After a mildly successful turn in the box office last year, Wanted gets a video game pseudo-sequel. Like the film, there is little to no connection to Mark Millar’s Wanted series of comic books. There are no Super Villains here, no magic, and certainly no mind control. Taking place some five hours after the film, Wanted: Weapons of Fate puts the player in Wesley and Cross’ shoes, on the trail of a ruthless assassin named The Immortal. Does the game have the same hyper-kinetic intensity of the film?
Unfortunately, Weapons of Fate’s disappointingly thin and confusing story doesn’t match its gunplay. More often than not, the in-game cutscenes feel more like an excuse for the player to kill everything that moves instead of an actual plot device. Whether the story was intentionally not fleshed out (leaving the game open for a sequel) or unintentionally thin due to 2 simultaneous stories is uncertain. To be fair, this isn’t the kind of game to play for its story. After all, it is a shooter. As long as the action is suitably intense, a coherent story may not be necessary.
Weapons of Fate’s near-flawless controls allow it to truly shine. The cover system will feel familiar to any Gears of War fan, and all special attacks – be it a close range hand to hand attack, enhanced quick movements, or bullet curving – are executed with one button. My only real control complaint is the lack of a roll button.
While this game easily could have been a monotonous exercise in ultra violence, there are several reasons as to why this isn’t the case. The gameplay is more varied than one would expect. End of stage bosses are fun (although somewhat easy), sniper rifle segments are a nice twist, triggered events are well used, and the combination of a turret gun coupled with ample exploding barrels never gets old. There are also numerous in-game unlockables including videos, concept art, team quotes, and extra characters. Additionally, there are three unlockable gameplay modes: headshot mode, close combat mode, and time attack.
Weapon of Fate’s AI balancing is far more important than scads of unlockables, however. Too difficult, and Weapons of Fate would be frustrating, too easy, and the game would be disappointingly short. As it stands, the AI walks this line well. These henchmen aren’t geniuses, but there is a good level of challenge to be had. Enemies limp when shot and return to cover, zealots force a close quarter battle if not dispatched quickly, and enemy aim is accurate – especially at later difficulties.
As entertaining a game as this is, there is a lack of available weapons. While this may seem minor, two guns (four if you include the temporary usage of the turret gun and sniper rifle) is an astoundingly low number for a shooter. On top of that, the player doesn’t receive the second weapon until act 7. Until that point, players are limited strictly to a glock. Why no shotguns or desert eagles? More to the point, why do enemies have grenades but not the player?
Wanted: Weapons of Fate is an enjoyable shooter, and ultimately much better than I initially expected it to be. The addition of some more difficult bosses, increased weapon selection, and a few retooled visuals wouldn’t have hurt, but it’s better than the average movie tie-in, and an entertaining 10 hour investment. The ending is particularly forgettable and The Immortal may be a pushover, but with addictive gunplay, an amazing amount of unlockables, and style to spare, Weapons of Fate is great for a weekend rental. While not the most memorable shooter, there is fun to be had here. Weapons of Fate doesn’t match the hyper-kinetic intensity of its celluloid counterpart, but it is a close second.