With the original 'Red Steel,' Ubisoft promised to hit gamers hard with the next evolution of FPS-- thanks to the motion controls of the Wii. Well, that didn’t exactly go as planned, as 'Red Steel' unfortunately turned out to be a disappointment. 4 Years later, Ubisoft is back and ready to challenge gamers once again with their ambitious shooter. Wii-motivated we will see if 'Red Steel 2' is the true master of the steel.
'Red Steel' is back with something to prove after its pummeling from critics across the board (GameRankings avg. 65.90%). This ambition, and drive is apparent as soon as you strike down your first victim with your trusty katana. 'Red Steel' is definitely back, and better than ever! Remember how awesome you expected the original to be? Well it's here..., only four years later. 'Red Steel 2' is the experience you expected the first time around which turns out to be one of the strongest titles available for the Wii. So now that I have your attention, let us swing into Ubisoft’s sequel.
The Samurai Goes West
The first thing you will notice about 'Red Steel 2' is the change in art direction. 'Red Steel' has gone from a more traditional “realistic” look to a cel-shaded alternative feel. Gone are the Yakuza suit wearing thugs, for a hybrid animated western/samurai feel. This switch up seems more natural and comes off as an impressive looker on the Wii. Ubisoft Paris has really showcases some superb talent within 'Red Steel 2', with accents on the strong points of the Wii console while downplays the weaker areas. The result is a strong melding of gameplay, visual polish, and solid controls. Three factors that need to be aligned to make a great Wii title—something easier said than done.
Shallow is the Pool of Blood
Your character in this adventure is a nameless outcast of the 'Kusagari' clan who seeks revenge on a rival clan. It's a tale of senseless violence is as shallow as the gameplay, so don't expect any 'Robert Ludlum' sized action. Being shallow is not necessary a bad thing because we need games like 'Red Steel 2' in the world to offer up some excellent escapism.
Gearing up for war, you first have to rescue your sensei, and then your training will begin. Your Sensei will help your character improve his skills with the Katana so you can paint the town red. Not only does your sword add a strong gameplay play mechanic, but it also the primary focus of the game, pushing the plot forward. This only deepens the unique Western/Japanese feel of the game, and gives you a “good enough” reason to become a vengeful mass murderer. Yes, escapism, 'Red Steel 2' has this in an abundance.
Bullets or Steel
Now, Red Steel 2 hasn’t abandoned its shooting roots for the sword, although some favourism clearly shows. Gunplay is still a present element in 'Red Steel 2,' and you will be able to shoot and swing on the fly. Using both styles together, or in rapid succession is extremely satisfying. The action doesn't really feel like a first-person shooter, more like a brawler than a full-fledged shooter; however, it is open to your gaming style. Beefing the action up is the art style that makes the dual weaponry even cooler. Walking though an old Western town blasting away with your six-shooter is a blast, and taking out your katana for the final death strike tops it off. FPS fans will probably have a blast in 'Red Steel 2,' and welcome the switched up from the strait ahead shooter.
Surprisingly, 'Red Steel 2' enforces the use of the 'Wii MotionPlus' add-on (included with the game bundle). Attaching the 'Wii MotionPlus' to the bottom of the 'Wii-Mote' adds an extra level of control by giving the player more precision and range. The 'Wii MotionPlus' is more than a gimmicky add-on, and clearly helps 'Red Steel 2' feel more solid. Don’t let the “MotionPlus” addition scare you into thinking the game is any more difficult. Red Steel 2 is actually pretty easy going, and a little forgiving if you are having problems adjusting. The learning curve isn’t too deep aside from mesmerizing combos.
The structure in 'Red Steel 2' splits the game into individual missions rather than a linear driven story. This approach is straightforward and easy to get into for quick gaming sessions. To start a new mission, you simply pick an objective off a bulletin board located in your HUB, and head out. Think “Western Wanted Poster", or better yet, 'Borderlands'. The lack of focus hurts the game a little, but really, Ubisoft focuses on the selling points, and that is the action and not the recycled revenge storyline. A few side missions (or secondary) objectives can be completed during the missions, but it is mainly to earn extra money to advance your character. In addition, there is the extra incentive to head back into the game after you completed it to earn medal awards in the challenge mode. This is a fun option and one that is good to pop up when friends come over for a quick pass off game.
Upgrading is important, and 'Red Steel 2' offers a number of upgrades including weapon improvements, new techniques, and armour. During your time in 'Red Steel 2' your character will progress a fair amount and ultimately become a little too powerful to find much of a threat, this includes boss battles. This is a little disappointing, but never takes away from the fun. This is also tilted in your ability to waggle the Wii-Mote to deliver the shots. Most gamers will likely find your actual skills improving from what you have learned from the majority of Wii games. 'Red Steel 2' feels more like what you expected “most” Wii games to be like, with the striking movements actually feeling like they are connecting.
Hey Good Looking
'Red Steel 2' is one of the hottest looking games on the Wii— with, wait for it, full voice over work! Having voice overdubs is a blessing and immerses you into the action even further. On top of that, 'Red Steel 2' has a solid showing in the backdrop music and soundtrack selections. The music never becomes too overbearing with the right amount of balance to keep you grooving and swinging. Along with the audio, the visual style pops out of the screen. The framerate holds up its end providing a sold 60 frames-per-second, showing the Wii can be a mover and shaker when the right developer is behind the wheel. I cannot say enough about the excellent production that has gone into 'Red Steel 2;' the Wii definitely could use more third-party developers with the ambition of Ubisoft Paris.
The surprisingly delightful mixture of classical Japanese weaponry conjoined with that of a Spaghetti Western makes for a unique ride that never slows down or disappoints. Ubisoft has followed up a good concept and a bad game with a revised vigor and solid execution. It is true, 'Red Steel 2' delivers everything you expected out of the original-- not only in our gameplay expectations, but also in its production values. 'Red Steel 2' is visually solid, and a milestone for the Wii action games. There is no reason why every Wii owner shouldn’t give 'Red Steel 2' a shot; this is one of the best action games released for the console. Now that we have had a taste of the good stuff, we want more!
Reviewed by DowntownJimmy | 04.11.10
- Fun and easy to get into
- Solid graphics! 100% Improvement
- Interesting blending of North American and Japanese cultures
- OMG! Voice overs!
- Wii MotionPlus helps improve precision
- Longer than expected, and worth a few playthroughs
- Even though its fun, the gameplay is shallow
- Great graphics, but there are some bland environments
- Must have the ‘Wii Motion Plus’ add-on
- Some motions can be misread
Similar Games: Red Steel (6.5) | No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle (8.6) | Borderlands (9.3)