Guild's Red Steel 2 Review

Discussion in 'GBAtemp Reviews & Guides' started by Guild McCommunist, Mar 15, 2010.

  1. Guild McCommunist

    Guild McCommunist (not on boat)

    May 6, 2009
    United States
    The Danger Zone
    My pun was between urban cowboy or Cowboy Be-chop. Both are bad, no need to point it out. Anyway, sharpen your katanas and sling those guns GBAtemp, it's Red Steel 2!


    So, the original Red Steel sucked. Lemme say that. The controls were broken and it is a perfect example of "falling short". We thought we would be mad skilled swordsmen with pin-point gun accuracy, but we got neither. Just a semi-interesting video game with shitty controls. Why Ubisoft went to pursue the series further is a great mystery, but hell, I'm glad they did. Red Steel 2 rocks.

    Red Steel 2 has no relation to the first Red Steel outside of the name and the idea of sword swinging meets gun slinging. None. It's a new setting, new characters, new art style. Revamped is an understatement. While you may miss the original story (which I'll admit, didn't suck), the new one is pretty good. The story starts with you waking up in the middle of the desert, chained to a motorcycle. You're then dragged through the desert and a dystopic city until you free yourself. You then find the city filled with a clan called the Jackals with your native clan all but gone. As you meet up with friends of the clan, you learn that your clan has all but been wiped out or disappeared except for you. The game revolves around unraveling the mystery of what happened to your clan as well as seeking revenge on the Jackals. It's pretty interesting and is presented well. It's nothing incredibly gripping, but for your typical FPS game storyline, it's pretty good. The game's atmosphere though is by far the most impressive, blending ancient Japanese and Wild West themes together within a futuristic world. Why they did it is a mystery, but its been pulled off so well that you're thankful for it. Every aspect revolves around a blending of these styles, and the blend is just so delicious.

    The real thing people are worried about here is the gameplay, but don't worry. It works this time. The game is a mixture of first person shooting and first person swordplay, with an emphasis on swordplay. Both aspects work well. The gun aiming is dead-on accurate and rather deep. You get 4 weapons: a handgun, a shotgun, a machine gun, and Winchester-style rifle. Each weapon has its pros, cons, and upgrades, providing a good sense of balance. You also have location-specific effects for where you hit. A shot to the head will stun them. A shot to the knees will make them kneel. These all are used for effects when using your swordplay. The shooting here is some of the most accurate on the Wii, and it works great. The swordplay, though, is the real appeal. The game requires the WM+ and thus gives 1:1 swordplay, which works fantastically. When the tutorials in the game emphasize you to "Hold your Wiimote firmly, like a sword" and encourage you to use "full movements with your arms", you know it's gonna be accurate. And it is. The amount of special moves, motions, and actions with the sword are incredible, and the fact they all work well enough is fantastic. There's also other aspects that are great. Transition from your sword to your gun is flawless, locking on to enemies so you can do accurate sword fighting is great, etc etc. One of the biggest things that surprised me though is simply the depth of the game. There's a bunch of upgrades to get, side missions to do, places to explore. It's a non-linear story, and starts becoming somewhat of a first person adventure more than a first person shooter. I did find a few minor issues though. For starters, while the overall control package works, it's not perfect. I mean, it works great, but you'll find yourself having some troubles now and then. There's a bit of a steep learning curve, but the game tackles it very well. There's also a little lack of variety in the enemies from area to area. Still, these are all insignificant in light of the whole package. I must note though the single biggest regret I've seen in a long time: no multiplayer. I can understand that they wanted a great, in-depth single player experience (which they delivered), as well as how hard it would be to incorporate the swordplay and gunplay mix to a multiplayer package, but Christ, I would've loved to had a duel with my friends with real swords, not those oversized dildos in Wii Sports Resort. It's a choice that I can understand, but I really wish they could've found a way to make it work.

    Graphics and audio wise, it shines. I can easily say this is one of the best looking Wii games, either from first or third party efforts. The game uses a cell-shaded look that looks fantastic. It's crisp, it's unique, and it makes the modern-yet-oldie locales of the game pop with artistic flair. The game also runs at a constant 60fps (I would assume) and has great animations, character models, environments, and lighting effects. The only thing that looks better than the in-game graphics are the incredible cutscenes, which are even better. Another feature I liked was how they presented a lot of the action sequences in the true first person. As you climb a ladder, you'll see your character climb, not him just magically hover up the ladder. As you are dragged along the desert, you'll see yourself dangling behind, narrowly missing death. It's a great choice that feels amazing. In light of all this is my second biggest regret of the game though: no blood. They wanted to keep this already relatively violent game to a T rating (here in US standards) by cutting out gore and "no-no word" ridden dialogue. I would have loved to see blood pouring out of the guy's chest after I stabbed him through-and-through with my sword. I would have loved to see a guy's head explode with blood, skull, and brain matter after I finish him off with my gun. I would have, but I can't. Still, the game looks fucking gorgeous, and it can't be overstated how good this game looks and runs. Audio wise, the music provides a great atmosphere. It's kinda a blend of Japanese and old "Wild West" style music. It's subtle, but if you listen closely, it brings the game to life. The voice acting itself isn't the best, but it's not bad by any means. Definitely strong points in both categories.

    Overall, Red Steel 2 was able to come from a bad game to create a true masterpiece. It's something that few third (and even some first parties) can top or come close to, and something that third parties should strive to be half as good as. It takes what we've all been waiting for and fills us up every bit.

    Presentation: A unique blend of Japanese and Wild West styles mix with a futuristic setting to bring you a great atmosphere that's all its own. The game pops with style and oozes with creativity at every edge. The story is better than expected, if not the best you'll ever see. Menus are easy to navigate and look stylish. 9/10

    Graphics: It's easily the best looking third party Wii game, and it even beats a lot of first party titles (except for the likes of Super Mario Galaxy). The cell shading looks great, it has some gorgeous models, environments, and lighting effects, the cutscenes are amazingly beautiful, and it all runs at a constant 60fps. The only thing it lacks is blood and gore to bring your hacking and slashing to life. If it had that, I'd easily give this category a perfect score. 9.5/10

    Audio: A nice blend of traditional Japanese sounds and Wild West vibes. It's subtle, but it helps bring the world to life. The voice acting isn't bad, but it's definitely not great. Sound effects are pretty damn good. 8.5/10

    Gameplay: We've wanted "that sword swinging" game forever, and now we have it. A mix of pin-point perfect gun slinging transitions smoothly with accurate 1:1 sword swinging. It takes a while to get used to, but the game tackles the learning curve well. The game itself has lots of depth through upgrades and side missions. It borders between first person adventure and first person shooter, which is great. There could be a little more enemy diversity, but that's just nitpicking. 9.3/10

    Lasting Appeal: The single player is decently lengthy. Multiple difficulties, upgrades, side missions, and various other features will give you plenty of reason for multiple play throughs, on top of the sheer fun nature of sword swinging. A lack of multiplayer, even if it could be hard to imagine it, is a massive disappointment though. 8.2/10

    Overall: 9.2/10
  2. stab244

    stab244 GBAtemp Advanced Fan

    Jun 1, 2008
    United States
    What the... How... Where... Did the ISO for this leak during my absense from the Wii scene?

    EDIT: Just found it on the front page... Cool. I think I'll get this as soon as I bother to get a WM+.
  3. Hadrian

    Hadrian Better than Craigslist

    Former Staff
    Oct 12, 2004
    I agree with the review, probably one of the most improved sequels in recent memory.
  4. DeltaBurnt

    DeltaBurnt I'm bored

    Feb 21, 2009
    United States
    Where intellect matters
    Damn, I need a Wii motion plus.
  5. WiiUBricker

    WiiUBricker Insert Custom Title

    Sep 19, 2009
    Hehe, I already pre-ordered the Red Steel 2 WM+ Bundle. Thanks Ubisoft for this great piece of software.

    Ah, and nice review [​IMG]
  6. Overlord Nadrian

    Overlord Nadrian Banned

    Jul 28, 2008
    Wait... So you actually use the WiiMote as a sword? Awesome! That's the only thing I missed but always wanted in No More Heroes [​IMG] I'll buy this game whenever I have enough money [​IMG]