James Ireland On April - 24 - 2010

Sword wielding fun, leads to frustration

When the Nintendo Wii released Ubisoft launched it’s rather Eastern and interesting first person combat game Red Steel, unfortunately the game was rather flawed and whilst it had promise, the games swordplay mechanic was fundementally simple whilst the shooting was a little off the mark. Red Steel also suffered from the Nintendo Wii’s early lifecycle graphics syndrome leaving the game look particularly shiet and bland. Moving onwards Ubisoft saw enough potential in the title to give it a proper sequel and in Red Steel 2 in many ways it has done justice and corrected the wrong-doings and pushing the new limitations that Wii Motion Plus has offered them when it came to the combat techniques in the game.

The plotline in Ubisoft‘s eastern sizzler is a little left to be desired, you are the last of the Kusagari clan and you are out to avenge the awful beating you received at the beginning of the game whilst also ascertaining the very sword that was iconic to the Kusagari that was stolen. Whilst simple enough, it’s a little too simple to get absorbed in and where the game makes up for that is down to the array of enemies you will get to face in the game, all characters have great voice-acting and the visuals (reminiscent to that of XIII) have the polish to that of some HD games out on other console offerings, surprisingly Red Steel 2 is one of the nicest looking games out on the Wii and you can definately tell when pushing this game through a component cable. There are no jaggies, there are no signs of corners being cut here.

red steel 2 gunplay game screenshot e3 2009 Red Steel 2 Review

Guns Blazin

One of the best things about Red Steel 2 is that after every couple of missions (which are given in safehouses) you will learn a new move or discipline. This guides you into the game nicely, leaving things fresh as the game progresses. To be taught everything early on would of made the hack and slashing at a risk of falling foul to losing it’s novelty. The Wii Motion Plus is most certainly appreciated with the ability to make slices and passes at all angles, this allowed Ubisoft to throw in gesture finishing moves which add to the experience. For those looking for blood and gore Kill Bill style, they will be a little annoyed to know that Ubi have toned down the violence to no blood at all, most likely to enable it to be available for as many audiences as possible. Shooting your variety of weapons (more can be unlocked by collecting coins) in the game feels on the whole satisfying, shooting someone in the leg for example can stumble them and then you can dawn your finishing move with your sword. It does appear that the gunplay does take a backstep as the game progresses, many enemies have facial and bodily shields which render many of your gun weapons useless until you have slashed off the armor. Not a major gripe but it would have been nice to have had a choice of killing throughout.

Spicing things up is what Ubisoft have done extremely well throughout this game, just as things start to get a little tiring they throw something new at you, whether it be a new enemy class or new abilities. Many missions are short in the game, but some you’ll find can take place over the period of a whole chapter such as the truck destroying mission. One of the most impressive and exciting parts of the game are the small number of thrilling QTE segments. There are very few games that use QTE’s so successfully and I feel Red Steel 2 has shown to use the much moaned upon game mechanic in the best form possible. For those bored of the story they can go back and time trial chapters in the game for added longevity and you can also find special bulleon coins to shoot and collect throughout the game.

130228 red steel 2 l Red Steel 2 Review

Slice & Dice!

Where Red Steel 2 ultimately stumbles is due to the very controller the game is based upon, the developers knew the controller itself still could present frustration and you can see they tried to address this by re-vitalising your health bar after every cluster of enemies you face. This in principle works fine for the majority of the game, but there are moments where you will get stuck, even on Medium difficulty due to not having the ultra-precise convenience of a normal videogame controller. There is also the odd hit detection glitch with some of the bigger enemies. We found we were taking hits from wielding sledgehammers despite being at an adequate distance to avoid the attack and when annoying little moments happen it can have you wanting to switch the game off in a heartbeat. When you face these bigger enemies you’ll often find a smaller minion spawn into the closed arena where the combat takes place, rendering you being shot from distance taking pieces of your health away inch by inch. Having played on multiple difficulty modes I can safely say that easy is ‘too easy’ and that ‘medium’ is sometimes unforgiving. The hard mode is very much there for those that enjoy self-harming and love punishment. In essence you have a game that suffers similarly to the Bioshock series whereby the difficulty modes aren’t quite refined enough to enjoy the game without being too frustrating and not too easy enough to offer no challenge at all.

Ubisoft have pushed out easily one of the best games on the Nintendo Wii and with the little gripes aside it is a very accomplished title which makes great use of the Wii Motion Plus and helps justify the add-ons purchase. The game did lack a engaging sub-text and whilst the masking of loading areas behind doors are clever, considering the short distance you travel in the game, to not have them slowing you down at all would have been nice. For a Nintendo console owner, I cannot recommend this enough, for HD owners the visuals maybe easier to stomach as well. If Sony ever wanted a blueprint for how FPS games can be successful on their new motion peripheral this Christmas then they need look no further than Red Steel 2 as currently it is one of the most refreshing and unique alternatives on the genre to grace the marketplace.

Categories: Feature, Wii Reviews

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