Wet: review and competition!

  • Format: PS3 (version reviewed), 360
  • Unleashed: Out Now
  • Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
  • Developer: Artificial Mind & Movement (A2M)
  • Players: 1

Let’s get one thing straight right now: Wet is all about killing people, looking cool, and combining the two. That’s it. It’s not a complicated game; but that doesn’t really matter. What does is whether or not it’s a good game.

The word ‘wet’ appearing alongside a picture of a leather clad lady may raise a few eyebrows when it comes to guessing what sort of game it is. The title comes from the phrase ‘wet work’ however, referring to murder or assassination; hands literally wet with blood. You take control of Rubi (like ‘Ruby’, y’see what they did there?) Malone, some sort of gun for hire, in a third person shooter. We shan’t go into the plot because here, as in so many other games, the story feels like it has huge chunks missing – supposed old friends that pop into existence out of nowhere with no explanation, and villains that fail to threaten due to a lack of backstory, being the two main criticisms.

But hell, we weren’t here to listen, we were here to play. It’s best appreciated on a higher difficulty; but may initially prove frustratingly hard for some. Even with the aim assist enabled – something we ordinarily never do – you have to (shock! Horror!) aim in order to hit enemies. On top of this you start off with a relatively short life bar, and only twin pistols and a sword to defend yourself with – almost always against multiple enemies. You can unlock, and pay to upgrade, weapons and abilities as you progress; but initially you may feel outgunned.

Are you looking at the classical stylings of the opera house, or her bum?

You ‘pay’ for these upgrades with Style Points. As previously mentioned, Wet is keen for you to look good as you play. Tap the appropriate button to jump through the air or to slide along the floor, and you automatically enter a slow mo mode where you can aim and shoot with a little less pressure. Later in the game you can also activate this slow mo by shooting while swinging round poles, or while running along walls. You get points for each kill but, chain kills together quickly enough, and you build up a score multiplier – which also determines how quickly your health regenerates. This last factor is particularly important in sections with ‘spawn doors’.

Spawn doors are, in case you’re confused, doors that spawn enemies. An endless supply, until you ‘close’ them (hit them with your sword). At certain points in the game, you’ll enter small closed – off areas with up to eight such doors, which must be closed in order to progress. As these areas almost never hold a health pickup, you rely on your score multiplier powered health regeneration. The game gleefully gives you huge X2, X3 icons, usually positioned in the middle of an acrobatic jump, to help boost this multiplier, which goes to a maximum of X5. You usually end up having to learn the best route around the area, and which enemies and doors to give priority to. This results in the appearance of a spawn door section getting your adrenaline pumping – or sometimes, your eyes rolling.

Don't worry, it's just a picture. You are in no danger.

As should by now be apparent, Wet is a game with its tongue firmly planted in its cheek. Somebody, however, seems to think sticking the word ‘irony’ on the box is an impenetrable shield against accusations of being derivative. It isn’t. Wet draws deep from the wells of Stranglehold (slow – mo gunplay, the initial Hong Kong Setting, shooting bits of scenery for instant kills, regular set – piece gunfights) and Mirror’s Edge (acrobatic female protagonist, jumping and clambering around the environment, the option to have grabbable bits of scenery glow red). It’s fair to say that a homage has been attempted rather than a rip off; but the problem is, these two very different experiences haven’t been mixed together very well.

The Mirror’s Edge influence outstays its welcome very quickly. Unlike that game, Wet features countless walls you should be able to run up and edges you should be able to grab that you can’t, simply because the developers haven’t scripted it. More problematic are the enemy – free platforming sections. The restrictive camera here can sometimes make it unclear where you should be going next, and simply put, this unexciting bouncing around only serves to interrupt the flow of the action. So too do the loading screens that greet you every time you die, which sometimes (on the PS3 disc we played, at least) last ten seconds or more.

We think this warehouse is in Reading. Ho ho.

Also taken from other games are explosive barrels and QTEs. They make a nice fit here in amongst the dumb but fun action however, and are well implemented. The game’s original idea is ‘Rage Mode’, scripted sequences where the graphics are made of red, black and white silhouettes, your attacks are more powerful, and you rely on chaining kills together to keep your energy up and score points. These stylised sections are brief but fun; apart from one that features a little too much platforming.

Diving around shooting anonymous goons in the face is huge fun when Wet is at its best. Were it not for the breaks in the action, it would have scored slightly higher. If the sequel hinted at in the ending appears, and manages to keep the flow of the action up while improving what’s already been done well, we’ll welcome it with open arms. Till then, this is worth a look for shooter (and cutter) fans – but will be best picked up from the bargain bin.

6/10

So we say: pick up a copy, but only if it’s cheap. You don’t get much cheaper than free though, do you? And we’re giving away a copy of the PS3 version here.

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Written by Luke K

Luke plays lots of videogames, now and again stopping to write about them. He's the editor in chief at Critical Gamer, which fools him into thinking his life has some kind of value. Chances are, if you pick up a copy of the latest Official PlayStation Magazine or GamesMaster, you'll find something he's written in there. Luke doesn't have a short temper. If you suggest otherwise, he will punch you in the face.

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