Reviewed by Jimmy | 12.13.06
Red Steel from Ubisoft has been widely accepted and dissed by gamers and critics alike. This one certainly stands on the fence receiving scores from high 9's to low 4's. Curious to find out what the real deal is with Red Steel I'm dodging; slicing and firing my way through the Nintendo Wii's most radical and ambitious launch title. Enjoy Extreme Gamers review of Red Steel for the Nintendo Wii.
Red Steel is an exclusive Wii launch title that has been highly publicized and criticized. I can understand the confusion around the net concerning Red Steel because it has been widely commercialized, at least in North America, along with the additional hype from its conception. Up till now the press has had a negative spin on Red Steel, although the sales point in the other direction. It's been a while since I have the excitement of reviewing a game that seems to be hated and loved amongst gamers online. Well, it's a dirty job and I'm just the guy to do it.
Red Steel is an ambitious title, too ambitious for some, although a little extra effort is better than none. Red Steel has the task of mixing the new control scheme from the Wii Remote and Nun-chuck along with first person gun and melee action. Considering the Wii games have just started their development stage it's going to a tough achievement since no game has really master the merger of both. I've played a few games in the past that have been close to nailing first person melee and gun play, off the top of my head Breakout comes to mind. Compared to Breakout, Red Steel has some similarities mainly being a great concept that almost connects, but falls short in the end.
The view of Red Steel coming up short is mainly one of a hardcore gamer, or a first person elitist. I believe that the casual gamer might not even see a critics qualms of sloppy reaction time and collision detection, or other terms and mambo jumbo, to them Red Steel might be the cats pajamas being a lot of fun. I have to admit the formula and game structure in Red Steel is a little too linear, presumptuous, and drab, but even so, I kind of had fun with the Wii's loveable dual hand controllers. Pointing and waving my nun chuck around was more fun then I expected with a shooter and it makes me think this could really be something in the second generation or further in the Wii game development cycle. Rumors already have started the Red Steel 2 will be made and even though a few chaps I've talked to laughed it off, I think it could be everything we expected this one to be.
Now you have some general knowledge on my thoughts of the game, let's get into what Red Steel is about. In Red Steel you play an adept person named Miyu Sato who is trying to about to take the marital plunge with a Yakuza crime bosses father. Miryu isn't too bright because that certainly means trouble, but it seems the young lad can handle himself with the sword and multiple types of automatic weapons. It's not long before the excitement beings and you'll in the middle of a deadly blood war between rival gangs, I told you that girl was trouble. Fighting for his life, for his girl, and his future father in laws respect, Miryu turns into a glorified hero and a ramped killing machine. It's might not be Tom Clancy, but its good enough for an action videogame.
The main draw to Red Steel would have to be the sword fighting because the gun play has been done before. Using the Wii remote as a sword is a fresh and appealing idea. In Red Steel you will be forced into fighting sword vs. sword, so you can't pull an Indiana Jones. In these sequences you will go up against another formable foe and doge and parry you way to victory. The sword portion of Red Steel is a little more interesting then running and gunning in the beginning, but after a few sword fights I wanted my gun back. When you're out of the sword fighting mode you can pull out your sword with your gun for an up close attack on the enemy, anything other than that is suicide.
The gun side of Red Steel isn't as remote crazy, but it does require you to move around your Wii and click a few buttons. Reloading is controlled by the Nun-chuck along with jumping and crouching. The Wii remote handles the rest of the actions like changing weapons and firing. The unique aspect about the shooting side is that you can zoom in and out from a target by moving the Wii remote forwards and backwards. I liked the extra intensity this added to the game even if it's a little gimmicky. To zoom you have to turn on the auto target and I was also happy to see the auto target didn't do all the work; it just helps you out by pointing you in the right direction and boxing in your enemy. I did find that the response time was a little slow to use this feature in big battles, so I quickly learned to steady my arm and go in guns blazing. This usually did the trick. The A.I. in Red Steel is on the aggressive side so I liked to counter their mad rushes with my own. Take that Murders.
On aspect which really bogged down Red Steel are the regenerating bad guys and invisible styled check points in the map. If you stay in on area and eliminate all the enemies they will still keep coming out of that general area until you cross an invisible spawn line. This lowers the fun factor along with the damaging the realism of the game and it made me just run to the area where spawned from and then no more bad guys, and I would only have to kill a small percentage compared to moving along at a normal pace. I guess Ubisoft wanted an arcade feel which is alright if this was an arcade. I was looking for a little more out of the levels, and enemy behavior and Red Steel couldn't match up.
Graphically Red Steel comes in looking like a last generation title, not even close to the top of the pile of the Nintendo Gamecube. The graphics aren't downright bad, but man do they need to try and get more life into the poor textures in Red Steel. Built upon an edited version of the Unreal Engine we have a little bit of a disappointment. To mask the low res quality of Red Steel, Ubisoft Paris effetely used a comic book, blurry stylized effect during cut scenes and around the edges of the characters. It's a mild touch that works out well and hides a bit of the other parts I would rather not dwell on.
The audio is also under produced with some below par voice work, and some laughable taunts from the enemies... "Murderer". Who me?? Like the visuals I was a little disappointed with the audio production all around. Red Steel might be bumped up a bit with component cables which I haven't been able to find, but it's probably not going to turn this frog into a prince.
Red Steel is one of the most interesting and ambitious launch titles for the Wii, and even though it doesn't provide a flawless experience, it's still fun. For me Red Steel lands in the middle of the 9's and 4's with a solid 6.5. I would like to see this series evolve into what gamers expected and I think Ubisoft is on the same wave. You would be safe with a rental of Red Steel, and I've even suggest this game for purchase, just keep in mind, it's not going to be a Resistance or a Gears of War.
Gameplay: 6.5, Graphics/Sound: 6, Innovation: 6, Mojo: 7. Final: 6.5 / 10
Controls Are Easy to Learn, Fun to Play, Good Concept for a FPS
Graphics and Audio Disappointing, Re-Spawning Enemies, Bad Writing
- Red Steel is the only original first-person action game built from the ground up for the Wii.
- Take full advantage of the Wii controller, and control the action like never before. You'll replicate sword-fighting movements and eliminate enemies quickly by directly targeting and shooting them.
- Execute deadly combo moves using multiple swords or choose from a variety of firearms for longer-range attacks.
- Learn to harness your mental power to unleash powerful attacks in dire situations, and use the "focus system" to freeze time and effectively target several enemies at once.
- Learn the art of Japanese fighting, and then use these skills to take out your enemies or gain their respect and loyalty by sparing them.
- Challenge friends with various split-screen multiplayer modes to see who the real master is.