In the year 2006, Ubisoft were quick to jump onto the Wii bandwagon to create the original Red Steel game. While their efforts were valiantly ambitious, the still new technology let the title down, with controls that were difficult to master and unresponsive. With the dawning of Wii Motion Plus, Ubisoft have returned to the franchise to launch Red Steel 2, a game as similar to its predecessor as chalk is from cheese. The obvious effort that has gone into this game has paid off, with it being one of the better looking games of the year for the console, and also filled with entertainment as you swing your Wii Remote around as a sword. While the game isn’t entirely without flaws, it is heads and shoulders above its predecessor and is entirely and enjoyably playable.
Ubisoft have clearly shown from the outset that this is a game completely dissimilar from the original, with even the setting being drastically different. Gone is the urban Yakuza setting that we were first introduced to, replaced now with a unique and original universe that combines samurai swords and gunslinging into one particularly entertaining experience.
Red Steel 2 is a single player game in which you will follow a nameless warrior, one whose clan no longer exists. Making your dramatic escape from a near death scenario when faced with a rival clan, you are able to rescue your old trainer who will take on the job of retraining you. Unfortunately in terms of the story the characters aren’t really developed enough to draw you successfully into wanting to know what will happen. Combine this with some frightful voice acting and an, at times, completely incoherent plotline, and you end up with a story that has its moments but is, on the whole, a letdown.
Although the lack of a great plotline is a negative aspect of the game Red Steel 2, the combat more than makes up for the shortfall. Unlike the majority of Wii games which involve pointing at the screen and pressing buttons, or occasionally manoeuvring your wrist, this title will provide an excellent workout for your arms. A flick of the wrist isn’t enough motion for the game to recognise a long sword strike, for example. Your movements in front of the TV won’t be exactly replicated on screen, but the controls are responsive and will create a devastating repertoire of attacks against your foes.
Combine the excellent controls with the Wii Remote, and the ability to swiftly and smoothly change from a gun to a sword for different moments of gameplay, and you are onto a winning formula. There are moments that will remind you of a shooter, but on the whole the game encourages you to use different weaponry in different moments, creating an experience that is more rewarding than simply standing at a distance and mowing down your enemies with a spray of bullets.
The game is mission focused, taking around ten hours to complete, with plenty of new attacks to unlock along the way. While certain elements are quite easy once you have mastered the correct attacks, other foe-filled areas will provide an intense enough challenge to keep you coming back for more. The beautiful setting, novel concept and entertainment value of slashing your enemies to pieces with your katana will take some time to wear thin, making this a, on the whole, great title.