For those reading one of my Wii review blogs for the first time, here is the basic concept:
The Wii is often mocked for its game library, yet, it actually has a solid list of exclusives that are unavailable anywehere else. Though only Nintendo games were avilable where I am from, I was always intrested on other games. Hence, I decided to play the top 50 Wii games as chose by Gamesradar in this list:
I decided to go back and play those 50 games and review them, atl least those that intrest me and those that I have not played before. Origianlly, I used to post most of my stuff in a football forum "Goallegacy" which is the first online community I have ever joined. Which is the best place for a football fan (the REAL football, not handegg) to hang out in the internet.
Also, here are a number of extra rules for Destructoid:
-If you have any suggestion of a game that is not in the Gamesradar list that I should review, please suggest it.
-Make a bet on each game to check whether Chris Charter played it or not.
Without further ado, here is:
20: Red Steel 2:
Genre: FPS Action.
First things first, I am changing my rating system to better rate different genres according to their own rules. It will still be from 50 quality points, but every title will start from 25 and earn/lose points according to criteria important to the titles and genres themselves.
With the launch of the Wii, one of the most obvious possible application of the Wiimote motion was as a method to support more immersive swordplay. Another aspect was the pointing capability which brought us back to the IR shooting cabin days.
Ubisoft decided to combine both aspects in making the first Red Steel game. Which, even though it had a lot of promise, have failed miserably as a game.
Red Steel 2 is Ubisoft making amends to that initial promise, and succeeding.
"Outcast or not, you are still Kusagari"
The game's main catch is its combination of Sword fighting and gunplay, in some way combining the FPS genre with some First Person action as well.
It is then fitting that sets place in two asynchronous settings. The Katana comes in from its Japanese Samurai influence, while the revolver is an obvious Wild West trope. In essence ,the game's settings is a marriage of the Edo era Samurai dramas with the Wild West.
Anyone familiar with the history of spaghetti westerns would know that this mix fits in very well with that genre. The first spaghetti westerns, such as A Fistful of Dollars, were adaptations of Japanese ronin films such as Yojimbo.
The Man with No Name
Outside of its interesting setting, the game's plot is a rudimentary revenge tale with no narrative power whatsoever. Almost all the characters you meet are reused cliches that are not even able to be cool despite decades worth of material to be inspired by.
This is most represented by the player character, the "Swordslinger", who could have been an interesting substitute for the "Man with No Name". Yet, for some reason, the character was not consistent, and is silent most of the game, but speaks enough lines that his silence becomes more jarring and unnatural. Either speak normally or stay silent all the time damn it.
Great Setting: +5
Weak Characters and Plot: -3
"I am going to cut your throat with your own katana. Ain't that poetic"
If you are not interested in motion control combat, or not willing at all to give such gameplay a chance, then this game is simply not for you, regardless of how much you like its other elements.
Red Steel 2 makes excellent use of the Wii's motion capabilities, and perhaps crafts as good a game as it can mechanically offer. This means that the game utilizes all the special qualities of motion control, but it does not mean that it removes all of its inherent problems.
Let's start with the negatives. First, there are the usual hardware related issues. Sometimes, the Wiimote loses calibration, both for motion control and for IR pointing. It didn't happen frequently here, but it was enough to irritate in such a title requiring constant motion controls. Another issue is related to physical fatigue, specifically when over-committing in the required motions.
Make sure not to get hit with a Sledgehammer
Both issues do affect your enjoyment, but they are not frequent enough to overshadow what is a unique and engrossing gameplay system.
As you can imagine, Swordplay is handled through motions, and gunplay through IR pointing. Because of using motion control, switching from both is natural with your own motions, and mixing and matching can frequently be utilized depending on the situation.
Sword play requires specific diagonal moves, but that's not it. Through button combinations, special moves are executed. Through an evade button, the game solves how to move around in a comprehensive fashion.
Most of all, you will want to master the combat, simply because it looks cool, and you do feel like a "swordslinger" badass.
Unique and Engaging Game play: +5
Fulfills the Promise of Motion Controls: +4 [/i
[i]The Usual Technical Difficulties: -2
"It's about time you came to help. I am down to three bullets"
To move the player from one fight to another, the game is divided into two level structures. Some levels act such as an open hubs, with missions guiding the player from on objective to another. Other levels are like mini-linear dungeons, culminating in usually a single objective.
All that really does is move the player from point A to B, fighting enemies in the way.
Some missions ask you to find or destroy "collectibles" in the game-world, and before it was vogue, some missions consisted of hacking communication towers. It is a weak mission structure, that frankly neither helps nor hinders the game.
Why is this a "mission" and not just simply moving around
Since combat is its strongest suite, there is no real reason to provide a litany of objectives just for the sake of it.
Battles encourage experimentation to get a better score, which gives in more gold. The gold can be used to upgrade your stuff, which can then be used to kill more enemies and get more gold. It is a basic feedback loop that does the job, and is extra rewarding because of how fun it is to see all that gold literally fly into your pocket.
Boring Mission Structure: -2
Gold Feedback Loop: +3
"Good, then we are all safe. I will become a gardener"
In a further step-away from the first Red Steel game, Ubisoft decided to forgo the "realistic" style in favor of a cell-shaded look that manages to give the game a graphic novel look. Seriously, it looks like the characters, enemies, and the entire environment stepped out from some comic book.
I already mentioned how the juxtaposition of the Wild West and Samurai setting work thematically. However, that is mostly due to how great they look graphically. Seeing the classic Pagoda roof against dusty canyons is great, especially with how the cell-shading manages to contrast the two.
Characters are the same, with unrealistic proportion, but undoubtedly cool designs. So cool, that in the introduction of each new enemy, Ubisoft knowingly introduces them with their meticulously designed 2D Art, and yet you are not disappointed when you see them in the game.
Every boss character has an exceppent 2D art design behind them
As for the VA for these characters, it runs the gambit from somewhat bad, to somewhat decent. A missed opportunity originating from the predictable story and characters, and not the Voice Actors themselves.
In sound production, the game offers a thematically suitable sound, with both Japanese and Western influences. A soundtrack combining some Ennio Morricone influence with Masaru Sato's work on Yojimbo, without even approaching their brilliance though.
While the soundtrack is thematic, it is too muted, and never prominent enough to stand out.
Great Graphics and Character Design: +5
Good Sound and Music: +3
Red Steel 2 is the rare game that could have never conceivably happened in something other than the Wii. By showcasing the freedoms and advantages of motion control, all encompassed in a single attractive package that is actually a game, and not a tech demo, Ubisoft made a good case for Motion Control to still be utilized in mainstream gaming.
Unfortunately, despite its critical and user reception, the game has failed to meet its modest target. In a way, it was Red Steel 2 that proved how gamers probably don't want to give motion controls a chance, regardless of how good the actual product is.
"Looking Back at Destructoid's Review:"
This is one game where Jim Sterling probably went in thinking he'd hate it, realized its much better than the first game, soe he ended up loving it. He gat it a great 8.5, saying: "To put it bluntly, Red Steel 2 works. In fact, not only does it work, it works brilliantly. The addition of MotionPlus gives users a sense of control that was sorely missing from the first Red Steel, and players will be able to efficiently block, parry, and slice like never before. While it's not always 100% accurate (sometimes my character wouldn't block in time, or turn to face another enemy when prompted), the game comes closer than any other title to making motion-controlled FPS combat feel not only competent, but almost natural."
A lot of the comments were surpirsed with Jim's review, like the jobber Darren Nakamura:
"Well, this is unexpected. Perhaps I will give this game a go"
I wonder if he actually did give it a go. And there is anothher guy who had too much time in his hands browsing on Dtoid, Kyle MacGregor:
"When I get around to getting a Motion Plus for my Wii I'll definitely be getting this title. The art style alone almost sells the game. Glad to know that you enjoyed it Jim"
Since this is a Jim Sterling review, one comment is surely expected, and it is delivered this time by MultiJoe, since one Joe is not enough:
"Jim Sterling contraversially gives a game an uncontraversial score."
Great Art such as this
I am generally not intrested in the sales of the games I like, and I don't measure my penis size through the sucess of games I like. However, sales data is intresting in studying market trends, people's general intrest, marketing strategy, genre effect, and other factors. Which is why I am going to check the sales data of every modern game I review (Gen 4 and beyond).
Knowing Ubisoft's current relationship with Nintendo hardware, we can assume they were generally dissapointed with their Wii game sales. Frankly, with Red Steel 2, they have every right to be. For some reason, the vastly superior Red Steel 2 only sold around 620K Units which is 50K less than the shitty Red Steel game at a time where there are much more Wiis in the market. Worse, looking at it, Red Steel sold 540K in north America compared to 350K for Red Steel 2.
Yet, this is equally related to Ubi's inability to sell their more niche games. Which is why the are so dependant on their core franchises these days.
There is something inherently cool about both GUNS AND STEEL that Ubisoft couldn't sell
1- Learn early what position is more comfortable to play at. You will need some space to move your arm, so lying down would not work.
2- Break all boxes you see, it gives you money and its fun.
3- Enemies can guard your attack effectively, so attack from the angle they are not guarding.
4- Guns alone are not an effective tool, so regularly use your melee attacks.
5- Try and do the optional missions, since they do give a lot of cash.
Red Steel 2 might be the best actual game to showcase the Wiis Motion Control capabilities and promise, along with Skyward Sword of course. And its failure, despite its brilliance, is proof positive that Motion gaming simply did not catch up with the cor audience.
Next game, at #17 is the cute platformer about A Boy and his Blob, which is actually the title of the game. It seems to be another of those cute games that can only be conceived for Nintendo consoles.
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