Rubi, star of Wet, isn't the kind of gal you'd want to piss off. Not because she'd tenderise your pet rabbit with a spade then pop it into a pressure cooker just because you haven't called her for a couple of days, but because she's a guns-first femme fatale who makes Lara look like a nun. A mercenary, Rubi's been double-crossed by one of her clients and now she's very, very annoyed...
So begins Wet, an action-adventure that's placing a heavy emphasis on both combat and plot (the latter of which is being penned by Duppy Demetrius, of 24 fame). It's a formula that Wet's developer A2M believes will have the likes of Lady Croft quaking in her hotpants. Keen to find out more, we headed to their Montreal offices for some hands-on time with this hottie.
Straight from the off we were struck by just how slickly Rubi moves. Within minutes we were seamlessly leaping, shimmying and climbing our way through the tutorial level with only minimal prompting from our hosts. Although lacking a certain sense of weight (to be expected given that the game is still about a year off completion) the free-flowing action felt reminiscent of the Prince of Persia series, requiring minimal button-mashing and allowing for lashings of freedom to explore Rubi's cornucopia of acrobatic manoeuvres.
Nice little mover
"The game is very intuitive, so you don't have to become a button-pressing master," explains lead designer Avi Winkler. "We want to make you feel like you're taking part in a Hollywood movie." And with that, he loaded up a level set in a majestic Chinese opera house.
Hurtling down a ladder while leaning backwards and holding on with just our thighs, we entered an enclosure teeming with vest-wearing heavies packing some serious firepower. Unlike most of her genre counterparts, Rubi can wield dual guns that fire in separate directions - there'll be four types in the finished game, including a shotgun and a crossbow that fires exploding rounds. By splitting her aim (which automatically locks onto targets) with the right analogue stick, you'll even be able to take out foes on opposite ends of a room.
However, here's the catch. Rather than mindlessly running and gunning, you'll have to make full use of Rubi's repertoire of acrobatic tricks if you're to stand any chance of survival.
"The idea behind the combat is for Rubi to use her acrobatic skills to come out on top," explained Wet's senior game designer Patrick Fortier as we charged directly at our opponents only to be bloodily cut down within milliseconds. "Wet isn't about hiding, creeping, taking cover or sniping from a mile away - it's about being a monkey in a room, jumping over enemies, shooting them from behind, diving, circling and sliding down the scenery and ladders."
Ten minutes and a short master class from Fortier later, we were ready to try again. Re-entering the room, we flipped off the ladder then powered up a nearby wall and launched into a backflip. As we arced through the air, time decelerated into a Bullet Time blur and we split our aim, taking out two opponents before our boots returned to terra firma.
Then, launching into a power- slide, we capped a flanking foe (as Rubi contorted backwards) before leaping into the air, drawing her sword and filleting her final, hapless victim.
"The shooting sections are build-ups to sword kills," says Fortier as Rubi sheathed her crimson-spattered blade. "She can only use her sword at specific moments to kill enemies - she can't run around wielding it. The sword kills integrate smoothly with the action, so you could be climbing up a wall next to an enemy and choose to use your sword and the game will automatically execute a relevant sword kill."