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Wanted: Weapons of Fate review

AT A GLANCE
  • Fun gimmicks
  • Totally empowering
  • Shoot, stab, smile
  • Crummy art and design
  • Terminally cretinous AI
  • No multiplayer

Wanted: Weapons of Fate is like a cheeseburger. Okay. Bear with us. There’s nothing clever about it; no technical genius; and certainly nothing especially well-crafted. It’s a game you’ll blaze through in under four hours, with no multiplayer modes to bring you back for more. It’s a game filled with crummy art and design, looping music, terminally cretinous AI, heavy-handed visual effects, and polygons with edges so jagged you could use them to saw through a tree.

It’s a third-person stop-and-pop shooter long on gimmicks but short on ideas. You’ll curve bullets to fire around corners, navigate cover using a combo system that lets you make smooth transitions from point to point, sometimes dropping into slow motion to blaze through enemies as you move. You’ll suppress enemies with blind fire and loop around behind while the screen’s still smeary to flank them. It’s all artifice – all ‘gamey’ devices and mechanics which turn the space into something little more than pure game.

There’s no immersion here. You are in a game world using game mechanics to out-game the gamey enemies who are trying to end your game. These spaces aren’t worlds or architecture; they’re boxes placed in space for you to move around and fight in, often copied and pasted several times in a row – work your way down one corridor and the next is identical, right down to most of the enemy placement.

And Grin’s engine is a disgraceful piece of tech that makes both Wanted and their forthcoming Bionic Commando look worse than they already are with its frequent forced loads. With no streaming in either Wanted or Bionic, you’re tossed to a static load screen every four minutes. Like a cheeseburger straight from Burger Thing, it’s poorly made, slightly limp, and a shameful treat. And like a bargain-basement cheeseburger, it’s one you’ll enjoy every second of.

For four hours, Wanted makes you God. Can’t quite hit the guy behind cover? Curve a shot and you’ll get a slow-mo view tracking your bullet all the way to that perfect headshot. Up against a small army? Dodge from cover to cover, then bring time almost to a halt, blazing through half a dozen enemies in a single cover-to-cover jump. Burned out your bullet-time? Stab someone to top it back up.

Even on the hardest settings, the game is a stab frenzy if you’re a would-be ripper. The melee kills are brutal, instant, and easy. Jagged James McAvoy moves at such speed and there’s such an abundance of cover, it’s easy to close the gap and go for a dose of the old Corporal Stabbington on one of the ten million cloned bad guys. Wanted will make you feel strong; for one afternoon, it’ll turn you into an action hero like almost no other game – you look and sound like a wimp, but you’re an unstoppable truck, rushing through stages leaving stabbed faces and shattered kneecaps in your wake.

Those mechanics, which are so clearly gimmicks, keep every firefight just about fresh enough. Grin’s take on Quick Time Events – shooting bullets out of the air and blasting enemies in between scripted sequences – occasionally pop up, and are just enough that they never outstay their welcome. The boss fights are few enough that Grin never run out of ideas. The mounted gun bits are so rare you’ll barely remember them, four hundred bodies later.

There’s obvious game-extending ‘ctrl+c, ctrl+v’ action in later missions, as if Grin were desperate to get the game out the door, but any longer and Wanted would be too much. A junk meal rather than a junk snack. Nobody wants a quadruple cheeseburger with a quart of mayo, and nobody could bear more than nine levels of Wanted, but for those nine levels you’ll feel satisfied, even with the floppy lettuce baddies and processed cheese level design.

No critic could recommend Wanted: Weapons of Fate at full price, but for the cost of a couple of movie tickets or a DVD it’s one night’s worth of more-than-satisfactory bloodshed, cussing, overt sexual references, and ultraviolence. Like that Smackdonald’s burger, you’ll never look back on it as the best meal you ever had, but for that one guilty night it’ll leave your belly stuffed and satisfied.

Mar 31, 2009

More Info

Release date: Mar 24 2009 - PS3, PC, Xbox 360 (US)
Apr 03 2009 - PS3, PC, Xbox 360 (UK)
Available Platforms: PS3, PC, Xbox 360
Genre: Action
Published by: WB Interactive
Developed by: Grin
ESRB Rating:
Mature: Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Strong Language
PEGI Rating:
18+

9 comments

  • sixboxes - April 1, 2009 6:47 p.m.

    Maxstats69: highlight a block of text and hit CTRL+C. Then open something like notepad and hit CTRL+V. I use those keystrrokes so much I loved how you worked it into this review. Considering you scored the game higher than I would've scored the movie it's sorta-based on, that actually makes it a bit promising. The movie gleefully beats a single gimmick to death (I honestly thought the bending bullet thing was bad ass until the 853rd time they used it in the flick at which point I was "*&$%# AGAIN???"), whereas it looks like the game beats 2 or 3 gimmicks to death. So I'm officially intrigued.
  • erreip199 - April 1, 2009 12:38 p.m.

    dang it i was actually looking forward to this game >.> i guess ill have to ask someone who bought it (haha) to lend it to me for an afternoon
  • bamb0o-stick - April 1, 2009 12:14 p.m.

    There's no way I'm playing this shooter on my console (I can't shoot for sh!t on a gamepad). Until they invent rentals for PC games I'm not even going to touch this.
  • Z-man427 - April 1, 2009 7:45 a.m.

    I'll admit it. i'm going to play this game. but not before it drops to about $25. but that probably won't bee too long reCaptcha: Talks argue
  • Morning Ninja - April 1, 2009 3:10 a.m.

    Shame, most movie games have alot of potentional. Then again they mostly suck. Not saying anything either.
  • Maxstats69 - April 1, 2009 5:05 p.m.

    "There’s obvious game-extending ‘ctrl+c, ctrl+v’ action in later missions" WTF does that mean actually? And yeah, games like this are why I have Gamefly.
  • j.i.n - April 1, 2009 2:12 p.m.

    i beat wanted on pc and it's true - it's just a one afternoon satisfaction. it looks nice and all but the game repeats it self through the 9 levels(only). but on theother hand - what do you want for 4 GB game? 2-3 different stab combos get old. really. but killing 4 bad guys with a single curved bullet is damn cooool. it even looked like the matrix wiht bullet cams, some enemies who move so quick that they can evade bullets and 1-to-1000 action.
  • understudybass - April 1, 2009 4:08 a.m.

    well arn't you two all high and mighty and mature. just to spite you i'll say THIRD
  • Samael - April 1, 2009 2:16 a.m.

    Yeah when you look up game rental in the dictionary, you'll see this game. And no I'm not gonna say it.

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