2009 Reviews

Wanted: Weapons of Fate

  • Review Date: 2012-08
  • Release Date: 2009-03
  • Developer: GRIN
  • Rating: 6.5

Having just spoiled myself with Fallout 3, all the DLC's and several custom mods, I'm finally feeling like I need a change of pace away from the dreary wastelands. Wanted is definitely that change of pace. Unfortunately, it's almost a one-sitting game.

The game takes place several hours after the movie ends. I can't really remember much about the movie, so the story in Weapons of Fate went above my head. You certainly need to have recently watched the movie to understand who the characters are and what's going on. There were many cutscenes in WOF - probably too many. Early in the game it felt like there was a cutscene every five minutes, but they do lessen as the game rolls on.

WOF feels like a rushed game. There are only nine levels - all relatively short, small and linear. The engine is not unlike Unreal Engine 3.0 - lots of post processing, heavy perspective blurring; pretty enough I suppose. But the levels aren't designed that well. To demonstrate; the first level I got to a point where I had to run through a series of almost-quicktime events. I kept dying because I didn't realise there was a target symbol I was supposed to shoot that I could barely see. So I watched two walkthrough videos on youtube to see what I was doing wrong. The point: throughout most of the videos I had no idea what part of the level they were up to, and this was only a ten minute level. It was just so dark, plain and repetitive that nothing really stuck out. It's just one dark room full of things to hide behind after another.

There are some better looking areas in the game than the first level, particularly outdoor areas. The indoors just look average. But it's hard to get past the tight linearity, especially after playing Fallout 3.

Combat is where WOF really differs. It's a cover-shooter similar to Gears Of War, but to even more extremes. It almost feels like a rails-shooter as you move from one cover to the next - often designed with that direction. The boss fights in particular you're just moving along designated cover points. So I'd say WOF is halfway between a cover and rails shooter; at times feeling like an arcade game.

It gets worse. Mixed into the gameplay are also quicktime events, bullet-time events and stationary turret and sniping missions. All average.

WOF does get brownie points for it's special attacks, based off of the movie. You can go into a mode where you can plan a trajectory to shoot an enemy around corners. You can also go into bullet-time, but I barely used it since you need to press three keys at once just to do it. Controls are not WOF's strong point. The curved shooting was cool. However 90% of the game is spent either killing the enemies as you watch them file into the room before they get to cover (a bit of a flaw in combat design), or duck up and down behind cover picking them off. While it's gratifying to get a headshot, it's a poor combat system. But I guess they just wanted to do something different, and console players all loved Gears Of War!

WOF definitely isn't a bad game, but it's short length and very specific gameplay style leave it hanging just above mediocrity. I'll definitely play Bionic Commando and Terminator Salvation, the studios' (GRIN) next two games. Unfortunately they declared bankruptcy after that after publisher Square Enix cancelled their Final Fantasy spin-off and didn't pay them after six months of development. On top of that, Wanted, Bionic Commando and Terminator Salvation all got negative to average reviews, so profits probably weren't booming. That's what happens when you try to charge full price for a game that doesn't even last five hours.