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Customer Review

27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Red Steel 2 raises the bar for quality motion controls, March 26, 2010
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This review is from: Red Steel 2 (Video Game)
It has been months since I've played a game that I felt motivated enough to write a review about. Red Steel 2 has finally managed to break my general disinterest in game reviewing. Red Steel 2 shouldn't even be associated with tragedy that was the original Red Steel. The original had its heart in the right place but the overall product was rushed for release, had buggy controls, and was considered un-fun by almost everyone I know. This new game isn't perfect nor do I think it is the best game ever created; nonetheless, this game is noteworthy and awesome in every way the original wasn't. Red Steel 2 also gives me an excuse to connect my Wii Motion Plus peripheral, which was sadly getting very little love. This game shows how to do motion control and pointer controls right, it shows a great sense of style and narrative, and has catapulted itself onto the short list of "games I think everyone should try."

CONTROLS: Above all else, this game is about the controls. The motion controls aren't perfect, but they are better than any motion control game out there with the possible exception of Tiger Woods 2010. When I say that this game sets a new standard for quality motion controls, I am not exaggerating. Responsiveness and accuracy are superior to anything I have played to date. Going forward I suspect that a lot of developers for the Wii, Playstation Move and XBox Natal will be using this game as their measuring stick. When the Wii first came out, I think this is the type of experience that people were imagining. I'm just disappointed that it took this long to get to this point. Combine the quality motion controls with responsive and accurate pointer controls for the gun play, and... I just am impressed. It works. There are some quirks, to be sure, but it still works. The most negative thing I can say about the controls is that there is a bit of lag after swinging your sword before you are restored to pointer control making switching from sword to gun a slower process; the good news being I rarely find myself needing to switch quickly from my sword to my gun, so this isn't a huge problem. Blocking enemy attacks is also a bit dicey, but I am confident with more practice I will be able to adapt better.

One thing I do have to say about the controls is that this game isn't really "couch friendly." The motion controls frequently require full arm motions and pivoting at my hips has helped many times. To achieve the control I wanted, I pretty much have to play the game standing up. That little warning at the beginning of every Wii game where they feel compelled to tell us to make sure to have enough space to play might mean something;I have already managed to pop my curious dog in the face quite a few times when she gets too close as she checks out what all my flailing around is about. Additionally, the short cord between the nunchuck and Wii remote creates some problems. Considering I have short little stumpy arms I expect that people with longer arms may have more difficulty. I have purchased a nunchuck extension cord with hopes that the extra cord length will keep me from accidentally unplugging the nunchuck. That way I can tangle myself up in extra cords instead. I'm not sure if I'm going to win this battle.

GAMEPLAY: The game is a first-person shooter/swordplay adventure. The arenas and levels are relatively small and compact, in some ways sort of like the Metroid Prime series or the first Fable on Xbox. You will blast and slash your way through lots of bad guys and bosses; accept missions; upgrade equipment and buy special moves and so on. In terms of level design and game progression the game play and progression is handled well, but there isn't really anything new or revolutionary that most other quality action games aren't already doing. What makes the game play standout from the rest of the pack is how the controls allow you to interact with the game. Sometimes I feel a little overpowered compared to the enemies, but I am only playing the game on normal difficulty. Boss battles seem a bit tougher than I expected though. Additionally, there are a few points in the game with Quick Time Events, which I really don't like, but luckily there are checkpoints within the QTE sections that prevent you from having to repeatedly work through several minutes of timed button presses only to die at the very end and start over. The QTE sections do work, but as a general rule I don't like QTE in any game, so I am biased.

GRAPHICS/PRESENTATION: This game looks good. Possibly the best on the system at this time. Not just "good for a Wii game" but genuinely good, and I attribute that to the quality art style that feels like a cell shaded graphic novel western with samurai. Think "Mad Max" mixed with some "Seven Samurai" and a bit "Fist Full of Dollars". I feel compelled to compare this game's style and quality favorably to Borderlands on the other consoles, even down to the way that boss characters are presented before battles. In fact, I would say that the explosions and many particle effects look nicer on this game than on many Xbox 360 games I own. Not because the Wii can do it better, but just because Red Steel 2 has some very talented animation and effects artists.

STORY: The storyline is pretty decent, definitely better than most action games, but it definitely has had some moments where I was underwhelmed by the voice acting. Par for the course in that regard.

SOUND: The music is awesome and ambient sound effects are excellent. I love the Asian/Western themes. Voice acting is decent enough, but has a couple of rough/forced moments where I get the feeling the actor was thinking "Ok, I read the cue cards; now where's my paycheck?" Also, hearing so many Asian characters talking like rednecks is a bit of system shock for me.

VALUE: The game length is feeling like it will be about average for an action title and I expect that I'll beat the game on my first play-through in about 8-12 hours. The game has some a challenge mode that I haven't even delved into yet. Judging by how much I'm enjoying the core story mode, I'll probably be back for more to explore the extra challenge mode.

PROS:
+++ Excellent motion controls.
+++ Gorgeous graphics and art style.
+++ Silky smooth frame rate that doesn't seem to stutter at all.
+++ The game setting is quite awesome with a futuristic Mad Max/Samurai/Western feel.
+++ Good sound work

CONS:
--- Your arm will get tired with extended play sessions and you might find it necessary to stand while playing. It really isn't all that couch friendly.
--- Some flat voice acting combined with some stuff that really feels out of place.
--- Frequent load screens, but they are cleverly hidden as open door animation.
--- Quick Time Events, but at least they have mid QTE checkpoints.
--- The controls for blocking enemy attacks could use a bit more tweaking.

Overall, I have to put this game on my "must play" list of recommendations. The high quality presentation and style combined with some of the best motion controls seen in any game just put this one near the top of the heap. If you don't choose to buy the game, at the very least rent it. It does require the Wii Motion Plus, which is also important to remember.
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Apr 6, 2010, 7:45:45 AM PDT
Rocky says:
I think a delay in time between sword and gun use is perfectly acceptable. Try slashing someone down in real life and see how easy it is to aim a gun a millisecond later...

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 14, 2010, 4:51:05 PM PDT
Halicon5 says:
I suppose a more accurate way that I could have phrased my complaint was that "sword sensitivity has a nasty habit of making turning around with the pointer controls is too sluggish with regards to x-axis sensitivity and makes you feel unnaturally locked into a particular viewing angle for an annoyingly long period of time." I just figured that referring to aiming controls of the gun would jive with people better.

Posted on Jul 1, 2011, 11:24:56 AM PDT
Tony Miller says:
I felt the same way about the "asians talking like rednecks" :)
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