of the time. There's also a strange Rage section where Rubi gets blood in her eyes and the screen becomes red and white, with everything taking on a look akin to the Crazy 88 scene in Kill Bill.
On paper it works nicely, in the game it can be a little jarring at first to learn all the intricacies of the combat system and due to certain save-point/check-point frequency, you'll find yourself re-treading old ground due to a failed pixel-perfect jump in some of the levels where you're not quite sure where to go or how far you should jump. We found the lack of a short jump or even a simple single jump frustrating and it led to player death on many an occasion when we leapt off the side of a building when trying to acrobatically kill someone in a very tortuous rooftop chase.
There were no real glitches though and control system problems aside, a few camera issues now and then, it's still solid fun and fairly hard even on the easier difficulty. One issue we did have that annoyed all of us, the Boneyard. You're forced to complete challenges in the Boneyard to progress in the story, these are against a timer and well, if anyone knows me by now there are two things in games I loathe - timers and protect missions.
The stylish Kill Bill/Grindhouse style flicker-filter and grain effects might put some gamers off; it's perfectly in the style of this genre of movie though and adds to the overall atmosphere. It doesn't look as good as some of the titles on console current-gen, but it's certainly not a slouch. There is a good level of detail in the graphics, the textures are pretty decent and the lightning effects are well done. Rubi's character design is excellent and she looks the part, not overly busty and certainly designed to appeal to female gamers as well as male.
The level of animation in the game is good, the combat animations are great and the sword combat feels pretty solid. Whilst it's only a button or so, the way that the various combinations of dives, rolls, flips and acrobatic moves combine with guns and Rubi's sword are spot on.
It's also a very cinematic game out of the main combat, the cut-scenes are well done and the level of animation there is excellent.
There's a decent level of physics in the game, some objects destroy the environment and some of the heavier guns and gun-turrets Rubi can use also leave their mark on the levels too. Bodies fly from explosions and heavy hits by Rubi's sword.
Good, does what it needs to and doesn't often get stuck. It can sometimes lose the plot and go wandering off elsewhere in an Arena and usually this causes you to spend some time looking for the last enemy and lose valuable combo time too. A minor annoyance. Boss fights require a little more than just running and gunning since they have advanced attack patterns and capable henchmen.
WET is packed with the kind of music that you'd expect from a Grindhouse movie, it's over the top and cheesy with a mix of some twisted Country and Western tunes provided by some interestingly chosen artists such as Knock Galley West. The main score itself is suitably apt and the whole thing blends nicely in.
The sound design in the game is good, there are some excellent spot effects and the various levels all have their own atmosphere. Sword effects are nice and the guns sound as though they have some weight behind their firepower.
Dialogue and Voice
It's crude and obviously cheesy, it's meant to be, it's perfectly written to fit that style of film. It is so well written that you'll cringe at some of Rubi's lines in game and the cut-scenes. The voice acting: Eliza voices Rubi and Malcolm McDowell is supported by the likes of Alan Cumming as well, so there are no complaints on the voice cast from me at all. It's all delivered expertly and with a dark sense of humour at times.
None, so there!
Slippery when WET?
WET is a brash game, a bold one and one that deserves a higher score than it has gotten so far. It is however let down by frustrating level design in places and for some people the sheer amount of slow-mo is somewhat overwhelming, personally, I liked it and could happily sail for hours through the air in various acrobatic moves plugging away at bad guys left right and centre using split-targeting and cool sword moves. It's a game that's worth playing even for the faults and if you liked the demo, the full game is so much better.