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WET Review

WET, the new third-person action title from Artificial Mind and Movement, is as subtle as stabbing someone in the crotch with a sword. Mixing twin-fisted shooting, limb-severing sword attacks and acrobatic platforming, the game can never be described as slow. However, some repetitive set pieces and frustrating sections mar what is an otherwise enjoyable action experience.

Clearly influenced by the exploitation genre of the 1970s, WET's grindhouse style sits well with its clear-cut shooting, stabbing and slashing. The visuals are striking with a faded colour palette and the blemishes associated with an old, battered film print. Continuing this theme the game features cheesy advertisements and intermission breaks at various points during the missions. At first, these raise a wry smile but do get a little bit tired towards the concluding chapters.

WET Screenshot 1

With a mass of source material to draw from, WET takes every action cliché, character and environment and makes them even more elaborate. The story follows action heroine Rubi, your typical femme fatale who could kill you in one of several hundred ways as she goes about solving problems for clients. As expected, she gets double-crossed and then sets out killing (or maiming) everyone who gets in her way. The plot is as complex and philosophical as most exploitation films get, choosing to squeeze in as many exotic locations filled with enemies as possible in its 8 hour runtime.

At the core of the title is a kind of kill-heavy excessive violence that is difficult to compare to any other games. Taking elements from Max Payne, Devil May Cry and Total Overdose and mixing in acrobatics creates a very different style of slaughter. WET gives you a set of tools to deal death and encourages you to use them. Jumping into the air, sliding along the floor and running along walls all initiate slow-motion allowing you to dispatch enemies far more easily. Wielding two of each weapon allows Rubi to fire on different targets, which is an essential skill in the latter portion of the game. One automatically aims at an enemy while the other can be manually aimed with the right stick, leaving the left stick free to move here through the air.

WET Screenshot 2

Killing enemies and finding pick-ups in the levels gains you style points which can be used to purchase upgrades. These can be new moves for Rubi such as slashing with the sword while sliding along the floor or improving the firepower and ammunition capacity of her weapons. The system is effective and as the game progresses you unlock more weapons, of which there are 4 different types. Despite the small number, each feels different and they all have moments where they excel. Aside from the default pistols, each weapon requires ammo collected in the levels, which means it is best to save them for special occasions.

The game takes place over 13 chapters which vary in length and make-up. WET's bread and butter action involves traversing levels filled with enemies, dispatching them as efficiently and flamboyantly as possible. Mixed in are frequent "arena" battles in an enclosed area where you are required to eliminate your opponents while sealing off the entrances they appear from. These are where the title excels with cleverly constructed environments that allow you to maximise your lethal athleticism. You can work out your own "killing line" through the surroundings in a manner not dissimilar from skateboarding games. Running along walls, back-flipping off the scenery and finishing the battle off with a ludicrous somersault from a jungle gym makes gunning down the baddies tactical and fun.

WET Screenshot 3

In order to add variety these battles are interspersed with patchy and sometimes frustrating platforming sections. Using Rubi's athleticism to climb lift shafts, navigate minefields and traverse the outside of buildings looks impressive but it grows a little weary. The controls can frustrate and a restricted move set means many of these segments feel repetitive. Perhaps most vexing is the erratic camera which at times leaves you off screen as you try to work out where to go to next.

At various points Rubi also experiences "Rage" events where she develops a psychotic anger that transforms the screen blood red and her enemies into dark silhouettes. Here the emphasis is firmly on taking down as many people as possible and these moments are invariably good for some stress relief. Sadly, it could well be that you'll need some anger management thanks to some difficulty spikes which will likely mean you have to reply sections over and over. During one typically ludicrous set piece you are forced to dodge objects hurtling towards you, and if one barely brushes you, it is straight back to the beginning. Thankfully, these moments aren't too frequent but seem like an arbitrary method to extend the game's somewhat brief length.

WET Screenshot 4

WET's focus on cinematic and dynamic elements helps it to feel like an overblown Hollywood blockbuster, but this doesn't always extend into the gameplay. During several portions of the game, quick-time events dictate most of the action which is impressive to watch, but not to play. There are several frenetic highway chases which essentially boil down to a little bit of shooting coupled with button pressing which turns a visually impressive level into something really rather dull to "control".

Perhaps most disappointingly, the final level of the game is done entirely in these button presses which manages to be hugely underwhelming after a great build-up. At this stage, you have finally mastered the techniques and then can't use them, which seems like an odd design decision to make. There are several other issues which nag, including some suspect enemy AI and tutorials which break up the pace and flow of the story.

WET Screenshot 5

Perhaps my biggest reservation with WET is its level of replayability. The single player story is a fairly decent length, with most levels lasting around 40 minutes on a hard difficulty, but with some taking only 10 minutes to complete. With six different difficulties there is certainly plenty of challenge, but whether people will want to play through again on these remains to be seen. There are also hidden toy monkeys in each level to collect as well as some fiendishly hidden scorpions in Rubi's base to track down. The game doesn't seem to carry the lasting appeal of other single player titles but then again, this fits in with its source material.

I really like WET for its simplicity, you get exactly what you expect: unashamed over-the-top action and there is plenty of it. With some of the most overstated and explosive set pieces of recent years there is plenty to enjoy. Yet, if you are expecting complexity and replayability then you'll be left disappointed. Still, it is nice to know that for every pretentious and emotional protagonist, there is still someone more than happy to stab an enemy in the crotch. I respect that in a person.

WET Screenshot 6

7.00/10 7

WET (Reviewed on PlayStation 3)

This game is good, with a few negatives.

WET, the new third-person action title from Artificial Mind and Movement, is as subtle as stabbing someone in the crotch with a sword. Mixing twin-fisted shooting, limb-severing sword attacks and acrobatic platforming, the game can never be described as slow. However, some repetitive set pieces and frustrating sections mar what is an otherwise enjoyable action experience.

This game was supplied by the publisher or relevant PR company for the purposes of review
Christopher Wakefield

Christopher Wakefield

Writer

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COMMENTS

azrael316
azrael316 - 11:49pm, 3rd April 2015

I just read the title and thought... " A wet Xbox 360, that would surely short out some contacts..." :u14

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