Done Playing: WET (Xbox 360)

you look a little -- WET -- behind the ears! HA!

WET desperately wants to be Kill Bill: The Movie: The Game. It’s got a cast of stylized slayers, a couple of sagely old kingpins, gratuitous swearing, violence and witty repartee. Also like the Kill Bill double feature, though, WET hangs around a little too long for its own good. It starts out strong with a good setup about a mysterious box that everyone wants to get their hands on and plenty of set pieces built for slow-mo gun battles and badass one-liners. But after that storyline is wrapped up and you realize that the international Hit List is about to be pulled out things start to drag.

Just like the roster of criminals that Rubi sets out to interrogate, WET checks off the laundry list of stereotypical locales and encounters. A dilapidated apartment complex in Hong Kong, a junkyard in Texas, a castle in London; it even sends you back to Hong Kong again. The environments look different enough and have a decent amount of polish, but the gameplay hardly changes from the first third. You’ll adventure around like a Lara Croft lite, gunning down gangsters as you climb, swing, jump, and occasionally set off scripted chase or escape sequences. Thankfully, the focus is on combat because the adventuring bits control a little lazily. Whenever Rubi is firing her guns the game goes into “acrobatic slow-mo” which lets you dual wield, dial in headshots, chain a dive, wallrun, or slide into one another and try to rack up huge multipliers and points. These points are used to unlock new stats and abilities between levels and inexplicably let Rubi regain her health in mid-combat. It’s like Max Payne gameplay but shamelessly blown out for maximum bullet time and, to its credit, can be quite fun and addictive. It’s not overly difficult and most areas let you use your creative inspiration to weave a personalized path of destruction.

Every now and then you’ll also partake in a car chase segment which sees Rubi leaping from car to car in an overblown, Matrix Reloaded-esque scene of Quick Time Events. Watch for icons to pop up and press the appropriate button; it’s pretty typical fare but it offers a nice twist. I’d call the whole car chase one long QTE but between button presses you’re given control to aim and shoot at guys hanging out of cars or bike-riding gunmen. It feels great and works even better than a Resident Evil cutscene where button commands pop up as characters square off, but it also gets old by the end of the game. The other sequence you’ll encounter several times kicks off whenever a pre-scripted moron runs directly at Rubi and she winds up with blood on her face. At the sound of an alarm buzzer she goes into Rage Mode which plays exactly the same but sports a red-white-and-black visual style and some choice music to drive you to race for the end with the highest kill chain possible. Just like Rage Mode, WET benefits greatly from its soundtrack. With funky original cuts by Brian Lebarton the majority of the action is an amalgamation of rockabilly, psychobilly, punk, and hip hop from decades past and today; Brasstronaut, The Chop Tops, Gypsy Pistoleros, The Arkhams. It’s great to play a game today whose that isn’t all boring orchestral stuff and that doesn’t have to be an “extreme sports” title to justify a rockin’ licensed soundtrack.

Let me push the comparison button one more time *click* and say that WET does a decent job of living up to its Tarantino inspirations. The style is rock solid from the visuals to the soundtrack and the act of acrobatic gunfighting is fun throughout. It gets a little muddled and boring on the story, there are a few peculiar glitches and most of the character models look shoddy but it wound up being a good rental. It’s also just barely longer than *click* watching both Kill Bills (and feels like it could’ve been wrapped up even sooner) so unless you like torturing yourself with Time Trials and speed runs I’d definitely say a rental is the way to get WET.

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