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December 3, 2009
Wet - PS3 Review
Release Distributor Publisher Developer Offline Players Online Players
29/9/2009Namco BandaiBethesda SoftworksA2M1None
Media HDD Space Resolution Sound Format Tilt Controls OFLC Rating
Disc5MB720pDD5.1NoneMA15+

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Wet is out now on PS3.
Though at first blush it may seem surprising, the fact is Artificial Mind and Magic (A2M for short) have a lot in common with Rubi Malone, the trash-talking, leather-wearing, sword-wielding protagonist of their latest offering, Wet. When the chips are down, both A2M and Rubi show a relentless drive to get the job done. For Rubi this means shooting and slashing her way through hordes of goons, for A2M it means sticking to their guns, and slashing down hordes of red-tape to get their game produced. Wet was one of many titles that the newly formed Activision-Blizzard passed on when the companies merged, leaving Wet without a home. However A2M's determination to get their game published paid off, and eventually Bethesda Softworks, of Fallout 3 fame, stepped up to publish Wet. The question is, is the game good enough to justify A2M's determination, let alone their leather-wearing habit?

Wet is a third-person shooter that oozes style from the get-go. Presented very much in the manner of a B-grade action film Wet incorporates grainy-visuals, bizarre movie ads from yesteryear (including proper drive-in etiquette in case you mistakenly drive off with a speaker still attached to your car, the astonishing development that is Vista Vision, and a tasty candy-bar “treat” known as the Chilly Dilly – pickles never looked so good), stylish menu's and loading screens as well as an up-tempo soundtrack that certainly suits the over-the-top action.

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Yep, you're the Death Dealer.
Wet's storyline is straightforward – someone out there made the mistake of rubbing Rubi the wrong way, and now she's out for payback. Luckily for us, the same person that got on Rubi's wrong side also has enough goons to fill the three continents Rubi will visit in order to get her retribution. Combat is based around acrobatics, which mostly involves a single button-press to pull off. Whenever Rubi jumps, slides, swings around a pole or runs along a wall, the game goes into slow-motion so that Rubi can shoot or slash all who stand before her. There will often be near endless streams of enemies to dispatch, but getting rid of them is made easier by the games auto-targeting system that allows you to shoot at two enemies at once. During the slow-mo moments a red reticule will appear over and enemy that has been auto-targeted, allowing you to focus your energies on one of the other on-screen enemies, thus pulling off double-kills. Killing enemies in quick succession builds up Rubi's multiplier, which restores health faster as it increases, as well as gaining more points for kills. These points can then be spent on weapon and acrobatic upgrades between levels. Rubi starts the game with a pair of pistols and a sword, and as she makes her way through the levels she gains access to dual shotguns, dual sub-machine guns and an explosive crossbow.

Levels combine one or more of the following – platforming sections, arenas, quick-time events and so called Rubi-Rage moments. The platforming sections are largely self-explanatory as you make your way through linear levels, performing acrobatic moves and killing any enemies you happen across. Arenas are areas where enemies are continually re-spawned until the gates they are coming through are destroyed. These areas have multiplier bonuses littered around, so the objective is to keep your multiplier as high as possible whilst destroying the spawn-gates and enemies, as well as taking care of the mini-gun wielding mini-boss. The quick-time events are varied - there's a level just like the Matrix Reloaded where you ride on top of cars travelling along a freeway, shooting at bad guys and jumping between vehicles when the one you're on is about to crash, there's another where you're falling through the wreckage of an exploded airplane in an attempt to reach a parachute, and even some boss fights where you have to push the correct button when prompted.

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Wet is quite stylish visually.
Rubi-Rage levels take stylish visuals to a whole new level. At times in the game you'll get a quick cut-scene of an enemy running up to Rubi, just in time for her to shoot them in the head and get spattered with their blood. When this happens a siren sounds, and the entire screen goes red, with the odd bit of black and white to define certain objects. Whilst the gameplay remains mostly unchanged in these sections, aside from the multiplier increasing faster, they look very cool and provide an enjoyable, if temporary, break from the rest of the game.

As fun as Wet can be, it also suffers from some disappointments. For starters the game is very short, weighing in at around six hours. While this is also true of the awesome Modern Warfare 2, it at least has a massive online component. Wet, on the other hand, has a Challenge mode where Rubi runs through a variety of courses, shooting targets to reduce her overall time, before reaching the finish and claiming a medal. Challenge mode is alright in and of itself, but it offers nothing like the online mode of Modern Warfare 2 in terms of long-term value.

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Looks like the Matrix freeway battle a bit.
Combat is also quite repetitive; wave after wave of enemies are thrown at you and after a few levels of acrobatic mayhem you start pining for something a bit more substantial. There's no real need for thought or tactics; just jump, slide and wall-run your way through enemies, shooting all the while. Although Rubi's skill-set and weapons can be upgraded between levels, this is largely redundant because the pistols are as effective as the sub-machine gun and crossbow in most circumstances, whilst the sword is a more satisfying weapon up close than the shotguns.

Loading times can also be a pain, particularly in sections where death comes often like the level where Rubi is falling through plane debris. Even though that section was playing a moment ago, it can take around thirty seconds from the time of Rubi's death to the time you start playing again. And my last gripe is with the end of the game – the much-anticipated final battle against your nemeses is a quick-time event – a simple matter of pressing the right button when prompted. All of the acrobatic skills you've been honing up to this point are rendered moot, and the feeling of disappointment you're left with cannot be shaken easily.

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Wet, the game, has a lot of acrobatics!
As has been mentioned before, Wet has an appealing graphical style all the way through. Characters do lack sharpness, particularly in cutscenes, but they fit the stylised theme of Wet very well. The grainy look of the game, so reminiscent of 70's cinema, is interesting and helps obscure the frequent screen-tearing, which is a plus. The Rubi-Rage sequences look fantastic, despite a lack of obvious detail - it's the style that will impress you as much as anything. Objects are, for the most part, clearly defined and if you can't always tell exactly where you're meant to jump next in a platforming section, simply holding L1 will make the interactive objects glow red.

The music suits the game perfectly; it's always energetic and seems to encourage your deadly carnage with its rhythms. The only time the music grates is in the sections where you die often, and thus must listen to the same tune over and over. The voice-acting is only so-so, despite having the delectable Eliza Dushku (the voice of Rubi) and Malcolm McDowell on the cast. This is partly to do with the script which often seems to mistake swearing with cool, but at other times the voices can be indistinct and unclear, with only the sub-titles to help you out. Occasionally the time between lines is so short that characters very nearly talk over the top of each other, which is a little off-putting. The sound effects are serviceable, which is a good thing given you'll hear the sound of gunfire roughly a million times in your six-hours of play.

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Admittedly Wet is a little bland at times.
Wet is an original and entertaining game, that unfortunately suffers from its fair share of flaws. On the one hand it's a fast-paced bit of shoot ‘em up fun, and a break from the more hardcore games out there. On the other hand, one could say Wet is too short and repetitive with a highly unsatisfying conclusion. Which view you will end up with will largely depend on your expectations; if you come into Wet looking for something featuring a kick-ass female lead, an appealing visual style and plenty of killing, you're likely be able to forgive the shortcomings. If you're looking for something more substantial however, you're likely to be disappointed. A2M's determination to see Wet released is justified – there's a lot of potential here – it just hasn't been shown to full effect this time around.

Review By: Mike Allison

GRAPHICSPlenty of style, but slightly lacking in substance. The Rubi-Rage sequences are great, the frequent screen-tearing is not.
74%
SOUNDQuality soundtrack that suits the game perfectly. Despite some star power the voice-acting is only so-so.
77%
GAMEPLAYThe acrobatic combat is a lot of fun initially; however the action gets repetitive mid-way through.
70%
VALUEVery short, with no major incentive to replay. Challenge mode is nice, but it won't keep you busy for long.
62%
OVERALLThere's plenty to like about Wet, and at a budget price and taken in the right spirit it's a lot of fun. Otherwise, it's an original game that is hurt by its short length and repetitious gameplay.
70%

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