- Buy the Game
Reviewed by Jason Zingale
ust like Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez’s 2007 homage to grindhouse films, Bethesda’s third-person shooter, “WET,” is an unabashed love letter to some of the best in the genre. It’s a fitting comparison, because along with drawing inspiration from games like “Max Payne” and “Tomb Raider,” “WET” is also heavily influenced by the careers of both Tarantino and Rodriguez. The game’s main character is a mix between The Bride and El Mariachi, while the game itself is designed like an old drive-in movie – complete with film scratches, reel burns and intermissions. They say that even the best artists steal, and though “WET” doesn’t offer anything new in terms of gameplay, it’s a highly stylized romp that fans of high-octane action games will absolutely love.
You play as Rubi Malone, a badass gun-for-hire who, after saving the life of crime boss William Ackers, is sent on a mission to rescue his son from a gang of drug dealers in Hong Kong. When she delivers Ackers his son, only for Ackers to kill him right in front of her, Rubi learns that the man she’s working for is an imposter named Rupert Pelham. Severely ticked off that she was tricked into doing his dirty work, Rubi sets off to clear her name by taking down Pelham and his eccentric pair of bodyguards. Though that twist in the story doesn’t actually happen until midway through the game, everything before it plays like one big tutorial to learning all the crazy acrobatic shit Rubi can do.
For instance, she doesn’t just shoot and slice her way through each level; she does so while jumping through the air, sliding on the ground and running up the sides of walls. Better yet, it’s all done in slow motion – not only because it looks cool, but because it’s necessary in increasing your score multiplier, which in turn allows you to more quickly regenerate your health. Rubi can also swing from poles and shimmy alongside ledges, and in order to distinguish between where these obstacles are located, there’s a handy feature called Rubi Vision that works in the same way the red-hued objects in “Mirror’s Edge” showed the correct course. And because shooting pistols can get a bit boring after a while (not to mention less effective against stronger opponents), you eventually earn a shotgun, submachine gun and crossbow that are mapped to the directional pad.
There isn’t much more to the game than that, except for a mini RPG element that allows you to purchase upgrades for abilities and weapons. Still, while “WET” adopts a rinse and repeat method to its gameplay, it never truly becomes repetitive thanks to some really cool level design. There are “MadWorld”-style moments where you’re locked in a room filled with enemies, highway sequences where you jump around on moving cars, and blood-red Rage Mode levels straight out of “Killer 7.” It also helps when you’ve got one of the coolest soundtracks of the year and a voice cast that includes Eliza Dushku, Malcolm McDowell and Alan Cumming. Sure, the story may seem a bit shallow and clichéd, but it's still a lot of fun to play, proving that sometimes, style trumps substance.