Way back when the Wii was first launched in 2006 it came packing several launch titles, including The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess and the infamous Red Steel. Back then, Red Steel seemed like a brilliant game, but journalists and gamers were overcome by the flashy new motion controls. Back then, using the remote as an aiming reticule and shaking it about to use swords was an innovative idea, but now the Wii is a worldwide phenomenon, with the majority of first person shooters on the system making use of the pointer, it's not so innovative. In fact, Red Steel was a pretty mediocre game, with awful AI, and fairly boring level design. Two years after the release of the original game, Ubisoft announced they were working on a sequel. For months, there was no news on the game. No screenshots, no trailers, just various little snippets in interviews. Ubisoft were keeping quiet about the game, and this lead gamers into thinking they were hiding it away because it would be a generic sequel along the lines of the first game. They were oh so wrong. In fact, it's strange how Red Steel 2 is actually under the Red Steel brand, it's a completely different game and it's certainly for the best. Red Steel 2 is handled by a completely different team to the first game's. The only real similarities between the the sequel and it's predecessor is the fact that they're both first person, they both involve using a mix of swords and guns and the load screens look the same. That's pretty much it! Still, Red Steel 2 is actually a very good game, much more so than the original.
Red Steel 2 takes place in the city of Caldera, a barren wasteland in the middle of the Nevada desert. You play as a lone, mysterious warrior banished from your clan years before receiving a distress call from Caldera, asking for the help of one of your clan. On the way to the city, the nameless hero is kidnapped by the Jackals, a gang of thieves who have taken over Caldera city, hence why the civilians have asked for your help. After being knocked out, tied to the leader of the Jackals' bike and dragged through the city the hero manages to escape and sets out on his quest to find out what's going on. Later on in the game he runs into several civilians who help him out throughout the game. Things start to get interesting later on, but I won't spoil that.
|The first boss fight involves you battling against Payne, the leader of the Jackals.|
In the end though, it's the gameplay that matters. This is what Red Steel 2 does best. Much like the original game, it involves standard shooting mixed with swordfighting. However, rather than restricting you to either swordplay or gunslinging at certain sections like in the first game, Red Steel 2 allows you to switch between the sword and your guns whenever you like. With the sequel, they've concentrated much more on swordplay, which works a hell of a lot better compared to the original thanks to the Motionplus unit. The game focuses heavily on the swordplay aspect, and it's pulled off extremely well. You use the remote as your sword (obviously) and basic attacks involve you slashing in whatever direction you please. Depending on how hard you slash you will pull off stronger attacks, which is a clever idea as some armored enemies require you swing pretty damn hard. Of course, you could always turn the sensitivity way up, but that would be missing the point. Gunplay works well also. You can shoot your gun by pointing at the screen, even when you have the sword equipped. The switch between your guns and your sword works perfectly, and there's a number of unlockable guns to play about with. Both your sword and guns can be upgraded throughout the game to make them more powerful, which is a nice addition.
|There's four different types of gun you can buy throughout the game. None will work against these armored enemies though, time to bust out the sword!|
|Purchase upgrades to improve your weaponry.|
Despite all this, Red Steel 2 is definitely worth at least renting. Or perhaps, you could buy it from CEX for 15 quid, then trade-it in and get £11 back once you're finished with it? £4 isn't much to ask for a game of this high standard. If you're looking for a great first-person adventure on Wii that isn't Metroid Prime 3, then pick up Red Steel 2!