Wanted: Weapons of Fate • Page 2

What have you done lately?

Disappointingly, however, that's about it, and the run-time isn't that much longer than the film the game follows either. Short games can be marvellous (ICO! Braid!), but Wanted doesn't fill its few hours with enough variation to justify repeat play. Bullet-curving and flanking are nicely done, but there's no real escalation. Enemies never come up with anything special to try and stop you, and you're never forced to improvise or look beyond the most obvious interpretations of the mechanics.

What's more, they often behave badly by their own mediocre standards, refusing to take hits on limbs and extremities exposed to give away their positions, where you would expect a well-aimed shot to register at least a contributory blow. They're also slow on the uptake, often allowing you to race up to them when they're isolated and hit the melee button to attack with a blade. This is handy if you want a human shield, but rather disappointing if you want to be challenged.

And the game hits a few really bad notes as well. The sniper sections, including one where Gibson's dad protects his mum on a dash through a town and up some scaffolding, lack the invention evident elsewhere, even though they are engaging enough diversions, while turret gun sections can't even make the latter claim, and lack any sense of urgency. If there's someone left to kill, you just pop up a few times to pick the unmoving straggler out of the dazzling bloom and do the business.

The aeroplane level, also featuring James McAvoy's dad, includes movable cover, which also pops up a few times elsewhere. It's a shame more isn't made of it.

The story too, told through frequent cut-scenes, unsurprisingly lacks Bekmambetov's speed and eloquence, not to mention humour. Where the film's director realised he could only afford to linger upon exposition in search of a payoff, and to lower blood pressure between set-pieces in the process, the game's equivalents are more like what we expected: people saying things to vaguely justify whatever you're about to do with your hands. It's also noticeable that Gibson's whinging-nobody-turned-superhero is less sympathetic now he's basically just an amoral killing machine with a puzzle.

Among the lines of interesting code there still lurks plenty of potential - perhaps for a speed-based high-scores shooter in the same mould as The Club, or for more exotic tactics that call upon the destructive cover and explosive ornaments that occasionally brush against the rank-and-file run-and-gun. Or perhaps for something else entirely. GRIN clearly has the capacity to go beyond what it does in Wanted, and it's a shame that the game only aspires to be a competent, mildly inventive extension of the film.

6 / 10

Wanted: Weapons of Fate Tom Bramwell What have you done lately? 2009-04-03T00:00:00+01:00 6 10

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