WET - 360 - Review
“Hey, I didn’t know Quentin Tarantino made a video game!”
This is what I hear from one of my roommates passing by as a rockabilly tune plays at just the right moment when Rubi Malone, the protagonist of Wet for the Xbox 360, runs up a wall, does a back flip and slices an armed thug’s legs clean off in a spray of blood. She then runs and slides across the floor pumping bullets into the rest of the men who think they can stop a woman hell-bent on getting her revenge. Yes, the inspiration for the game is an obvious nod to Tarantino and the director’s love for ‘70s grind house action flicks.
Complete with scratchy old film look that Tarantino and Rodriguez included in their films, “Death Proof” and “Planet Terror,” Wet has all the visual style of the old-school B-movie action flick of an era when blood splattered in outrageous ways. Its star, Rubi, is a professional gun-for-hire who makes the mistake of doing a job for William Ackers, head of a respected criminal syndicate. Even after Rubi saves the man’s life, Ackers sends her on another job that ends up with her getting a blade right through her waist. Angry in ready for vengeance, Rubi Malone sets out to kill Ackers and his loyal henchmen.
The game begins with a tutorial that allows you to get comfortable with the controls and the shooting and slashing mechanics. You see, Rubi doesn’t only favor using her guns but she also carries a sword for those moments when she wants to get really close to her enemies. Rubi has the ability to dive and shoot like Max Payne and has the acrobatic skills of Tomb Raider Lara Croft. She can glide across the floor on her knees and deliver grimace-worthy “low blows” in slow-mo. She can always upgrade her skills to perform new moves as well as upgrade your weapons (Rubi starts out with handguns but later uses shotguns and submachine guns).
The levels take you through a few exotic locales whether you find yourself shooting Chinese gangsters in Hong Kong, well-armed goons in England or playing through a number of challenges in Rubi’s junkyard headquarters. The levels certainly offer a variety of chances to shoot your way in or out of places as well as perform platformer-styled acrobatics that have you going down zip lines or swinging from flagpole to flagpole. Occasionally you’ll find an environment that just isn’t fit for acrobatics, which leaves you resorting to just running and gunning your way through to the next checkpoint.
Oh, but when this game shines it really shines thanks to segments in the game that are just so over-the-top ridiculous that it throws realism out the window. Incidentally, these are the moments that will have you smiling all the way through. In one level, you’re hoping from car to car in a freeway chase and in another you’re fighting for a parachute in mid-air as you try to avoid the debris of an airplane that just blew up. During these levels you’ll even go through some quick-time events where you’ll be pressing buttons when said button icon flashes on the screen.
Unfortunately, Rage Mode simply isn’t as well polished as the games it borrows its style and appearance from when the mode is triggered. When Rubi’s face is splattered with blood, she goes into a killing rage that turns the world into a visually artistic cross between MadWorld and Killer 7. This mode could have been cool but the visual style is simply a hindrance in places that require platform jumping.
Wet is also a challenging game even in the normal difficulty setting and the many times you will meet your demise is from getting overwhelmed during levels where you are asked to destroy icons that will keep enemies from running out of doors. There are no health items except for the bottles of hooch you find in-between levels and you can regain some health by performing combos and chain your attacks by keeping the body count going.
On the visual front, Wet isn’t anything too spectacular but what does set it apart is the old film scratch look and the Rage Mode moments that is seen through a red, white and black filter. The character models look good during cut scenes as well, but more attention was clearly placed on Rubi and the bosses in the game. Rubi interacts flawlessly with her environment and the enemies as well. On top of that, the moves look slick and the visual effects are just astonishingly cinematic. Even the cut scenes have that retro cinema B-move feel.
The voice acting is not bad at all, mainly due to the celebrity voices that handle the dialogue perfectly. My biggest complain, though, is that Eliza Dushku’s one-liners are repeated often to the point that they will get tiresome. At least the soundtracks is really good seeing as it’s filled with 70’s inspired rock tunes that compliments the action well.
Wet for the Xbox 360 oozes cool and there are some truly memorable action-packed moments but it is far from the perfect shooter. Those crazy action sequences that make the game so fun are short and those platform acrobatics just aren’t as good as they could have been in this game. Still, even with the few problems this is a fun action game you’ll definitely want to check out.
Review Scoring Details for Wet
Rubi Malone is as brutal as “Lady Snowblood” is and as sexy as “Foxy Brown” and watching her slide and shoot her way through a crowded room filled with armed thugs is a blast. There are times when you’ll wish they left out the Prince of Persia-styled platform gameplay and more style to the sword fighting but there is no shortage of cool in this game.
While the game isn’t the prettiest Xbox 360 game even without the film scratch effects, the action flows smoothly and there are enough visually dazzling scenes to would make B-movie action directors jealous.
There’s a good voice cast the includes Malcolm McDowell and Eliza Dushku but the star of the show is the catchy rockabilly tunes that would make Tarantino proud. There are also decent sound effects as well.
There are some trail-and-error moments in the game and oftentimes the enemy can overwhelm you in confined spaces. Some of the boss battles will give you hard time but it’s nothing that will have you too frustrated.
Rubi is a stone cold professional with plenty of slick moves but Lara Croft she is not and it shows. Still, the more outrageous the level the more extreme the action gets and there are plenty of upgrades to unleash on the goon squad you will go up against. There are unlockable challenges when you finish the game.
Like the grindhouse action flicks of the ’70s, Wet is a wild ride packed with enough blood, bullets, and ridiculous over-the-top action to make it worth your while. Sure, some gameplay elements could have used polishing and the trail-and-error moments a bit aggravating at times but the truly best moments in the game shine brightly like Rubi’s sharp blade.