Up Up Down Down: Wet
Considering that the previous console generation kicked off an astounding eight years ago in 2005 with the launch of the Xbox 360, it's easy to see how some great titles may have been forgotten along the way. One such game is Wet from developer Artificial Mind and Movement. Despite being published by Bethesda, the game didn't exactly gain the notoriety of other titles that have fallen under the massive company's publishing banner. That's really a shame, because Wet is easily one of the most entertaining pure action games to come along this past console generation.
On this edition of Up Up Down Down, we're going back to 2009, to take a look at the hard-boiled, kick-ass action of this Tarantino-esque game.
Up Up: Badass B movie style
It doesn't take long to realize exactly what type of game this is. Almost immediately after you begin playing, you see how Quentin Tarantino's iconic film-making style and prowess was a major inspiration for Wet. The whole thing has this awesome B movie vibe to it, and if you're a fan of that sort of thing, you're bound to be left totally impressed at how grimy and bloody it is. As if the grainy look of the game wasn't telling enough, loading screens take the form of cheesy advertisements in true grindhouse fashion. Simply put, the attention to detail in recreating an old school drive-in feel is remarkable.
Down Down: Not exactly a graphical powerhouse
While stylistically Wet is undoubtedly tremendous, it's graphics aren't all that impressive. The game's gritty film look does a good job of offsetting what's an otherwise simply decent graphics engine, but even then, it's difficult to ignore the fact that this game could look much better. In fact, if the technical boundaries of Wet were pushed just a bit more, the game would look even bolder.
Up Up: Absolutely killer collection of music
In addition to the blatantly gritty aesthetic of the game, you've also got a killer soundtrack to coincide with the visuals. Throughout Wet you're treated to a large collection of great punk rock, surf, and rockabilly tunes that mesh wonderfully with the game's action and style. You can't help but feel badass as you slice fools with your katana or shoot dudes in the nuts with your assortment of firearms as loud music rages on in the background. Another nice detail worth pointing out regarding the sound design is Eliza Dushku's stellar voice work for protagonist Rubi Malone.
Down Down: Noticeably unpolished in parts
Wet is a hell of a wild ride throughout, but you just can't ignore the parts that feel unpolished. Camera hitches are among the worst offenders, and as you play through this otherwise riveting grindhouse adventure, you're bound to stumble upon some sequences where you're not only battling gangs of bad guys, but the camera itself. Considering there's quite a bit of pre-reboot era Tomb Raider climbing and acrobatics, that can be a problem.
Up Up: Rubi Malone is freakin' cool
Despite the fact that Rubi Malone is indeed a confident female lead, she's by no means an obnoxiously cocky or invincible main character. She's certainly got this brash attitude about what she does (she's a mercenary, so it's justified), but that doesn't keep her from feeling like a human character. She gets her ass handed to her at times, and she's put in a few dire situations that showcase her vulnerability. These human traits coupled with Rubi's unbridled badassery make her one of the coolest protagonists of her console generation, and it's incredibly easy to root for her the entire time you're playing.
Down Down: Criminally short length
Wet crams in so much awesomeness that you won't even realize when the game's over. At just about six hours, you can get through the campaign in a day or two. The whole time you're playing you're rewarded with engaging action sequences and nonstop craziness, so when it's over, you won't help but feel that maybe a couple of more hours of gameplay could've been thrown in. For what it's worth, these are six hours of quality gameplay, which is exactly why it's a shame that the game isn't longer.
Left Right Left Right: Wet is brutal grindhouse awesomeness
Wet may be four years old, and we may have shiny new consoles, but if you've yet to play this game, fix that immediately. The game's in-your-face action and Tarantino-flavored style make it a largely satisfying experience that's easy to fall in love with. It's a bit short, and it doesn't always offer the most polish, but even then, there's a lot to love about Wet. This is the kind of riveting experience that stands out due to its ability to captivate and amaze you with bloody encounters galore, a soundtrack that's easy to headbang to, and an enjoyable protagonist that kicks a lot of ass.
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