Wet Review

By Jason D'Aprile - Posted Sep 14, 2009

Since Max Payne, third-person shooters are often injected with a cinematic sense of style. WET, however, is intent on taking the connection between film and game to a new level. The game blatantly rips its influences from 1970s grindhouse films and the visual flair of movie directors like Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez.

The Pros
  • Tons of violent action
  • Excellent production values and use of the grindhouse theme
  • Acrobatic gunplay can be fun
The Cons
  • Lackluster graphics
  • Non-standard levels are mediocre
  • Physics and gameplay in need of refinement
  • Nothing new or better than what we've seen before

Since Max Payne, third-person shooters are often injected with a cinematic sense of style. WET, however, is intent on taking the connection between film and game to a new level. The game blatantly rips its influences from 1970s grindhouse films and the visual flair of movie directors like Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez.

WET

Revenge is a Dish Best Served Often

WET focuses on the grisly, acrobatic escapades of Rubi Malone, a mercenary with a flair for the extreme. Running around in tight leather -- with a sword strapped to her back and two of every gun she owns -- the woman is a sexy walking army and a complete cliché all at once. She's not an unlikeable heroine, but unlike Max Payne, Stranglehold, or other similar games, so little attention is put into giving her a personality that it's hard to view her as anything more than a jumping death machine. All you know about her is that she lives somewhere in Texas and has a bad attitude.

The story revolves around the usual suspects -- revenge, murder, mistaken identities, revenge...There's a lot of revenge here. That said, the production values for the story are excellent, especially the voice acting. Eliza Dushku voices Rubi and Malcolm McDowell provides a suitably creepy, yet stylish antagonist. Although they’re not the deepest characters, the voice actors work well with the material. The soundtrack is a fantastic mix of grindhouse-styled songs that add immensely to the action and atmosphere.

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Red Is the Color of the Day

The presentation is filled with a lot of little details that don't affect gameplay, but do enhance the overall experience. Although the film grain can thankfully be turned off if you don't worship old B-movies as much as the developers, the inclusion of old drive-in movie commercials during level loads is inspired. Certain levels have Rubi quite literally seeing red, changing the game into a monochromatic dance of bloody violence for a bit -- somewhat in the visual style of MadWorld and No More Heroes.

The rest of the visuals are merely serviceable. The game looks passable, if not unexceptional, plus levels are usually linear and puzzle-based. The stages seem designed to provide the player with ample opportunity to use Rubi's acrobatic skills. Rubi can leap, slide, climb, spin, and perform all the standard gymnastic, gun-toting moves you'd expect from this sort of endeavor, yet there's a distinct lack of refinement to the whole affair.

WET

Not Exactly a Stranglehold

With a focus on such a sleek and sexy main character, WET’s gameplay really should have followed suit. It needed to bring something more to the table than old Lara Croft mechanics blended with Stranglehold's gunplay. Instead, the game offers up a wide array of amusing moves that too often feel canned. Rubi can slide and leap around at will, and when firing, the action goes into slow motion for effective two-gun aiming. Yet, if you leap or slide into an obstacle, she just sort of hangs there for a while instead of reacting accurately to her environment. As you progress, she will get new moves that increase the fun, such as the ability to attack during all acrobatic moves and run up and leap away from opponents.

Most of the levels boil down to a mix of respawn rooms --where you must lock off all the respawn points before escaping-- or acrobatic paths to reach the next respawn room or the end of a level. The action is occasionally broken up with highway segments, in which Rubi jumps from car to car, killing as much as possible, performing quick-time events, and there’s even a sky-diving level ripped straight from movies like Shoot 'Em Up and Crank. Unfortunately, the QTEs are haphazardly used, the highway levels are just lame, and the one sky-diving sequence manages to wear out its welcome well before it ends.

WET

It’s a Wash

The main action in WET is serviceable. The A2M team seems to have spent most of the time trying to make WET reach a visual ideal of Tarantino-style cool, but missed out on the areas that would have really put the game over the top. Better, more reactive physics and more refinement in the gun (and especially sword) play, and this could have been something more than an amusing curiosity. As it stands, there's nothing here that you haven't seen before (and done much better), but fans of outrageous action will probably love this one once it hits the bargain bins.