PAX ’09 Coverage: Wet

Rubi Monroe is... kinda hot.

Rubi Monroe is... kinda hot.

While at PAX ’09, we made sure to stop by the Bethesda booth for a demo of Wet and to speak to Avi Winkler, a senior game designer from Artificial Mind and Movement, the developers of Wet. For those of you who have been following the game’s development, you may remember that it almost didn’t see the light of day when the bottom fell out of the project over at Blizzard Activision. Fortunately, Bethesda swooped in to make sure the ideal behind Wet came to fruition.

To begin, the game looks and sounds beautiful. Inspired by 70s grindhouse movies, there’s a gritty look to the backgrounds and characters that has to be seen to be fully appreciated. There’s a timeless quality to the game and the era in which the story takes place is never stated. The music sets the tone for each of the scenes and stays true to the overall feel of the game. And the voice acting… Well, more on that here in a moment.

The game plays out in true movie fashion. Doing away with a HUD, there’s only one way to monitor your character’s health. As you take damage, the “film” begins to stutter, like a movie projector with a lopsided reel. The more damage you take, the more the effect takes place until eventually, the film stops and begins to burn from the heat of the projector. It’s a very nice touch and easily one of the best means of eliminating on screen health indicators that I have ever seen.

The voice acting for the game is top notch. The main character Rubi Malone is aptly and beautifully voice by the lovely Eliza Dushku of Buffy and Dollhouse fame. Her voice fits the character perfectly and, as Avi Winkler put it so well, adds a very gruff kind of sexy to Rubi. Malcolm McDowell lends his signature voice as the chief bad guy, Rupert Pellum. As far as voice talent goes, this game has it in spades.


It doesn't just look awesome, the wall run *is* awesome.

In regards to the gameplay, there is enough here to keep even the most jaded shooter fan on the edge of their seat. Rubi can stand still and shoot her two pistols or hack away with her sword but it’s when the player begins to learn how to use her acrobatic moves that the game truly becomes interesting.

Rubi isn’t content to run in a straight line or duck behind cover to shoot at her enemies. She slides on her knees across the floor, runs up walls, flips, and swings from anything solid enough to hold her weight. Each acrobatic move automatically begins a slow motion sequence that allows the player to aim Rubi’s second gun at another enemy, allowing for maximum carnage as the levels progress. More stylish moves extend the slow motion sequences while still allowing the player the option to move and shoot without the acrobatics.

The acrobatics are key, however, for several reasons. To begin, there are usually too many enemies to allow for precision, shoot from behind walls or cover play. Avi demonstrated to me how to have Rubi wall run, leap from the wall, and while soaring through the air over my enemies’ heads, pump round after punishing round into their midst. When I was finally successful in performing the maneuver myself, I felt giddy as I hit the ground and managed to slide a few extra feet to extend the slow motion scene, picking off one last enemy before sliding to a stop.

There were several modes to play through at PAX. The standard run and gun which makes up most of the game, a Rage mode which bears a more thorough description, and finally a car “surfing” scene where the player must follow the on screen button indicators to move from car to car all the while shooting at the villians in the other cars.

Rage mode will make you feel like you're playing through a Tarantino movie.  Without all of the dialogue.

Rage mode will make you feel like you're playing through a Tarantino movie. Without all of the dialogue.

In Rage mode, Rubi goes berserk and the screen changes from the vibrant colors present in other levels and change to the primary colors of red, black, and white. The carnage in this mode is brutal and beautifully animated. Rubi leaps from enemy to enemy, shooting and slashing her way through them as blood sprays from her fallen foes. At the end, when the last foe fell to the ground, I realized how proud the folks at Artificial Mind and Movement must be to have finally completed this game. There will be those who say it is too violent, too bloody, too over the top for the general public but there is art here. A savage, beautiful art that has most assuredly caught my interest.

Wet is available in demo form on Xbox Live Marketplace and should be hitting stores for the 360 on September 15th.

Gritskrieg – End of Line

Posted By Gritskrieg

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