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A combination of style and sassy-attitude over substance made Wet a strangely enjoyable blast through the slow-motion world of Rubi Malone. The story maybe stupid and the gameplay ultimately repetitive, but the distictive art-style and grimy presentation left me with a smile on my face and eight hours of entertaining nonsense.
It's not often a game comes along and smacks you in the face with its attitude and style, but that's exactly what Wet tries to do from the very start. For all its flaws, both in level design and with its graphical oddity's, I found myself enjoying the stylistic, slow-motion combat and the deliberate Grindhouse vibe throughout the story.Those two points really underline the entire game and its a pretty shallow experience when you focus in on each of the core components. It became clear that the game wasn't going to deviate from its initial few levels and following the story of Rubi, a hired gun who's only motivation is money and perhaps a sick pleasure in dealing out death and destruction, became an exercise in rinse and repeat gameplay.
When I wasn't in a room littered with ramps, jumps and fences to slide under, I was wall-running in corridors and taking down innumerable bad guys in a slow-motion feast that would make Jet Li and the Wachowski brothers salivate. These contrived situations where I just acrobatically flung myself around the air whilst pumping bullets around should really be an experience that got old quickly. After all, overusing any mechanic no matter how cool or satisfying, surely leads to boredom right?
after eight hours of doing what essentially boiled down to the same thing I was still getting a stupid amount of enjoyment out of it.
Well that's what I assumed would happen after a few hours. But after eight hours of doing what essentially boiled down to the same thing I was still getting a stupid amount of enjoyment out of it. And style over substance is the bizarre winner here. Yes the story is weak and frankly nonsensical. The characters of everyone except for Rubi are forgettable, bland or stereotypical. The environments don't really change in terms of their design, but Wet managed to shake up a blend of platforming, shooting and Tarantino-aped presentation to the right degree that everything remained fresh for me.
The graphics filter is almost designed to give you a headache with its grainy effects and glitch-ridden nature. After about three hours non-stop play I seriously had to stop and go for a walk as the constant flickering and bizarre commercial breaks in the game were bringing me out in a Migraine. But by the time I had ploughed through the rest of the game I seemed to have become used to this manner of presentation. The punchy cutscenes with some Steven Soderbergh inspired editing and the little moments where Rubi sighs as she waits for an elevator to reach the right floor, or kicks the camera following her never failed to make me smile.
The best moments, aside from the creative swearing from Malcolm McDowell's character, is when Rubi goes into her murderous rage mode. Occurring infrequently throughout the game these levels saturate the visuals in blood red and leave the enemies in a mix of stark black and white. Aside from searing my retina out with its vibrant use of colour these sections were exceptional. There was something so funky about cutting up guys and blasting them into nothingness that made it such a 'videogame' experience with no consequence or depth to it.
Wet survives thanks to its over the top style, the incredibly fun car chases and the way it never takes itself too seriously.
I can't pretend that Wet doesn't have some serious flaws. The glitches with the physics engine and world objects can sometimes be hilarious. Rubi frequently had planks of wood stuck to her body that really shouldn't have been in the places where they stuck. I also managed to fall through the world more than once and I guess it's a testament to the game's style that I wasn't really sure if it had broken or if it was just part of the game's unique vibe. The most serious flaw is the level design and the way it never progresses past the first arena environment. The addition of a few more jumps and ramps don't exactly mark a progression of design and I was ultimately doing the same moves in the same type of level again and again.
In any other generic shooter that would be a game-killing crime, but Wet survives thanks to its over the top style, the incredibly fun car chases and the way it never takes itself too seriously. I could see all the flaws in this game from beginning to end but I was having so much fun that I simply chose to ignore them and get swept away with Rubi, her guns and her attitude.
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