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May 11, 2009
Wanted: Weapons of Fate - PS3 Review
Release Distributor Publisher Developer Offline Players Online Players
1/4/2009WB GamesWB GamesGrin1None
Media HDD Space Resolution Sound Format Tilt Controls OFLC Rating

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The games hero Wesley.
Wanted started life as a comic-book which was later developed into a very successful movie starring, amongst others, Angelina Jolie. To say that both comics and movies have historically struggled with the transition to videogames would put you in the running for the Champion of the Understatement award. Wanted: Weapons of Fate looks to buck that trend, but sadly for many of us, it will have to do so without Angelina. Can Weapons of Fate succeed where so many other comic-book and movie titles have failed?

Weapons of Fate picks up five hours after the Wanted movie finished. Our hero (or is it anti-hero?) Wesley is awakened from another nightmare about his mother's death by the sound of people rummaging around his house. Upon further investigation he discovers some French police examining a framed photo of his mother; one thing leads to another and next thing you know we have a gunfight on our hands. Given that Weapons of Fate is not based on the movie version of Wanted, your exposed to a whole new story that expands the universe. A lot of the story is told in flashback mode while Pekwarsky (Terrance Stamp's character in the movie) tells Wesley about his father, Cross. During these flashbacks you'll control Cross and learn more about the events of the past.

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Wanted is all about taking cover.
The majority of Weapons of Fate is played as a third-person shooter during which you'll spend your time moving from one piece of cover to another, taking out bad guys along the way. For the most part the cover system works well and is initiated with a single button press. When you're behind cover an on-screen icon will come up indicating the direction of other pieces of cover you can move to. It's a simple system that makes Weapons of Fate easy to pick up and play.

As you progress through the levels you'll unlock some of the special talents Wesley displayed in the movie. Early on you'll learn how to bend bullets to hit enemies hiding behind cover. To do this you simply hold down a shoulder button and maneuver the right-stick until the enemy icon changes from red to white. It won't take long to become efficient with bending bullets, which makes life very tough indeed for your would-be assassins. The next talent you'll unlock is the ability to slow down time. This is primarily used when moving from one piece of cover to another, giving you that little bit of extra time to shoot down multiple targets.

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That's a massive explosion.
Not every level is played as a third-person shooter; occasionally you'll be put behind the trigger of a machine-gun or sniper-rifle and your only job is to take out the targets before they kill you. There are also a couple of levels of slow motion action, where you must take out enemies and their bullets quickly, before they find their target ie you. These levels help break up the action somewhat and surprisingly are among the hardest sections in Weapons of Fate.

Weapons of Fate is an action-packed game from start to finish, but unfortunately that finish comes all too soon roughly six hours after you first load it up. There are a few other problems with Weapons of Fate, but really this is the biggest. GRIN have done a good job encouraging users to play through multiple times, from making enemy bosses playable once defeated, to providing three different difficulty settings, and lacing the environments with plenty of hidden artwork, team quotes and comic-book covers to track down. However the bosses play exactly as Wesley and Cross do and they do not appear in the pre-rendered cut-scenes, making them somewhat redundant. Also, the difficulty settings had very little effect that I could see. You will die a little faster on Hard mode, but you can still take your time lining up a bending bullet without too much fear of death. The only noticeable difference I found was that during the slow-motion levels enemy bullets are not highlighted, thus making them harder to detect, leading to a few unexpected deaths. Aside from that, Hard mode seemed more or less the same as Normal.

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Graphically Wanted is fairly decent,
Enemies themselves are a mixed-bag they do get gradually harder as you progress, but at the same time they're just not very smart. The same tactics that worked on enemies on level one will invariably work in the later levels, it will just take more ammunition to take them out. Knife-wielding enemies will sneak up on you, but they are dispatched by repeatedly tapping the circle button if you tap it fast enough you'll take them out without taking any damage (if not, you die instantly). Boss fights are probably the most unsatisfying moments in Weapons of Fate, as each is easily taken down using Wesley's talents at either bending bullets or slowing down time. Using these talents requires adrenaline (which is gained by killing enemies), but you'll be given a ready supply of easy enemies to take out, ensuring you always have enough adrenaline to make short work of the bosses.

The loading times are nearly non-existent in Weapons of Fate, though the mandatory install of 1900+ MB that occurs when you first boot up explains that. If, like me, you've been hoarding all your old save games, you may have to clear some space on the hard-drive before loading up Weapons of Fate for the first time. (I would suggest anyone playing a lot of games install a 250GB HDD into their system - should only cost about $AU100 these days - Dave)

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Another screenshot from Weapons of Fate.
Graphically the game has its ups and downs. In some of the cut-scenes Wesley looks like a perfect copy of James McAvoy (who played him in the movie), yet in others he doesn't look anywhere near as sharp. You'll recognize the Chicago Fraternity locations from the movie with ease, as these locations are lovingly recreated for the game. In fact most of the locations in Weapons of Fate look very nice not quite great, but they definitely do the job. There is the odd bout of slow-down and stuttering, though it happens at surprising times and not always when there is a lot of on-screen action.

The majority of the sound effects and much of the score is taken directly from the movie and sets the scene well. Whenever Wesley (or Cross) engage the enemy the tempo of the music lifts, making battles that much more tense. The voice-acting is solid throughout, with many of the big names providing voices for their characters. Maybe it's just me, but this added that little extra something to the storyline, knowing that Thomas Kretschmann (Cross) and Terrance Stamp (Pekwarsky) among others took time to deliver their lines.

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Shotout in the meatworks.
Overall Weapons of Fate is an action-packed game that flows well and provides plenty of entertainment whilst it lasts, which is unfortunately nowhere near long enough. Even with an engaging storyline that expands on the Wanted movie, it's hard to recommend Wanted: Weapons of Fate as a must-have purchase given that it can be completed in five to six hours. If you enjoyed the movie then this game is definitely worth checking out the humour, graphical style and superhuman talents Wesley displayed in the movie can all be found in this game. It's just that you should probably hire it, or try to pick it up on the cheap because it just doesn't have the longevity to justify paying full-price.

Review By: Mike Allison

GRAPHICSEnvironments look good, cut-scenes vary from very nice to highly suspect. There's a bit of slowdown too, though not enough to be a major problem .
SOUNDPlenty of sound effects and music taken directly from the movie and voice-acting done by the real actors is a plus.
GAMEPLAYThe cover system works well, bending bullets and slowing down time are both fun. Does get repetitive towards the end.
VALUEWeapons of Fate's major failing. It's over in five to six hours and there's not much to bring you back more than once.
OVERALLWanted: Weapons of Fate is not as deep as many games on the market, but it's fun while it lasts and is easy to pick up and play. The perfect game to hire, but perhaps not to purchase.

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