Think of Grindhouse
crossed with Kill Bill
, and you have an idea of just how big a ride you’re in for in Wet
, Bethesda’s latest title that puts you in the cowgirl boots of Ruby, an acrobatic megabitch who packs two magnums and a samurai sword.
Confused as to why it’s called Wet
, though? The name is a contraction of the term ‘wetwork’, itself a euphemism for murder or assassination. Contract killers in the KGB and similar organisations had coined the term from the phrase ‘hands wet with blood’, and this third person shoot-n-slasher has so much claret flying around that it could drown you.
The Grindhouse movie influences are clear as you play through the different set pieces in the game. I was introduced to the first few levels, which see Ruby in a Shanghai-style, Chinatown-esque locale, hunting down a gang leader for the contents of a box. Apparently, in a Pulp Fiction
stylee, you never get to see what’s in the box, but whatever’s in it is a perfect reason to introduce the player to the game’s basic controls.
Ruby is quite the flexible lass and has many moves at her disposal. You have the bog standard running, jumping and shooting (performed by the right-trigger), but combine these actions and it gets interesting. Trapped in a Chinese restaurant, you can run onto a nearby table, jump off and start pumping bullets, which will launch you into a bullet-time effect so you can aim at your foes more effectively. It's and experience not a million miles from that of John Woo's Stranglehold
Bullet time can also be activated while Ruby slides along the floor (by pressing the B button). It’s this time-saving grace that will help Ruby survive the onslaught of gangsters in the game – an automatic aim function lets you fire at the nearest goon, but in addition to this you can manually target a second enemy with the Right Stick, allowing you to dual wield.
During the tutorial I was also taught to wall-run on flat surfaces, swing on poles and hang upside down on ladders while firing at five bad guys at a time. When you combine all of these moves, it becomes easier to take down a room with seven enemies in it as you flip from jump-shooting to slide-shooting to wall-run-jump-off-shooting.
The thing is, outside of jumping/sliding bullet-time, your ability to shoot accurately is pretty naff. The sword counterbalances this by offering a close-quarter alternative that provides instant bloody satisfaction. You can bring this into play as a follow-through after sliding past an enemy while shooting, close enough to deal the final blow. As a combat package, the whole thing plays somewhat like a western Devil May Cry
, only more accessible and with a slicker pace.
Once I had escaped the restaurant, leapt from building to building and took the fight to the Chinatown streets, I was introduced to the ‘Rage’ mode that kicks in at different occasions throughout the game. These are small segments that focus more on combos and score attacking than survival – Ruby is almost indestructible and her entire moveset is unlocked in this mode, allowing you to shoot faster and perform all sorts of crazy moves that normally wouldn’t be possible. Slashing baddies with your sword against a wall in this mode has their blood splashed into various words, such as ‘Die’ or ‘Pain’, and the vividly red screen and black outlined enemies add an extra dimension to the Grindhouse influences evident in Wet