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Preview: Wanted: Weapons of Fate

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Last summer, I saw Wanted in theaters. I thought it was an above-average balls-to-the-wall action flick with some fantastic special effects sequences and ridiculous gunfights -- in fact, I like to call the film “gun porn.”

I also thought it could make a fantastic videogame, and was curious as to why there wasn’t a licensed adaptation with the film’s theatrical release.

But of course, one was in the works -- Wanted: Weapons of Fate is being developed by the Barcelona arm of GRIN, the Swedish studio behind Bionic Commando Rearmed and Bionic Commando. I got my hands on the third-person shooter at a preview event in Manhattan yesterday, and it’s looking pretty badass. Hit the jump to read about how I stepped into Wesley Gibson’s shoes and started f*cking sh*t up.

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Wanted: Weapons of Fate is all about cover. It’s very similar to Gears of War in that respect -- you’ll die quickly if you’re out in the open. But Pete Wanat, executive producer at Universal Interactive, explained that, while he loves Gears and its cover mechanic, he thought it could be improved upon for Wanted. Since Wanted is all about fast-paced action sequences, and the developers wanted to bring that mentality to the videogame, they’ve implemented what they call “quick cover” in Weapons of Fate.

While cover is generally seen as a defensive mechanic, the idea of quick cover is that it’s offensive. So in Wanted, you’ll press X (on the PS3) to duck behind an object, and from there, you can blindly fire ahead or pop up to shoot at your enemies. It’s easy to move from cover to cover -- just press a direction and then press X -- and if you want to move out of cover, press a direction and triangle. There’s also a solid close-quarters combat engine, and you can put your knife to enemies’ throats to use them as a human shield (after which you, er, discard them with a slash).

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The best way to use cover to your advantage (aside from the obvious) is to flank an enemy. In some areas, you’ll be behind cover with a guy ahead -- perhaps with a shield, making him hard to hit -- and there’ll be cover on your side, too. So if you fire at him, he’ll return fire in your general direction. Then, you can edge up towards him using the cover on the side -- he’ll be completely unaware that you’ve moved -- and you’ll have a clear shot at his side. Nifty, eh?

Another advantage of cover comes in the form of Wesley’s special ability, Curving Bullets. When you’re behind cover, hold R1, and the real-time bullet-curving overlay will appear. You have full 360-degree control over the arc of your bullet; when the arc and your target are white, it means that you have a clear shot (otherwise, they’ll be red). Similar to V.A.T.S. in Fallout 3, you’ll occasionally get a slow-motion “kill shot,” where the camera will follow the bullet into your target.

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That’s not all Wesley can do, though. At all times, you’ll have two Assassin Time bullet meters available -- getting kills will fill them up, and when they’re ready to go, you can enter into Assassin Time (think bullet time in Max Payne) and take out a number of enemies. The idea behind the gimmick here is that Wesley can control his body’s adrenaline; Assassin Time is a manifestation of an adrenaline boost. Assassin Time also has another sweet bonus. Remember the parts of the movie where gifted opponents could make their bullets collide in mid-air? You can do that in the game, too -- just fire up Assassin Time, and any bullets coming at you will be highlighted so you can neutralize them.

What’s really cool about Weapons of Fate is the involvement of the people behind the film and the comic. J.G. Jones, who did the art for the original Wanted comic, created special artwork exclusively for the game, and it’s available as unlockable content. In addition, the developers were on-set during production of the film, looking at dailies, so they could color-match the game to the film -- and it shows; the game has a distinct Bekmambetov-style look to it. As a note, the 360 was the lead development platform, but the PS3 version looks fine, and it has Trophies.

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The game takes place just hours after the end of the film. You play as Wesley and his father, Cross, continuing Wesley’s journey to find out who he is by, among other things, hunting down the French faction of The Fraternity. Pete estimated that the game would take about 10-12 hours to complete, but as I mentioned before, there are plenty of unlockable goodies. Pete also explained that the developers made a conscious decision not to include a multiplayer component -- they didn’t want to add a half-assed, tacked-on “bullet point for the back of the box,” and I respect that.

Wanted: Weapons of Fate, developed by GRIN and published by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, will be in stores on March 24th for PS3, 360, and PC.

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Samit Sarkar
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