Rubi: a hired gun, thief, errant son deliverer, car roof surfer, the works, with no questions asked. Along as said ‘Wet work’ involves shooting in slow-motion, wall-running, diving, sliding around on her knees (stop it) and stabbing things a lot. Gameplay wise it’s PS2-era Prince of Persia meets Stranglehold.
Style points earned from racking up combos of kills in slow-motion or with the sword can be used to upgrade Rubi and her weapons with extra health and moves or for extra damage, ammo and faster rates of fire. If you played the demo and felt a bit under whelmed it’s a pleasure to say that the full game does feel a lot better once you’ve got some upgrades under your belt.
Your revolvers never need to reload and have an infinite supply of bullets. Unfortunately, your other weapons aren’t so generous and will run out of ammo quickly despite ammo upgrades. A shame, as they’re all better than the revolvers. Later on you’ll unlock a shotgun, sub-machine gun and a bow gun which survives in Wet’s tumultuous world by having exploding ammo.
It’s hard work keeping your combo going as the meter depletes at an alarming rate while you franticly seek out more meat puppets. You can forget about carrying it over to the next room too as most doors need to be slowly pried open by bashing square, even Rubi hates it as she shouts “Fuck you door!” eventually opening it.
Eliza Dushku (Saints Row 2 and TV’s Buffy) voices Rubi and adds some likeable attitude but barely has any lines to be honest. Malcolm McDowell (Fallout 3 and TV’s Heroes) lends his excellent tones to one of Rubi’s sinister employers and steals every scene he’s in with his deceitful, scheming snake-tongue.
The love it or hate it Grindhouse cinema effects of film scratches, speckling, and fluctuating, flickering brightness can be turned off if it rubs you the wrong way (as a cinema projectionist I had to turn it off as it was like a horrific day at the office).
The levels consist of city rooftops, restaurants, alleys, casinos, car chases, cliffs, docks and an English Manor. Most of them are full of corridors or awkward platforming sections. Rubi can only climb on certain areas and is only able to grab a ledge if she’s jumped from a specific location, otherwise it’s like her hands disappear at the last second. However, Rubi can swing around on horizontal poles and shoot away in-between them which looks devilishly cool.
The skydiving level is fun at first, picking enemies off while free falling but the second part is complete balls as you have to dodge debris mid-air, with one hit killing you by making you er…fall even more to your death than you already were?
The action is locked down into arenas at times where you have to block off the doorways supplying the flow of enemies in order to progress. There are rarely a number of baddies to cause Rubi to break a sweat. Annoyingly though, there are occasional heavy-gunners with miniguns that need shooting constantly in the face for a few minutes before you can get in close and stabby. Mounted gatling gun sections are great fun, just mowing down the walking idiots, but they’re over way too quickly.
The rigid design is present throughout the game as the experience feels very linear, which wouldn’t be so bad if the action was paced well enough so you could keep combos going on between rooms, adding a sense of urgency to things. It’s just too stop-start and never feels like it hits its stride.
Some of Rubi’s skills are pointlessly locked until later in the game, and then you have to pay for them too. You’d think a jumping slash move with the sword would be in from the start in a game like this? Nope, about three-quarters in and it’s not even worth the wait.
The Rage levels are where everything feels much more like the slick production you want it to be as the visuals switch into a heavy cell-shaded comic-book style. It looks awesome, think MadWorld on the Wii, with red thrown in with the black and white and the visuals stripped down to silhouettes. It’s just a shame these sections aren’t used that often and some are wasted on the slower arena battles instead of faster sections like the one in the demo. The one for the second freeway chase though is an absolute belter and just drips raw style. Maybe a few extra DLC stages for Rage mode would be a cool idea?
The biggest disappointment is the finale, where after around five hours, you whip through half of the bad guys cast list in about five minutes (I’m not even kidding) via a collection of quick-time-events (a regular replacement for action in the game) that suggests a rushed release before the Christmas heavy hitters arrive.
You can get some extra time with the game though with the points mode where you replay chapters with the aim of beating the set score. Or you can return to Rubi’s base, the Boneyard to go through a massive list of fun training exercises similar to the ones in the intermittent scenes in the main game. Or you can get addicted to finding all the scorpions crawling around the base.
While lacking the destructibility and environmental interaction of Stranglehold, Wet can be enjoyable in short blasts if you can forgive some dodgy platforming and the odd gap in the action that takes its foot off the gas when you just want to floor it.