From the very first minute that you load up WET you'll notice that it shares a similar style with 2007's Stranglehold, as the game concentrates more on providing a disjointed mish-mash of over-the-top action set pieces in lieu of bestowing gamers with a coherent plot. The question then beckons, with a package chock full of style over substance, is there enough in here to keep gamers interested? We think so, but it really depends on whether you can overlook the title's shortcomings.
WET tells the story of Rubi Malone, a foul mouthed gun-for-hire - delightfully voiced by Eliza Dushku, whom many will remember for her notable role as Faith from television's Buffy, the Vampire Slayer - who bites off more than she can chew when she agrees to help a wealthy man find and bring back his wayward son. Incidentally, the deal goes bad and Rubi finds herself on the run and trying to track down the man who left her for dead. Like any good revenge tale, not only will Rubi get to the bottom of the mystery - she'll leave a massive body count doing it.
When you look at the title purely from a game design standpoint, WET is a fairly standard take on the modern third person shooter. Featuring things like slow-motion acrobatics, automatic targeting, and the ability to chain together combos of kills have all been seen and done before, but their inclusion in WET comes together nicely at giving the game that B-grade action movie feel.
Stylistically, the game also borrows heavily from the action movie genre, with the developer A2M having created a homage to trashy drive-in movies with the most notable nod being to the visual styles of Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez. Within minutes of being in the game you'll notice many nods to both Sin City and Kill Bill, while their double bill Grindhouse almost serves as a blueprint for the game's style as we are presented with a grainy movie filter quality to the graphics, cut scenes chock full of graphic violence - and some heavy cussing for good measure. One of the most quirky, yet fascinating aspects of the title is the inclusion of classic cinema lobby ads of yesteryear. While it's a completely random addition to the title, it adds a nice touch to giving the game that pulp cinema feel to which it aspires.
Audio wise, there is very little not to love about WET. Eliza Dushku's portrayal of Rubi will have many of her fans wishing for a film adaptation of the game as Rubi has the potential to be one of her memorable characters. As well as Eliza, there is also a strong supporting voice cast in Malcolm McDowell and Alan Cumming. The game's soundtrack also proves to be an inspired choice of catchy rockabilly tracks which completely fits in with the look and feel of the game. Topping it off are the crisp and clean sound effects to complete the solid audio package.
WET proves to be one of the most entertaining third person shooters that we have seen in a while. Mixed with acrobatic wall running similar to Prince of Persia and a combination of sword and gun play, its easy to see that WET has borrowed more than a few ideas from other action titles, and it works - for the most part.
What does not work with the game is the overuse of long and drawn out quick time events. In one particular stage, players are tasked with the challenge of having Rubi dodge the wreckage of an airplane that she has fallen out of. The objective of this event is to make your way past all the debris until you reach a parachute before she dies, but if you don't complete this sequence perfectly, you will grow increasingly frustrated as you have to sit back and watch the loading screen before tackling the annoying objective all over again. In most cases these events will need to be repeated several times before you complete it and the lack of an auto save feature at these junctures is just damn cruel.
QTEs aside, the rest of the game works well providing gamers to slice, dice and shoot their way out of trouble throughout a number of locales ranging from the streets of Hong Kong to the American desert. After a few levels you'll find that many of the game's areas and situations feel quite same-ish; almost to the point that you'll be able to anticipate what will happen next.
In the weapons stakes, Rubi comes equipped with five weapons at her disposal, which become unlocked at certain points during the game. Rubi's mainstays are her trusty pistols (which come loaded with unlimited ammo) and her sword. Otherwise, the shotguns, machine guns and mini-crossbow all become available as you progress through the game. Apart from the sword and pistols, the rest of Rubi's weapons can run out of ammunition, but thankfully, there is plenty of ammo to find in destructible boxes peppered throughout each level. The most annoying aspect of unlocking new weaponry are the silly time challenges which you must complete before you get to use the new weapons in-game. This consists of being forced to run through a timed obstacle course in Rubi's Boneyard - a base of operations which serves as a small time waster between missions - but if you fail to complete the course within the allotted time, you'll have to wait for the game to reload and try all over again. This aspect of the title seems like the most tacked on section of the game, serving more to pull you out of Rubi's story more than anything else.
For all of its fun parts, unfortunately there aren't all slicing and dicing good times to be had, with WET comprising of a number of platforming sequences where you will spend extended periods of time where you won't kill anyone at all. These dreaded jumping puzzles are some of the worst that we have ever faced in a game, with these sequences serving only to disjoint the fast-paced action and replace it with a frustrating camera that makes it difficult to perform the ridiculous jumps that the game requires you to perform.
Also adding to the gameplay woes are the clunky controls which can sometimes cause you to incorrectly navigate through these platforming sections and more often than not result in Rubi plummeting to her untimely end. One of the more fun gameplay aspects of the title is Rubi's Rage Mode which is a scripted part of the game where Rubi shoots an enemy in the face and gets blood in her eyes, sending her into a fit of rage. In Rage Mode everything becomes black and red as Rubi cuts a swath through the dozens of henchmen that appear to tick over her kill count. The only real issue with word this mode is that it usually ends too soon.
One of the things that will probably push gamers to rent this title rather than purchase it is the lack of replay value thanks to a short single-player campaign and a lack of any meaty unlockable modes. Though as the game allows players to upgrade their weaponry by collecting points for performing stylish and acrobatic kills, some players might feel compelled to replay certain sections of the game to unlock more potent firepower.
Overall, WET is an interesting take on the action gaming genre which serves as an homage to the trashy cinema of yore. Unfortunately, clunky controls and some rather uninspiring sections of gameplay hold this back from being a truly terrific title. But for all that it is, WET is one shallow title with oodles of entertainment value.