Wet

Review

posted 10/7/2009 by Cyril Lachel
other articles by Cyril Lachel
One Page Platforms: 360
The first half of the game is set up to make you feel like the badass killer that you are, taking on dozens of enemies without even breaking a sweat.  However, just as the action is starting to get stale, the game switches gears and turns into a lighter version of Tomb Raider.  The second half of the game features a surprising amount of puzzle solving, as well as a lot of jumping from ledge to ledge and figuring your way through labyrinthian level designs.  Thankfully the level designs never feel as dense as those in Tomb Raider, so I found myself actually having a good time with these platforming sections.

Unfortunately it's in these Tomb Raider-esque levels where I discovered the fundamental weakness of the game's controls.  The game is built around these exciting action sequences, but when you're just trying to get around things become a little more frustrating.  One of my biggest complaints is that you can't simply jump straight up; instead you jump at an angle or with movement.  That means that it's easy to accidentally jump off of a ledge to your death.  What's more, gauging how far you can jump can also be tricky, especially when you're dealing with wide gaps between platforms.  There were a lot of times when I needlessly died simply because Rubi wouldn't grab onto a ledge or didn't make the gap.  I quickly learned that while the clunky controls were fine for the action aspects of the game, the control scheme was woefully inadequate for the latter half of Wet.


While I couldn't get enough of the acrobatic action and nonstop action, I was a little disappointed by Wet's outdated visuals.  The developers do their best to mask the visuals through a heavy graphical filter that makes the game look like it's an old print of a 1970s movie.  You get film scratches, there are scenes missing and when you die the projector literally burns the film reel.  All of these flourishes give the game a unique look and feel, but none of this makes the graphics any better.  If you can get past the rough graphics you'll find that there's a lot to like about the game's presentation.  There's a lot of untapped potential here, something I hope will be rectified in a possible sequel.

While I have very little good to say about the visuals, the game's audio is second to nobody.  The game's soundtrack is easily the best thing I've heard all year, immediately making me scour the internet looking for a place to get these tunes.  The songs come from a number of bands I've never heard of (Mushroom Lounge, The Creepshow, Long Tall Texans, The Chop Tops, The Arkhams, Notorious MSG, Corpse Show Creeps, etc.), all of which I will make sure and become acquainted with after playing the game.  The songs in the game come from all genres, yet they all feel specifically created for each part of the game.  Whoever is responsible for getting all of these bands together needs a raise, because they clearly have a superior ear for game music.  Hands down Wet has the best and most original soundtrack of the year, no easy feat in a year that brought us The Beatles: Rock Band.


The game's spoken dialogue is fun and understandably hokey.  The main voice work comes from three well-known performers -- Eliza Dushku (currently starring in Joss Whedon's Dollhouse), Malcolm McDowell (A Clockwork Orange, Planet of the Apes) and Alan Cumming (X2, Titus, Spice World).  These three character actors pull their weight, offering solid readings (even if the writing is a bit hammy at times).  They all seem to understand that they're in a cheesy Grindhouse-style game, and they certainly make the most of their time.  Some of the secondary voice acting isn't as strong as the three leads, but even that fits in perfectly with the type of atmosphere the game is going for.

There really isn't a whole lot to do outside of the game's 10 hour campaign.  There are no multiplayer modes to speak of and no alternate paths through the game.  You can play Wet on a higher difficulty, but outside of that there isn't much replay.  The game does have a couple of challenge modes, though.  One of them features a race through your Texas home and another has you going through the levels again for points.  The race challenges are fun, even if they can be easily beaten.  It's a shame there isn't more to do.

Even though it's a little rough around the edges, I found myself having a lot of fun with Wet.  Some of the game's trappings get tiresome by the end, but there's enough original content here to keep you on the edge of your seat through all 10 hours of gameplay.  At the same time I felt like there was a lot of untapped potential, something that will hopefully be rectified with a sequel.  If you're looking for an exciting action game with the same vein as Stranglehold and Max Payne, then Wet is the perfect game for you.  Anybody looking for a game with a lot of substance and replay value should probably look elsewhere.  Either way, Wet is definitely worth a play through.


B
It has clunky controls, a cheesy story, hammy acting and crummy visuals. And I loved every minute of Wet. With over-the-top action and some creative flourishes, Wet has a lot going for it. It may not be the best action game of the year, but it's worth playing through if only to hear the amazing soundtrack!


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