Demo Impressions: WET (Sony PS3)

wet1With a title too blunt to be pornographic and a look straight out of my video store haunting adolescence, WET from Bethesda Softworks has the makings of a cult classic. From the opening screen on, there is a game feature that will pretty much decide if this is the game for you or not: faux film scratches. You know them, you love them, faux film damage has appeared in such films as Planet Terror and Death Proof as well as in the last House of the Dead game. Hell, most of the movies I watch come with the real sort. Scratches, fake or real, add a little bit of the exploitation spirit to me, so I dig them. I do know, however, that some people are turned off by this effect, so you have been warned.

I could tell you that WET plays like a couple other 3rd person shooter games, like Devil May Cry, but I think that the genre has enough participants now that such comparisons are largely unneeded. In the first of the demo’s three play areas, the basic controls are explained. R1 shoots Rubi’s gun, L1 activates a wall run, X jumps, Circle makes you slide across the ground on your knees, and Square activates the sword attack. Whilst jumping, wall running, and sliding compress time, John Woo style, so that Rubi can use her twin pistols to full effect. Rubi’s left gun will fire upon the nearest enemy, so the right can be aimed at a different enemy. By combining the various movements and attacks, Rubi can execute the Asian gang members with shocking artistry. It truly is a beautiful thing the first time you pull off a 360 jump while shooting villains with each hand. I felt like Edgar Wright’s character in Hot Fuzz.

The second leg of the demo has Rubi, voiced by Eliza Dushku, get splashed with blood and losing her mind. Rubi’s berzerker rage is a thing of beauty. The game suddenly turns black, white, and red, in a style reminiscent of MadWorld for the Wii and Frank Miller’s Sin City comic. The guns in your hands become machine pistols, laying waste with each wave of Rubi’s hands and the whole world becomes bathed in blood. I found this part of the demo to be startling, both in the look and the visceral punch of the combat. A nice change of pace before the third leg of the demo.

Wet2 The scene changes, after Rubi opens a door, to a frantic car chase down the highway. You must use timed button inputs, ala Dynamite Cop to guide Rubi as she leaps from car roof to car roof, shooting fools in the head along the way. The body count becomes astounding in this section, as cars flip and crash with abandon. I honestly wish a Hollywood movie would have a car chase with this much energy and enthusiasm, a feeling that marks the whole demo. Not everyone digs timed button segments, but they don’t bother me nearly as much as stealth or sniper segments do.

A final word on the demo has to mention the excellent music. Featuring the Gypsy Pistoleros, the Chop Tops, and Knock Galley West, although I am not sure which bands are featured in the demo, the soundtrack for the game has potential to make a quite good game even better. The cuts in the demo were suitably 70’s rock enough to match up with the onscreen violence.

After a few plays of the too brief demo, I can honestly say I am greatly anticipating the September 15th release. WET is a niche game, but one to keep an eye out for.