Game: "Wanted: Weapons Of Fate"
System: PC
Genre: Action
Published by: Other

Reviewer: Dr. Boogie
Posted: 3/29/2009

Review: First, it was a comic, then a movie, and finally, a game. Games based on comics can be good, but games based on movies? Not so much. It’s unfortunate that Weapons of Fate is based off the movie.

The game is set five hours after Wesley, the kid who learned he was an expert marksman who could curve the path of a bullet, kills Sloan, the guy who ran a Fraternity of assassins that worshiped a giant loom with magic powers. Wesley’s apartment is broken into by a French SWAT team, which is extra strange considering his apartment is in Chicago, and Wesley pursues them after they still some piece of paper that I assume had something to do with the movie.

If you haven’t seen the film, a lot of what goes on isn’t going to make much sense. On the other hand, if you’ve read the movie review of Wanted by our own Protoclown, you know that it really doesn’t matter because it’s silly, and there aren’t any interesting characters. If you have seen the movie, some parts will make more sense, but you’ll still be faced with a number of inexplicable events tucked into over-the-top action sequences.

Whereas the film focused a lot on Wesley’s relationship with his father (thanks Wikipedia!), the plot of the game focuses more on his mother. Namely, who killed her and put him in a position where he has hundreds of assassins on his tail. He doesn’t have much of a relationship with her, since she was killed shortly after he was born, so the game works around this by presenting you with flashback levels from the perspective of Wesley’s father.

At its heart, Weapons of Fate is a typical third-person shooter. Each level is more or less broken into a handful of scenarios wherein you duck behind some cover, shoot enemies as they pop up from their own cover, and then move onto the next scenario. The hook in this game is Wesley’s unusual powers: the ability to curve bullets, and "Enhanced Quick Movements", the ability to enter Bullet Time while moving between pieces of cover.

The thing is, you don’t really need either power in order to beat the game. In order to shoot at you, most bad guys will need to step out from behind their cover, and when they do, you shoot them. Just like any other third-person shooter. They’re not such great shots that you need to slow down time or curve a cullet around the corner in order to kill them without being killed yourself. The only times when you'll have to use your powers is during a few contrived boss battles. The bullet curving was necessary to hit a boss who wouldn’t leave cover, but other boss battles require you to use Enhanced Quick Movements simply to hit the boss, even if they are merely standing in front of you.

The regular enemies you face are the usual stable of third-person shooter bad guys: weak pistol/submachine gun guy, strong shotgun guy, grenade guy, and of course, melee berserker guy. In most shooters, the berserker would be a dangerous fellow with only a melee attack that you would need to kill at a distance, lest he chop you to bits in melee combat. In Weapons of Fate, however, coming into contact with the berserker triggers an event where you have to mash the melee combat button. Killing a berserker this way is actually much better than shooting them, as melee kills will give you twice as many adrenaline points (which are used to execute the two super moves). Late in the game, you’ll find yourself falling back on the melee approach because berserkers, along with other high-end enemies, will actually start Matrix dodging your bullets (you’ll shoot them in the chest, they’ll twitch their heads ever so slightly, and the bullet will completely miss).

If there’s a silver lining on this shitstorm cloud, it’s the length of the game: playing from start to finish will take just under four hours. That’s it. Now I know some of you must be thinking, “less than four hours of gameplay in a $60 game!? What the hell?” I tell you the shortness of the game is actually a blessing in disguise. After the first couple levels, you’ll start to wonder if you’ll ever get any other weapons besides a pistol. Late in the game, you’ll get a pair of machine pistols that allow you shoot a “shrapnel storm”, a cloud of seven bullets that explode on contact for some reason, but that’s it. You’ll start to grow bored from the dull enemies and uninspired gameplay, but just when you’re about to quit out of the game in disgust, it ends! And you realize that with no unlockables but a few character models and pictures, you never have to play it again! That, my friends, is a great feeling.

If Wesley twists his wrist while firing a gun, the path of the bullet is curved. Why not make it so that if he pumps his arm forward while shooting, his shots will cause more damage because the bullet is moving faster? Why not have it so that, while wielding a shotgun, Wesley can fire slugs in a sharp upward arc that can lift his enemies right off the ground, so long as he makes a sort of heaving motion when he fires the gun? Wouldn’t you want to see a boss fight where Wesley faces off against an armored figure with a glowing red codpiece, which Wesley must shot-vault off so that he can run forward, draw his pistol, jam it into the gap left by the displaced codpiece, and fired a curved shot upward that dislodges the metal canopy protecting the operator of the armor and causes a chandelier to fall on him, killing him and ending the boss fight quickly? Is any of this really that much sillier than Wesley’s original power?

Additions like that would’ve at least made the game more interesting, but sadly, there is nothing of the sort. The advertisements for the game feature quotes from reviews and previews that call the game “one of the best shooters we've seen”. What they mean is that the game has some nice visual elements to it. Unfortunately, the gameplay is mediocre at best, and the story is so poorly written that it actually has to retcon an event you’ll see early in the game in order to give you a very weak twist ending. I guess what I’m saying is this: movie tie-in games suck. This one came a long while after Wanted was released in theaters, and yet the extra time hasn’t helped it at all.

Overall rating: WholeWhole
(Scored on a 0.5 - 5 pickles rating: 0.5 being the worst and 5 being the best)

Reader Comments

The Mighty One
Apr 6th, 2009, 11:27 AM
Generic: Armor of Helghast.
Forum Virgin
Apr 6th, 2009, 03:34 PM
Totally original and cool front cover!
Jason's a Furry! Run!
Apr 6th, 2009, 06:52 PM
And thus completes the trilogy of mediocrity that is Wanted.
Apr 6th, 2009, 10:49 PM
The comic was okay, the movie sucked, and the game sucked more. Yay!
Apr 7th, 2009, 01:09 AM
I played the demo, it was horrible.
Apr 7th, 2009, 09:52 PM
Going through the three blog posts related to the same thing in different media makes me realize that this thing had potential but it was nevertheless screwed up. According to your reviews, guys, I give the entire series one pickle and a half.
Funky Dynamite
Apr 7th, 2009, 10:01 PM
If they had extrapolated on Wesley's abilities to something more than just curving pistol bullets and slowing time sometimes, they might've been able to come up with something a little more interesting to play. Plus, they might've been able to milk more than three hours and forty minutes out of the finished product.

Another squandered opportunity in gaming, I suppose.
taco loving zombie
Apr 8th, 2009, 01:36 AM
Originally Posted by FistfulOAwesome View Post
Generic: Armor of Helghast.
the comic had the character before killzone and killzone's helgasts are a ripoff of an old anime series look familiar
Ba dum dum dum dum
Apr 8th, 2009, 07:33 AM
Wanted suffers from taking one semi-decent idea and deciding to build a franchise around it. Curving bullets would have been an alright addition to a cool mythos, but it feels like they came up with the idea and then decided to build a world around it.

The shooter looks exceedingly generic, like someone took Gears of War, took out the big guns and added in the tacked on bullet curving. And having played through Gears of War, I can say I'd rather have a chainsaw machine gun than a bullet that can twist a bit in the air any day.
Forum Virgin
Apr 12th, 2009, 08:18 PM
Originally Posted by darkvare View Post
the comic had the character before killzone and killzone's helgasts are a ripoff of an old anime series look familiar
I believe the anime you are referring to is the feature film Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade.
The Magnificent Bastard
Apr 13th, 2009, 02:38 PM
Jin-Roh is awesome!

It's also part of a massive franchise in Japan called the Kerberos Saga, which also includes a comic series and a live action movie.

I'm not surprised if a few comics and games etc. are "borrowing" a few designs from it.
Forum Virgin
Apr 15th, 2009, 05:58 PM
The thing is, the game has sub-par graphics, especially compared to other current shooters like Gears of War 2, Killzone 2 or Farcry 2. What I've played of it was pretty fun though and a friend said that he would've liked it to be longer. Same goes for most other reviews I read. Dunno, looks like a solid rent to me.

Except I'm already looking at a stack of 40+ unfinished/still wrapped games from the last 2 years so a pass for me.
Funky Dynamite
Apr 15th, 2009, 07:34 PM
It's a solid rent if you have a fetish for unremarkable 3rd person shooters.
Forum Virgin
Apr 18th, 2009, 09:17 AM
Crappy game.