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Review: Wanted: Weapons of Fate

Over in a muzzle flash
By MITCH KRPATA  |  April 7, 2009
2.0 2.0 Stars

VIDEO: The trailer for Wanted: Weapons of Fate

Wanted: Weapons of Fate | For Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 | Rated M for Mature | Developed by Grin | Published by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
It's hard to say which has a worse reputation: movies based on video games or video games based on movies. Neither tends to turn out well. Wanted: Weapons of Fate, the game based on last year's reasonably entertaining Angelina Jolie movie Wanted, seems to buck the trend. It's well made, with some fresh ideas and few of the errors of execution that tend to plague these adaptations. The story line and the smart-ass dialogue are even up to the movie's level (okay, not the highest peak to climb). But after a few hours of play, when you're beginning to believe that Wanted bucks the trend, suddenly it's over. The credits roll just when it seems the game is getting started.

Wanted the film was based almost entirely on characters performing physically impossible feats with firearms: firing accurate sniper shots from miles away, shooting other bullets out of the air, and, most notably, bending bullets around obstacles. This last skill forms the basis for the most enjoyable aspect of Weapons of Fate.

Although the game begins as a Gears of War–like third-person shooter, emphasizing diligent use of cover over quick reflexes, before long your character acquires the bullet-bending power. The implementation is smart: holding down a trigger button superimposes an arc on screen between your gun and your concealed target. If the arc is red, your shot is obstructed; if it's white, the path is clear. You can manipulate the trajectory with the left analog stick, an operation that's quick and easy. The result is that you don't spend all your time fiddling with your aim. Instead, you spray parabolic death like the born assassin you are.

Taking cover is now a standard feature in any shooter, but it's given an appealing, cinematic twist here. Rather than being able to choose anywhere to hide your character, you're given just a few options, and you have to advance from one safe spot to the next with a series of button presses. Sounds constricting, but in fact this approach does away with the kind of silliness where you find your character performing somersaults in open terrain instead of ducking behind something.

Even Wanted's approach to the quicktime event is worthwhile, a sentence I can't believe I'm typing. There are a few points where the action switches to a slow-motion, on-rails sequence. The camera cuts between different angles, showing enemy characters firing at you, along with an on-screen countdown timer. You have only a second or two to shoot the oncoming bullets out of the air and take out the person pulling the trigger. It works because it's not overdone. The same is true of those occasions when the game camera follows the path of your bending bullet, all the way from the barrel of your gun into an opponent's skull. It's often the reward for finishing off an extended firefight.

What with all the good decisions that went into this game, one has to assume that its brevity was also calculated. From start to finish, on the default difficulty, the campaign takes about four hours. You can replay it on a tougher difficulty, or with different costumes on your character, but that's all there is to it. It is possible to imagine that the gunplay might get repetitive with more playtime, and its environments monotonous. Perhaps Wanted deserves credit for quitting while it's ahead. Given that it retails for $60, though, nobody could say it's worth the money. When the price is cut in half a year from now, don't miss it!

Related: Review: Chrono Trigger DS, Review: Afro Samurai, Review: Street Fighter IV, More more >
  Topics: Videogames , Entertainment, Culture and Lifestyle, Movies,  More more >
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