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Wanted: Weapons of Fate is based on the slick, stylish and fairly moronic action flick which hit cinema screens last year. The film was in turn loosely based on a comic book, very loosely. If you missed both the only part of the premise you really need to know is that you are an assassin with the power to flout physics. With a flick of your wrist you can bend bullets through the air to cap bad guys. This is a fast paced third-person shooter which picks up where the film ended and challenges you to run from cover to cover as you waste countless goons in linear levels, all in search of the truth about your mysterious family.
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There is nothing particularly unique or creative about this title: it simply takes mechanics from elsewhere and slaps them together. For the most part it blends elements of Max Payne with Gears of War. It seemed inevitable that the game would include Bullet Time (they call it Assassin Time) and indeed you can trigger slow motion and then curve your bullets towards the bad guys. You get a line which stretches to the target and you can curve it to make sure it finds a warm fleshy home. This isn’t a free resource though; you have to earn adrenaline points, which you do by dropping bodies.
Progress is strongly focussed on cover and it seems every third-person action game now feels obliged to adopt a Gears of War system in this regard. You have to leap around pressing yourself up against the ubiquitous crates which are always to be found in shooters, looking ahead for the next piece of cover. If you store up adrenaline points you can go on extended slow motion runs bouncing from cover to cover (they call this Cover Chaining) and shooting up multiple targets in the process.
You have a knife if you feel like getting up close and personal and there are melee attacks as well but little incentive to use them. As you progress you’ll end up wielding dual pistols. There are a couple of rail sections where you no longer control your character’s movement and they are obviously supposed to add some cinematic style. They add nothing to the game-play.
The enemy AI is also pretty poor, there is no real challenge and much of the action feels predictable. They have tried to introduce some variation with boss fights but there is nothing special or memorable going on here. Additional modes are not inspiring and don’t encourage you to play on after the four or five hours it takes to complete Wanted: Weapons of Fate.
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You play as the main character from the film, Wesley. They have modelled a rough likeness of James McAvoy. The animations are decent, although they somewhat inevitably get very repetitive. The enemy characters are generic and even the boss characters are on the dull side. The environments look quite good; they serve a game-play purpose with a strictly linear layout and plenty of cover. The visual effects are ok, with nice lighting and shadows as well as plenty of blood splats. This looks pretty good for a movie license game but it is not cutting edge.
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The sound in the game is good quality and they got the original cast to do voiceover work, so James McAvoy, Peter Stormare, Terence Stamp and Morgan Freeman all voice their characters. To be honest they don’t stand out. The surround sound and slow motion effects are nicely done and add to the immersion and the basic sound effects are just about right. Shame that sound doesn’t make a great game.
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You are going to need an Intel Core 2 Duo, at least 2.2Ghz, a minimum of 1GB of RAM, 5GB of hard drive space and a GeForce 8800 or better graphics card. It runs on Windows XP (SP2) and Vista. I didn’t have any problems running the game but my machine is a fair bit above the recommended specs.
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The game was developed by Swedish developers GRIN and when it comes to movie tie-ins this is a decent effort. Don’t misinterpret that comment though because movie tie-ins are usually gut-wrenchingly awful: the fact this is above average still only makes it a passable game. If you want a quick blast of action which isn’t too taxing then perhaps you’ll like it. Wanted: Weapons of Fate relies on its gimmicks and since they are ripped off from elsewhere and bundled together without a huge amount of care it is far from a great game. There is also no escaping the fact that at around five hours with no multiplayer and a disappointing range of additional modes this does not represent good value for money. Much like the film I found this to be slick and familiar. Ultimately it can be classed as throwaway entertainment which is competently made but lacks a hook to get you really excited.