Red Steel 2 Preview
Red Steel 2 box art
System: Wii Review Rating Legend
Dev: Ubisoft 1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid 4.0 - 4.4 = Great
Pub: Ubisoft 2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
Release: TBA 2009 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 5.0 = The Best
Players: 1 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
ESRB Rating: Pending 3.5 - 3.9 = Good
The True Revolution
by Tony Capri

May 13, 2009 - As gamers, we've seen many a franchise go from good to mediocre… to no longer welcome. On the flipside, however, we do occasionally get a series that starts out as a rough piece of coal, only to later become a gleaming gem. False starts do happen, but the Red Steel team at Ubisoft have been quietly locked away for the last three years crafting something that promises to completely vindicate this new gaming brand.

Red Steel 2 screenshot

When you plunk down your hard-earned cash and a game doesn't give back what you paid for, it's easy to be critical, and the first Red Steel for Wii just didn't quite pan out. The presentation felt completely slapped together, the controls were something of a mess, and the pre-release hype which coincided with the Wii launch only served to increase the level of disappointment among new system owners.

Fast-forward to the present, and we're on the eve of the Wii MotionPlus release. According to Ubisoft creative director Jason Vandenberghe, the soon-to-be-released, $20 accessory "is the heart of [Red Steel 2]" (Nintendo Power, vol. 242).

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Red Steel 2 is no minor upgrade from the first game - it's a complete reboot; in the developers' eyes, it's what Red Steel should have originally been. Only with the Wii MotionPlus, however, have the team been able to finally mold a game that may well prove to be a masterpiece on Wii.

If we sound giddy, that's because we are. Wii fans aren't just getting better controls with Red Steel 2, they're getting an exciting new experience that has had quality time and inspiration put into it. Though the story and setting are quite different from the first title, there's a strong connection between the two games - a promise that wasn't lived up to in the original Red Steel - something the developers hope to now deliver on: fun with swords.

Red Steel 2 screenshot

Whereas the first game was set in Japan of the 70s, Red Steel 2 takes place in the fictional land of Caldera. The game's desert setting mixes samurai swordplay with gun-slinging, Western action to make for a sort of chanbara experience in the vein of Acquire's Samurai Western (PS2). You'll play as a character currently known only as The Swordsman, and like the first game, you'll wield both a gun and katana (along with a host of other weapons yet to be disclosed).

When the Wii was first revealed - then known as the Revolution - the first thing most gamers got excited about was the prospect of controlling a virtual sword with the Wii Remote, and when Ubisoft revealed Red Steel, folks were under the impression they'd be jumping into that sort of action right out of the starting gate. Though that wasn't to be the case, Red Steel 2, along with the aid of the Wii MotionPlus, will finally offer that deep level of immersive combat folks have been chomping at the bit for.

Red Steel 2 screenshot

Controls are fairly simple and are meant to be approached in much the same way as any other typical first-person shooter on Wii. You'll move your character with the analog stick on the Nunchuk, utilize your sword - in real time - by waving the Wii Remote (in virtually 1:1 movement), and can fire your gun with the B button. Going from sword to gun is now a seamless process, and you can mix and match use of the two weapons mid-combo, offering something of a Devil May Cry-type mechanic but from the first-person perspective; this option alone is definitely something to get psyched about. Lastly, you'll be able block enemy attacks, including bullets, by pressing the A button and positioning your sword accordingly.

The depth doesn't stop there, however. Not only will the MotionPlus allow the game to track your actual control movements, but the game will also interpret the level of force with which you swing the remote. The development team will be implementing a calibration system into the game that will allow each individual player to modify the sensor to fit their specific needs. There will also be an option to have your character either auto target enemies or allow the player to lock-on manually.

Screenshots / Images

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