Review by HikoSeijuro755
"It has it's flaws, but why can't I stop playing it?!"
Red Steel has been both heavily criticized and praised by reviewers. There are many factors to take into account with Ubisoft's FPS launch title for the Wii, and despite a good many flaws, a good, fun product has been the result. Let's get down to it:
The Graphics in Red Steel are far from something stellar. They don't leave an awe-inspiring effect like those found in the Resident Evil series on the Wii's predecessor, the Game Cube, and they certainly don't appear to be anything special for a new-gen. system in general, however, there are still good points to take into account. Some of the scenic effects, like flowing water and sun beams leave a strong impression, and the graphic novel interludes between stages are fairly well done (although not as impressive as that of the Max Payne series. Moving objects during these interludes seem to have a very rushed animation as well). I feel the graphics could have been improved as there were some obvious small shortcuts made with textures to make sure the game was released in time for launch. Overall, a decent effort.
The music and sound in Red Steel has some new innovations which are brought about by the Wii's new technology. With the new Wii-mote's built-in speaker, the sound effects of this game are enhanced in many ways. When reloading, sound is routed to the Wii-mote, immersing the player in the game, and the same effect happens at some other points. An interesting addition, is that of the "objective mode" in multi-player, where each player receives orders to follow and must put the remote to their ear to hear. A nice innovation which helps immerse the player in the world of Red-Steel (despite being in multi-player). The music itself is fairly standard traditional Japanese music, or simply not there at all, although at points it can be found to jump into something a bit different, such as J-Pop fairly early in the game. I found the developers to give a solid effort coming to the sound effects in particular, although the music was excellent as well.
The controls seem to be the most heavily criticized part of Red Steel. With the strong emphasis on the use of a peripheral which players are probably not yet accustomed with, as well as a high default sensitivity, it is not hard to imagine that this game has a high learning curve. It takes about an hour of being slaughtered by anything more than one enemy at a time to really adjust, but once you do, it actually feels fairly natural, and some may even prefer it to the standard controls of most console First Person Shooters. Using the Wii-mote as a cross-hair is not as intimidating as many may think, once gotten used to. As for the actual game-play portion, the shooting is fantastic, and with some weapons (the shotgun in particular), there seems to be a strange feeling of empowerment behind pointing and shooting yourself and seeing bodies fly in several directions. The grenade throwing system is different as well, using the wii-mote as a method of preparing a grenade and the nunchuk to actually throw it. I was disappointed unfortunately by the sword duels which many people were excited for. Feeling somewhat sluggish and unresponsive, most fights can be won simply by swinging the sword wildly, not allowing the enemy to attack (eventually resulting in hits), and the counter-attacking is fairly un-needed. This ultimately results in the game reverting to another FPS, since the vast majority of the game involves guns anyhow. The health system highly resembles that of Halo 2, where if you're hit but hide for a few seconds, your health gauge will restore. There was some glitching that I encountered every now and then while trying to aim, although this was fairly minimal for the most part, and didn't effect game-play a tremendous amount. All in all, once the controls are gotten used to, the game is strangely addicting and I can't put it down. It's thoroughly entertaining, although the replay value is lackluster at best (at least for single player)
I was unfortunately not impressed at all by the story in Red Steel. You are the Fiance of the daughter of a powerful Yakuza Godfather. When going to dinner with both your fiance and her powerful father, a group of men from a rival clan suddenly show up to kill the rival crime lord. Ultimately, it ends up being the standard "guy saves girl" type thing, where you're a one many army. There are more plot developments as the game goes on, but every single one of them seem to give the same "rushed" feel that basically gives you an excuse to go crazy shooting and stabbing people.
All in all, Red Steel is a very solid effort for a launch title. Although many flaws are prevalent, it is very possible to look past them and enjoy the game for what it is: A first person shooter designed for the Nintendo Wii and it's new innovations.
Final score: 7/10
Reviewer's Score: 7/10 | Originally Posted: 11/22/06
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