Wanted, released in cinemas last year, was an all out, balls-to-the-walls action film. It was a stupid action film. The perfect film to sit back with some popcorn and have a good time. It wasn’t the next Citizen Kane or A Clockwork Orange, but it was a damn good film regardless. And that is the sensibility you need to have coming into Wanted: Weapons of Fate, the video game sequel to the film. If you have read the comic book, forget all about that because the only similarity is the costume Wesley dons about halfway through the game. Wanted: Weapons of Fate is, just like the film, an all out, balls-to-the-walls action game.
Of course, being a sequel to the film, you will have to know what exactly happened in the film. As such, if you’ve not seen the film skip the next paragraph while I spoil it all in an effort to explain what the heck is happening in the game.
The majority of the Chicago Fraternity are now dead, either by Wesley’s hands or Fox’s hands (when she superbly curves the bullet all the way around the somewhat dubiously round room, killing all the assassin’s in hope of keeping with fate). Wesley’s father is also dead. As a result, the Paris Fraternity is pretty pissed off at you. As a result, the head of the Fraternity, The Immortal as played by the superb Peter Stormare, is on a mission to track you down and wipe you out because you have broken the code of assassins. In between the parts where Wesley is trying to track down The Immortal, you see and play flashbacks of his father to show how the conflict between Wesley and the Fraternity began. If you’ve seen the film, this will make a lot more sense than it seems to.
You head out on a nine-level journey filled with Quick Time Events and bullet-curving, and there’s two problems in that sentence. The first of which is the fact that there are only nine-levels in the entire game. I managed to finish Wanted in about 3 and a half hours maximum. The lack of replay value does also factor into the shortness of the game. You can play through levels again with a different character model, on a different difficulty or with a few special modes involved, which means you can only kill enemies with headshots or at close-quarters, but overall there is little reason to play the game again. The second problem is Quick Time Events. I hate QTEs with a passion. I find them needless and it takes me right out of the game. It also upsets me because it shows that the action feeling of films doesn’t translate well into video games when having the game take control of the action in a slick cutscene.
Wanted: Weapons of Fate follows the same third person, over the shoulder look that many of the “trendy” shooters now use in the post-Gears of War era. Had it not been for some interesting developments on the whole pop and duck technique used in all of the third person shooters that use a cover system, which is nearly all of them now, I would have dismissed Wanted as being just another bad Gears of War clone.
In the film, Wesley is able to perform a special move that allows him to bend bullets around objects, people or walls. This a very useful tactic as an assassin, which can make taking people out that bit easier. This feature is also in the game and is extremely well implemented for something that appears to be so complicated. The process is quite easy. You lock onto a target, which reveals a line running from your gun to the enemy. You then have to position this line, by bending it, until the line turns white, which means there are no obstructions between you and the target. Then you simply let fire. If you pulled the move off well, the camera will follow the bullet as it flies into the enemy, which is quite a sight. There is also a similar move, which slows down time as you move between cover, allowing you time to take down a ton of enemies in one foul swoop. Later in the game, you gain a pair of machine pistols that allow you to bend a group of exploding bullets towards an enemy, finishing them in a glorious explosion.
There is a catch, as there always is. You need to build up adrenaline to be able to pull these moves off. When you first learn the bullet curving ability, you start off with one adrenaline point, but as you progress you can earn up to four points. To recharge these points you will need to kill enemies. Simple really. And for every kill you gain while performing the special moves, you gain an adrenaline point back.
These special moves and the cover-to-cover mechanic provides for some hectic gunfights, which are a heck of a lot of fun to take part in, and it hardly ever gets tired, but this is mainly because the game is so short as I’ve already mentioned. There is no multiplayer mode, no arcade scoring or leaderboards, nothing that would make you want to play on. If Wanted: Weapons of Fate took a similar approach to The Club, even in just an unclockable mode, where you work through missions trying to unleash kill combos and earn points, then I’m sure Wanted would have the longevity it needs to keep people playing.
As it stands, Wanted: Weapons of Fate is not worth a retail purchase. However, if you do see it in a Bargain Bucket or for rental, do pick it up because what’s here is lots of fun, there just isn’t a lot there in the first place. It’s the equivalent of getting a donkey, strapping a jetpack to it but only filling the tank halfway. It takes something old that’s been way overused, attaches something new to it to add more fun, but then takes away this fun and orginality by being too short. OK, that was a terrible analogy, but you get the picture.