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Wet Review

Wet Review

Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
Platform: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3
UK Price (as reviewed): £32.99 (incl. VAT)
US Price (as reviewed): $56.99 (excl. tax)

Despite the oblique title and the cover art of a gorgeous (but somewhat vacant) looking girl, you shouldn't be deceived into thinking is an imported dating game. It's nothing of the sort. It's actually more of a Max Payne type extravaganza, though it could equally be compared to House of The Dead: Overkill, with which it shares a grindhouse aesthetic.

As over-the-top and crudely lewd as they come, Wet is the story of a mercenary called Rubi Malone who (as mercenaries are wont to do) finds herself betrayed and out of her depth when she's tasked with abducting the son of a drug baron. It's for his own good though, as his ol' Dad has plotted the job as an effort to get his son out of a particularly nasty bunch of Triad gangsters.

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Do ya feel lucky, punk?

And let's be honest – who hasn't been abducted by an acrobatic gunslinger on the orders of their Father?

So, the storyline is as crazy and overblown as they come – and that much is obvious from the start of the game, where Rubi jumps 30ft down through a glass roof to interrupt a mob deal and introduce herself to players. Despite how ludicrous it all feels though, the storyline for Wet is actually incredibly in tune with the game's hyped-up, grindhouse feel and truly does feel like something that Tarantino would be willing to slap his name on. It's got all the hallmarks of one of his films; an amoral femme fatale who wields a katana and akimbo pistols, a bunch of insane villains and more blood than you'd find in a slaughterhouse.

Unfortunately for Wet though, though the plot is actually put across to the audience a lot better than you'd suspect from the synopsis, it takes far too long for the narrative to truly begin. The first hour or so of play is spent chasing down a McGuffin and lining up no-name bad guys – and you have no idea why. In fact, although Bethesda has gone to big effort to make sure everyone knows that Eliza Dushku voices the main character, Rubi doesn't do anything but grunt and scream. We don't mean that in a good way, unfortunately.

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You'll do a lot of this

As a tutorial section for the game, the first few levels are kind-of excusable though and we can totally buy in to the idea that the game starts at the end of one of Rubi's jobs before continuing through another. The problem is though that it goes on for far too long and the gameplay doesn't introduce anything that couldn't be condensed into a few lines of tool tips or a single gunfight. Rubi can jump around in slow-mo and, at the end of each arena section, she can buy new moves.

Oh, and there are quick-time events too. It doesn't take an hour of gameplay to master these notions or controls and extending it all into superfluous challenges afterwards doesn't help. As soon as you've finished the first five levels you're dropped in Rubi's desert scrapyard and forced through a number of trite shooting galleries, speed runs and acrobat challenges.

Run through every checkpoint, shooting targets for extra time and bear in mind that the game won't progress at all until you finish? Slotting this kind of content in as the extra 'Challenge Mode' makes sense, but prefacing the singleplayer campaign with it is bordering on the unacceptable, frankly.

Don't get us wrong – we actually really like Wet and for all of it's derivative bullet-time and repetitive arenas, we actually think it's a fun way to spend a few hours. We're just sore that such fundamental errors have been built into the opening acts of the game – because these are the parts of the game that often matter the most and Wet handles them with all the subtlety of an elephant trying to knit a pair of socks for an ant.