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This review was submitted by Alastair Christie. If you’ve played Red Steel 2, or just want to ask Al more about it, leave your thoughts in the comments below.
Red Steel 2 (Wii)
Red Steel 2 is Ubisoft’s second attempt at utilising Wii’s two control strengths: infra-red and motion. The first Red Steel was hampered by inaccuracy and inexperience, but the release of Wii MotionPlus built up hope for a much improved sequel.
Mash-ups: I can’t resist two strange ideas being crammed together. East/West. Gun/sword. Cowboy/Samurai. The world is filled with vending machines, shrine gates, saloons, kana graffiti, six-shooters and katanas. It shouldn’t work, but Ubisoft created a very convincing and gorgeously rendered world that remains fun to explore. Similarly, gun and sword play transitions are seamless and both modes are available as often as feasible.
Sword: The sword is deservedly the selling point. Horizontal blocking was counter-intuitive for a lefty like me, but otherwise the motion detection was almost flawless. It seems that the slight lag is a trade-off for accurate speed detection. No more waggle means you must give a full arm swing. Slight tiredness is possible, but worth it for the immersion and even desperation you may feel in a tough battle.
Fatalities: I never got bored of dashing and giving my dying opponent a round under the chin. Or the instant over-the-shoulder kill stab. Or many other finishers. The first-person perspective just makes the act feel much more brutal.
FPS: It contains some of the crappiest first-person shooter sections around to the point that it shouldn’t be marketed as such. The gun controls are superb, yes. But enemies feel like the proverbial fish in the barrel. Stick to using guns in special moves and boss battles.
Doors: They either act as interminably long loading screens, or they’re locked until you trigger the next cutscene that opens up the next set of missions. Subsequently, your PDA can open them. A connected, but very much closed world.
Empty: The man with no name was brilliant. Unfortunately, this man with no name is also the man with no voice or character. More unfortunate is that, relative to the story, the mute, nameless, lead character is more memorable.
The closest Wii title to Red Steel 2 is actually Madworld. Both are linear action romps through gorgeously rendered worlds punctuated with melee fighting, boss battles, reliable motion control and brutal finishers. And part of them grated as you patiently worked toward the better parts. Red Steel 2’s sword fighting is enough fun to play through multiple times, especially given the lamentably weak Wii MotionPlus selection you’ll find elsewhere.
Reviewed by: Al Christie
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