Ubisoft’s first person shooter, Red Steel, was one of Wii’s flagship launch titles back in 2006, but much to the disappointment of anyone hoping that Nintendo's console would also appeal to more hardened gamers and not just the casual gaming crowd, its stylised look ended up being more impressive than its actual gameplay,
Red Steel 2 plans to change that perception of the franchise by implementing new gameplay features on top of a brand new aesthetic that swaps the likes of bamboo forests and traditional Japanese houses for a brand new location set in the midst of a hostile desert region that mimics that of the Wild West, albeit with a futuristic twist.
Red Steel 2 plays like a traditional brawler with sword-slashing at the forefront of its combat as you scythe down dozens of enemies before facing a variety of big bosses. Wii MotionPlus provides 1:1 recognition of your sword slashing exploits in an attempt to deliver a physical experience that puts you in total control of the ast member of the Kusagari Clan and his range of weaponry and special moves.
Things have improved significantly since Red Steel. The addition of MotionPlus controls means that sword-slashing movements feel tight and intuitive - the translation of your movements on screen is extremely impressive and precise. It's a combat system that actually drains you physcially because it senses how hard you swipe your Wii Remote, and sometimes you'll have to swing it aggressively to break down the defenses of your enemies.
There's a nice balance to combat too. You'll be mixing parrying and attacking moves with an impressive range of combos and special powers to pull of some visually impressive strikes. When you have half a dozen enemies surrounding you and you're thrusting and stabbing with your Wii Remote in every direction, pulling off moves such as the Guillotine where you rise up into the air and attack your enemy on the way down, or The Storm where you execute a spinning attack, it's incredibly entertaining and it does feel like your every move is being translated almost perfectly on screen.
And, just when you think Red Steel 2 has shown you everything it's got in terms of combat, it throws in new upgrades and new attacks throughout its 10+ hours of gameplay. It's a challenging game to master, but the wide range of moves ensures that it rarely feels boring or repetitive despite the fact that some of the enemies are very similar in design and animation.
Because swordplay is the bread and butter of Red Steel 2 using other weapons, such as the Sidewinder or the Johnny Gun, isn't as much fun. Switching between your katana and guns isn't a particularly smooth process and one slight waggle of your Wii Remote can send your targeting reticule all askew. However, you can create some impressive visual effects as you mow down the bad guys and cause plenty of explosive mayhem with a mix of gun and sword combat.
The Wild West-style theme is impressive with some well-designed levels and characters that make it a fun universe to explore. Variety though comes mainly in the form of combat rather than the impressive array of different mission. That means you'll inevitably find yourself just moving from A to B mowing down enemies along the way before tackling the more challenging bosses and mini-bosses. Be under no illusions, Red Steel 2 is all about the combat; and that's what impresses most. Earning upgrades and powers by killing enemies and then combining your range of attacks to take on bosses and multiple foes is extremely addictive and rewarding. Red Steel 2 is without doubt one of the most entertaining games we've played on Wii for a long, long time, and justification alone to warrant a purchase of WiiMotionPlus.
Feels like you have total control over your sword thanks to WiiMotion Plus.
Some wildly entertaining moves.
Enjoyable Wild West-styled environment and visual effects.
Lack of mission variety.
Switching between sword and gun isn't as smooth as it could have been.