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Red Steel 2 (Wii)

on . Posted in Video Games

{tab=Story} Red Steel 2 is a first-person shooter video game developed by Ubisoft Paris for the Wii video game console. It is the sequel to Red Steel. The game was released on March 23, 2010 in North America and in Europe on March 26, 2010. {tab=Review} I love, nay, cherish my Wii. In fact, I just traded in my warranty-lacking 360 for store credit toward more Wii games. I'm not saying there haven't been rough patches between me and my Wii. However, the following is one of the shining reasons people bought the pasty white box in the first place. It's not an understatement to declare that Red Steel 2 represents the greatest advancement in motion controls since the Wii's release. Unfortunately, the game also proves that even a great mechanic can't carry an entire game.

The motion controls are difficult to describe. They're, of course, not completely 1:1. But it's a monumental leap forward. I could have done without the "special," over-the-top, fantastical moves (e.g., causing a miniature earthquake and windstorm). For those Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter aficionados, supernatural, impossible attacks are available. But the meat of the combat centers on parrying, sidestepping, stabbing, and striking. Honestly, God of War's fighting mechanics seem impossibly dated after waltzing into a room and gracefully cutting down a room full of, err... samurai cowboys.

Sadly, combat is where most of Red Steel 2's perks end. The story is instantly disposable. Thankfully, developers allow one to skip each and every cut scene. Trust me, you'll be using it after the first couple of coughed-up lines of dialogue. To the game's credit, It's not hard to understand why the story is so incomprehensibly silly. Red Steel 2's setting is a tad difficult to pin down. It's a mash-up of Western and Samurai motifs set in an alternate future. It truly makes no sense. Do yourself a favor and skip everything that's not an FMV.

At a cursory glance, you'd swear you were looking at a 360 title. Graphically, the game appears crisp; textures and animations are clean as a whistle. And it's all squandered. The art and level design are some of the worst I've seen since Twisted Metal 3. Essentially, when you strip down the glitzy perimeter, the character gets to move around a series of squares, rectangles, and alley strips loosely connected by lengthy door animations. Most of the visual flair consists of walls decorated with Western imagery.

The drab environments are exasperated by ungodly load times between these zones. I felt like I was playing a first-generation PS1 game. But that might be an insult to those titles. There are a few places that make the player wait to get into a closet-sized room, and to go further, the player has to wait again! I've never experienced anything like it. At least Resident Evil's original transitional door animations built suspense.

One could make the argument that Red Steel 2 tried to be too many things at the same time. For those who have played the game, I know the statement is laughable. The story and level design could have been designed by the same 12-year-old who came up with the Samurai-Western-Future theme. Why couldn't this game simply be a sword-fighting simulator? There are entire games devoted to, say, boxing, right? Why bother with subpar levels and narrative? The main "quest" consists of enemies one has to kill as an excuse to move forward to kill more enemies. Each and every side-quest in which players engage is a fetch-quest. They're not even creative. For example, each zone requires one to dismantle 10 WANTED signs and to activate a handful of "communication towers." Thrilling.

At its best, Red Steel 2 gives players a sense of katana-wielding power that would make George Lucas blush. However, virtually every other aspect of the game is mishandled. Honestly, a single virtue may be appealing to some who just want an excuse to mow down more villains. I believe that's what the developers had in mind, which, by itself, is just fine with me; the motion controls are indeed breathtaking. Nevertheless, since players are forced to spend half of their valuable time waiting on areas to load, the whole experience begins to fall apart.

Red Steel 2 is a tragedy. It's simultaneously a game every Wii owner should experience and unfathomably tedious. Who's going to run out and buy it when they see my score? Take it from a nobody writer on an obscure website. Give this one a rental, a transaction that I guarantee you won't regret.

6 out of 10 {tab=Videos} {/tabs}