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PLATFORM: Xbox 360 (Reviewed), PS3
ESRB RATING: M
DEVELOPER: Artificial Mind and Movement
PUBLISHER: Bethesda Softworks
Many games have taken advantage of the recent Grindhouse craze that Tarantino kicked off, but none perhaps so much as Wet. It’s a revenge thriller in videogame form, the epitome of over-the-top action. It’s a blast to look at and listen to and experience, with its sexy-but-tough female protagonist (voiced by Eliza Dushku) who dispatches hundreds of enemies in bloody fashion while performing elaborate acrobatics.
If only the controls could live up to the rest of the game.
Ruby Malone is a typical hitman(woman) who deals with some unsavory types in the crime underworld to make a living. One night on a job she’s double-crossed and spends the entire game trying to get her revenge. At least I think that’s what it’s about- you’ll find yourself zoning out frequently during the boring cutscenes.
Eliza Dushku and Malcolm McDowell provide voices for the main characters here but aren’t given much to do. Of course, that could be because the story’s pretty much crap. It has all the usual plot twists and stereotypical storylines that you’d expect from the genre, but I suppose if you’re comparing it to other grindhouse efforts it’s above average.
CHUDTIP- She don’t take kindly to “No”!
There are three main modes of gameplay in Wet. The first is the usual third person gunplay that you’d expect. Ruby starts off with two pistols with unlimited ammo and will rely on them throughout most of the game. She slows down into bullet-time during jumps or special moves to allow you to better target your enemies (two at once with both pistols), and she can pull off an impressive array of moves. She can swing from flagpoles, run along walls, slide along the floor and even jump right off of an enemy’s chest into a backflip, all the while blasting away bad guys with her guns. She has a sword for melee attacks and gets a few new weapons over the course of the game (shotgun, uzis, and an explostive crossbow), which you’ll use to get as many points from violent death as you can. You get more points for running up a combo, and kiling people in different ways- headshots, 360 degree spins, etc, and at the end of the level you can spend them on upgrades.
Get 60 kills in rapid succession in Rage mode for an achievment. It’s
not hard if you don’t close the doors the enemies respawn from.
Once in a while at the beginning of certain levels Ruby gets splattered with blood and goes into a berzerker mode, literally seeing red and killing all enemies around her with ease. All the colors of the screen turn to black and red and she becomes super powerful, which is good because there’s usually a lot of guys coming at you. This is a Rage level, and your opportunity to really ramp up the kills and combos.
The last main gameplay mode is all about quick time events! Yes, everyone loves hitting buttons on screen while watching your character do things you only wish you could control, and there are entire levels devoted to it here! To the game’s credit, there’s one sequence (the highway battle spoiled in the demo) that’s a ton of Matrix Reloded style fun to watch go down, but the subsequent portions can’t really hold your interest or live up to that one.
CHUDTIP- The QTE levels are about as straightfoward as you can get, but the buttons do change up every time.
The game’s biggest downfall is that the controls are very touchy, and more than once you’ll find yourself missing a jump or doing something you didn’t intend just because your character wasn’t lined up right. It never feels like you have full control of the character and this lends to a strange disconnect with your actions. It’s sad, because the game is so absolutely ridiculous at points that you’ll find yourself really enjoying it, but everytime the game spikes it inevitably plummets to another low. Frustration will set in when you die because your character simply isn’t doing what you want her to do, and it happens more often than you’d like. Cheap deaths are never fun in a videogame.
The grain and washed out 70s film style that permeates the game almost makes you overlook how bad the graphics are. Almost. It’s just not a good looking title- animations are stiff and your enemies and locations all look the same. The one great part is during her blood craze, where the stark. Sin City-esque visual style pops, but there are only a few sections of the game that use it.
The music, however, is incredible. This is the kind of soundtrack you’d pick up in a store and listen to on a daily basis. A fantastic mix of surf and rockabilly, it perfectly fits the mood of the game and only helps pump you up during the more exciting parts.
After beating the game (which will take you around 6-7 hours) you’ll unlock new harder difficulty modes, which I can’t even imagine playing through, since even the normal difficulty gets frustrating at parts. But you can go back to collect the little cymbal-clapping monkeys that are hidden throughout the game! Why, and what are they for? No idea. There’s no reason to find them and it’s never mentioned in the story. It’s the worse case of a needless collectible- but hey, so many other developers have things to collect in their games, right? Gamers expect it, right? You get an achievement for it, right? Guh.
CHUDTIP- Right after a flip or a jump you can transition right into a slide. More slowmo time means more enemies dead.
You will however also unlock some new challenge modes after the game’s completion, which are fun and can add another hour or two of gameplay to the experience. But there’s not much else to be found here.
A fun game hampered by some janky controls, but nevertheless enjoyable enough for a playthrough. Grindhouse fans should give it a rent, but everyone else should stay away.