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Review: Wet (PS3, Xbox 360)

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“Wet” is the story of Rubi Malone a dual pistol and sword carrying, leather clad sexy bad ass gun-for-hire, who is trying to retrieve a wealthy man’s son. In typical action movie cliche style, she gets caught up in a double cross and is out for revenge.

Bethesda would love it if Rubi could join the ranks of Dante, Kratos, and Lara Croft as an action game icon. Read on to see if her game has what it takes to raise her up to the level of these gaming icons.

From the first moment of firing up Wet it is obvious that the developers are going for a cool retro 70′s style. The game looks like it was inspired by Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino’s recent Grindhouse double feature. There are little old time commercials that break up the action.The game even has little scratches, cigarette burns, and a filter to make it look like an old grindhouse action movie.  I found the filter annoying, it made the screen flicker so much that it gave me a headache. I was very grateful there is an option to turn the effect off.

The best part of the game was the 70′s style music. I am not a music expert by any means but to me it feels like a blend of funk, surf, Spanish guitar, and retro rock. Very cool. It fits every scene perfectly and instantly gets you pumped up and ready for some acrobatic face shooting. Brian Lebarton composed the music and he has done such a phenomenal job I want him to compose the soundtrack to my life. Even mundane activities like getting the mail and grocery shopping would become a spectacle.

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As for the gameplay it seems like a mash up of Total Overdose (which no one played so don’t worry if you don’t remember it), Max Payne, Tony Hawk, and Robert Rodriguez’s Desperado which is then shoved into John Woo’s blender. You are constantly diving, sliding, or running on a wall, all while trying to shoot people in slow motion. You score style points for each kill and if you manage to string enough kills together you can get up to a 5x multiplier. These style points are then used to upgrade your moves, health, and abilities.

Some of the moves you unlock are pretty sweet. One of my favorites has you using the enemy as a springboard for a slow motion dive. You basically treat the guy like a launchpad and then shoot him in the face, which is probably not the most dignified way to die. This reliance on slo-mo action might wear thin for some over time, but you there were just enough new moves that I stayed interested.

I can just imagine the development team queuing up every Hong Kong action flick and 70′s action movie on Netflix then sitting down for a 40 hour Red Bull fueled movie marathon. It is clear they are trying for ludicrously over the top action. This is probably best exemplified by the car chase level where Rubi leaps from car to car as explosions car crashes surround her. It is like Bad Boys 2 on overdrive, so far over the top and ridiculous you can’t help but smile as she leaps in slo-mo from car to car barely dodging rolling semi trucks.

To break up the action further, at occasional points in the game Rubi will shoot a guy and end up covered in blood. This causes her to go into an over the top Rage Mode, which makes everything literally go red. Rubi then proceeds to kick even more ass than usual.

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My main issue with all this over the top action comes down to the fact the bullets don’t have nearly enough impact. I emptied entire clips into people and they just staggered a bit and then tried to whack me in the head. I constantly felt like my bullets were not doing any damage. Whenever I play a shooter I like to shoot things like televisions or computer monitors to see if they explode.

The televisions in the game don’t explode, shatter, or crack. It is a small thing but speaks to a larger issue with the game, namely that you aren’t really able to effect the environment. For all the bullets that fly, they don’t seem to do much. With the thousands of bullets that are flying around their should be smoke and debris flying all over the place. It is not the end of the world but it does remove you, that little bit, from being fully immersed in the game.

For all the emphasis on gun-play I actually found the samurai sword to be surprisingly useful. You quickly unlock a slide to a uppercut slice that just decimates guys. The sword attacks are simplistic but very, very satisfying. I would often put my guns away and rely on the slide-to-slash move.

In the end the game feels like the kid who is trying a little too hard to fit in and hang with the popular kids. You know the kid who listened to all the popular bands, liked all the popular shows, and shopped at the popular stores but was never really anywhere close to being as cool as he thought he was.

Wet is just not as cool as it thinks it is. The combat, for all the crazy acrobatics, is just not as satisfying as it should be. I hope that the game sells well enough for a sequel, where they can give your bullets a little more heft and impact. I also hope they expand on the very satisfying sword combat. The combination is there for an amazing series but there needs to be a couple of relatively simple tweaks before I can give it my full recommendation. As it is, the best I can recommend is to tell you to give it a rental, to at least check out the amazing soundtrack.

This review is based on the Playstation 3 version of Wet provided to us by Bethesda.

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One Response to “Review: Wet (PS3, Xbox 360)”

  1. September 26th, 2009 at 3:01 pm

    Nathan "MechaJesus" Thunder says:

    I think I’ll check out the soundtrack.

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