For the past while I’ve been trying to wonder why, or more importantly, how, Blockbuster has continued to to stay in business despite their slow strangling from the onslught of Netflix cousins and torrent engines. Once every few months I walk down to the once-inundated store just to see if they actually still have employees there, or if it’s turned into one of those houses on Halloween who just put a bucket of candy outside the door and make everyone submit to some momentary honor system. I do occasionally rent an awful movie here and there just to bring my hopes of a promising future down to a realistic norm, but it’s games like Wet that are made to keep Blockbuster running; worthy of play though it may be, I cannot allow the sacrifice of 60 hard-earned (well, earned at least) dollars for it. Cue overly advertised Blockbuster commercial!
When I finished my first run-through in under 6 hours of actual play, I sat there and reviewed my notes to find a pulse for the title’s overall theme. It wasn’t until I looked over my 3rd page that I realized why I couldn’t put hammer to nail. Instead of the usual problem of lacking a single theme, Bethesda Softworks somehow packed as many themes into it as there are ESRB warnings–and failed to follow through on any of them. Your female protagonist, voiced by the almost famous Eliza Dushku (Bring It On, The New Guy, Dollhouse), silhouettes as Devil May Cry’s Dante by going into battle with sword-and-gun at the ready and pulls off some ridiculously mashed together action sequence, finishing it off with her R-rated tongue lashing. I was rather surprised to hear Ms. Dushku utter such classy words like fucktard, monkey fucker or douche cock, and after a while it felt more like a Sesame Street episode for modern-day cursing.
The graphics are what most gamers will find as the high point, though by the last third of the adventure most are ready to switch off the grainy, Grindhouse-esque perspective as it tends to stick out as a sassy sore thumb than blend in and support the rest of the game design. It doesn’t take long to get the B-movie idea Bethesda was going for, but the narration and visual presentation together seem to suggest that they needed to beat me over the head with it before I’d start to think “Hey, it’s kinda like those movies made by Rodriguez and that guy with the ass-chin”. It almost becomes too much when the player achieves what is called “rage mode” and Rubi goes into some super-flashy killing spree and the screen changes into streaks of black and white as she removes limbs and adds bullet holes to anyone within fifty feet of her. I admit the slow motion effects and over-the-top action sequences are still very satisfying, but that satisfaction will only come when the sequence of moves you’re trying to do are done correctly. More often than not, I would dive through the air and awkwardly land in front of my enemy instead of diving past and shooting him at the same time.
Ultimately, I can’t say my time spent playing Wet was time wasted per se, but I will say it was time I could have better spent playing something else. Then again, 6 hours of mindless action-sequences and filthy cursing for a little over 3 bucks is pretty good. I have since gone back to my DSi and ripping my hair out as I fight tooth-and-nail to finish Professor Layton and the Diabolical Candy Bar Puzzle… I mean Box. There isn’t as much blood, and Layton fancies himself a true gentleman, so I can assume this game might turn out a little differently.
See you in the next level,