Wanted: Weapons of Fate

A gloriously unfair advantage? Shit yeah! Arch your bullets around walls, impenetrable embankments, and a myriad of other environmental objects to deliver the cruelest and most effective shot you can imagine. In one scenario, we had to takedown a soldier cowardly squatting behind a riot shield. With an onscreen twist of wrist, we hooked our bullet around his shield, knocked him off composure long enough to expose himself, then took his legs out from under him with a more traditional follow up blast.

Very satisfying, indeed. But that ain’t all. In addition to some up-close-and-personal melee devastation, you’ve got some slick and evolved quicktime events. Calling it “Bullet Time” is beyond appropriate, even if the act is referred to as “Adrenaline,” (explained in the film by an accelerated heart rate that increases perception of time...we think). Once time decelerated, our hero carried out the scripted leg work while the camera swooped between several predestined bloody scenarios. This wasn’t one of those tiresome “Press X to perform a two minute combo” Cineractives, because the analog stick was freed up for optimal thrill kills, allowing us to pull off headshots with pinpoint accuracy and even shoot grenades out of the midair.

Gameplay-wise - and we’re sure the developers would hate us for saying this - Weapons of Fate heavily resembles John Woo’s Stranglehold. Hey, where ya going?! Stranglehold was pretty badass! (And you can pick it up on the cheap if you don’t believe us.) But it was also repetitive, clumsy, and kinda ugly. Well you won’t have to worry about the latter. The developers spent months building their own engine, so the build we played featured plenty of lavish textures, crisp detail and a smooth framerate. Plus, the acrobatics don’t come off anywhere near as stupid as in the aforementioned Midway title, and transferring between cover appeared to be almost smoother than Gears.

Perhaps unfortunately, the game is set to release in the Spring of 2009, coinciding with neither the film nor the DVD/Blu-ray. But the developers don’t seem to care, seemingly confident that Weapons of Fate can stand on its own. In fact, most everyone involved with the project appears to be content to take their time and create a solid gameplay experience that enhances its license instead of just suckling its teat. “What the f**k have you done lately?”

Dec 4, 2008