Developer: Ubisoft Paris
Release Date: 3/23/2010
Available Exclusively On
The Good: Motion Plus tracking is top-notch, fun fighting system with cool moves, nice art style
The Bad: Linear to a fault, underdeveloped characters and story, not enough moves or powers, boring level and enemy design, no replay value incentive
The first Red Steel was a highly anticipated on rails shooter. Back when the Wii came out people were excited for arcade style FPS experiences it could bring home, but Red Steel failed on that delivery with bad controls, a bad story, and uninteresting enemies to kill. Ubisoft must have just thrown everything out the window because they took the same characters and put them in a Chinese/Japanese meets Wild West format with a new art style. There’s still not much content, and it’s pretty bland, but the use of the Wii Motion Plus is top-notch and shouldn’t be missed.
The story is pretty quick and basic. You are the last of the Kusagari clan who is trying to stop the Katakana clan from getting a hold of ore to forge another powerful Sora Katana. Yeah, pretty boring, the characters are underdeveloped, and the whole story is a toss-up. Nothing memorable here at all. You’re here for the action. The game has two basic mechanics, sword fighting, and gunplay. The game does a good job of auto-locking on enemies while you switch around with Z. Thanks to Motion Plus you can swing with 1:1 accuracy unlike any other Wii game out there. Hold your arm all the way back for a power attack, holding A+B allows you to charge your attack. Swing up to throw an enemy into the air and swing down to throw them down. It’s pretty cool to see and do, but you unlock other powers and moves along the way.
Shooting feels great and works really well. Besides shooting enemies you can break stuff open to collect gold which is used to buy upgrades, powers, and armor as well as health. There are side missions peppered throughout the game, but they are pretty uninteresting and by the end of the game you will just want it to end. See, the whole 1:1 sword fighting is fun, but there aren’t very many moves and the game is extremely hard until you unlock them all. The enemies are pretty generic, but there is enough variety to which you have to adjust your strategy. You can’t just go around flailing your arm about hoping to win. You also can’t use every attack on every enemy. There are finishers you can use and you must use these to your advantage. Some moves are nearly instant kill on some enemies, so learn which attack works best on what enemy.
The art style reminds me a lot of Borderlands, but it looks nice for a Wii game. While the art may look nice, it’s very bland. Just a lot of blank brown deserts and empty towns. The game is also very linear, while you can climb up a ledge to find some coins it doesn’t go beyond that. After about 1/4 through it just felt like the same thing and never ended. I wish there was more variety because the fighting system is excellent and shows how great the Wii can be. Once you beat the game it’s hard to have a reason to come back. There’s no multiplayer, but there are challenge missions.
In the end, Red Steel 2 gives players a solid fighting system, but it’s wrapped around bland level design, linearity, underdeveloped characters and story, and a sheer lack of content. That’s not to say the game isn’t worth playing, by all means, go ahead. The Motion Plus tracking in this game is fantastic and really makes you feel like you’re sword fighting and shooting a gun. If only Ubisoft spent 6 more months fleshing the game out more it could have been one of the top games on Wii.