In the first scene of Wet, you slide down a long table in slow motion, smashing through towers of champagne glasses and a giant cake as you gun down thugs who are trying to kill you. Then you leap off the table to fly over a dragon-shaped ice sculpture as you pump bullets into even more goons. After you whip out your sword to finish the last one off, you’ll have killed a dozen enemies in a bloody display of stylish, slow-motion savagery within a few short moments. Wet’s gleefully bloody combat is a combination of high-flying acrobatics and brutal gunplay that is consistently entertaining, despite some rough movement mechanics. And while the seedy plot and cuss-happy characters aren’t anything to write home about, the story is very well paced and propelled by a fiery soundtrack that perfectly suits the over-the-top action. Wet is a high-speed thrill ride that barrels over its own speed bumps and potholes at such a rollicking good pace that you can’t help but have a riotously good time.
You play Rubi Malone. When things go afoul on a job she’s hired to do, she wants payback, and she’s got the skills to get it. Rubi’s substantial move set is introducded at a measured pace, giving you just enough time to get comfortable with each ability before you unlock a new one. You start out jumping and sliding, but you’ll work your way up to pole swinging, wall jumping, and a host of other acrobatic maneuvers. You’ll use your abilities to traverse a variety of gritty environments as your work your way through the underworld to get at the guys who wronged you. For the most part, navigating is straightforward and fairly easy, though the loose controls ensure that you’ll make your fair share of missteps. If you get stuck, you can hold a button to highlight areas that Rubi can grab onto or run to, which will generally get you on your way. However, some jumps are incongruously tough, and a few sections make your next step frustratingly unclear.
Rubi can run and gun fairly well, but it is much more entertaining and rewarding to gun while doing something besides running. If you start shooting while doing anything remotely acrobatic, time will slow down and the real fun begins. Rubi is a dual-wielding kind of gal, and when you enter the slow-motion shooting mode, one of the guns automatically targets a nearby enemy. You can then aim the other gun freely, which allows you to take down multiple enemies without breaking a sweat. This pairing of auto-targeting with free aiming is intuitive and uncomplicated, and Rubi’s flexibility allows you to cover a wide degree of firing angles. The shooting mechanics and slow-motion effect combine to imbue every enemy encounter with cinematic potential. To take out a cluster of enemies, for example, you could leap toward your enemies and use your pistols to stop the charging swordsmen. Then you can land in a slide, switch to your semiautomatic guns, and spin your torso around in a full circle, spraying hot death in every direction. The slow motion not only makes this massacre possible, but it also allows you to revel in your deliciously deadly abilities.
The only other places you’ll encounter awkwardness are in the cutscenes and character dialogue. The character models aren’t particularly sharp, and there’s a good amount of graphical clipping and lip-syncing clumsiness. The plot is a serviceably violent romp through the underworld and takes you to a variety of detailed locations that, while not exactly beautiful, have a number of nice flourishes. The voice acting is solid but not great, and some of Rubi’s quips wear out their welcome pretty quickly (“Say goodnight, Gracie!”). The whole game is overlaid with a grainy filter (which you can turn off) that echoes Wet’s grind house inspiration, but the best part of the presentation is the soundtrack, which boasts a robust number of grimy surf rock tracks. These chime in at timely intervals, punching up the action and psyching you up to do some more killing.
When you’re done with the story, you can replay each level to try to beat a target point score or take on the obstacle-course challenges, though the latter tends to expose some of the game’s weaker elements. Wet isn’t a particularly pretty game, and a lingering awkwardness can interrupt the acrobatic platforming from time to time. Fortunately, you’ll usually be too busy enjoying the action to notice. The combination of auto-target, free aim, and slow motion makes combat relentlessly entertaining, and the vigorous soundtrack and great pacing give the game a satisfying sense of momentum. Though there is a certain roughness to the action, Wet is still a raucously entertaining adventure.
Compnay: Bethesda Softworks and A2M
Release: Sep 15, 2009
Here’s the trailer for it: