Welcome to Easter Eggs, where the TA Team shines the spotlight on games that many gamers might have missed, perhaps hidden away behind the millionth copy of Call of Duty or FIFA. Much like a gamer who finds an Easter Egg hidden away in a game and proceeds to trumpet it from the highest hills and forums, the TA Team is going to be featuring these Easter Egg games on the front page for all to see.
We've been running the Easter Eggs feature for a while now, and obviously we've been following the community comments and suggestions with some interest. One of the nominations that caught my eye was for a game that I had picked up for a paltry €8.00 in the bargain bin at one of my local stores. A game promising "over-the-top acrobatics, fantastic aerial sword attacks and high body count combine for the ultimate interactive action experience", all wrapped up with grindhouse style visuals. That game was WET
, and it sounded perfect. After just the very first level, however, the game was immediately put on the shelf; clunky controls and frustrating gameplay had the title swiftly relegated to backlog cupboard. I was not impressed, and there it would have stayed had it not been for a number of our community suggesting that it should be considered as an Easter Egg. Could the community be right? Had I missed something? There seemed to be little option other than to take a gamble on our members and, with some trepidation and just a little skepticism, I put the disc back in the console. Was WET
really an Easter Egg in my own backlog, and was the community-backed nomination really justified?The Basics
In the game, the player takes on the role of Rubi Malone, a mercenary, bounty hunter, general gun (and sword) for hire, and an expert in the euphemistic 'Wet Work' from which the title draws its name. The game begins with Rubi delivering a package to a wealthy, but unseen, recipient. A year later, this same recipient calls on Rubi in person to ask for her services again. Inevitably, all is not as it seems and Rubi finds herself being used as a pawn to between two rival drug rings. The story winds up a tale of revenge, as Rubi tries to extricate herself and remove the root cause of her problems with a certain amount of prejudice. The story might not be so original, but if fits perfectly with the B-movie, grindhouse style of the game. The title is played as if it is indeed a scratchy old movie, with effects such as the celluloid melting on screen when the player dies, and 60's style intermissions advertising hot dogs and dill peppers.
The storyline and gameplay have Rubi generally being forced into enclosed combat arenas, with enemy respawn points at various locations. The arenas are conveniently composed of poles, ledges, and ladders, which enable the player to exploit Rubi's acrobatic skills. Enemies will continually respawn until the player has sealed each of the entry points in one way or another. Despite there also being a few different, if not dis-contiguous, levels (the freefall level being one of the most frustrating and out of place for the game), detractors of the game will often cite the crawl through the numerous combat arenas as making the game dull and repetitive. Whilst at a certain level this could be seen as a valid critique, they are also missing the point, because it is in these combat arenas that we really get to see what Rubi can do, and where we eventually discover the hook within the game.The Hook
As with a lot of the Easter Eggs that we have featured, the real hook of the game is not always immediately apparent, and whilst looking for a diamond in the rough, you sometimes have to claw your way through the rough stuff first to find it, and in this case, it did take some digging. The game does have some rough edges, be warned, but this is a not a review, so no judgment here on the quality of the graphics, control systems, and difficulty spikes.
The combat system is focused around slow motion martial arts and gymnastics which is fun but rather limited at the start. As bullet time can be used incessantly and without a recharge time, there is a tendency to spam the button and bounce around the combat arenas lite a demented, albeit very slow, ping pong ball. To be fair, it's one of the only strategies available in those stages and perhaps the only way to keep alive. However, as the game progresses, the player is forced to use more acrobatic skills to reach the increasingly inaccessible enemy respawn points. More gymnastic skills are unlocked and become available as the game progresses, and the player is encouraged to try and earn more by the strategic placing of score multipliers, on trapeze poles, walls, and jumps. Being able to wall run, then slashing with your sword mid-way through a slow motion dive, rolling, and then going into a powerslide with both guns blasting, it is extremely good fun, feels rewarding, and looks very impressive. However, as fun as it is, it's not original and players have seen it many times before.
Rubi's real strength, and the game's real hook, is the ability to dual wield guns separately, alongside your acrobatic skills. Whilst many games give the player the ability to fire two guns simultaneously, it's usually both guns at the same target, but not in WET
, as Rubi is capable of a little more than that. The game has a unique mechanism that allows Rubi to fire at two separate targets at the same time. During the slow motion sequences, two cross-hairs appear on the screen, one autolocks on a nearby target while the other remains under the control of the player.
Initially, the system is a little confusing, and there is a tendency to line-up the cross-hairs and focus the gunfire on a solitary target and in some cases, it is a fair strategy on tougher enemies. As you progress through the game, this ability to fire in two separate directions, from two weapons at two different targets, starts to feel natural. It becomes part of your combat strategy and an essential part of the skill set. Later in the game, it becomes indispensable as you face increasing numbers of enemies in the combat arenas. There is a moment when you begin to trust the autolock, leaving it to select its own targets whilst you concentrate on your own victim, and when the autolock picks your target, you instantly start searching for another enemy whom you can work on. At the end, you are left with a feeling that all games should have this dual wielding ability, and that they should do it with such style. The game mechanic in Wet
is how dual wielding should be done.The Achievements
There are 43 achievements worth the standard 1000 GS, however, it rates a significantly higher 2,159 TA score. The achievements are spread across campaign progression, weapon kills, collectibles, and a few specific achievements related to challenges in the bone yard. For the completionists in the community, be warned, it will take multiple runs to complete everything. The Stats
At the time of writing, 26,305 TA'ers have taken on Rubi's 'Wet Work' and 1,480 of them have completed it. That amounts to 5.63% with a TA score of 2,159. Incidentally, only 4,403 have finished the campaign on the hard setting, and a measly 1,881 on the ultra hard setting.
The community has given the game a 3.3 rating. Metacritic, on the other hand, has rated the game at 69, which is considered average, although the user reviews are slightly better.The Price
UK gamers can pick a new copy from Amazon UK
for £15.99, whilst American gamers can pick up a copy from Amazon.com
for a slightly more expensive $48.00. As with all our Easter Eggs, it pays to shop around, especially in the bargain bins of your local stores. The Verdict
In some ways I feel justified in my initial feelings towards the game. In those early levels, the controls feel clunky, you feel very restricted in what you can do, and Rubi is very vulnerable with a horribly short life expectancy. As you progress through the title and begin to unlock Rubi's additional skills and upgrades, the game really begins to open up and deliver on its promises. There is a great feeling of satisfaction when putting a sequence of acrobatic skills together in a lethal combination, dispatching enemies in all sorts of stylish ways. The star turn in the game, however, remains the unique dual-wield targeting. It might take a while to get used to, and it might leave you cross-eyed for a while, but once you have it, it feels indispensable. It leaves you wondering why more games haven't adopted this method of using two guns and aiming at two targets simultaneously; simply brilliant. After playing this way, it leaves other dual wielding game mechanisms feeling very strangely static and restricted. Despite the shortcomings of the title, when everything else comes together, it's a joy and a blast to play, and is well deserving of the Easter Egg title and a good call from those members in the community who suggested it.
If there's a game you'd like to see featured in Easter Eggs, be sure to let us know in the comments!