Wanted: Weapons of Fate Updated Hands-On
We're jacked up on adrenaline after our look at this action-packed bullet ballet based on the 2008 blockbuster.
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At any given moment in the upcoming Wanted: Weapons of Fate, you're either firing a gun, stabbing someone in the (choose one: neck/face/chest), or running for cover. For all of the visual flair and stylish violence that was found in last year's blockbuster on which Weapons of Fate is based, the video game is looking to amp things up with a bullet-ridden sneer. Yesterday, we had a chance to try out an updated build of the game, and our opinion hasn't changed since our last look at it back in early December: Weapons of Fate is looking like much more than a lame movie cash-in.
The demo that we saw skipped across several levels in the game and featured both Wesley (the main character from the Wanted film) and his father Cross as playable characters. As producers told us, though the Wanted film focused mostly on the relationship between Wesley and Cross, the game's plot centers around Wesley and the search for his mother. The first section of the game that we were shown featured a cutscene between Cross and Sloan (the leader of the so-called Fraternity, a group of assassins of which both Cross and Wesley are members) and explained the rift between the two characters.
Set in Chicago, this action-packed sequence started off with Cross blasting the heck out of, well, anyone who got near him. The setting was familiar, given that it was the same area in which we played as Wesley in the build that we saw back in December. Though it seems that you will retread some territory when playing as both Cross and Wesley, producers told us that only about 30 percent of the areas in the game are lifted from the movie, with the rest of the locales being created specifically for the game.
However, what keeps Weapons of Fate interesting is the constantly shifting gameplay. The developers at GRIN Barcelona have been working hard to make the ride as Wesley and Cross as interesting as possible, moving you from one action-packed sequence to the next. Whether you're working your way through cover spots while curving bullets into the brains of your hidden enemies, or parked behind a chain gun blasting bad guys as they pour out of a stronghold, or making your way through a variety of interactive sequences, Wanted is always throwing new stuff at you.
So back to the curving bullets, which are, more than anything else, the iconic takeaway from the Wanted films. Firing around objects takes some practice to get used to: You first hold down the R1 button (on the PlayStation 3 controller) to bring up an arced targeting line. You can aim that line with the right analog stick, even narrowing or widening the arc of the bullet to find the ideal shot. Once you've found your angle (when the arc and target change from red to white), you simply let go of the R1 button and watch the bullets curve toward their deadly destination. Hitting a target doesn't necessarily mean an instant kill; sometimes you'll merely wound enemies and then finish them off afterward.
In our time with the game, curving bullets didn't get old, even if it took some practice, but it's far from the only move in your arsenal. You'll also be able to quickly move between cover points and fire blindly around cover. Blind fire is particularly important because it pins enemies behind their own cover and forces them to lose track of your position. Use blind fire effectively and you can actually move between cover points even more quickly than usual. If you manage to sneak up on a bad guy within melee distance, you can strike at an enemy with a press of the circle button; our favorite kill, in fact, was stabbing an enemy who was positioned on the other side of the same cover that we were parked behind.
So, with all of these incredible moves at your disposal, how can anything stop you in the game? Well, though it's true that Wesley and Cross are extremely effective killers, the game does moderate your abilities to a certain extent. The game's adrenaline system will govern how often you can use the curved bullet shots or a bullet-time-like slowdown effect that makes dealing with multiple enemies easier. Killing an enemy with a ranged weapon will earn you one adrenaline point, whereas a melee kill will earn you two. As you progress in the game, you'll be able to store more adrenaline points, which is handy. Beyond adrenaline, the game's AI and lighting are designed to make things challenging. In terms of AI, enemies are always trying to move you out of cover. This is no stop-and-pop gameplay; instead you're always moving, trying to find the best way to avoid enemies and take them down. As for the lighting, the game has a similar color palette and lighting scheme as the Wanted film, with intense lighting that is sometimes blinding in spots, effectively hiding enemies in the glare.
Our favorite bit in the demo that we played was an airplane sequence, wherein we were charged with moving through the cabin, blasting bad guys the entire way through. Moving through the aisles, using drink carts as cover, we loved curving bullets around corridors to hit enemies, or blasting fire extinguishers (and knocking out the cabin doors in the process). At one point, the sequence intensified into an interactive sequence as the plane began plummeting toward the ground. At this point, the action turned vertical as Wesley continued to make his way through the cabin toward his destination. Although movement in the interactive sequences is handled automatically, you are charged with killing enemies and blasting bullets out of the air in slo-mo. These are timed sequences, so you have only so much time to take care of all of the "problems" onscreen before moving on to the next. Interestingly, if you die (like we did, a couple of times), the next time you try the sequence, the location of the bullets fired at you will change, which is a nice touch.
If over-the-top exploits and unpredictability is your thing, Wanted: Weapons of Fate looks like it will deliver in a big way when it is released later this year. The game's hyperviolent action and dark sense of humor look like a deadly combination, and we've got high hopes that Weapons of Fate might turn out to be that rare movie game that actually exceeds the film on which it's based. We'll find out on March 24 when the Weapons of Fate are unleashed on consoles everywhere.