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Wanted: Weapons of Fate
Score: 85%
ESRB: Mature
Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
Developer: Universal Interactive Studios
Media: Blu-ray/1
Players: 1
Genre: Third Person Shooter

Graphics & Sound:
Wanted: Weapons of Fate brings you back into the world of the action-packed movie involving assassins, bullet-bending and twist-filled plots, but this time you take control as you play as both Wesley Gibson and his father (in flashback levels).

One of the things this game does right is the graphics. Not only do the characters who continue their role from the movie look just like the actors who portrayed them (James McAvoy included), but the visuals on the character models isn't all that makes the game realistic looking, it's the environments as well. The levels are designed to appear large and wide open (thought they are actually very linear), but the amount of detail that went into the design really adds a lot. I was especially impressed during the few levels where we got to go back to scenes from the movie, particularly the Textile Company and Loom of Fate Room.

Audio is pretty solid as well. Cutscenes are filled with pretty solid voice acting, and while McAvoy doesn't reprise his role as Wesley in the voice department, the replacement actor does a pretty good job. One of the little details about the game's audio that is always nice is the lack of excessive one-liners. While your character might spout out a few, they are typically within context and are really only triggered by an event that is happening in-game, so you never really get any stale, uber-repetitive comments while playing.

Wanted: Weapons of Fate is a third-person shooter that borrows quite a few mechanics from existing games, but also does a good job of embellishing on them and adding a brand new mechanic, Bullet-Bending. With hints of Gears of War and Max Payne, you will be taking cover behind objects in the level and using up adrenaline to slow down time in order to evade baddies and speed up your resources. The cover system itself is fairly sleek, especially since it allows you to easily slide between cover points while staying as hidden as possible. The only real issue I had with this aspect was the fact that the only way to make the context button appear to go from cover point to cover point involved moving all the way to one side of your cover and sticking your head out. Obviously, this leaves you open to a few pot shots from your enemies.

But what really makes Weapons of Fate stand out is the ability to curve bullets. Like in the movie, there will be plenty of times when bad guys are hiding behind objects and they simply won't come out to let you shoot them. Well, with this feature, you will be able to lock onto a target and draw an arc to them. If the line is red, you won't hit them, if it turns white, fire your bullet and watch them fall.

So what is the story of Weapons of Fate? Instead of trying to rehash the movie itself, the developers started the game off mere hours after the events of the film. Wesley has learned the truth about his father and The Fraternity, and he has taken his vengeance on the appropriate parties (yes, I am trying to be intentionally vague here in case any readers out there haven't seen the movie yet). But when Wesley wakes up the next day to find a group of cops rummaging around his apartment, he starts to unravel a new mystery, this one involving his mother and another branch of The Fraternity. What's nice is the fact that you will actually alternate between playing Wesley in the present and his father in the past, so as Wesley learns about his past, you play through the events being discussed.

Wanted: Weapons of Fate has a fairly smooth difficulty progression. Earlier levels won't throw as many guys at you simultaneously as the later ones will, and you won't be facing off against any of the bigger bad guys until the later parts of the game. But it all really comes down to getting the hang of the cover system. Once you get a handle on how to keep covered, use blind fire to cause your enemies to take cover and use the cover to flank those same opponents. Then you will be able to make steady progress without too much frustration.

The game also has three difficulty settings: Pussy, Assassin and Killer, which seems to typically change the number of enemies the game throws at you or how easy it is to outsmart those enemies. I found the middle difficulty setting to be a good, solid normal rating, while the other two should be good for both newcomers and third-person veterans respectively.

Game Mechanics:
The biggest mechanic that Wanted: Weapons of Fate throws out there that needs discussing has to be its Bullet-Bending system. When described, the feature sounds tough to pull off, but it is definitely one of those control schemes that has to be played to be understood. Basically, it comes down to locking on a target with your (R1) button. While holding that down, a straight line between you and the bad guy will appear. Typically this will be red at first since he is inevitably hiding behind something. You then use your Left Stick to pull that line into an arc around the obstacle(s). When the line turns white, you release the (R1) and fling the bullet across the room. Like I said, it sounds complicated and awkward, and it does take some getting used to, but after the second level or so (after you get the ability), you should have the basics down and the more you use it, the better and quicker you can pull off the maneuver.

Because of the nature of the story, if you have any desire to see the movie, you should do that before picking up this game. It has no qualms about ruining any twists that were revealed in the movie, and quite frankly, since the game takes place so soon after those events, it really shouldn't have a problem doing so. But because of that, the movie experience might be slightly less than what it could be. If you've seen the movie and liked the style of action portrayed in it, then you should enjoy Weapons of Fate, because it does a pretty solid job of conveying the same feeling and style as the movie.

-J.R. Nip, GameVortex Communications
AKA Chris Meyer

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