Game: "Wanted: Weapons Of Fate"
Published by: Other
Reviewer: Dr. Boogie
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.
(Scored on a 0.5 - 5 pickles rating: 0.5 being the worst and 5 being the best)
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