Capturing the obnoxious attitude of the comic book and the wanton nature of the 2008 film featuring James McAvoy, Morgan Freeman and Angelina Jolie, style conquers substance in Wanted: Weapons of Fate. It's an over-the-top Hollywood tie-in of a computer game.
Wanted: Weapons of Fate - curve your enthusiasm
Wanted: Weapons of Fate picks up a short five hours after the end of the film, finding disgruntled cubicle-slave turned super-assassin Wesley Gibson living in his late father's apartment.
The game kicks off when a team of gun-wielding thugs from the Paris Fraternity (a French subsidiary of the secret society of assassins) burst into Wesley's new digs looking to steal some very important and very personal documents from one of the most dangerous men alive. Not smart.
Anyway, after several hundred gunshots and a couple dozen explosions clear downtown Chicago of any gun-toting Frenchman (it's a rough neighborhood), Wesley is approached by a familiar face and is forced to pick up his pistols once more in hopes of taking down these "French Fried F***ers", all the while learning some very dangerous details about his past, and if he's lucky, his future.
Now, if you're looking for a sleek, original shooter that may just re-define the action genre as you know it, this isn't the game for you. In fact, if you're a fan of the Wanted franchise looking for a compelling continuation of the film or graphic novel... Wanted: Weapons of Fate still might come up a few cards short of a deck.
No, by popping Wanted: Weapons of Fate into your console of choice or a PC, you're going to be treated to a by-the-books run and gun shooter with a few novelty gimmicks and winks towards the fans; nothing more, nothing less.
Wanted: Weapons of Fate - bullet time and time again
I'm not one for buzzwords, but there's really no other way to describe Wanted: Weapons of Fate without kicking the word "gimmick" around.
Curving bullets and flanking baddies in "Assassin Time" is fun at first, but none of these stylish acts of violence are necessary by any means; in fact, most of Wesley's assassin abilities are cheap thrills that are fun to execute when you feel the need to, but nothing that changes the formula from, as Morgan Freeman put it so eloquently in the film, "Shoot this muthaf***a!"
The only time I actually felt the need to use any of my gun-slinging skills was during the game's boss fights where, once you've found the bad guy's weak spot (hit the sniper with a curved bullet, initiate Assassin Time to get the drop on quick-moving Arana) it's just a matter of waiting and pressing the right button at the right time.
There's no denying that the game looks good, and some of the levels are interesting and very well designed. From a sacred assassin burial ground, home to the most infamous killers in history all the way to a crashing airliner, the environments successfully mix up the scenery a little bit - which is fantastic, as apparently the French Fraternity buys their assassin robes in bulk, guaranteeing that around every corner you're going to find yourself going up against armies of identical killers, all looking to put a bullet in your head.
Wanted: Weapons of Fate - bend your expectations
In Wanted: Weapons of Fate's favour, the game definitely attempts to shake things up every once in a while by oftentimes placing the player in Wesley's father, Cross' boots.
Gameplay also switches from the expected third person fare for first-person turret-manning sequences, and most interestingly of all, slow-motion rail shooting scenarios.
The rail shooting in question consists of short cut-scenes of your current protagonist scrambling about the level, interrupted by heavy doses of Assassin Time where the player uses the analog stick and trigger to shoot incoming bullets and enemies. While this idea sounds innovative - and looks pretty damn cool - it really never rises above simple "point and click" gameplay.