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Community Discussion: Blog by shaxam1029 | Unappreciated and Overlooked: Red Steel 2Destructoid
Unappreciated and Overlooked: Red Steel 2 - Destructoid

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Hi, I'm Shaxam.

Or maybe I'm Max, or Anan; depends on where and when you're from.

Videogames are pretty neat, my favorites are:(in no particular order)

Skyward Sword
Xenoblade
Final Fantasy VI
Mother 3
Deus Ex: Human Revolution
Thief 2
Doom 2
Twilight Princess

I also like writing about videogames, more specifically about game design.

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The Wii just might be my favorite console of all time. It's got a great library of games, and doesn't have many of the problems that are often associated with the consoles of this generation. Things like constant firmware updates and on-disk DLC are pretty much absent on the Wii. Still, as with any console, it has it's fair share of flaws. Many people have called out Nintendo's system on having a distinct lack of notable third-party releases. Others have questioned the console's graphical shortcomings. And while there's tons of variety in the Wii's library, the first-person-shooter genre is severely under-represented.

Behold: Red Steel 2! A FPS/Brawler hybrid released by Ubisoft with fantastic gameplay and absolutely gorgeous visuals. A game that single-handedly disproves preconceptions that all 3rd party Wii games are just uninspired minigame compilations with sub-par visuals. This was the game that Wii owners were waiting for ever since they purchased the little white box. Finally, a game that fulfilled the fantasy that we as gamers had ever since the console was unveiled in 2005. A game that let you wield a sword and chop up baddies with unprecedented accuracy and immersion. A game that,despite having tons of great features... just didn't sell very well.



Red Steel 2 was the sequel to the first Red Steel. The original game was a launch title for the Wii, and was held up to be the "hardcore" first person shooter/slasher experience that Wii owners were looking for at the time. While the game wasn't horrible, it failed to live up to Ubisoft's lofty claims. The graphics were muddy and unpolished, the gunplay was sub-par, and the sword-fighting amounted up to shaking your Wiimote around like as fast as you could. Needless to say critics weren't enthralled with the title. The game had decent sales though, which were probably a product of Wii owners thirst for first person shooters at the time. Satisfied with the sales, Ubisoft started to work on the sequel in the summer of 2008. The game that followed had very little in common with the first game. Like the original Red Steel, it had a first person view point and gun/sword play, but that was about where the similarities ended. This game had a beautiful cel-shaded art style, and took place in a hybrid eastern/wild-west setting. It also made use of the new "motion plus" technology, allowing more accurate and precise control over the gun-toting, sword-swinging protagonist. Tons of changes were made, and almost all of them were for the better.

After a development period of about two years, Red Steel 2 finally hit store shelves in March of 2010. Eager to play the game I went to my local game store to pick up a copy along with the motion plus add-on. I made my way back to my house, and popped the disk into my system.



The first thing that hit me were the graphics. The cel-shaded art style was something I had seen before in games like Windwaker and Killer 7, but I had never seen it applied to a game as well as it was in Red Steel 2. Everything was so colorful and stylized, it was hard to believe it was running on a Wii. The developers really did make the most of the console's hardware limitations. Like the graphics, the gameplay was also unlike anything I'd ever seen on Wii. The 1:1 swordplay was impressive, and whenever you felt tired of slashing enemies up, you could always obliterate them with your six-shooter or double barrel. You could even use your Katana and your guns in tandem, taking out bad guys with stylish, but effective combos. The game didn't take place in an open-world, but there were still some elements of exploration. I loved that fact that you could always take a break from the main objectives, and take on a sidequest, or just look for cash to upgrade your weapons, and learn more moves. The story was pretty ridiculous, but still immensely entertaining. It reminded my of the cheesy cartoons I used to watch as a kid. The sound design in the game was also extremely well done. The music was memorable, and mixed elements of the soundtracks from old western and samurai films.



The game wasn't perfect, though. It was kind of short, and got a little bit repetitive when I played it for an extended period of time. Some of the moves and combos you learned were a bit overpowered, and others felt underused. The game was still a blast, so I'm pretty sure that the bad sales had anything to do with the quality of the game. I have a feeling that the title might've caused some people to avoid it. Remember, the first Red Steel wasn't exactly a great game. The fact that the game required motion plus, which was a rarity for Wii games at the time, may have also been a factor. Regardless, I hope the bad sales don't deter Ubisoft for releasing a new Red Steel game, or at least some kind of spiritual sequel to Red Steel in the future. It really is a great game, and in my opinion, one of the best that the Wii has to offer.
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