Wanted: Weapons of Fate

Weapons of too late

Almost a year after the film hit the cinema, the Wanted videogame cash-in has finally arrived. Wait - that's not how it's supposed to happen...

Developer Grin, famous for its duties on Capcom's upcoming Bionic Commando, opted to spend some quality time with Wanted rather than pumping out a half-finished product 12 months ago - and to its credit it's not quite the buggy, unpolished rush job we've come to expect from Hollywood tie-ins.

The combat system, which has you bending bullets is solid and fairly satisfying, while the presentation of the package as a whole is inoffensive. It's the other areas of Wanted, such as campaign design, length and execution that let it down.

In case you didn't opt to see Angelina Jolie's naked backside in the cinema, Wanted follows the story of Wesley Gibson, a frustrated office worker who discovers he's actually the son of an international super assassin - and shares many of his daddy's bullet-bending abilities.

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It's a bit like Bourne meets The Matrix and we all know how well the last one did as a game. One minute Wanted wants to be The Club, with arcade-inspired bullet trajectories and combos everywhere. The next minute it's trying to do Gears of War cover shootouts before going all Metal Gear Solid with gritty, plot-filled cut-scenes.

The campaign starts off with possibly the most dull (but skip-able) tutorial imaginable and sadly it doesn't gain much speed from there.

Bizarrely, Wanted decides to keep your bullet-bending and adrenaline powers - the only interesting features of the game - away from you for the best part of its beginning, which makes for an extremely generic opening indeed.

Drudging through dark, brown corridors, the opening levels involve waiting for blokes to pop their heads up so you can nail them in the face, explosive barrels and the occasional gimmicky on-rails section, which has you shooting bullets and baddies in slow-motion.

Load times and occasional slowdown also plague the experience - niggles we hope are erased in Grin's other games.

Just when you thought it couldn't get any more gimmicky and generic, you're chucked into a mandatory and frustrating turret section. This has you raining bullets on crates, more explosive barrels and kamikaze enemies who are able to bull's-eye you in the face with their first shot. It's boring, tacked on and simply not fun.

Although this generic structure remains throughout much of the game, Wanted thankfully becomes a touch more enjoyable once you finally gain access to your ninja shooting skills.

The gunplay, as we mentioned earlier, is actually quite enjoyable. Wesley's adrenaline moves - which include the trademark bullet-bending from the film (performed by holding a shoulder button and then bending your trajectory with the analogue stick) and a slightly less original bullet-time dash - work well and bring some mild fun to an otherwise drab shooter.

You gain access to your Neo moves by building up adrenaline power, which is essentially acquired by killing baddies. Jumping between cover objects feels fairly streamlined and effortless, and aiming behind objects and performing blindfire works as it should.

The problem is once you get to this more bearable section of the campaign you're already almost half-way through finishing the game - and you'll have it wrapped up in an afternoon like we did.

Wanted is an incredibly short-lived experience (we clocked it in little over four hours) and though you can go back and play the campaign again with a different character skin or on a harder difficulty setting, would you really want to? There's no multiplayer either, which doesn't help even things up a little.

Given its fairly solid shooting mechanic Wanted could've been better with more effort and time. But in this unfocused, overly generic and short lived state, it's really difficult to recommend it at all at full price. It's worth a rent, as the kids say these days.

The verdict

Too short and too late to be wanted.

  • Gun moves are enjoyable
  • Generic, gimmicky campaign
  • Incredibly short
  • Rubbish turret sections
  • Load times ahoy!
  • Single player only
Xbox 360
Warner Interactive