WET: The case against innovation

3 10 2009

wet_rage_mode

Style over substance is a dangerous choice in game development; Grasshopper Manufacture’s GC/PS2 release Killer 7 had some wild design elements and a certainly unique aesthetic, but it couldn’t save the somewhat murky rails-not-rails gameplay. No More Heroes, also a Grasshopper game, suffered some of the same pitfalls.

Enter WET. Full of style but without the new ideas of a Grasshopper title, it’s easy to brush it off as a Croft-meets-Max Payne knockoff with a healthy dash of Grindhouse thrown in. And that’s pretty much all it is. But so what?

WET is proof positive that games don’t need to bring anything new to the table to be a kick-ass good time. The bullet time acrobatics are fun to pull off and help make watching the game more enjoyable, the rage areas are stylishly violent and the gunplay is strong enough to keep up with the slaying. And, something infrequent in action games, Rubi, the female lead, doesn’t have to resort to skimpy attire to remain interesting.

The story is meh. It serves its purpose of putting Rubi to work killing people in Asian locations, but the source movie genre isn’t known for great plot twists either so it doesn’t matter.

So the level design is a little too simple; as long as I’ve got enough ledges to jump between and walls to bounce off while I put one right between some dude’s teeth, I’m a happy gamer. So it’s kind of short; movies are only two hours long. And so it’s got a bunch of QTEs; I actually sort of like QTEs to break up monotony, and learning the right button order is little different to me than wrapping my head around a Street Fighter combo.

If you want a high-brow action experience a la Bioshock, WET is not your game. If you want to have a good time slicing up ninja henchmen and slow-mo diving all over the place, WET is your game.

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