WET Review

By Darryl Kaye on October 1, 2009

Although Artificial Mind and Movement (A2M) have been around for a very long time, they usually develop casual games, or ports from the major platforms. WET, however, is a definite departure from this, as it appears on the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 after being developed entirely from scratch by A2M. It's always good to see development studios try new things, and WET, being a tribute to Grindhouse, is definitely something new.

WET follows the story of Rubi Malone, who is a bounty hunter by trade. After retreiving an object on behalf of her employer, Trevor Ackers, things take a definite turn for the worse for Rubi, and instead of worrying about her next pay cheque, she goes on a quest of blood lust and revenge, desperate to see those who betrayed her suffer for their impudence. It's a definitely throwback to the Grindhouse film genre, and it all plays through fairly well, there are even the cliché characters littered throughout the story.

Rubi serves as a really good anti-hero, and all of the other characters definitely serve their purpose. It's a shame there wasn't some more development though, as many of the characters appear once and are never seen from again. The plot also drives along at lightning speed, and many events may seem fairly irrelevant at the end. The style is nice, and the execution is good too, but the source material could probably have done with some more development. Rubi is an intriguing character, as are the rest of the cast and some more development could have only helped to enrich the experience.

The gameplay in WET is both familiar, and distinctly different from anything that's been seen before. It's effectively based on a bullet-time mechanic, except there's no limit to how often it can be used. The only stipulation that governs its usage is whether or not Rubi is performing some kind of acrobatic move. This can be jumping through the air, wall running, swinging around poles, or sliding along her knees. One things for sure though, attempting to take down enemies using normal gun play is definitely not advised and it's a quick way to get killed. In order to succeed in WET, making use of Rubi's special talents is essential.

Alongside the slow-motion effect that's gained by performing acrobatic stunts, it's also possible to target two enemies at once. All of Rubi's firearms come in the dual variety, and while the AI targets one foe with her left-hand, the player is free to choose another target with her right-hand. It makes the game a bit more tactical, as it's up to the player whether or not they want to focus all fire at one point, or try to take down multiple enemies at the same time. Unfortunately, since a large portion of the game revolves around going in slow-motion, it does detract from the action a bit. The mechanics governing the usage of her acrobatics aren't necessarily all that tight either. Sometimes Rubi will jump off things in unexpected ways, or she just won't do things in an expected way. While the ability to chain moves together is nice, and later on, after more moves are unlocked, it's possible to create even more acrobatic links, it just feels slightly under-produced.It's also worth mentioning the role of the sword. As well as her trusty firearms, Rubi also has access to a rather large sword, which can cause some serious pain. This too can be used while performing acrobatics, and usually results in a much more powerful blow than a normal strike. The sword play is actually quite fun, and even though spending too much time out of the slow-motion state can be very detrimental to Rubi's health, it's a nice way to finish off the last few enemies in style. Dismemberment rarely has any downsides.

To compliment the story, WET's art style is also very Grindhouse. There are even short infomercials between some of the story chapters which serve no purpose other than to try and remind people about the era in which Grindhouse was popular. Many of the cutscenes, and even some portions of the gameplay have a grainy film effect, and there also appears to be a sepia filter present. It's a nice effect in some parts, but in others it can't help but try to stimulate a headache. The music is great though, and the style suits the game perfectly. The voice acting is also top notch, with Rubi being voiced by none other than Elisha Dusku, showing that no expense was sparred with the sound production of the game. One things for sure, any fans of Grindhouse will absolutely love the presentation in WET. To offer a significant departure from the colour palettes, there are also sections where Rubi gets 'WET'. Blood splatters over her face, and she enters into a rage mode where everything is red, white or black. Action here is much more fast paced, and the objective is to chain as many kills together as possible, although because of this the levels are generally quite short.

WET has a reasonable length, but actually offers quite a lot from the perspective of replayability. There are multiple difficulty levels to choose from, as well as Golden Bullets mode, which is essentially the entire campaign with One Hit Kills, but Rubi has a very limited amount of health. Alongside this, the challenges, which act as tutorials in the game, also make an appearance with a host of new ones. There is also Point Count mode, which allows players to play through the campaign, chapter by chapter, attempting to gain the highest score possible. Brief biographies are present for all of the characters, as well as a host of concept art and a jukebox, allowing players to play their favourite songs whenever they like.

Final Thoughts

WET is essentially a love letter to fans of Grindhouse, and features a great cast of characters to compliment the chosen presentation style. However, to the general gamer it doesn't quite do enough to stand out from the crowd. While the story might feel a little lacking, it's only because what's there is good, and more development would have helped to seal the deal. However, while the gameplay mechanics are a nice idea, they don't feel overly polished, and there is too much of a reliance on using Rubi's acrobatic moves.

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