Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Rock-em Sock-em Cowgirl.

I remember seeing the trailer for this game and not being interested. I remember seeing a woman dive in slow motion, I remember seeing her acrobatic stylings on the television above at work, and writing it off.

I occasionally wonder if I'm a bit too jaded. "Another clone from the house Max Payne built", I said. I watched her outrageous, acrobatic stylings, gunplay and swordplay and remember saying to a coworker of mine - "You know, that looks awesome, but I wonder if the transitions are that smooth in actual gameplay?" I looked away and didn't pay it much mind.

It's funny, because in wondering whether or not I'm jaded, I also realize that I've been very pleasantly surprised at many of the releases this year, games I wouldn't have batted an eye towards just rushing up to me and making it known just how wrong I was.

Wet is another of those games.

Coming completely out of left field from Bethesda of all places, and being developed by Artificial Mind and Movement (A2M), Wet is a game that wants you to have fun. The game is awash in a cheesy, worn down Grindhouse style akin to House of the Dead: Overkill, is rife with blood and guts galore, has completely outlandish and over-the-top scenarios aplenty, cheesy, yet catchy music and dialogue, and the best part is, you're in control of it all.

You play as Rubi, an assassin-for-hire with the agility of the Prince of Persia and the firearm proficiency of Max Payne. From the very start of the demo, you're taught the basics. Leaping is done with the A button, Sliding with the B button, Left Trigger helps run on walls, Right trigger is to fire. Later, you gain the ability to use that huge sword on her back and your battle options increase, but it never gets more complicated than those 5 options.

Which brought me back to the point I made with my coworker about it controlling as well as the trailers made it look. I'll say right off the bat that there is a bit of a learning curve, but everything and then some is possible. Every move Rubi executes, be it a wall run, jump, slide, as soon as you move the aiming reticle over an enemy, the game slows down in order to help you aim (and looks damned cool too.) Sweeping the reticle over two enemies causes her to auto-aim at one while you focus on another, making use of both her pistols. It's actually a great design choice that takes the focus away from pinpoint accuracy and more towards how well you can maneuver her through the environments. Within minutes I was deftly executing movements that would make even Mr. Smith from the movie Shoot 'em Up blush.

Case in point: In the opening room alone, I was able to run along a wall, take out two men, flip off said wall without losing momentum catching another henchman between the eyes in midair, hit the ground sliding across the floor on my knees towards two more, taking one out by the knees before literally using him like a human staircase and backflipping off his face, not only taking him out, but the guy behind him as well.

This was all one extended movement. The moves used were literally, wall run, jump, slide. The interactions made them so much more. Even something as simple as descending a ladder will have her sliding down with her back arched backwards if you choose to pull the right trigger on the way down.

It actually wasn't until I played Wet that I realized just how much other games of this nature like Stranglehold took much of the emphasis away from your spectacle by having you focus intensely on pinpoint aiming. Here, within minutes I wasn't nearly as worried about my guns as I was maneuvering her skillfully enough to dispatch my enemies. With each battle area and stage serving as some sort of interactive playground, the possibilities actually seem endless. One area late in the demo spent a good 30 seconds highlighting all the zip lines, swinging poles, walls, and explosives in the area. My brain could do nothing but contemplate how to turn that area into an extended ballet of death. IT's something you as a player would want to do since successive kills fill a combo meter, not only giving you points but also restoring Rubi's health depending on the situation at hand.

The demo ends with a highway chase that's half gameplay, half Quick-Time-Event, having you alternately hopping from car roof to car roof while precision aiming at enemies. If the previous moments of gameplay didn't sell me, having to break away from my shooting in order to hop off one car the second it capsized , only to land on the roof of another car swerving to avoid another car flipping down the interstate had me completely floored.

If I had any complaint, it was that the camera was too close, providing a limited view or hindered one in small rooms, and that Rubi's agility can occasionally be a hindrance, with her moves either being too sensitive or not sensitive enough. The latter becomes a problem when there's always 5-6 enemies minimum shooting at you at any given time, and the wrong combination of moves can get you mowed down.

That however, didn't stop Wet from making my wanted list for Fall 2009. I don't remember any other game since HOTD:Overkill that simply wanted me to have fun because the creation itself was born from developers having a great time.

Did I mention that I also love her character design? Something about it. So renegade and not overtly sexual like most female protagonists.

Surprise from left field. Nice one.

1 comment:

  1. Really, you enjoyed this ? I found it to be mediocre and deleted the demo upon completion, it looked really bad (I understood the grainy visual effect was suppose to be 70s-ish) and I found that some of the mechanics for shooting were off, the free way chase at the end was good though but to me everything else was kind of "meh" Strangle hold was much better.