Review by BIOJECT
"Don't let the Wiimote trick you into buying this game!"
Introduction: Red Steel is a launch title for Nintendo's new game console, the Wii. For many months players had waited in anticipation for this game to hit stores ever since it was discovered that you could wield handguns and swords via the Wiimote! Yay right? Well unfortunately this game turns out to have been over hyped. What I expected the game to be and perhaps what you expected it to be will probably be drastically different than what you really get. In the next paragraphs I'll explain some of its cons and pros and whether or not this game is worth buying.
Graphics: Let's start with the way this game looks. Since my component cables haven't come in the mail yet, I am basing my judgment on how the game looks using composite cables on a 40' HDTV. The thing about the graphics in this game is that they vary from level to level. Some levels look worse or equal to a Gamecube or PS2 game, some look as good as an Xbox game, and some look wannabe next-gen. The look of the levels varies from the boring drab of the finance district to the awesome lighting and scenery of the final level.
Sound: The sound is very good. I played through the game with headphones and noticed lots of nice details like the sound of muffled rain pouring outside. Music-wise it excels a couple of times. Some of the tracks feel like they are right out of a Tokyo jrock band while other times you are listening to average background music. Overall I thought the music was fun and it added a lot during gunfights.
Story: The story was decent, but I never really enjoyed the cliche idea of having some random guy turned awesome-one-man-unstoppable-army-machine with no backstory or personality. He's just our average silent protagonist. Despite some reviews claiming that the story isn't that great, it's nothing special, but I don't think it was bad. The main antagonist of the story wasn't purely evil or good and fell more into the gray, which I tend to prefer in stories.
Gameplay: This is where the game lacks most. The idea of using a Wiimote to shoot baddies is awesome right? Well it's awesome in this game too. It took me close to an hour before I really started getting the hang of using the Wiimote for shooting. The core of the game has you running through linear levels while killing various bad guys to save your girlfriend who better give you some action for doing all of this for her. You use the Wiimote to shoot, aim, and fire your gun. Using the control pad you can switch between weapons, throw a grenade, or swing your sword. The nunchuk is used for moving your character, jumping, and crouching. You can also swing the nunchuk when close to an enemy to instantly dispatch him with a sword attack. During swordfights, you can parry and dodge moves with the nunchuk too.
Another part of the game I enjoyed adjacent the fun control scheme was the freeze-time ability. It was invaluable in getting me through the tough parts of the game. Unlike bullet time, when you use this ability, time freezes, you shoot all the enemies you can, and then unfreeze time, in which your character goes on a split second killing rampage.
So when does the game start to flush itself down a dirty toilet? Once you realize that the game is limited to "special" swordfights, linear and simple levels, and stupid AI; you become aware that there isn't much to this game. It's just an average everyday shooter slapped with omg, WII controls!!! Yep you can't just wield your sword naturally while one handing a gun, which was my impression of what to expect for this game. Only in special sword battles can you use the blade. This was probably my first downer for the game since I had originally thought you could use the sword whenever you wanted. During these sword fights, the game pretty much takes over your movement except for the ability to move from side to side slowly or quickly dodge an attack via the nunchuk. I found that the controls for the sword fights were very unresponsive. The unresponsiveness made the swordfights a lot more challenging than they were supposed to be. Later in the game you will have the ability to learn new moves. Sometimes when I would perform these moves, I would do something completely different or there would be a delay, which ended up getting me sliced. My best strategy for defeating enemies was to do one cheap move over and over again to break the guys sword since using the fancier moves were too cumbersome and impossible when the guy would most likely dodge or parry your attack anyways. After you have defeated your opponent, you have the option to either kill the guy or spare him to earn pointless respect points. The respect points will allow you to progress to the next mission even though I never really had a problem getting enough. I would have preferred just killing everybody.
Another element of the gameplay I really disliked was the lack of response to bullet hits when I shot an enemy. Sometimes when I shot an enemy in the chest with a sniper rifle, he would flinched and then go back to shooting. If I used other weapons such as a machine gun, even though the enemies were probably taking damage, they barely flinched or showed that they were taking hits. Only when I finally killed them would they react by flying backwards into a wall or falling off a ledge.
I could go on forever about the lack of blood. Regrettably there is no blood or gore in this game. Why was it called Red Steel then? I know that violence in games isn't always necessary, but imagine cutting off some guys head you just beat in a sword fight? The satisfaction especially if he was frustrating to defeat would have been memorable.
Next we have lots of glitches. Twice I either was forced to restart or died because of a glitch. There are tons of glitches and I can guarantee that there will be one waiting for you if you pick this game up. One glitch in particular I wanted to mention was when I was in a sword fight and a guy that wasn't even supposed to be there started shooting. There was no way for me to stop him and eventually I was killed. The glitch that is most notable happens after you have dispatched your opponent. The physics will go nuts and the guy will bounce back and forth causing slowdowns. Another one happens more often during cut scenes. Occasionally you will notice a part of the character either twitching rapidly or suddenly growing in size for a split second.
Lastly the AI was stupidly stupid. More than a dozen times enemies would just stand there or walk into a wall allowing me to pick them off with ease.
Afterthoughts: This game could have been great if it weren't for a few problems such as the unresponsive sword attacks, lack of detail when attacking enemies, glitches, and the fact that you can only use your sword in special sword fights. Blood would have been nice, but I guess they didn't want to get that mature rating. This game was obviously rushed to make the launch and one thing I really hate are rushed games. This game had a lot of potential. It turns out to just be an average shooter with linear levels, most of which are average looking, and for me the gameplay wasn't even that much fun after the Wiimote nostalgia wore off. Overall I recommend this game only if you are desperate for a FPS.
Rants: Why couldn't there have been various swords to collect? 1 to 1 sword fights? Large open levels?
Reviewer's Rating: 3.0 - Fair
Originally Posted: 11/27/06
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