Review: Wanted: Weapons of Fate
Wanted: Weapons of Fate is a video game sequel to the 2008 action movie "Wanted". Taking place about five hours after the movie, the game puts you in the role of Wesley Gibson, who is now a fully trained assassin.
- Worth The Time?Yes, it actually is a pleasant surprise.
- Things LovedThe bullet curving is awesome, the gameplay is really fun and action-packed, the graphics are stylish and pretty, it captures the action of the movie quite well.
- Things HatedThere's a large amount of repetitiveness and a lack of variety, the game is fairly short and the final boss fight is disappointing, the trademark long distance sniper kills from the movie does not appear, there is no difference between the two playable characters.
- RecommendationYou definitely won't feel like you wasted your time playing this, especially fans of the movie, as it provides good entertainment. But I'd strongly advise against a full price purchase due to the short length of the game and lack of variety.
- Name: Wanted: Weapons of Fate
- Genre: Third Person Shooter
- Players: 1
- Multiplayer: N/A
- Platforms: PC, PS3, Xbox 360
- Developer: Grin
- Publisher: Warner Bros Interactive Entertainment
- Price: R350 (PC), R550 (PS3, 360)
- Reviewed On: PC
Wanted: Weapons of Fate, as you all know, is based on the movie “Wanted” which came out in 2008. I definitely get it, how all gamers out there react to movie-licensed titles, and I am no different. They’re always titles to be approached with care and caution, but we seemingly never stop hoping that just one of them will turn out good, even just decent, instead of another hopeless cash-in. So I guess the question is, does Wanted: Weapons of Fate fit into the former or the latter? Well, let’s answer that.Wanted: Weapons of Fate is a video game sequel to the 2008 action movie “Wanted“. Taking place about five hours after the movie, the game puts you in the role of Wesley Gibson, who is now a fully trained assassin. To summarise the plot, his mission is to seek out The French Fraternity, hunt down ‘The Immortal’ and finally discover the truth about his parents.
The game digs into the past of Wesley and his family, but instead of long winded cutscenes, Wanted: Weapons of Fate follows the dual protagonist style of storytelling. This means that the player will be put in control of both Wesley and his father, Cross, throughout the game; where Wesley’s story shows the present and his father’s arc fills in the past. It’s a nice idea and the game implements it well, but there are problems that come with it which I will explain later on.
However here’s where the game’s first set of problems kicks in. While the game looks pretty decent itself, the cutscenes look really bad for today’s standards, and the game could have done better with in-game cutscenes instead. Second, some cutscenes seem to have no point behind them, and you will enter and exit others randomly. For example, you will be heading towards a location, and once getting there, a cutscene will kick in, but it will last barely ten seconds not showing anything important, thereafter giving the player control again, which makes you wonder why they are there in the first place. Overall though, the majority of them are short and to the point, and do well to progress the story.
Weapons of Fate, at its foundation, plays like a standard third person shooter, and at this it does well. The camera is problem free, as it’s displayed in a very Dead Space fashion which gives you a clear view of the battlefield. The controls are very effective and responsive, combined with that of a very well working connecting snap to cover system (which means you can jump from cover to cover), and all in all the game is most definitely functional and headache-free. However, to avoid being generic or “just another third person shooter”, Wanted: Weapons of Fate features the movie’s greatest selling point – curving bullets. It’s awesome when a game’s selling point meets or exceeds expectations, and for Weapons of Fate, it definitely fits into the latter. To first explain: curving bullets is an ‘adrenaline’ ability in the game. Very visible, and located at the top right of the screen, are the adrenaline ‘bullets’. A bullet coloured red indicates a usable point while grey-coloured means empty. One adrenaline point is gained for a gun kill, while two are gained for a close combat kill, and since the game is constant action, you’ll never be short of them. You start out the game with just one available point, but as you progress throughout the game your adrenaline capacity increases. It’s safe to say that Wanted’s adrenaline system works very well given the context of the game.
Once you have access to an adrenaline point, it will remain until used. Holding down the adrenaline key and the fire button will access the curve bullet lock-on mode. The locked on target will be hilighted in red, regardless of whether the enemy is behind cover or on top of a roof, and a seperate red line will be displayed showing the bullet angle. You won’t be able to move while in this mode and you will also be detatched from cover as it requires the player to adjust or rotate the line until it (and the target) glow white which indicates a lock-on and definite hit. After a lock-on has been made, releasing the fire button fires the shot. It sounds like a long and slow process, but it’s actually extremely quick and very easy to use. Another point worth mentioning is how visually awesome the bullet curve looks. Wesley/Cross will curve the gun exactly like in the movie, taking the angle of the shot into account as well, and the bullet will trail a white arc behind it showing the path it took to reach the target. Also, if you time the shot correctly and make a good headshot, the game will shift into a ‘bullet-time’ slow motion sequence, literally, showing you a close up of the wildly spinning bullet as it launches from the gun and hits its target, spraying blood and sending the enemy flying humourously. All in all, it simply looks and works brilliantly, is easy and a great deal of fun to use and really is the best aspect of the game.
Aside from curving bullets, there is only one other adrenaline ability in the game, namely the ‘Enhanced Quick Movements’ ability. It requires two adrenaline points, as well as the player to be behind cover. While behind cover, holding down the adrenaline key and diving to another cover spot activates the ability. Once activiated, the game enters a bullet-time mode giving the player a chance to pick off multiple targets before reaching the next cover point. Like the bullet curve, it’s easy to master and is fun to use, but the down side is that you won’t use this ability much, other than against bosses, simply because the bullet curve is just way more fun and enjoyable. Unfortunately there are no other adrenaline abilities to acquire, and the only other special move that the player has, is one called the blind fire speed boost. Wanted has a different idea behind blind fire, and trying to kill enemies with it will prove unsuccessful. What it’s used for, is to suppress enemies, and after firing enough blind shots the screen will establish a whitish glow around the edges. Once this glow appears, the player will be able to very swiftly jump to another cover point, giving a good speed and surprise advantage over the slow-reacting enemies. It’s useful at times and once again, like most other things in the game, is easy to use and functional.
Together these two adrenaline abilities make up the bulk of the game’s combat. Given the impressive feats performed in Wanted the movie, it’s almost disappointing to see a lack of depth in the game’s combat. There could have been so many more moves and abilities that would have done well to bring some sense of progression in the game other than just gaining more adrenaline points. Moving on, the game also has quick time events, although they aren’t the standard ones we’re used to, instead they are actually pretty fun. You’ll encounter them a few times in the game, although not many, but basically it will take you through a fast paced action sequence showing Wesley/Cross pulling off an insane stunt (like diving out of a window) and in between these, the game will swiftly shift control over to the player, melding into slow motion and allowing you to shoot at the enemies and incoming bullets. They’re fun to look at, easy to get through on the first go and are frustration-free.
Following up on the dual protagonist storytelling, regarding gameplay, Wesley and his father have next to no differences from each other. Aside from looks, the only minor difference you will encounter is Cross having access to dual weapons, which Wesley gains later on anyway. They feature the same abilities as well as the exact same close combat kill animations. It would have been nice to see some differences in that at least, despite them being gory and cool to look at, the animations for close kills are limited to about four in total. Also, there is a very, very limited weapon selection. Throughout the game, you’ll only be able to use a pistol, a better pistol, dual pistols (with Cross) and dual sub machine guns. That’s as far as it goes in terms of weaponary. This brings me to the game’s greatest flaw: repetitiveness. Wanted: Weapons of Fate simply overflows with it. Practically everything you’ll do in the game is kill people, then kill some more people, then kill people using a machine gun turret, snipe some more people (the sniper rifle is only available about three times in the game for set sections), and fight a boss, of which there are roughly four in total. Coupled together with the pure linear level design and Wanted is basically the same thing over and over again. I know many great games out there are repetitive in the sense, but the key here is that Wanted actually makes you feel the repetitiveness, when you know you’re doing the same thing all the time and you’re left hoping for some variety, and this is where repetitiveness becomes a flaw. Although it is a great deal of fun, there’s no denying that, you’re definitely going to be feeling the repetitiveness long before the game ends.
Another aspect bound to upset and disappoint many is the complete lack of the movie’s other great selling point. That being the extremely long distance sniper shot. It doesn’t feature once in the game, not even as a separate challenge mode or something, but I’m sure it would have done well in the game’s favour had it been in there and implemented as well as the bullet curving. It really is disappointing, because it really would have been a fantastic addition to the game.
On the point of variety again, other third person shooters will try to mix it up with vehicle sections, puzzles, platforming, new weapons, variety of enemies and other pace changing elements. Wanted, on the other hand, gives you guns (and the same guns) and throws the same dumb people at you over and over again with the philosophy that if they do it enough times it becomes original again.
Moving on to the second massive flaw, after repetitiveness, is how criminally short the entire game is. It will take you no more than 5-6 hours to complete the entire game, with cutscenes included, and the difficulty level you choose as well as your skill level will make hardly any impact on this as the game is fairly easy. A short game doesn’t immediately equal bad, as long as there is incentive to keep playing it once completed. Wanted has absolutely none in this regard, even though it tried. To elaborate, the hardest difficulty ‘The Killer’ is only unlocked on completion, and you can also unlock other characters to play through the game as other than Wesley and Cross and there are various other things like concept art. However there’s no reason to care about any of them, because the hardest difficulty is basically the same as medium, there’s nothing different other than looks with the unlocked characters (neither are they of much importance) and concept art is hardly any reason to replay a game for. Wanted is best labeled as a ‘play and throw away’ game.
Graphically, Wanted: Weapons of Fate is pretty decent and nice to look at it. Aside from the bad looking cutscenes, you’ll have no problem keeping your eyes on the game constantly. The character models are nicely detailed and the special effects of the bullet curves are really great to watch – I can safely say they’re one of the few things in the game you’re unlikely to tire of. As I said before, the game is highly functional. You won’t encounter many annoying bugs or petty things like physics glitches and neither will you have any stupid luck such as dying unfairly, due to a glitch or bad design, or because you were prevented from getting safely behind cover.
On another note, the enemy AI is decent at best, although they are so obsessed with the bullet curving in this game that the AI will hide in such a way that only a curved bullet can kill them. No complaints here with that aspect, but overall the lack of variety in enemies coupled together with reptitive AI and it seems like you’re repeating the same gun fight continously.
Truth be told, Wanted: Weapons of Fate is nothing new if you’ve played other third person shooters like Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune or Gears of War. The bullet curving does add some distinction, but in the end there’s not enough different or better to justify playing this over them. If you’re looking for something to kill time and people, Wanted is a great contender in the end. If you can look past the repetitiveness and lack of variety, then you’re sure to have fun with Wanted, but you might be better off playing other superior shooters. This has been a short review, but then again it’s a short game.
Wanted: Weapons of Fate could have been great had it contained more variety and a lengthier campaign. However, it’s not bad at all, and it’s actually a fun game that you won’t feel like you wasted your time playing, although it’s not worth full price. If you’re looking for some fast-paced bullet-bending action, get it on the cheap or hire it, because it’s good entertainment for a day or two.