n3wblog tech commentary and observations from the future

Wet

I picked up the new Bethesda title Wet this week after seeing the excellent trailer. It promised gritty, grindhouse, film-noir action. And it delivers… sort of.

“Wet” is short for “Wetwork”, you’re informed in the introduction. If you had any notions about this game being about sitting around in the bath tub, I’m sorry to disappoint. You control Rübi, a tough-as-nails assassin with a pair of nine millimeter pistols and a samurai sword for up-close work. The entire game has a gritty, dirty film quality to it which accentuates the grind-house feel. Voice acting is gruff and abrupt.

But all this atmosphere is merely backdrop to the action which starts immediately and seems to continue until the end of the chapter with very few cut-scenes. I’m all for action, as long as the game-play works. In this case, I’m afraid it’s kind of tedious.

I find the shooting controls feel very wooden. It kind of reminds me of Perfect Dark Zero, one of the first games to appear on the Xbox 360 also featuring a female lead character. Controlling your guns doesn’t feel quite right. To make matters worse, to give yourself a chance against the swarming squads of goons hell-bent on killing you, you have the ability to jump, dive and run along walls. This puts you into a bullet-time-like slow-motion mode that makes the aiming somewhat easier and allows you to dual-wield your pistols; the second one auto-aims. The net result of this is that you spend the majority of the action sequences, i.e., the majority of the game in a greyed-out slow-motion mode.

There are other annoyances. Health is delivered via “swigs” of whiskey littered around. Every time you take one, there’s a little animation of Rübi tossing the bottle and shooting it out of the air with a gun. It’s repetitive and adds nothing.

At this point, I’ll ‘fess up and admit that I’ve only played part of the first chapter. I was pretty turned off, especially after completing the unbelieveably good Batman: Arkham Asylum. That game proved that you don’t need bullet-time to simulate ultra-fast reflexes and super-human agility. Hell, I should stop reviewing Wet right now and tell you about how cool Batman was.

So, if you’re looking for a new game to play. Don’t waste your time with Wet. If you did waste your time with Wet and feel strongly about it, maybe you should leave a note in the comments. Otherwise, go get Batman right now.

Wet: I don’t know how many stars to give it because I only played it for 20 minutes and wrote it off.


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