|System: X360, PS3, PC||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: GRIN||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Warner Bros.||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: March 24, 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Mature||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
January 5, 2009 - Wanted, the big screen adaption of the Mark Millar and J.G. Jones comic series, was a huge success at the summer box office. Playing alongside what is (in my opinion) the greatest comic book adaptation ever, The Dark Knight, it managed to make a very respectable $93 million dollars. Impressive enough to warrant a video game adaptation I suppose, but there were two words that made Wanted: Weapons of Fate a must for gamers: Bullet-bending. Once gamers and comic fans saw the flashy exploits of Wesley and the Fraternity it was love at first sight.
Lucky for shoot-out fans everywhere, developer GRIN and publisher Universal Studios will be playing matchmaker when Wanted: Weapons of Fate hits consoles in 2009. Taking a cue from other successful movie tie-ins, including its own Scarface: The World is Yours, Universal has taken pains to craft an experience the fans of the film will enjoy, but wont retell the same story. By combining the onscreen adventures of Wesley and company with the Image Comic escapades of our favorite assassins, the idea is to create a story that captures the spirit of the film and expands on the comic origins of the story.
Picking up only hours after the events of the film, Weapons of Fate will follow Wesley as he attempts to discover the secrets of the Fraternity and find out more about Cross and the fate of his mother. Players will visit several locals from the film (though probably at different time periods and in different situations) and gamers will have the opportunity to play as both Cross and Wesley. Other characters have been hinted at, but theres no official word on them or multiplayer yet.
Weapons of Fate runs on the same engine as the forthcoming Bionic Commando, which seems to have influenced visuals more than gameplay. Graphically, Weapons of Fate is solid if not overly impressive. Muzzle flashes and explosions yield impressive flairs and sparks, while Wesley himself sports some nice textures, particularly on his signature leather jacket. In-action gunplay is definitely the showpiece of the Weapons of Fate art department. Whether moving from cover to cover, stabbing a soldier in the privates, or sliding across a desktop and popping a guy from across the room, movement, gunplay, and close quarters combat all look phenomenal. Even from the trailer, its clear that fluidity and moments of downright jaw dropping visual displays were on the forefront of the developers minds. Of course, its difficult to say before the release of the game, but watching Wesley slide across the overturned shelves, like a scene from The Dukes of Hazzard, is undeniably cool. Its clear that the visuals from the film had a huge impact on the development team.
Predictably, though its not necessarily a bad thing, most of the action of Weapons of Fate centers around run and gun action broken up by close quick-time, Resident Evil 4-style kills. Players will chain cover to cover movements to build up an adrenaline meter. Once filled, this meter allows players to pull off special moves including the trademark bullet-bending. Holding down the trigger, a bullet curve overlay will appear on screen displaying the trajectory of your shot. Players then finesse the arc of the shot until the curve turns white (from red) and then release the trigger to blast enemies behind cover.
Its an interesting mechanic and seems to go a long way towards adding a new twist to the cover-fire-advance formula refined by other third-person shooters (most popularly by Gears of War). While bending bullets around riot shields and hallway corners is cool, even the best marksmen need some hand to hand moves these days (what with the rising prices of bullets) and Wesleys wont disappoint. As anyone who saw the film knows, hes actually pretty handy with a combat knife, and any enemy who manages to get close enough will be treated to a quick trip to that big textile mill in the sky courtesy of Wesleys handiwork. These one button quick-time kills are easily executed, slick, quick, and bloody. Its impressive stuff.
Weapons of Fate will release in the first quarter 2009. Like so many curved bullets, GRIN, gamers, and comic fans alike hope awesome gameplay is just around the corner.
Leon Hendrix III
CCC Freelance Writer