WET is a third person shooter that has many movie and game influences such as Max Payne, Stranglehold and Prince of Persia; all topped off with the styling of a Tarentino Grindhouse look to it. The combat has some mechanics from the shooters mentioned above and the acrobatics have a page taken out of the book of Prince of Persia. This coupled with a dirty film grain layered on top and you have your perfect B-movie style plot action game complete with over the top excitement and characters.
The characters noteworthy here are the main heroine Rubi Malone voiced by Eliza Dushku and the main antagonist Mr. Eckers talently voiced by Malcom McDowell. Rubi doesnt take crap from anyone and is your epitome of a hard ass woman that is armed and has the skills to kill you in a second. Rubi also has quite the mouth on her, but it plays into the style and vibe of the setting very fittingly; most of the time.
The story begins with Rubi overseeing an exchange going down between 2 criminal organizations and when the time is right after the first shot has been taken, she makes her over the top dramatic entrance; guns blazing of course. As you chase the man who is getting away with the package youve been hired to retrieve, you blast your way through waves and waves of enemies all in style.
Rubi is a gun for hire and retrieves the package she was hired to bring back and then is double crossed, which makes the story play out in many different levels and settings. The story itself isnt anything too Hollywood, but I almost feel it may have been like this on purpose to give that B-Movie feel and to focus more on the action of game; its supposed strong point.
WET is completely about shooting anything that moves but making sure you look completely bad ass while doing it. On paper this sounds like an awesome idea, to have the player constantly doing flips and slides and what not to keep the action going while shooting down the enemies, but I found the novelty; although stylistic, just wasnt enough to keep me motivated after a few levels.
Where this title differs from other shooters is in the genre is that you do get points for shooting and killing enemies, but your multiplier will only increase if you are doing a particular style move like a flip, or sliding on your knees, or diving. While you do any of these actions (and more as you unlock them) you enter slow motion and enemies are much easier to hit. Shooting normally without doing anything stylistic and Rubi will only use one gun, but go into slow motion and she brings out a second gun that will automatically lock onto the nearest enemy as you shoot a second one down simultaneously.
Couple this with the fact that you have a sword to slice your enemies should they make the mistake of getting in close proximity to you, and you can see where the appeal may come from in this action title. Chain together different moves and swordplay and you will have a much higher multiplier and score at the end of the level to purchase move and weapon upgrades. Its all about making it look cool rather than being functional and diving for no reason other than you are diving; simple as that.
As you begin the game Rubi only has her dual pistols, but of course she has unlimited ammo to go along with your sword. As you progress in the game you unlock different guns that can be switched on the fly with the d-pad, but these dont have infinite ammo and once I fully upgraded the pistols, I really found no real reason to switch to the other guns. As you finish certain levels and acquire these guns, you play a flashback-like level that has you do a challenge course to get used to the guns before using them on your mission.
Most of the levels are your standard kill some guys, traverse to some area and then defeat waves of enemies or a boss. At some parts there is an arena style setting where enemies will continue to repsawn unlimitedly until you can break a mechanism to lock or close the doors they are coming out of. It is completely meant for carnage and the areas usually have lots of walls or poles or anything that Rubi can make use of to get the best out of her abilities. These areas and Rage Mode (more on that later) is where you will be scoring the majority of your points and are essential if you want to upgrade some or many of her skills and weapons.
When you complete a level you are able to use the points youve accumulated to that point and spend them on upgraded moves or weapon enhancements like rate of fire and damage for each weapon. While some abilities seem cool to unlock, none are necessary at all to really get and simply just add more of that cool feel and more chances to stay in slow motion longer as you take down the gangs. As Ive said before, simply get your pistols maxed out and after that anything else is really just for extra flavor and not really necessary.
In a very Tarentino style, even the loading between levels has the signature commercials that are quite old and something you would see in an old drive in movie theater. It fits in with the style and genre completely, but gamers that arent used to this genre of movies may not understand why its there.
The game does tend to mix things up every second or third level though which I found quite refreshing other than the complete annihilation of anything that moves. The first of these other styles of levels is one where you are riding on top of a car going way too fast down the highway chasing someone as you shoot the enemies in other cars. Doing this while having to jump from car to car or over tipping tanker trucks I found to be some of the most exciting parts of the game, unfortunately there wasnt too many of these style of levels though for my liking. The other notable level like this has Rubi falling out of a blown up airplane plummeting to the ground without a parachute; and yes, you are shooting and killing enemies also in the air trying to reach that one parachute left floating away. Its completely over the top and something you would expect in a movie, but it does have a slight charm to it at times when its at its best.
Certain levels are played in what is called Rage Mode, and what this entails is Rubi usually shooting someone in the head point blank and getting blood all over her face. When this happens all she sees is literally red with enemies highlighted in a white style. During rage mode Rubi is almost invincible and her speed and strength is increased massively. The idea behind this is that Rubi is literally wet with blood and this is how she focuses when so. It has a very artistic style to it that reminds me much of the older Killer 7 game; as that would be the best way I could describe the visuals. The gameplay in this mode doesnt really differ too far from the norm, it seems like it is really just meant to offer a slight change of pace without actually changing the pace.
After you complete the campaign in a few hours, there are some more obstacle courses that do get unlocked and then can be played as time trials, but honestly; after finishing the title, I hardly see any reason to come back to it again unless you are a completionist and want every single upgrade (regardless of how useless).
The sound quality in the game also has the grainy 70s style soundtrack to go along with it and suits it perfectly for the genre. Obviously the voice acting from the Dushku and McDowell are top notch as well and I do hope that getting actors in videos games will catch on more, because nothing can ruin a great game like bad voice acting; luckily that isnt found here.
Nothing is perfect and WET is no different; the characters seem to have very low polygon counts and really seem blocky and textures when you get close up (even Rubis face at times) doesnt look sharp at all and stands out pretty badly at times. This along with quite a lot of clipping and not all moves working where they should (why some walls can be wall ran and flipped from and not others?) makes for quite a few awkward moments where youll be trying to fix the camera or wondering why you cant do a certain move somewhere.
Just like movies, games need to have low points so that the high peaks of adrenaline action can seem more exciting; but unfortunately what WET tries to do it give you the high points 100% of the time, which simply cant be sustained for long term excitement. Yes there were some exciting parts more-so than others, but it feels like it shouldnt have been the sections they happened in instead of the combat much like how Max Payne had it done very correctly. While the game grittiness does fir the genre and stylings perfectly, I cant fault it for almost purposely trying to be bad in that B-Movie way, but in the end it felt like it was simply just trying extremely too hard to be cool instead of focusing on making the good parts great.
With almost no replayability I do get the short term appeal of the game but the long term shelf life is simply not there and it will gather dust or be traded in shortly after completion.