WET (PlayStation 3)

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Written by  :  Adzuken (861)
Written on  :  Oct 10, 2009
Platform  :  PlayStation 3
Rating  :  2.57 Stars2.57 Stars2.57 Stars2.57 Stars2.57 Stars

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It's like playing a video game at a drive-in theatre!

The Good

I’m a bit of a sucker for the style over substance approach to games. Killer 7 is a good example, I absolutely loved that game, but I’d have a hard time telling you what, if anything, I enjoyed about the gameplay. It was a rudimentary light-gun-on-rails game, only without the light gun, but with added adventure type puzzles. Yet I ended up falling madly in love with its style. So when WET was released, I played it with the intention to love it. I do love it, kind of. It’s tough love, I guess. Love/hate, really. Well, let me explain.

WET is a spectacle fighter, which I love. The game is presented as if it’s a grindhouse-style movie. Okay, I’ve never seen a real grindhouse movie, but I’m told that’s where the presentation is from. There’s a tonne violence, a few amusing advertisements for the snack bar, and film-grain and scratch filter overlaying the action. The game stars Rubi Malone, an assassin for hire as she seeks revenge on someone who double-crossed her. Rubi is an endearing badass character, but the plot is appropriately thin, which I wouldn’t count as a bad thing.

The combat is easily the best part of WET. As a spectacle fighter, none of the enemies pose much of a threat; they’re mostly just present for you to kill them in the wildest ways possible. Killing them while jumping, sliding, swinging, going down a ladder, or running on walls provides you with better experience points than just shooting them in the head. It really makes you feel like a bad-ass, which I’ve always loved about this sort of game.

Even though the combat is interesting enough to carry an entire game, WET features a great deal of variety in gameplay, some of it works well, some doesn’t. There are sections where Rubi uses a chain-gun to mow down enemies, other moments where she “loses control” that are presented in an awesome red and white shading effect, jumping/climbing sections, and quick-time events. The different sections sometimes feel a bit disjointed, but they do a lot to prevent the game from feeling stale.

The sound-track is consistently exceptional. A large bulk of it consists of fast-paced psychobilly songs, which work extremely well in an action environment. They’re long enough songs that you will only hear them loop once and a while, and there are enough of them that they’re rarely repeated. It’s really nice to see an action game make use of a musical genre other than techno or orchestrated.

The Bad

Tomb Raider, Ninja Gaiden (the newer ones), and WET, what do these games have in common? The answer is: They all star protagonists who are extremely picky about what type of ledge they will and won’t grab. I don’t hate jumpy/swingy/climby sections that are constantly placed it third-person shooters, but Christ, could someone get them right? Even the best of them will always have questionable instances where a character won’t grab the ledge they’re rubbing up against.

What makes WET a particularly big offender is the frequency of instance deaths. Sure, many games have instant death, but few of them add situational peril, like mines and walls of hot death following you. Sometimes you won’t even know they’re there until you die from them, like the game expects you to be clairvoyant. To make matters worse, every time you die you’re booted back to the loading screen, which is just a few seconds too long. Having to see that after you die from a collision error for the millionth time promotes the situation from annoying to aggravating.

Another thing I normally don’t hate is quick-time events. They keep you on your toes for those lengthy cutscenes and they allow for more visceral combat moments. WET, however, dwells in the “what not to do” area of QTE. There’s no warning for when an event is coming up, the on-screen button cues are extremely small, and worst of all; the final boss battle is reduced to nothing more than a QTE. Damn it, the final boss area is supposed to be a culmination of all the gameplay that lead up to it. It should put all those skills the player has been building to the ultimate test, but instead it’s just a game of “Simon Says”. How disappointing.

Lastly, I’m not entirely sure what the reason is, but there are graphical hitches in the cutscenes. Just brief pauses from time to time, like the processor is having trouble keeping up. It might be something exclusively on the PS3 version, and they only really occur during cutscenes, but it’s worth noting

The Bottom Line

I’ve got to hand it to the people at Artificial Mind and Movement; this is a big departure from their usual games. Normally they are in charge of past generation and handheld ports of newer console games and games based off kid’s shows. It has to be a soul-sucking environment to work in, and it’s nice to see them create something new and different. It’s unfortunate to see a game so full of ideas, with such great presentation fall short. Overall I still enjoyed it, but I didn’t fall in love with it like I wanted to. I’m sure with a bit more polish, WET could have been something better. As it stands though, WET is just an AVERAGE game.