I'm Gonna' Kill...Bill...Umm...Ackers...
The style of the WET draws you in almost instantly. Possible side effects include nausea, vomiting, fatigue, retinal strain or migraines. Consult your QA specialist to find out if a game with a rapidly flickering image that jumps around your screen with random and uneven brightness levels all behind a faux film grain is right for you.
Ahh, yes, the Grindhouse look. As part of an effort to give an authentic B-movie look from distressed film reels, the team at A2M decided it would be amusing to put the entire game behind a filter that adds film grain and a malfunctioning (wobbly) projector effect with bad flickering effects. The results look great in teaser trailers and screenshots and add to the appearance of the game...at least in promos. In actual gameplay, the flicker effect combined with the change from fast to slow motion and the need to squint while trying to headshot enemies at a distance while in motion is too much for the eyes to take. First I was forced to dim my screen nearly as far as the backlight could go. Then I reduced contrast. This, however, doesn't help the fact that the screen is actually wobbling around. Thankfully, they did think enough of us to provide a graphics option to turn off the film grain filter, which also shuts down the wobbling and flickering. This brings the graphics back to that of a normal game, but after the pain from the filter, that's not a bad thing. Unfortunately, the textures and graphics in the game are a bit sub-par, presumably to accommodate the effect filter. There are a few levels for which I found myself turning the effect back on, chapter nine being one of the most notable as a result of it looking so cool with it on. Aside from that, if you value your vision, you'd best leave it off, unless you're playing on a front-projector based home theater system, in which case I imagine the effect is great.
The game presentation is exceptionally different from what one may picture by reading the description on the game box or website. At first glance one might expect a rail shooter with slick slow motion acrobatic moves. The game has already been, a bit unfairly in my opinion, compared to Max Payne. Both are third person, both involve more bullets flying than you could possibly know what to do with, while hordes of enemies storm into gritty urban settings. Both involve a huge amount of stylistic presentation. Both feature slow-motion gunplay. On the surface the comparison to the cult classic New York detective film noir is obvious. The "Golden Bullets" mode of WET even has a similar appeal to the New York Minute mode of Max Payne. But that is where the comparison ends, and where the surprise of WETs gameplay picks up.
While Max Payne is heavily a narrative based story laden with graphic novel cut scenes and sudden turns of events that weave a complex story of the New York underground, WET pays little attention to a story that, while extremely well told, is designed to not take itself too seriously and be as convoluted as possible...like any good B-movie. Instead of the linear, story driven rail adventure that Max Payne represents, the play style of WET features brief periods of rail shooting that culminate in frequent arena battles. The arena battles are the stuff of sheer arcade gaming, featuring infinite respawn doors that must all be closed to end the session, score multiplier powerups laced at nefariously positioned locations, and non-stop bullet flying action. In this vein, while there's no true parallel, the game more closely resembles the PS3 exclusive Uncharted: Drake's Fortune. Outside the set piece arenas, the art of varying your attacks enough to keep a constant rotation of "style" points on the incline possibly comes closer to resembling another PS3 exclusive: Heavenly Sword.
It is this gameplay pattern that creates the actual gameplay of WET. Aside from the linear rail segments that link the arenas together, WET is truly an arena game, not a shooter adventure. Most of the game takes place in the staged arenas, set up like stunt show venues. Your goal is to collect as many score multipliers as you can, remain in constant motion, and shoot continuously to remain in slow motion. The more you keep your moves varied and strung together, the higher your style totals. The higher the point totals, the more upgrade points you'll earn. Stopping or returning to normal speed means almost certain death. In addition, a certain amount of strategy is required in knowing which weapon to use for which enemies, which abilities you've purchased thus far, and what order to close the spawn gates in without getting killed. Easier said than done! In essence, picture Shaun White: Road Trip - the only gamer approved use of the Wii Fit board - now add guns to it. Lots and lots of guns. And a sword. Jump the ramps, flash some style, rack some points, and shoot the crowds by the bucket load on the way down. Sound fun yet?
The "rage" battles follow a similar pattern. These are the oft mentioned modes in which the game resorts to a Mad World-esque (Nintendo Wii) Black, white, and red shading mode, and Rubi gets a perceived berserker rage. Sometimes these take place in the rail passages, sometimes in arenas. Either way, you're sure to encounter huge numbers of thugs, all of which can be taken down with some rapid sushi-slicing action.
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