STAFF REVIEW of Wanted: Weapons of Fate (Xbox 360)

Wednesday, April 1, 2009.
by Rick Wallace

Wanted: Weapons of Fate Box art Very rarely do we get a game based on a movie long after the movie has already been released, but that is just the case with Wanted: Weapons of Fate. The game is based off a movie released earlier this year which is in turn based off a comic book series, so there is plenty of material for developers to work with and put together s solid story and great gameplay. Unfortunately, the great gameplay doesn?t really make an appearance in the game.

This title consists of basic gameplay elements: Run, take cover, shoot and then repeat the sequence until all the enemies are gone. There are some added elements in the gameplay such as curving your bullets and slow motion bullet time ala Max Payne, but in the end the novelty seems to just wear off. The level designs are pretty straight forward and consists of multiple cover points, strategically placed explosive objects as well and plenty of enemies at every turn. We?ll get into the gameplay a bit further along in the review.

Graphically, the game is on par with what one would expect from the Xbox 360. Character models are fairly representative of their real life counterparts, and you?ll find quite a bit of destructible environment throughout each level. Cover points such as concrete pillars will fade away to mere rubble with each and every bullet impact which of course provides you with less and less cover. The slow motion bullet time effects are fairly well done and are truly reminiscent of the Max Payne series. You?ll also find it quite thrilling for the first level or 2 when viewing the curved bullet animation that follows your bullet through the air until impact with its destined target. In the end though, both items where off in thrill and novelty and quite frankly just become a bit to repetitive and gimmicky for my taste.

The voice acting in the game is very well done and really does help the story along quite well. This is one thing that will keep you playing the game, at least through one playthrough. Explosions, gunfire and yelling enemies are nothing out of the ordinary but again enhance the experience at least somewhat and aid in making the game somewhat fun and believable. You?ll have a pretty good soundtrack throughout the game that increases with drama as the on screen action gains intensity. One of my turn offs with the sounds and truly any video game is the use of extreme profanity. Sure the rating on the box warns and allows for the profanity, but honestly is there really a need for the F-Bomb to be dropped on a constant basis. It?s definitely a game I would have to think twice about letting my son play.

On the note of vulgarity and profanity, I also found it quite disturbing that the developers/storywriters felt the need to include those tactics in the naming of levels as well as difficulty degrees. Without going into to much detail, the first level comes up in bold letters and is named ?Clusterf***?. I am sure you can fill in the blanks and figure out the level?s name. To me, there is just no need for something like that, and despite a game ESRB rating, I would hope folks would have some decency about themselves. As I mentioned, this vulgarity also makes an appearance as the easiest difficulty level. The difficulty, rather than being ?Easy?, is known as ?P***y?. Again, I think you can fill in the blanks. In my opinion, just ridiculous, so I will just leave this subject at that.

Let?s chat about the game?s gameplay options a bit. You get the single player campaign. Yup, that?s it. No online multiplayer. No bot play or local multiplayer. Just a single player storyline to play through and that is it. Now you?ll be able to view plenty of unlockables such as developer comments, quotes, pictures from their Xmas Party, etc. You?ll also be able to view unlocked concept art, movies, and comic book items. It?s a little hard to believe that a first person shooter does not come included with some sort of multiplayer aspect, especially with the popularity of shooters online. I think it would have been pretty cool to use the curving bullet system against real live opponents. Oh well, moving on.

As I stated earlier, the gameplay is fairly straight forward. The game truly uses a cover system which plays heavily into some aspects of the game such as taking out shielded opponents. It actually works quite well most of the time. You?ll hide in cover and fire off some rounds blindly, and then flank your opponent while still undercover to get a better shot on them. Again, this works effectively against shielded opponents. There are also some close combat sequences but its just the matter of pushing the ?B? button when close enough to an enemy to knife them. No real skill needed.

One of the novelty features of the game, but truly what the character is all about is the ability to curve bullets through the air and around obstacles to hit opponents under cover. Again, there is nothing really difficult about doing this. You?ll hold the RB button when you have your aiming reticule in the vicinity of the intended target and the bullet path will appear. It will appear red if there is something in the projected path to the target, but once you move the trajectory a little and it becomes white you just leave go and off your bullet goes. Don?t worry; you never miss if you fire when the aiming system is white. Usually when you use a curved bullet against the final enemy in a section it breaks into a slow mo cut scene showing the bullet on its path to its target. You?ll see it fly and impact its target and is actually a very cool little animation. But as with everything in this game its gets repetitive and boring after a few times.

One thing that I found very frustrating was the turret guns. When I first hit a turret level, I would constantly be killed, even at the easiest level and could not complete the objective. Then I realized that by simply not firing or aiming the weapon you no longer took and damage and would heal immediately. This is something you?ll want to keep in mind since the first turret objective you run into is during the second level.

A few other things that would come to mind as low points for the game would be that while the bullet curving system is cool and all it honestly takes no skill whatsoever. You never get a sense of accomplishment from taking out an enemy across the level hiding behind a wall. Its just point and let go of a button. I wish they would have put more time into that aspect of the game since it is supposedly your main skill of expertise. The other things I would have to mention as being downfalls would be the lack of multiplayer, the use of profanity in the form they use it, and the lack of gameplay options.

In the end this game truly does serve its purpose to promote a movie. Or wait. Maybe it doesn?t since the movie has already been released and is no longer in theatres. Ok, then really there is no point to the game other than something to kill a few hours or maybe hold you over until the next big title. The title had promise and looked like it was going to be quite fun to play after playing through the first level or 2, but once the novelty wore off that?s where the game then became repetitive and quite frankly a bit boring. If you are a fan of the comic book or the movie, then you will probably want to play this, but other than that its just a rental for most at best

The game severely lacks gameplay modes. The inclusion of online play should be a no brainer for a shooter and for this title to really get any kind of popularity it should be there. I would have loved to see the skill of curving bullets to be a little more advanced and give one a sense of accomplishment. Overall not a bad title, but not great either.

Overall: 6.9 / 10
Gameplay: 6.5 / 10
Visuals: 7.8 / 10
Sound: 7.0 / 10


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