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

By Karn Spydar Lee Bianco 25.02.2010 8

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

With North American and European launches around a month away (March 23 and 26, respectively) Red Steel 2 is now approaching its final build. With that in mind, Ubisoft — along with Creative Director Jason VandenBerghe — have been touring the game around Europe, showing it to the press. So, how is it shaping up?

VandenBerghe astutely describes Red Steel 2 as a "physical skill" that requires a lot of practise and a learning style that differs from most button-based games. Getting players proficient enough with the sword mechanics to be able to use them fluently during combat is no easy task; it requires a hefty dose of tutorials and good deal of repetition. Each new skill is accompanied by a training session and a video demonstration (research showed that attractive female + white top + black background = attention grabber) for extra reinforcement.

Thankfully swordplay is feeling more fluid than ever, preventing the necessary evil of tutorials from becoming too chore-like. Ubisoft has really put the Wii MotionPlus to good use, doing away almost entirely with the unfortunate trait of many Wii games to fail to recognise certain gestures, or recognise those that weren’t intended. Other than the occasional exception when dealing with stronger attacks that require very broad swings, the current build of Red Steel 2 is incredibly responsive and not the least bit frustrating.

Despite the 1:1 mapping possible with the Wii MotionPlus (which is shown off in a number of areas — including sword brandishing) the actual strikes you will be using are limited. While the game might recognise the 79 degree angle at which you’re swinging, it’s still going count it as a vertical strike as far as combos are concerned. While this might sound disappointing, it actually makes for far more enjoyable combat — and it doesn’t force you to be a professional swordsman in order to play successfully.

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

It also allows you to efficiently tie moves together to create stylish combos (which earn you additional funds for upgrades, discussed below). Combos aren’t limited to just the sword either. One particularly satisfying combos involves shooting an opponent in the knee before finishing with a sword blow, while another allows you to finish a weakened foe with a point-blank shot to the head. The game’s teen 16+ rating might rule out blood and gore, but there is more than enough cell-shaded violence to go around.

Levels in Red Steel 2 are divided into two categories: dungeon-style levels and hub levels. The former, as the name suggests, are linear and battle-centric while the latter offer opportunities for exploration and NPC interaction. The hub levels are also a great excuse to admire the game’s gorgeous backdrops — which incorporate Japanese, western, and modern influences — as well hunt down hidden goodies, annihilate a wealth of destructible objects - "I'm a big a fan of the Zelda grass-cutting gameplay," says Jason - and spend some time in safe houses.

The latter allow you to purchase brand new weapons — such as the fabulously deadly Shotgun and Tommy Gun — as well as ammo and timing window improvements, not to mention increasingly swanky armour, and all-new sword attacks. Safe houses also serve as an interface for interacting with the game's key NPCs in order to initiate story missions, or accept optional side quests — kill x number of y, treasure hunts, etc. — to earn yourself extra money. With so much available for purchase, there's an additional incentive to complete tutorials which also earn you money.

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

Final Thoughts

Red Steel 2 has come along nicely since it was first shown off at E3 last year . The swordplay mechanics have been refined to the point that - with minor exceptions when performing very broad motions - the game responds perfectly to your actions, resulting in a satisfying and immersive experience. The coalescence of Japanese, Western and modern inspirations into a cohesive visual style is also a treat for the eyes, and especially impressive at a consistent 60 FPS. Worth a look from any self-respecting Wii owner.

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

Seems good.
I'm guessing why it isn't strictly 1:1 for everything is not so much "you'd need the skill of a real swordsman", but more it would be incredibly hard to dynamically animate the enemy's based on your moves.
99% of games still work with almost completely preset animations.
Ubisoft probably didnt have the time or money to invest in a ground-up new dynamic animation system, nor to invest and adapt Europhia for the Wii.

Still, game sounds pretty good to me.

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I'm pretty sure the game isn't 4 players. The single player though looks a bit like a first person DMC. It's pretty awesome that you can purchase other weapons. I thought we'd be stuck with the revolver and sword combo through the entire game.

Every time I see this it gets better and better.

So another game that won't truly use 1:1.

Is what we're seeing here that the tech is here but in reality software applications are inherently limited? If so what true future is there for the Wii style of motion controlled play (also the PSWand thing)?

Have to wait for the software tools to catch up with the tech. It will happen, but is slow.

When games are developed now....even with new engines....they use existing animation systems. These systems need to be completely reinvented for decent response's to 1:1 movements.

The only system I know of at the moment is Euphoria, but I dont think that has a Wii version.
Not that its impossible to do without; WiiSportsResort sword-fighting is 1:1 and decent.
But then, they dont even have arms Smilie

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Even though it isn't completely 1:1, they could have varied up some of the animation and enemy designs - from the footage I've seen anyway. I don't know, it looks gorgeous - don't get me wrong - but from what I've seen it's like the enemy is using some mass clone machine or something! Look the same, fall the same!

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jb said:
Even though it isn't completely 1:1, they could have varied up some of the animation and enemy designs - from the footage I've seen anyway. I don't know, it looks gorgeous - don't get me wrong - but from what I've seen it's like the enemy is using some mass clone machine or something! Look the same, fall the same!

Nothing sucks you out of an experience like that as well. Just needs enough variation to make you forget about the first face you saw in the level.

And if you are gonna do the same death animations why not just do the simplest ragdoll physics you can do and give us a chuckle instead?

After hearing more about it, it does seem to be a lot better than the first game. The fact that there are more combos than just using the sword is better. I have entered the compotition, but if I don't win then I will definately be buying this.



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