"I should have played Stranglehold more so I could compare," the previewer thought to himself, as he made a lady with two pistols jump over a table and shoot two guys on opposite sides of an Asian-themed room in slow-mo.
If Wet isn't going to turn out to be the game action-move master John Woo would make, it sure seems like it could at least be one Quentin Tarantino would create. It gives that impression with its non-stop action, its love of the gunfight, its car chase, its use of 70s film grain, its kick-ass heroine, and its diva in the diva hall where shooting is about to start, who begins her song by screeching: "Are you ready to rock bitches? One, two... fuck you!"
I also wouldn't expect Tarantino to code a better jumping mechanic.
What Is It?
Wet is a September-dated single-player action game from Artificial Mind and Movement, a third-person shooter with an emphasis on slow-motion shootouts, a la the Midway-developed John Woo's Stranglehold. It's also one of the games Activision chose not to publish when it assumed control of games formerly being published by Vivendi. But I didn't hold that against the fun 50 Cent: Blood On The Sand, so why would I against the now Bethesda-backed Wet?
What We Saw
Not even a day before our Michael McWhertor dove into the game in Germany, I tried three sections of the game in New York: The intro, a car chase and rage mode.
How Far Along Is It?
The game is coming out on September 15, so even though I did not play a retail build, this thing is done.
What Needs Improvement?
Mid-Air Movement: It might be too late for the developers to do anything about this, but that's fitting as this problem is about how it is too late for Wet's heroine, Rubi, to control her movement once she has committed to a leap. This is an issue in a game that presents the player with the ability to have their heroine jump, climb, wall-run, swing from polls and do just about everything else a Prince of Persia would be able to do — and do it in slow-mo, and let them shoot guns with each hand while doing so AND include a scoring system that encourages you to only fight using such techniques — but doesn't let you auto-correct an accidental slow-mo jump that is going to land you in the wrong spot or off the side of a skyscraper. If she's going to be nimble, let her be nimble.
Target Confusion: Rubi can shoot two dudes at once. That's cool. She's got a pistol in each hand (or a shotgun in each or a crossbow in each, etc.). But jumping in the air and trying to target two enemies involves trusting the computer to select one of them for you. Then you manually aim at the other one. Pressing the trigger fires at both. I killed dozens of characters this way and still don't understand what determined which character was auto-targeted and how I could use that to my advantage.
What Should Stay The Same?
Devil May Care Attitude: I like a game that has it's heroine dropping down a ladder head-first in slow-mo with guns out, shooting at thugs. To be clear, any time Rubi jumps or slides and starts shooting, the game's in slow-mo, so we've got a game that feels like it's always trying to be stylish. Why not? I like a game that offers, as its health power-up, its heroine taking a swig of what looked like a Jack Daniels bottle and then tossing the bottle in the air and shooting it for good measure. Whether it's Grindhouse, House of the Dead: Overkill or whatever your B-movie-inspired passion, Wet feels designed to satisfy that same taste. Why else would she also take a sword into battle?
Eccentric Detours: Wet would appear to be everything I described above, except when it turns into a long, scripted, violent car chase sequence that has Rubi jumping from speeding car to speeding car, shooting bad men in black vehicles and dodging tractor trailers (orchestrated with quick-time-event button-presses and real-time shooting)? And except when the story calls for Rubi's face to get splashed with blood, switching the graphics to a molten take on Sin City (pictured up top) with its action sped up, Rubi's health increased and the kill-count multiplier capable of hitting double digits?
A Bethesda rep suggests this game will be about eight hours long, which sounds short (8-10 to be specific). But it seems like it could be quite the ride. It's not clear to me that Wet is a game its players would re-play, but its showing a verve that might make some control oddities tolerable and its gameplay a blast while the action lasts.