November 11, 2009

WET is an action game that follows the same tradition as the Wii exclusive House of the Dead: Overkill with a style that is reminiscent of the old Grindhouse films from the 70s. WET is almost a homage to those films, with a lead protagonist that can survive pretty much anything and the most over the top action scenes you’ll see in any game. Although the style is there, the actual gameplay may not be for everyone.

The star of the game is Rubi, who has been betrayed time and time again, but this time seeks to get her revenge once and for all. The story introduces several characters, but other than more fodder for Rubi to kill, most of them do not play an important role in the story. And the few characters are helpful to Rubi are never in the story long enough for it to make a difference. Rubi herself is not all that interesting, as she swears at any chance she gets, kills most anyone that gets in her way, and has no personality beyond that. But this game is not about the story, it’s about the action.

Speaking on a purely technical level, WET is a pretty good experience. The Grindhouse look of the game, with the film grain overlay placed over the cutscenes and actual gameplay, gives the game a distinct look and feel. There are several loading screens that are masked by small movie clips you would see during a Grindhouse showing, and they are pretty funny and unexpected at times. Although the other way the game masks loading is by showing Rubi waiting impatiently in an elevator, which gets old very fast. 

The soundtrack is amazing, and all of the songs you hear are very catchy and truly stay with you long after a specific section of the game is over. On the other hand, the voice acting is a mixed bag. Eliza Dushku provides the voice of Rubi, and does a fine job, but the rest of the cast is less than memorable. No particular actor is bad, but they all leave a lot to be desired. It all goes together with the weak script and mediocre story, but once again, it is not the main focus of the game.

The gameplay is incredibly satisfying, especially in the first few levels. This game is all about killing enemies in the craziest ways possible, and it allows Rubi to execute plenty of slow motion jumps, slides, and wall runs while taking down wave after wave of enemies. There are even sections of the game that require you to rack up a high score while trying to stop countless waves of enemies to continue coming out of different location in a room. These are called “gauntlet” areas, and you encounter them a lot in the game.

One main draw of the gameplay is the fact that Rubi has two guns, and when performing slow motion moves, she can use both to take out two different enemies. One gun automatically locks onto the nearest target, while you aim the other gun yourself to take out any other nearby target. The lock on targeting does not work sometimes though, leading to you shooting the same enemy several times before realizing it is not actually locked onto it. It seems ridiculous (and it kind of is), but it mixes things up a bit and makes this more than just another action game.

There are several moments where platforming is not only blended into the combat, but just as a way to get from point A to point B. This is where the game tends to fall a bit short, as you will find yourself falling to your death several times without really understanding why it happened. Rubi sometimes just does not grab a ledge or fails to hang onto something just when you need her too. This can be incredibly frustrating during combat, when you have five or more enemies shooting at you, quickly draining your life. 

The gameplay is solid and a lot of fun, but by the halfway point, you feel like you have seen it all before. The game tends to drag its feet at this point, leading you through some very similar looking areas and encounters. It’s a disappointing second half of the game, to say the least, but it still has plenty of fun moments scattered about. 

Overall, WET is a fun game that can be a fun despite its flaws. And although the game is short, it can still feel like it goes on a bit too long. This is definitely a solid rental for those looking to spend a mostly fun filled weekend with an enjoyable action game, but there is a lot more potential here that isn’t not fully realized. 

ESRB: Rated M for mature; for strong language, intense violence, and plenty of blood and gore

Pros: Gameplay is basic, but is overall incredibly fun and satisfying; good soundtrack; Grindhouse style works well; solid controls

Cons: Sometimes auto aim does not work; awkward platforming elements; although the game is fun, by the halfway point, the thrills begin to wear off; lame story with several weak characters

Score: 3/5

Questions? Check out our review guide.