I still remember the day I first got my Wii. My Great Grandmother (yeah, that's 3 generations back!) got up BEFORE the crack of dawn to go get me a Wii on launch day...but they didn't tell me that until Christmas when I opened it. That day I got 3 games: Wii Sports (of course), Marvel: Ultimate Alliance and Red Steel. After a quick bout of Wii Sports, I felt I needed to play something with a bit more meat on the bone, and put in Red Steel. I was treated to what was basically a really cool emo of the Wii remote's capabilities. I can twist my hand to the side, and my character would hold his gun that way. It was so cool at the time to imagine such a thing! Red Steel 2 is similarly a demo of Wii Motion+'s capability.
The original Red Steel was a story of revenge. Using mainly guns and a handful of swordplay, you must successfully take down high ranking Yakuza gangsters. Those expected a sequel may have expected something similar to the following image.
What we got, however, was something like this.
The Red Steel duality reminds me a bit of my writing. Sometimes, I craft a world in a story. everything is fleshed out and set in place. A few years later, I might look at my creation and decide I want to change things. I may change almost everything except the basics in some cases, sometimes even reinventing characters. that is basically what Ubisoft did here. Red Steel 2 is a far cry from a gangster story. You play as the unnamed last surviving member of the Kusagari clan, who is basically a mix between a samurai and a cowboy.
The game begins with our hero chained to the back of a motorcycle. He is dragged about, slammed into obstacles and through dangerous situations before he finally manages to escape. In the hero's weakened state, Payne (the leader of the Jackals, whom drove the motorcycle) steals his katana, but an explosion allows the hero to escape with his life.
After encountering some old friends, the hero is re-equipped with another katana and heads out to get his old one back as well as bring down the Jackals. The environments are a strange mix of Japanese rooftops, towers and statues, wild west storefronts and tumbleweeds and high tech weaponry, armor and communication towers.
The graphics are cel-shaded, an look a lot like a colored in manga put in motion. While this is a rather cool effect, I can't help but think this is to hide the Wii's aged graphical capabilities.
The controls are simple but effective. Of course you move using the nunchuck's control stick. The Z button targets enemies like Zelda, B fires your gun, and the directional pad selects which gun is equipped. aiming is handled but pointing, or course, and using your sword is as simple as swinging the remote. the sword will mirror your exact direction and strength with superb accuracy. Holding the A button will charge the sword and allow you to perform special attacks with the proper swings. For example, a charged upward swing will send an enemy airborne. I am a sword enthusiast, and know how to use a real katana. I tried putting down the nunchuk for a moment, using both hands and swinging as if I was using a real katana, and to my surprise it worked excellently aside from my inability to move.
the music is a very odd mixture, just like the environments. Traditional Japanese wind and string instruments accompany typical wild west drums and twangy guitars. It's not a bad soundtrack, just extremely unique. The same cannot be said for the voice acting...characters speak with the msot stereotypical western and Asian accents you will ever here. Everything sounds horribly corny. For example, read the following line.
"I'm gonna slit your throat with your own katana...how poetic."
Prety decent line, right? Now read it pronouncing the words as I have spelled them.
"I'm guna slit yer throat with yer own kitahnah!...how po-eyt-iyc!"
See? They killed it.
My other problem is that game is just entirely too repetitive. You are mostly faced with he task of defeat these enemies, and then proceed. If you get lucky, they will throw a boss in your way and make thins more interesting.
Red Steel 2 is an overhaul, and certainly improves upon the original in many ways. At the same time, it is hard to even consider the game a sequel because it is jsut so incredibly different. there are certainly worse games on the Wii, but there are also many better. Red Steel 2 falls in the middle of the spectrum. You can have a good time with this game, but it's easy to get bored with it rather quickly. Pick it up cheap and give it a shot, but don't go in expecting too much and don't pay too much for this game, especially if you don't already own Motion+. Also, you can no longer hold your gun sideways...I miss that.
As a little bonus, I mentioned being a sword collector. Here is MY katana I named Amaterasu. It might not have the unrealistic art on the blade like some of the swords in Red Steel 2, but she's still gorgeous.