Before I get to my actual review here, I have something I want to talk about. What is it with games trying to be movies or games trying to be TV shows? Alone in the Dark did it with its moronic DVD skipping feature as well as the annoying "Previously on Alone in the Dark" bullshit, before every chapter. I didn't mind it so much when I had just come back from a day of not playing it but when I just beat the last chapter two minutes ago I don't need a fucking recap. WET takes the same path only, instead of taking after lame primetime dramas, it takes after shitty 70's martial arts movies. More specifically, it takes after movies that take after shitty 70's martial arts movies. If they had just taken the themes and style it wouldn't have been a problem but, like Alone in the Dark, the fact that this is based on a film is taken way too far. The screen is filled with way to much film grain; every time you die they do this lame film reel thing, and at least once a level the game just randomly stops to show you a minute long old school intermission sequence. I have no problem with a developer having little throwbacks to their inspiration but they don't need to shove it down our throat. I almost get the impression that the developers are ashamed to have made a video game and want to dress it up like a movie as much as possible to make themselves feel better. Anyway, now that that's over, let's talk about the actual game.
(Xbox 360, PS3)
For those of you who don't know, WET is a third person shooter with strong ties to films like Kill Bill. You play as Rubi, a gun for hire with a chip on her shoulder and the mouth of a sailor. You start out doing a few missions for some cash, but soon are betrayed and embark on a quest for revenge that takes you all over the world. The story is nothing special but, then again, it's paying homage to other films so it isn't supposed to be. The main focus of the game is instead supposed to be on the crazy action and zany characters.
The main focus of the action is the bullet-time esque Acrobatics Mode which slows down time as you do various acrobatic moves. This combines with an interesting take on duel wielding by actually having you shoot two targets at once which, unlike what other games would have you believe, is the only reason you should ever duel wield guns. The game's combat starts out really strong. It is really fun doing various flips and jumps in slow-mo while blasting all of your enemies and then sliding underneath a table and cutting a guy's arm off with your sword but it seems as though the developers don't realize what makes it so fun. Every so often in the game you are trapped in an area with infinitely spawning enemies and you have to go around the entire area and block off all of the doors to stem the tide of bad guys. As a whole, the concept isn't entirely bad. It essentially gives you an arena where you can show off all of your bad ass moves against a horde of thugs. In practice however, it doesn't work like that at all. In each area there is a very specific path that will take you to every door in the most efficient way as well as allowing you to get all of the combo multipliers. If you chose not to take this very strict path you will find yourself dying... a lot. This kind of strict game play almost completely eliminates any of the fun in the combat.
On top of this, the game has a difficulty curve like a long division symbol. As the game progresses, your guns magically get exponentially weaker. It gets to the point where even shooting both guns at the same guy (as I said before this goes entirely against the point of having duel wielding in a game) you might get one kill per acrobatic move and usually you are in an area with ten or so people so I'm sure you can imagine how annoying that can get. On top of this, your enemies have super accuracy and can nail you from across the room, even while you are spinning through the air. Every so often a guy with a chain gun is introduced. Not only does he have the same super accuracy that all of the other enemies have, but he also has way more health and, to top it off, he can only be killed with a quick time event so you end up in situations where you are unloading on him with a mounted turret but once he goes down you have to get off the turret and run across to him to stab him with your sword before he gets back up and you have to do it all over again. This, combined with unforgiving, glitchy, instant death platforming sequences, makes for a very frustrating experience.
Now, I personally don't have a problem with quick time events, provided they are pulled off well like in Resident Evil 4. This game completely ruins them. Every time you have to go through a closed door (there are a lot of these), you have to mash a button to pry the door open with your sword. There is absolutely no reason why this couldn't have just been a non-interactive animation or even just had her open the door normally. It does absolutely nothing for game play besides making you mash you controller for a good 5-10 seconds. There are also car chases in the game that are littered with quick time events. The events themselves aren't too bad but during the entire chase you will be shooting at guys in other cars so, chances are, you will be to busy concentrating on killing them and not notice the prompt and die, but if you don't concentrate on killing the guys they will tear you to shreds. It's a no-win situation. On top of this, the entire final boss fight was nothing but one long quick time event. I suppose this was better than trying to kill the boss with your weapons because by that point they might as well have just be water guns and a wiffle ball bat, but it is still a really anti-climactic way to end a game. (Speaking of the end of the game, it ends in the pre-requisite cliffhanger ending that all games must have now by law, so don't expect any significant closure when you beat it.)
I knew going in that this game wasn't going to be anything amazing but I thought it was going to at least be a fun little mindless blood fest. It certainly has those elements but all of the balance issues, glitches, and frustrating platforming sequences prevent it from being worth what little fun it has.
Check out my previous reviews:
Batman Arkham Asylum (video)