|System: Wii||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Ubisoft Paris||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Ubisoft||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: March 23, 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
While the lack of complete one-to-one sword slashing is a bit disappointing, the swordplay in Red Steel 2 is still rather satisfying and works immeasurably better than it did in the original. This is partially due to the game's camera and the variety of attacks at your disposal. When faced with an enemy the camera will intelligently lock on to them, making it easy to maneuver about while still swinging your sword. Switching between foes is also incredibly simple, requiring only a single button press. This leaves you free to unleash the slew of attacks you'll earn throughout the course of your adventure quickly and easily, without having to worry about nausea.
To begin with, your nameless hero is pretty mundane, with only the most basic of attacks open to him. As you progress through the game's mandatory missions and collect cash by completing optional side quests, you'll unlock a variety of new combos and abilities to use to your advantage. Some will be learned at specific points along the way, while others will need to be purchased from in-game stores with the loot you've accumulated. Either way, once unlocked you'll be trained in all of their uses, which is actually quite helpful considering most require a combination of several techniques and good timing. The rate at which you unlock these moves, and the sheer number of them, certainly helps to keep the combat from getting stale throughout the course of this eight to ten hour experience.
As I stated, you'll be able to take on a variety of missions, each in the form of wanted posters at your hideout. Some are essential to progressing through the game while others are entirely optional, although, it never hurts having the extra money you'll earn by completing them. The missions play out fairly linearly, having you move between what are essentially a series of small arenas disguised as sections of towns. Getting a mission from your hideout, walking through a few arenas and busting heads, activating something or killing someone, and then returning back to the hideout for more missions can also tend to get a little tedious. Thankfully, the enjoyable combat and little distractions such as a nifty safecracking mini-game that has you tilting the Wii Remote and listening for an odd click in its speaker help to somewhat alleviate this monotony. But once you've run through the game once, there is very little left for a player to do. There's no multiplayer, just a challenge mode that will run you back through the levels you've already played in order to unlock medals based on the amount of money you earn during them.
While Red Steel 2 is vastly superior to the original in just about every way, it still has its share of problems. Swordplay is very enjoyable and has enough variety to keep you entertained, yet one-to-one sword fighting is still not an option. The new East meets West aesthetic provides a fairly unique backdrop for the game, but the environments are incredibly linear and segmented. Getting new abilities is fun and opens up new options to keep the combat feeling fresh, but to get all the cash you'll need to unlock them, you'll have to continue to perform the same few tedious side mission types. Red Steel 2 has definitely taken some great strides forward for the series, but there is still plenty of room left for improvement if there's going to be a Red Steel 3.
CCC Staff Contributor