on 18 May 2009
Wanted is a game that doesn't conform to the traditional movie based games; it is a game that was made and released 9 months after the movie had already hit theatres, so although it was based in the same universe, it also was able to take elements from the comic book as well.
The story in Wanted starts 5 hours after the end of the movie; your father is dead and the French branch of The Fraternity is in Chicago to sort out what is left of the Chicago branch. The story isn't bad, even if it is uninspiring, but it does a good job of meshing together your playing time as both Wesley and his father Cross. It works well in the games favour as it gives you insight into what is going on from Wesley's perspective, and how his father's dealings in the past are affecting him now. It is nothing revolution but it keeps the story flowing.
You play the game with guns and a foulmouth, but any fans of the comic books wouldn't have it any other way. The game plays similar to other third person shooters that have come out the last few years, think Gears of War and Dark sector and you will have a pretty good idea of what to expect. The main unique element of Wanted, however, is the idea of bullet curving, which if you haven't seen the movie is where Wesley is able to shoot bullets around objects such as enemy cover. There is also another skill where you can move between two points in slow motion, but I almost never used this ability except for periods where I was trying for trophies, simply because unless the enemies are standing next to each other then you won't hit more than one person and it costs 2 adrenline points to use, plus you can use the bullet curving much quicker and easier. Anyway, the bullet curving is a great feature for this game, and if I am honest it is almost the only truly unique different between this game and other third person shooters. It is fun and it is extremely easy to use. You simply press R1 and move the right analogue stick which manipulates a white/red arc on the screen to show whether or not you have a clear shot of the enemy, but you can also change the arc of the shot to help in rooms with low ceilings or if you want to try and get multiple foes with one bullet. It really is simple, and a great feature.
Cover is also an important aspect of this game, and trust me when I saw you will use it a lot. Similar to other cover based games, you press x to hug the wall and then press it again to remove yourself and stand up. The good advancement on traditional cover system is how you move between cover, and I hate to refer to the same game but it is similar to how cover is used in gears of war. If you move along cover until you reach the end, you can move across to another piece of cover, and a smooth animation allows you to zip from cover to cover, to get better angles and trick the enemy to think you are in a different location to where to actually are. It works well.
The game also incorporates quick time events into the game, which is a short almost step-by-step on-rails section that takes place on specific levels, only instead of pressing a button, you have to aim your gun and shoot the incoming bullets and the person shooting said incoming bullets. It is a fun distraction from the rest of the game, but it is nothing we haven't seen done before and done better.
There are problems with Wanted however, and some of them are simply too big to overlook. The mostly noticeable thing that takes negatively away from Wanted is its length. I was able to complete the game on my first run through in less than 6 hours, and on a second play through on the hardest difficulty I finished in even less time. It really is a shame that it is so short, but at the same time there just isn't enough in the game itself to keep it fresh, and if the game were any longer then it would just feel repetitive.
The game also offers very little challenge, even on the hardest difficulty. The only noticeable difference between playing on its easiest difficulty and its hardest, is that there are no onscreen indications when you tackle the QTE scenes, apart from that and a minor difficulty increase, there is very little difference. It really is disappointing to find the game to be so easy, because some of what the game teaches you in tutorials becomes unnecessary; take the flank manoeuvre, that teaches you to blind fire an opponent to surpress them, then move around them by moving from cover to cover until you find a perfect spot with a clear view of them. Now, in the tutorials this works well, and even in the game it can be effective, but the problem with why this is unnecessary is because of how easy the game is; it is actually a lot quicker and easier to charge the enemy and melee them and then retreat back into cover, and even on the hardest difficulty this can be done quite often without fear of being killed, plus you get two adrenaline points instead of 1 from a basic kill.
There are plenty of collectables in the game to, which offer unlockable goodies like concept art, videos, posters, comic book front covers etc.
The developers GRIN have done an admirable job with the Wanted name, and have made a game that reflects well on the movie, and shows respect for the comic book. It is clear that GRIN is a developer that likes third person games; with games like Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 1 and 2 under its belt, and the upcoming Bionic Commando and Terminator Salvation releases, and hopefully they will have learnt from their mistakes in this game.
Wanted is a decent, if a rather unspectacular, third person shooter that falls short in a few key areas, mostly notably the short length and lack of challenge. It's perfect as a rental or as a low priced purchase, but definitely not worth the full RRP.