Preview: Red Steel 2


The original Red Steel had so much potential, but it sadly didn't live up to the hype. Now we have Red Steel 2 on the way, and it has some big hype building up around it, thanks in large part to the Wii MotionPlus. The extra attachment that should have been a part of the Wiimote in the first place is promising a 1:1 replication of your movements with that of the game's character.

I played through the section many people played through during E3 09. In fact, Anthony played through the same level, and he didn’t like the controls all that much. I, on the other hand, actually liked the controls, but I had some issues with other aspects to the game.

Hit the break to see how Red Steel 2 is shaping up.  

Red Steel 2 (Wii)
Developer: Ubisoft
Publisher: Ubisoft
To be released: 2009

The demo starts up with the nameless hero as he’s waking up in the middle of a desert, his hands tied up to the back of a motorcycle. The biker then speeds off dragging the nameless hero -- who I’m just going to call Duck from now on -- and takes him for a wild ride through the desert.

These bikers that are dragging Duck to his death are part of a larger gang that have killed off all the members of a clan that Duck is a part of. Duck was their last target, but the biker dragging Duck crashes in the nearby city’s sewer system allowing Duck to get free. In the sewers, Duck finds a pistol and the player is guided through some of the game’s controls.

One thing that I noticed immediately was how precise my aiming was with the Wiimote, thanks to the MotionPlus attachment. I’m used to never having a steady aim with the Wiimote with most games, but I was able to have very precise aim here.

As I made my way forward, I destroyed a bunch of barrels and crates that all held some money. A lot of the objects in Red Steel 2 can be destroyed and they all hold some money. The money can be used to buy new weapons and get upgrades. Later in the game, I came across a safe that held some large gold bars. To open the safe, you’ll have to hold the Wiimote up to your ear and slowly twist the Wiimote left and right to turn the dial on the safe. You’ll use the speaker on the Wiimote to listen for the clicks of the safe to crack it open.

Certain sections in the sewer required the player to jump or climb over some objects. Rather than allow the player to do these tasks themselves, players will press the Z button near a jump or certain part of the wall and the game will take care of the rest. It’s such a small thing, but I hated this. It feels like the game was trying to babysit me. Even stranger was later in the level where players need to use their sword to hit open doors. If you don’t hit the door strong enough, then you’ll have to hit it a couple of more times to fully open it and get to the next section. Why take away the players ability to jump but force players to hit open a door a few times? It felt very counter-intuitive.

After finally getting out of the sewers, the player will encounter the first set of enemies. These guys are push overs for the most part and are easily taken out with the gun. This is also where the player will get his hands on the sword and that’s where the fun really begins.

The sword is the main draw of Red Steel 2. You can block attacks, deflect bullets, slice up bad guys, cut down obstacles blocking your path to much more. Swinging the Wiimote lightly will have Duck slice up objects with moderate strength. Swing hard though and Duck will use all of his force to slice an object up. Some enemies in the game are covered with armor and it’ll take a few hard swings to take these guys out.

You can parry attacks by holding the A button and lock on and off an enemy via the nunchuck. You’ll be able to dodge attacks and you can also do a quick turn towards impeding attacks when surrounded via the pop up indicator. You’ll also be able to perform quick finishers where you’ll lunge toward your enemy. You don’t have any control when this takes place though.

The gun and sword combat is also very seamless. Slicing up fools with your sword and you want to shoot a guy in the far back really quickly? Just press the B button to shoot and Duck will instantly switch to his gun.

The combat is all arena based so you can’t progress until everyone in the section has been killed. When you get into a fight, your health bar will pop up and you won’t heal at all until the section has been cleared of enemies. Once everyone is dead, your health goes back to 100 percent.

After a few more sections, I ended up at the boss of the level. He has a giant hammer and you can’t really hurt him until he strikes at you with his hammer. Then, you’ll have to run around him and slice up his weak spot on his back.

I can really feel the difference the WiiMotion Plus attachment gives Red Steel 2. It’s not as great as I was hoping it would be, but it is a hell of a lot better than what I’m used to with games that just use the Wiimote. I was also surprised by how active I was getting with Red Steel 2. I was swinging my arms out as if I really had a sword and just really losing myself to the moment during sword fights. 

My only concern with the game is that it just feels boring. I only played the first section though and I know there’s more I need to see. But the initial impression so far is why should I care about this story? Duck is out for revenge, but it doesn’t really feel like a revenge story. He’s a good guy, sure, but revenge stories are supposed to be brutal. You want to inflict a lot of pain on your enemies, chop off some limbs -- go nuts! There’s none of that in Red Steel 2. In fact, there’s not even a single drop of blood.

The levels I saw were also very linear and small. I was told that we can expect large environments later on, as well as some non-linear aspects. There’s also going to be a lot of re-playability thanks to all the unlocks we can expect to see. Sadly, there won't be an multiplayer in the sequel as the development team wanted to focus on getting the single-player right.

Overall, I enjoyed the controls but the story has yet to impress me.

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Hamza CTZ Aziz
Hamza CTZ AzizShark   gamer profile



Filed under... #First-person shooter #Previews #Ubisoft #Wii



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