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On 09/23/2009 at 12:56 AM by Neal Ronaghan
Awesome music and ultra violence go together well.
For fans of hyper-violence and Quentin Tarantino that are alright with a short game. The squeamish need not apply.
For a long time, I lampooned Wet. With its humorous title, ridiculous premise, and publisher issues, there was a lot to make fun of. After spending some time with the recent release, I can safely say it proved me wrong. Wet has its issues, but its Tarantino-esque style makes it a raucous romp.
The unique style borrows a good deal from 70s-era exploitation films. Wet has a perpetual grainy filter, random drive-in movie interstitials, and an over-the-top story. Playing as femme fatale Rubi Malone (voiced by Eliza Dushku), players go through slow-motion gun-and-sword combat that is mixed with a healthy amount of quick-time events and platforming.
Easily the best part, the music makes the game whole with self-proclaimed "face-melting, musical debauchery" that features a quick pace and catchy lyrics. While some of the more repetitive tunes can get obnoxious, the music really livens up the game.
As for the actual gameplay, it's solid. There are three primary points where the combat comes out of: jumping, sliding, and wall running. When either of these are activated while enemies are present, the game goes into slow motion, similar to The Matrix or Max Payne, as Rubi fires at the surrounding enemies. Perpetually armed with two guns, Rubi always has one gun locked on to the closest foe while the other is controlled with the right analog stick. If executed correctly, players can fire at two enemies at once. The sword isn't as vital and is only used to perform some of the more hideously violent maneuvers.
Occasionally, Rubi will kill an enemy in close range and get blood on her face. That makes her flip out and go into a red-tinted rage where she slaughters foes with ease. While these sections play out exactly the same as the regular combat, the stylized graphics make it refreshing.
Platforming is also a big part of the game as the murderous heroine uses Parkour to get around. She runs along and climbs walls, uses ziplines, and spins on poles (not like that, you sicko). It can be frustrating, as checkpoints are sometimes very infrequent. This also kills the pace because there are times when you're forced to go through many platform segments in a row.
During that, the combat is really only a distraction from the platforming except for in the big set piece kill rooms, which are a highlight. Basically, you are presented with a few "monster closets" that continuously spawn enemies every few seconds. You have to destroy all these closets, and then wipe out the remaining enemies. The maps are usually structured to have all sorts of ways to extend your multiplier, which can go up to five. Those all net you points, which are used to purchase new abilities and improve the stats of your weapons. The abilities range from being able to shoot a gun from a zipline to dodging.
Wet is linear and quite short, with 12 chapters that last a combined five hours or so. It's well paced and doesn't outstay its welcome. There are some harder difficulties, including one that pretty much turns the game into the Licensed to Kill mode from GoldenEye 007, as well as challenges, but they are only unlocked after you complete the game. You can also explore Rubi's base of operations, the desert Boneyard, but there's little do there besides select challenges and kill scorpions for some pointless unlockables.
While it is definitely a game where style triumphs over substance, Wet is a fun ride. The combat gets a little repetitive and the platforming can get frustrating, but with a zany story and fantastic and fitting music, it's well worth a rent at the very least.