|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|
by Robert VerBruggen
As devoted CheatCC readers know, we were pretty impressed with Wanted: Weapons of Fate when the game's PR people flew us out to L.A. to preview it. The third-person shooter takes the Gears of War cover system and turns it on its head: you can sneak up on enemies by dashing between barriers unseen; you can easily curve bullets to take out hiding enemies; you can jump between pieces of cover in slow motion to kill multiple enemies at once!
After spending more time with the game, we're still loving those elements. Whereas Gears can get tedious at times, what with all the ducking and hiding, Wanted never loses its fast pace. We do find ourselves curving bullets (by locking on with a bumper button and setting a trajectory with a joystick) far more often than we use the other techniques, but this mechanic alone makes the game go markedly faster. It's also a plus that basic cover-to-cover movements take place very, very quickly.
This game is unquestionably worth at least a rental, and other developers should take note of the fact that cover need not slow a player down. However, before plunking down the full $60, there are a few things a gamer should know.
First, the game consists solely of a single-player campaign, and said campaign is very short. The official estimate is eight to ten hours, but our first time (on "Assassin," or medium difficulty) took us maybe six; on the second pass-through, playing on the unlocked hard difficulty ("The Killer"), we broke into the game's built-in "Time Attack" records by finishing in less than four hours. The best score on that board is about two hours.
The campaign is also very easy. This is perhaps a technique for keeping the pace quick and the player not frustrated (and if so, we appreciate both sentiments), but it will give experienced shooter players a "that's it?" feeling when they realize they've just beaten the whole thing. Many players could handle the hard difficulty right away if they didn't have to unlock it, and the easy difficulty (endearingly called "Pussy") makes almost comically low demands on the player. In fairness, we should note that the game steadily ramps up over time (rather than employing the more common hard part / couple easy parts / hard part pacing), so if you're not feeling challenged at the beginning, it's worth persevering.
If you rent the game and spend some time with it, then, you can easily beat it once or twice. Beyond that, it's a question of replayability, and we can't say Wanted really has much. You can thoroughly search the levels to find any unlockables you missed, but most of these are just pieces of artwork that only a hardcore devotee of the Wanted comic book could care about. You can play with unlocked characters, but these are mere graphical replacements (and lead to ridiculous situations where you're playing as a new character, but then a cutscene hits featuring protagonist Wesley Gibson instead). Alternatively, you could go for Achievements/Trophies; there are some good ones (we're still not quite sure how to kill two enemies with the same curved bullet), but that kind of thing has limited appeal.
Now that we've established the bottom-line, it's time for our usual nitpicking. In terms of gameplay, while we love the idea of bullet-curving in general, it made the game way too easy (even easier than normal) in open areas. When there's no ceiling to worry about, you can simply lock on to a target, hold up on the joystick, and shoot an arc to an almost-guaranteed headshot. Each curved bullet costs you one unit of "Adrenaline," but you earn back one unit every time you kill someone, so you can do this indefinitely.