Bad Day For You!!
The method of gameplay, an arena shooter, ultimately becomes the games greatest strength. It, however, has also proven to be, in the mind's eye at least, the games downfall as well. Most gamers, myself included, come at this game from a perspective created both by the earlier titles it has been compared to, as well as the marketing information on the game itself. That perspective makes one assume it's a lengthy gun-slinging adventure that takes you on a story driven journey through the bowels of the Hong Kong environments depicted in the promos. When some try the demo, or buy the full game, the realization that the game doesn't actually play this way comes as a disappointment to expectations. It's a game that's great at what it does, and terrible at telling people ahead of time what exactly that is before they buy it. From there it takes a while of experiencing it to figure out just what you're experiencing and to stop wishing it would break away from the arenas. Once you learn what to expect from it, it starts becoming much more fun.
There are however some flaws in the game that can't be so easily adapted to. The graphics, as stated before, suffer a bit. They're retro, but so is the game, after all. In reality I hardly noticed the graphics after the beginning, or, at least once I turned off the jitter filter. That aside, there's some design flaws to the game. One of these flaws is the core of what makes the game what it is. The need to shoot to enter slow motion. For limited ammo weapons (shotguns, machine guns, and worst of all, the crossbows,) you're prone to waste some ammo trying to move to slow motion just to figure out where you are. The other bi-product of this is the fact that you have to do ridiculous things to shoot just a few enemies. In a hallway with just one or two enemies you find yourself wall running, jumping, and sliding, just to move to slow-motion. Normal-speed gameplay is almost useless and non-existent.
Beyond that, WET is a game that frustrates players like no other. There are numerous players on the WET official forums that got stuck in certain recurring battles, and stopped playing the game as a result. Indeed, there are numerous scenes that are simply frustrating, and for no apparent reason. Some feature the age old gaming methodology of a pre-scripted set piece sequence requiring the tapping of a specific button at a specific time, or, one of the more famous ones, while falling from an exploded airplane, dodging debris on the way down by moving around the screen. Asteroids was fun...in 1985. We don't need a bigger, prettier Asteroids. Memorizing the patterns of the debris and trying it over and over again by trial and error to get it right is the kind of frustration we don't need from our entertainment.
Even worse though, are battles that are simply too hard. I myself nearly quit the game in the Chapter 8 ice factory in Hong Kong. The arena battle near the end is made ridiculous by the fact that a chaingunner sits just across from your entrance, seems to be able to shoot you through the stairs that go to the upper level door, and if you choose to take him out first, you're left with little health as the remaining 30 enemies manage to tear you down instantly. This was the ultimate low point of the game, and I nearly entered "rage" mode myself, and had to resist throwing the controller at the screen more than once in my series of over forty, yes, forty, retries of this segment. To make this worse, it's one of the few arenas that doesn't have an auto-save just at the arena entrance. There's a small room just before it that you must fight through each and every time you die. It goes beyond frustration: It's player-abuse, and not even remotely entertaining. I'm still extremely grateful that game load times, at least on the Xbox 360 are incredibly fast. I'd be buying a new screen now if it weren't...
These chaingunners remain something of a plague throughout the rest of the game, though never nearly as bad as in the ice factory sequence. Indeed, the last quarter of the game that picks up after that factory is where the game starts really picking up. The Chapter 9 Royal Opera House environment is easily the coolest in the game, featuring the most flavor, style, and sheer acrobatic goodness. It was cool enough for me to turn the film grain flicker back on to get the full mood out of it, and yes, it's worth it.
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