Red Steel 2 (Hands-On) (Wii) Preview

By Karn Spydar Lee Bianco 03.06.2009 18

Review for Red Steel 2 (Hands-On) on Wii

Unable to attend the behemoth that is E3, Cubed3 received an invitation from Ubisoft to visit their Paris HQ for an early hands-on play test with the same demo of Red Steel 2 (RS2) that hundreds of sweaty journalists will soon be toying with in Los Angeles. After a suitably lengthy journey on the Eurostar and a night spent in a swanky hotel - all of which will be described in unnecessary detail in a future staff blog, Karn Bianco unsheathed his katana (in the form of the Wii MotionPlus) and set to work.

The demo begins with the nameless, Clint Eastwood-inspired hero waking to find himself being dragged through a Nevada-esque desert while tied to the back of a motorcycle. Interaction is limited to looking around, blurring the distinction between cinematic and gameplay while providing a perfect opportunity to absorb the game’s gorgeous cell shaded visuals for the first time. After entering a series of aqueducts and riding through the remnants of an explosion, the hero frees one of his hands, whips out his revolver, and (with your assistance) fires off a single shot at the rider. The subsequent explosion allows the hero to escape before handing full control over to you, the player.

Movement and shooting in Red Steel 2 should feel very familiar to anyone who has played Metroid Prime 3: Corruption. Maneuvering is handled with the analogue stick, aiming is accomplished by pointing at the screen with the Wii Remote, and turning is achieved by pointing at the sides of the screen. By default, the game automatically locks onto targets and even allows you to turn to face anyone attacking from behind with the press of a single button. This not only removes the need for awkward turning during a fight, but also increases the fluidity of combat. The Z button can be used to manually switch between targets or, if you’re feeling suitably confident, you can disable the auto-lock mechanism entirely.

Screenshot for Red Steel 2 (Hands-On) on Wii

The Red Steel franchise's real raison d'être, however, is undoubtedly its swordplay. For those of you who came away from the original disappointed, you’ll be glad to hear that exclusive use of the Wii MotionPlus has done wonders for Red Steel 2. Sword movement is now truly 1:1 - upon picking up your blade you can literally hold it out in front of you and inspect it from almost all angles with nothing more than a few twists of wrist. A failsafe has been implemented to prevent lopping your own limbs off, but you are otherwise free to position, rotate, and move your sword any which way you please - an extremely liberating experience.

How can anyone who isn’t a professional swordsman expect to succeed in combat with so much freedom? Thankfully, Ubisoft has taken a number of steps to keep RS2 accessible to everyone. Holding down the A button allows you to block enemy blows - either automatically or by orienting your sword horizontally or vertically, depending on your chosen difficulty setting and the enemy you’re fighting. Thanks to the lock-on system, attacking enemies is as simple as swinging the Wii Remote, although the strength with which you do so is also taken into account. As such, you can choose to unleash a wild flurry of fairly weak attacks, or you can muster your strength for a few more powerful blows.

Screenshot for Red Steel 2 (Hands-On) on Wii

It's worth remembering that while you have no restrictions on swinging, your sword is actually having to collide with, and react to, in-game objects. This occasionally results in delays and missed actions while the game handles previous actions before moving onto new ones. Even after just a short time with the game, however, you’ll start to get a feel for how this works and how it can be overcome with a bit of thought. A strong attack is slower than a regular attack, for example, so you’ll need to prepare for a small delay before you can strike again. Lag only becomes particularly noticeable when you’re flailing about wildly without much forethought, in which case 1:1 mapping isn’t going to do you a whole lot of good anyway.

With such solid mechanics in place, combat is a truly invigorating experience. Some foes opt for long range attacks, while others tend to rush into the thick of things wielding a blade of their own. How you choose to dispatch each, however, is entirely up to you. While armored foes are less vulnerable to bullets, a carefully placed headshot or two will often do the trick if you’re up to it. Switching between sword and gun is as intuitive as can be - you’re either swinging the Wiimote or your pointing it at the screen at pulling the B trigger. There’s no inventory management, no weapon-specific sections; just two extremely satisfying weapons and complete freedom to use whichever you prefer at any given moment.

Screenshot for Red Steel 2 (Hands-On) on Wii

Movement during combat is also extremely important. By holding A and tapping the analogue stick you can quickly dash forwards, backwards, and side-to-side in order to gain the upper hand over an opponent. Dashing towards weakened foes also allows you to pull off hugely gratifying finishing moves. Special attacks also play a role - the "lift" move, for example allows you to hoist an opponent into the air, jump after him, and slam him back to the ground. The final game is set to feature a slew of these moves as well as combo system that will allow you to chain together a series of attacks - no more than 2 or 3 button presses for each - into a massive chain of blows. This feature was not on show in the demo, though.

No combat-based game would be complete without epic boss battles, and it looks as though RS2 will deliver on this front, too. As seen at the end of the demo, "the heavy" is not only far larger than regular opponents, but he also wields a deadly hammer and is all but invulnerable when attacked head-on. Serving as a mini-boss at first and a more common foe later on, the heavy can be countered with nifty dodging and sneaky blows to the back. The inclusion of a safe-cracking mini-game - which involves holding the Wiimote speaker to your ear and carefully turning it - is less epic, but quite ingenious all the same. With enough of these types of features spread throughout, RS2 should be kept fresh for its entire lifespan.

Stay tuned to Cubed3 for interviews with Creative Director Jason Vandenberghe and Lead Game Designer Roman Campos-Oriola for even more on Red Steel 2 in the very near future.

Screenshot for Red Steel 2 (Hands-On) on Wii

Final Thoughts

Red Steel 2 looks great and plays brilliantly. The Wii MotionPlus has allowed Ubisoft to create the game that many had hoped the original Red Steel was going to be. Sword movement is truly 1:1, combat is fluid and enjoyable, gunplay is satisfying, and the setting is intriguing. Despite being scheduled for a late 2009 launch, RS2 is also showing an impressive level of polish. Christmas 2009 can’t come soon enough!

Developer

Ubisoft

Publisher

Ubisoft

Genre

First Person Shooter

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10 (184 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   

Comments

This game has rapidly gone from couldnt-care-less, to one of the most wanted.

This,Conduit,Fragile,Grinder,Galaxy2,NewMario,MonsterHunter3....theres a lot coming Smilie

http://www.fanficmaker.com <-- Tells some truly terrible tales.
Last update; Mice,Plumbers,Animatronics and Airbenders. We also have the socials; Facebook & G+

Excelent preview. Very detailed. I have to admit that I think Ubisoft have done a better job then nintendo this E3. This and the new Rabbids game look amazing. I cant wait to play both.
This is the level of game that was missing from nintendos in house devs. Maybe metroid could have been this but with no walk through or conversation about it I was more confuse then anything else.

Excellent preview Karn, I really hope the entire game can deliver on this early promise. The original was such a letdown in the end IMO. Looking forward to the rest of your coverage Mr. Bianco Smilie

( Edited 02.06.2009 20:57 by Mr. T )

Trying to think of a witty signature after 'Hacker-gate'...

SmilieI seen the E3 vid the seamless transition from sword to gun is a great aspect in it self. Then there's the one shown special move that allows you to throw enemies in the air and either shoot them or jump and attack them. There are even finishing movesSmilie This game is now on my Wii most wanted list and it will be Bundle with WM+ who needs multiplayer with that can of gameplay in 1st person.SmilieSmilieSmilie

Sounds and already looks very promising - good to hear the controls are holding up well, even though there is room for improvement/refinement. Top work Karn, and hope you had a good trip!

Cubed3 Admin/Founder & Designer

new Rabbids game look amazing. I cant wait to play both.
This is the level of game that was missing from nintendos in house devs.

SmilieSmilie

whh...What?! SmilieSmilie

http://www.fanficmaker.com <-- Tells some truly terrible tales.
Last update; Mice,Plumbers,Animatronics and Airbenders. We also have the socials; Facebook & G+

Darkflame said:
new Rabbids game look amazing. I cant wait to play both.
This is the level of game that was missing from nintendos in house devs.

SmilieSmilie

whh...What?! SmilieSmilie

What do you mean what? If your referring to the rabbids game. Its a new non mini game version of the franchise that has had a lot of work put into it. http://uk.media.wii.ign.com/media/143/14339091/vids_1.html is just a little glimpse of it.

If your questioning redsteel announcement being better then nintendos conference.
Well for me it takes motion plus and gives a developed look at what kind of game you can achieve. They had a demo, a walkthrough with some guy playing and talking the audience through. It was complete.

Wii resort you can only get so excited for. The gameplay will be extensive but will lack depth with no tournaments and limited progression. Plus having reggie try and banter with others is too cringe worthy they .

It sounds superb - completely different to, but much better than, the first game. I'm so glad they've done something else interesting with the speaker; they were the first to use it as a phone, and using it to crack safes sounds cool.

Great work Karn, cannot wait for the remaining coverage. Smilie

Yeah, this one has gone from "has potential aren't really interested" to very excited. Great to see Ubisoft really trying to make an A+ Wii game.

I think this is probably my most anticipated game, the only thing that is really lacking is some sort of feedback on the damage on foes (aka blood or sparks or something). Speaking of Red Steel 1, I think they probably were trying to make a A+ game, although they were seriously restricted by time constraints (releasing at launch), learning how to use the Wiimote and the inadequacies of the Wiimote without motion +.

I heard that ubi probably started redsteel 1 thinking when they got the final wiimote build it would give 1:1 playability.
Lets be honest did anyone outside nintendo know it was a little lacking motion wise.
So they made a sword fighting game and got screwed.

I wasn't criticising RedSteal2 at all, merely Rabids, a franchise I thought should have died after the first.
Great Comedy only equaled by its exploitation and disrespect to its buyers.

Red Steal 2, on the other hand, looks like the first big Wii game Ubisoft has put decent amounts of effort into.

I heard that ubi probably started redsteel 1 thinking when they got the final wiimote build it would give 1:1 playability.
Lets be honest did anyone outside nintendo know it was a little lacking motion wise.
So they made a sword fighting game and got screwed.

No, because then youd expect Red Steal 1 to do the best you can with the normal Wiimote...which is sure as hell wasnt.
Theres a difference between "not 1:1" and "not realtime", for example. You can have not 1:1 but still have realtime. You could also have on the fly switching between gun and sword.

I also dont see why any developer should expect new features to appear in a controller before releases. They should work with the devkits they are given, and not assume anything. (especialy with that assumption involves gyro's...which no one had that small at that time).
I mean, how would ubisoft even develop a game for 1:1 without a device that supported it?!

No, Ubisoft had the device, knew its limitations.
As did every other developer with devkits.

---
Incidently Red Steal 2 looks better in all areas as well, not merely motioncontroll.
In fact, its so different calling it RS2 might hurt sales. It deserves to be a whole new brand really.

http://www.fanficmaker.com <-- Tells some truly terrible tales.
Last update; Mice,Plumbers,Animatronics and Airbenders. We also have the socials; Facebook & G+

I think we should treat both franchises as complete reboots. Rabids is no different to redsteel in any respect. they have both had a lot of time in development and clearly a lot of thought. Im positive about both.

My main point was that ubisoft dealt with the new motionplus tech in a more inspiring way. Mostly because we know little about redsteel 2. We saw wii resort last E3. So the impact of seeing it this year was far less.

I also think demonstrating motion plus using a more gamers game (any established genre) gives you something more to thinkabout/chew on if you know what I mean. Thats why I thought ubisofts conference was more successful.

Had nintendo displayed at least 3games, early concept zelda a new IP from miyamoto (whacky no doubt) something from retro. It would have got the blood truly pumping.

If I was nintendo I would have gone straight to lucasarts and said lets work together and make an awesome light sabre game. every online game site and magazine would have been all over it.

Darkflame said:
In fact, its so different calling it RS2 might hurt sales. It deserves to be a whole new brand really.

I was at a friend's when we saw there was a Red Steel 2 trailer. I said watch it and he said he wouldn't just because it was Red Steel. I told him it was completely different, but he said he got so ticked at the first game he didn't want anything about it on his computer Smilie

So seriously doubt he will buy the game unless they change the name.

TAG: That American Guy

"If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone." Romans 12:18

Thanks for the comments, guys! My interview with Creative Director Jason Vandenberghe and Lead Game Designer Roman Campos-Oriola is now up, too: linky!


Cubed3 Staff [ Retro Editor :: Previews Editor ]

Hey Karn, Martin was commenting the other day that he saw serious lag between swings with the remote and actual input in the game. Did you notice any significant lag? You said in the preview that it can become noticeable if you start flailing, but do you see it being any issue in general?

Not really, no. As I said above I only noticed it when I was attacking mindlessly - particularly with strong/slower attacks - because the game had to play catch-up for older attacks: drawing, animating, and detecting collisions.

When I approached combat a little more mindfully - blocking more, moving about, swinging at opportune moments - the problem disappeared completely and my actions were mapped perfectly.

The whole point of more accurate action mapping is, after all, to do away with mindless waggling, no? If you don't resort to it, there's no problem! At least that's the way it seems so far - we'll see how the game progresses from here.


Cubed3 Staff [ Retro Editor :: Previews Editor ]

Looks great! Awesome review Karn! Smilie

I personally disliked the first one because you couldn\'t change from sword to guns freely, and the only way to kill a non sword wielding enemy was aproaching from behind, ninja style with the nunchuk. I liked the story at the beginning, but then I got dissappointed with the ending.

Even so, I can\'t diss Ubisoft for that. Maybe time costraints... I don\'t know.

It\'s a real let down knowing people won\'t get this because of the image the first one gave Smilie.

( Edited 05.06.2009 00:41 by Udkedae )


Udkedae Everywhere! | PSN: Udkedae

Comment on this article

You can comment as a guest or join the Cubed3 community below: Sign Up for Free Account Login

Preview PostPreview Post Your Name:
Validate your comment
  Enter the letters in the image to validate your comment.
Submit Post

Subscribe to this topic Subscribe to this topic

If you are a registered member and logged in, you can also subscribe to topics by email.
Sign up today for blogs, games collections, reader reviews and much more
Site Feed
Who's Online?
Azuardo, juzzy

There are 2 members online at the moment.