The Demoman: Wanted: Weapons of Fate

By Christopher Livingston, Apr 05, 2009 1:32pm PDT [Christopher Livingston is a freelance writer with a plenty of time for games but not enough money to buy them. Thus was born The Demoman; a shadowy yet helpful figure dedicated not to helping you decide which expensive games to buy, but which free game demos to play.]

Once I was clueless and pathetic, just like you. Sitting in front of the computer, reading Shacknews, hoping for some new Diablo 3 screenshots, getting fat...

But what if someone gave you the chance to escape your boring little life? There's only one catch. You have to play a demo that repeatedly cast aspersions at your weight and lifestyle, you revolting, flabby, spineless dweeb.

Sorry, sorry. I wouldn't normally be so rude to readers in a review, especially my first review on Shacknews. It's just that I've been playing the Wanted: Weapons of Fate demo, and I've picked up some of its bad habits. The demo doesn't seem to think much of you, or me, or anyone else taking the time to play it, and it's not shy about saying so, you feeble, useless, gutless worm.

Sorry, sorry.

The demo is based on the movie "Wanted," which I saw not long ago but can't really recall much about. From what I can remember, it was about an office worker who kinda looked like Shia LeBeouf but was somehow even more annoying. As it turned out, he was the descendant of a long line of assassins, and his amazing abilities to kill people were awakened by a chef who beat the shit out of him repeatedly in a kitchen. Those beatings, as pointless and gratuitous as they seemed at the time, shaped him into the world's greatest assassin and convinced him to join an elite group of killers who take orders from a magical blanket-weaving loom. It's the same tired old Hollywood cliche: cook punches boy, boy becomes assassin, assassin gets orders from mystical textile machinery. We've seen it a thousand times.

Your first opponents are already dead, which makes them extremely difficult to kill.

As we begin playing the demo, we are repeatedly insulted by this extremely unpleasant and sarcastic kid. We're even forced to choose the lowest difficulty setting ("Pussy"). Okay. This is a demo that clearly does not like us.

Its unpleasant attitude aside, the demo itself is actually kinda kickass. There are a few tutorials that show you the ropes of the enjoyable cover-based combat system. They teach you how to move and shoot, starting you off against hanging corpses (which are pretty easy to defeat), then moving on to some live, foul-mouthed opponents. You learn how to blind-fire, sticking your guns around a corner and shooting randomly, which drives your enemies into hiding, allowing you to slip to other pieces of cover and flank them. If you get close enough to an enemy, you can also activate your melee attack, which involves a steak knife (presumably given to you by the chef as a gift to celebrate your 100th beating) and results in an enormous bucket of blood being thrown onto your screen. This makes it a little hard to see the animations, and also makes me wonder if these enemies have bones and muscle or are simply hollow, human-shaped sacks of skin filled with gallons of highly compressed blood.

If killing makes you queasy, never fear.
There's so much blood you can't even see the violence.

The tutorials also show you how to curve your bullets, which, apart from pugilistic chefs, magical industrial knitting equipment, and Angelina Jolie's buttocks, is the keystone of the film. If you can manage to simultaneously hold down the eleven or twelve buttons required for the move, you'll be able to target enemies even behind cover, and if you get a curved kill-shot you're treated to a neat cinematic sequence as your bullet veers around a corner and into your enemy's vast blood supply. Killing people also gives you adrenaline, which you can use to kill even more people, via the aforementioned bullet-curving or a Matrix-style bullet-time.

Even the menu screen makes you feel bad about yourself. The readme says some terrible things about your mother.

Once the kid is done teaching and insulting you, you start the demo proper and step into the shoes of some other guy on an airplane who shoots a guy sitting in a car after the guy in the car calls someone a whore. I don't know who the guy on the plane is, or who the guy in the car is, or why the car is on the airplane, or why the guy is sitting in the car on the airplane, or who the guy sitting in the car on the airplane is calling a whore, but you get to watch yourself murder him before dozens of other men try to kill you. The airplane has three separate levels to play through, and several separate elevator rides to reach them. It's a big plane, and no one seems terribly worried about filling it full of holes at 30,000 feet.

Instructions on how to curve a bullet. Hope you packed some extra fingers.

There are really two ways to approach the airplane levels. You can use the skills and abilities you learned in the tutorials to carefully navigate your way through the cluttered aisles, rolling and slinking between various pieces of cover, blind-firing to suppress your opponents, flanking them while they're taking cover, taking them out one at a time using bullet-curving and adrenaline-fueled bullet-time, and gathering the ammo they drop before proceeding. Or, you know, you can just run straight at every single one of them and stab them in the blood with your kitchen knife. Both strategies are effective, one just takes a little longer and uses more ammo.

Don't you hate when someone takes the aisle seat and you have to awkwardly squeeze past them to kill a thug?

Okay, the review is over. So, what are you going to do? Go back to your sad little life, searching The Shack for Ratchet & Clank teasers and Arkham Asylum screenies? Or play the Wanted: Weapons of Fate demo? Huh? You pathetic, sad, fat, smelly, lazy, clumsy, Belgian, pimply...

Sorry. Sorry.




Download the Wanted: Weapons of Fate demo.

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