Nothing intrigues me more than a fairly ropey demo that has a spark of something different about it. Of course, I’m supposed to be getting excited about NFS: Shift, Tekken 6 and this new Halo thing but, typically, I couldn’t care less. Wet, however, peaked my interest a couple of weeks back, despite apparently lacking a little in terms of quality.
On first impressions, the game is a female-fronted Stranglehold clone dressed up in Grindhouse visual effects and colour schemes. The story is what Quentin Tarantino might describe as a ‘rip-roaring tale of violence and vengeance’ and whilst it offers very few surprises, it is well acted by a cast that includes Dollhouse’s Eliza Dushku and veteran actor Malcolm McDowell. If you’re phased by swearing you’re shit out of fucking luck with this bastard game.
Now given the potentially double-entendre loaded title and the reasonably attractive character on the box art (for my money, she’s a bit rough looking, reminding of the petulant and boyish Kat Von D.) you’d assume that this game would be a brazen ride through 70s misogyny and sexism. Thankfully, the game stops short of Onechanbara-esque sexification and Rubi, the heroine of the story, remains modestly dressed throughout and you do not unlock any other outfits. This is a good thing (DLC may end up proving me wrong but, for now, everything is as it should be).
So, with that political correctness bullet dodged, it’s onto the gameplay. As I said before, Stranglehold is the most obvious influence with Rubi leaping, diving, wall-running and spinning around in slo-mo from the very start of this game. These actions cause time to slow down (thankfully there is no Max Payne style meter governing their availability) which makes shooting a lot easier and also increases the point value of each kill. Aside from the odd pole or wall, Rubi doesn’t interact with the scenery a whole lot, which means no need to chain together a bunch of banister slides like you had to in Stranglehold.
The other huge influence on this game seems to be Tomb Raider and, often during the game, you’ll be called on to climb, ledge jump and wall run around a level. These sections are certainly playable enough but are tame – and a little dull – compared to the rampant shoot-oh action that makes up the majority of the game.
Rubi also has a sword to use during close encounters but you’ll rarely need to call upon it with pistol ammo not being an issue (and despite a shotgun, crossbow and machine gun becoming available later on, everyone knows that bullet-time is always best with twin pistols). It’s use reminds me of Onechanbara’s swordplay a little and was essential to the whole ‘Kill Bill’ vibe but it’s a minor part of the gameplay. It does look pretty cool though (yes, emotionally I’m twelve it seems).
The game itself is set across twelve levels and will take most people around ten hours to complete. The action repeats itself throughout but there are also some changes of pace and also some decent set-pieces. The game is short and I don’t want to spoil any surprises for you, but let’s just say this game made me smile on the several occasions that it threw a curveball at me. A handful of QTEs turn up threatening to spoil the party but they’re not particularly obnoxious – or hard to complete.
Wet is a short game and it attempts to artificially lengthen itself with achievements for four separate playthroughs, which is never a good thing, but â€“ for the first playthrough at least â€“ it keeps your interest. In fact, it more or less demands it. Additional content is unlocked as you go along, from character bios (although these are in the manual), songs from the soundtrack and the harder difficulty levels. More interesting is the ‘Golden Bullets’ mode (where your bullets generally kill first time but you take a lot more damage) and also a mode based around reaching a points target.
I’m not going to bother with the buzzwords like Grindhouse style, Acrobatic Sword Combat and Bullet time. Instead the only word you need to know which describes this game is Fun.
You will be roaming the corridors, mowing down enemies in your path, using your acrobatic prowess on the few platforming sections and best of all, combining your superhuman leaps and reflexes with your sword and gunplay in a bid to rack up the upgrade points with chains and combos during the arena sections.
To add a little longevity to the game there are an array of blaverage obstacle courses and the option to replay levels for max points (and achievements). The best extra addition to the game was for me the Golden Bullets mode â€“ basically getting to replay the game â€“ killing the enemies with only one shot (to balance this you take a whole lotta damage also). It kept the gameplay fresh whilst making some areas easier, others are much more challenging.
There are a few minor niggles with the game. The story is much of a muchness as are the characters – fewer characters that were better developed would have been my preference. Un-skippable cut scenes make subsequent (however enjoyable) play-throughs not as speedy and slick as I would have liked. And of course the games 8-10 hour length is pretty short by any standards (and no I don’t care to hear your opinion on average game length these days).
WET is an immensely fun game that blends swordplay, guns, style and a kick ass soundtrack and while it’s length does not justify its full price tag you would do well to pick this game up in some form and get a weekend’s worth of awesomeness from it.
Secondary Score: 8/10
Presentation is a mixed bag. certainly the game succeeds in delivering the Grindhouse sassiness that it aims for but graphically it’s fairly ugly – a fact that no amount of old video tape style degrading effects can hide. Character models, locations and animation are all average at best and the game suffers in comparison to the games that influenced it.
On the plus side, the soundtrack alone is arguably worth a couple of points on the final review score with a whole host of psychobilly bands that you’ve never heard of adding buckets of attitude and fun to the preceedings. When combined with the game’s Grindhouse finish you get a game that a game that exudes raunchiness without resorting to smuttiness and whilst we’ve seen it all before in the movies, the sex, guns and rock and roll packaging does make this a little different.
Right now everyone on your friendlist is playing ODST. If that thought practically cripples you with boredom and apathy, now might be the time to try out Wet’s unorthodox charms. The demo does give a good idea of the full game and the game is a shoe-in for a big price drop before Xmas so you may want to tap it up later, but it’s unashamedly bold, brash and, for want of a much better word, gamey. Next time there is a lull in the release schedule, Wet may well tide you over (FML).