Wanted: Weapons of Fate
Developer: GRIN
Publisher: Warner Bros.
Release Date: Out Now
Players: 1
Words By:

Wanted was a strange movie for me, despite starring James McAvoy as the central character Wes, Morgan Freeman and Angelina Jolie along with some cracking special effects and even glimpse of Ange’s butt, I was singularly unimpressed and nonplussed by it. After playing the game through and watching it again I enjoyed it more, because – maybe stupidly - now felt I had experienced the thrill of being an assassin, and being able to use “assassin time” (like Max Payne’s bullet time) and bullet curving to blow away enemies that would be out of sight and out of reach of any normal shooter.

Wanted: Weapons of Fate carries on right where the movie ended, and you play as rookie assassin Wes Gibson, the most recent recruit to an ancient organization called “The Fraternity” (a group of assassins who use their superhuman abilities to kill people) – that’s nice. These abilities include moving extremely fast, jumping long distances and being able to alter the flight of bullets fired from their guns, effectively bending their path to the intended target. Wanted is loosely based on a comic book series, the story of which tells that The Fraternity supplied the assassins for some of the most infamous assassinations of all time. The names of who is to die next are supplied to them via weaves with binary codes in them done by a mysterious “Loom of Fate”, supervised by a man called Sloan (Morgan Freeman in the movie) – and if this storyline sounds like complete bollocks, then yes of course it is - but probably no more than The Matrix, The Da Vinci Code, or any other super hero movie you care to mention. Sadly the game’s events being an immediate follow-on chapter to the movie means that although the game goes back in time as you play as Wes’s father, Cross, there’s no Angelina (who plays Wes’s mentor Fox in the movie) in the game. This also means that Warner Bros didn’t have to fork out for the rights to use Angelina’s likeness, which would probably have cost a prohibitive amount, if it were possible at all. So the only totty is Arana, a female assassin in a leather catsuit who acts as one of the game’s sub-bosses. Anyway, back to the plot: Wes has discovered that his father was betrayed by The Fraternity and wants revenge.

The game has what is now standard for this type of TPS (Third Person Shooter) game, a cover mechanic; you just tap ‘A’ whenever you’re near a wall or suitable bit of scenery and Wes will stick to that until you press ‘A’ again. It works quite well once you get used to its idiosyncrasies. It feels a bit mechanical and throws up more than a few aiming issues, but it does allow for some slick moves between cover (direction plus ‘A’ or ‘Y’) to dodge/sprint/slide to the next available cover. There’s also a neat and satisfying reach-over ‘stab kill’ if you’re really up close to an enemy when in cover.

Some enemies hunker down behind cover or use bullet-proof shields so you have to flank them, whilst keeping them pinned down with suppressing fire, and some of the tougher assassins move so quickly you need to use ‘Assassin Time’ to equal their speed and shoot them when they’re in the open. Wes has an adrenaline gauge, and Assassin Time and bullet curving uses this adrenaline up. The gauge can be topped up by shooting bad guys with ordinary shots, or by killing them in close combat (a tap of ‘B’). When you have one of your bullet-shaped adrenaline indicators full you can do a curved bullet, and if this results in a kill then this will recharge it immediately. You curve bullets by pressing ‘RB’, adjusting the trajectory so it misses anything between you and the target with the left stick, and then letting go of ‘RB’ to fire. This usually results in a dead guy and sometimes a cinematic slo-mo camera – it’s very cool and unlike some gimmicks I didn’t tire of seeing it. Eventually you’ll get a 4-bullet adrenaline gauge, and this is just as well because the advanced exploding bullet shot (you make 5 bullets collide as they hit the target) uses two bullets-worth. The levels are interspersed with QTE (Quick Time Event) sections in which everything moves slow so Wes can perform amazing feats of gun-toting (like shooting incoming bullets out of the air as in the movie) and acrobatics.

The game is similar to the movie in as much as it’s uncompromisingly and unapologetically violent, members of the public don’t matter and the body count is huge. As I mentioned earlier the game has a few aiming issues (times when your bullets simply won’t hit something that the reticle is clearly pointed at), but I forgave it because you can always bend a bullet round the corner and shoot the offending bad guy in the back! It’s not one of the most advanced looking games out with some shockingly basic scenery. For instance the trees in the alpine level are of “placeholder” quality, but many of the textures and the effect when a door gets blown off the plane in one level, resulting in explosive decompression, are a sight to behold (you can check this out in the downloadable demo on the Xbox Live Marketplace). So it’s not much of a looker, and the epic feel of the movie is never really recreated - given the action in the movie I was surprised there were no driving sections. Having said that, a great deal of the scenery is destructible and the enemies die in satisfyingly varied and gory ways – if anything the ragdoll effects are a bit too lively and due to this and clipping problems occasionally you’ll find a dead body in a very strange, anatomically impossible position.

Wanted: Weapons of Fate is not going to worry Gears of War 2 or Resident Evil 5’s supremacy in this genre, but it played an enjoyable game, fans of Max Payne and Stranglehold will like it. The fact is that bending bullets is so damned cool that I can’t help wondering if I’m going to complain about not being able to bend bullets in every shooter from now on…

Best Bits

- Bullet curving
- The plane level
Worst Bits

- Clipping
- Aiming issues
- Occasionally unresponsive controls
- No driving sections
- Glitches
- No Jolie

by: Diddly

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