It’s All About Control
One of the must-have games that I played for the Wii was Red Steel, and while there were several control issues with the game, I didn’t find it so off-putting that I railed against its existence, unlike several other of my game reviewing brethren.
The game had a unique concept and a storyline that made its shortcomings bearable, so by the end of the game, I was satisfied that it had kept me interested and happy until the final credits.
When Red Steel 2 was announced, the continuation of the title seemed promising, but upon seeing the cover artwork-that closer resembled an old west crime fighter than it did to any of the characters of the previous incarnation-I worried that the developers had gone strangely awry. Still, with the past accomplishments of the franchise, I decided it would be a good gamble to give the sequel a go, and was only slightly disappointed in the effort.
Red Steel 2 is indeed a departure from the previous storyline, so much so that it seems that they tried to revamp the entire series before it had a chance to get five feet out of the gate. Besides the story aspect changes, the design of the game was overhauled completely from the initial title. Now the visuals have more of a resemblance to Borderlands than they do with Red Steel, and while this visual style is very flattering, it gives the game a completely unexpected new vibe.
For some parts, this more cartoon-esque presentation is good: it has style and visual appeal; however, in other parts, the style doesn’t match the game, as it tends to take itself much more seriously that it probably should.
In the game, you are the nameless hero who has to take on a city of bad guys, which is about as in-depth as the story gets. There are no real main characters that impact an engaging narrative, so gameplay often tends to boil down to picking tasks off a bulletin board and running out to mindlessly complete them.
You can also destroy various items in the world and collect the money that falls out of these objects in order to buy new powers, weapons and upgrades, but while this may make for continuous distraction, it hardly is a substitute for excellent gameplay.
The controls are what really save this title. Calling into use the WiiMotion Plus attachment, Red Steel 2 has definitely shown that progress is being made by the Wii developers in terms of control.
The one negative of course is that you have to use a WiiMotion controller to play the game, so figure an extra $20 into your calculations if you haven’t already gotten one. Without one of those new gadgets, which sits at the end of your Wiimote, the game refuses to run.
The Amazon link above is for the straight game, which you can get for $46 new. However, in recognition of the need for the Wiimote, there is also a version of the game that comes bundled with a WiiMotion Plus. Apparently you need that 1:1 ratio of controller movement to character movement that the original Wii control scheme doesn’t have. The bundled cost is only $10 more through Amazon, so if you don’t have one and want to play Red Steel 2, this is a good way to obtain it.
As a demo of their steps forward, this particular title does well to showcase the talents put into Wii controls, but all things considered, more time could have been spent on making the follow-up to Red Steel a real winner for both Ubisoft and the Wii.
Editor’s Note: Game reviewed on a Wii equipped with a new WiiMotion controller add-on.