WET’ & WILD: Rubi adds an acrobatic twist to shooter game
Rubi Malone’s a bad girl, but she’s good at what she does.
In “WET,” an M-rated action game from Bethesda Softworks, Rubi gets caught up in a web of treachery spun in the Asian underworld. You guide her through a series of adventures that leaves a trail of blood halfway around the globe.
Rubi packs a pair of pistols and a samurai sword. However, she doesn’t simply run and gun. She leaps, flips and slides in a breathtaking display of digital athleticism as she blasts and slashes her foes. As the story progresses, she acquires new weaponry and new moves, making her even more deadly.
“WET” — which supposedly refers to hands being literally wet with blood — requires players to combine acrobatic moves with gunnery and swordsmanship to maximize the number of points earned for each kill. It sounds a bit mercenary because it is. Simply shooting a foe in the head might be worth five points — not much when you need at least 1,000 to buy an upgrade to Rubi’s skills or weapons. Running along the wall and flipping into the air before blasting away is worth more. If you string together several kills, you earn multipliers that increase your point tally even further.
The acrobatic maneuvers are a cinch to pull off because of an easy and forgiving control system. As long as you keep Rubi moving, all you have to do is hit the right button and she slides across the ground, runs along a wall, leaps into the air or jumps to grab a bar. You don’t have to worry too much about timing or direction.
When executing her maneuvers, Rubi can fire two weapons at a time. The action shifts to slow motion and one gun automatically targets one foe while you aim the other.
While advancing through the story, you will encounter a number of special segments, ranging from speed challenges to stylized killfests bathed in red. The most common and interesting are the arena battles, in which Rubi must clear an area of foes and block all entrances to prevent reinforcements from joining the battle.
The graphics are generally pretty good. The game style evokes an action flick from the ’70s, including cheesy theater ads. The settings offer plenty of detail that makes them feel gritty and intriguing. The animations of Rubi’s acrobatics are terrific. However, the characters don’t always come off so well. Rubi looks very good, but others lack the same detail and texture. As a result, some characters, such as her friend Milo and adversary Sorrell, almost look like they belong in a different game.
The raucous soundtrack is a perfect match for the game’s aggressive action. Rubi is well voiced by Eliza Dushku and Malcolm McDowell is suitably sinister as the crime boss Rupert Pelham.
The game earns it M rating for relatively brutal violence — severed arms and sword thrusts to the groin — and a tidal wave of obscenities. Unfortunately, you can’t tone down either element through the options menu.
It also doesn’t help that Rubi is unswervingly ruthless. In one scene, for example, she cuts the leg off one of her foes and levels him in a burning building. Definitely a bad girl.
Platforms: Xbox 360 (tested), PlayStation 3
On the Web:wet.bethsoft.com