Review by X64888
"Deserves much more respect than it receives"
Red Steel was possibly the second most-hyped game of the Wii's release right behind Twilight Princess. People's expectations were high, and many were pessimistic. I bought it among the hype even after reading all the negative comments about it being overhyped and horrible. Expecting glitches, ugly graphics, and horrible controls, I was surprised, and glad I was so far off from the rumors.
Among the first few levels and select areas of other levels, the textures are a bit bland. However, the majority of the levels have very nice "weaves" and colors. Some of the graphics do feel a little rushed, but it is a major improvement over Gamecube graphics. The overall backdrops of most stages look beautiful, and have a distinct Japanese theme that many are sure to appreciate. I found myself admiring the textures as I walked through the game, sometimes even stopping altogether just to stare at ceilings, or the objects scattered around the game. I did sometimes find myself disliking a few textures, as they have "blobs" of color which easily could have been worked out if Ubisoft stuck more time into it. Enemies look good, as well as the guns. They're nothing over Gamecube graphics, but they work among the backgrounds.
The sound is all right. Each gun makes a different noise, and the enemies all make different comments depending on the stage you're in and the actions you perform. Such memorable phrases include, "He's gone!" "Get him!" "Gaijin!". Not exactly creative, but it gets the job done. A unique feature manifests itself inside the wiimote; when certain things happen, it will play certain sounds. Things such as your cellphone ringing and your gun reloading are two of the examples. While these wiimote sounds are a bit grainy if the sound is turned up too high, adjusting it to around 3 bars will make it very immersive. The music is where the sound excels. The techno-japanese music alongside the chanting helps draw the player into the game quite well. It's almost possible to feel yourself walking through the neon-drenched streets.
The main attraction to Red Steel will be the new style of control. Pointing the wiimote at the TV will move the cursor around, and a trigger on the bottom of the wiimote will fire. This new approach is extremely fun to use, but has a steep learning curve; however, after it is passed, the controls become the major immersing point. The satisfaction of aiming and taking down an enemy knows no bounds. The swordplay is a bit awkward; the sensor definitely doesn't sense everything as it should be. When it does sense everything, though, it can prove to be a very fun experience. You can block attacks, dodge, and slash your way through other sword-carrying lackeys. Waving your wiimote or nunchuck accomplishes different things. Vertical or horizontal wiimote strokes (yes or no respectively) will fufill "yes or no" questions, which is an interesting concept, and is oddly fun. Other uses include an up/down motion of the nunchuck to open doors. Waving to enemies to drop their guns (after shooting their hands), pushing buttons, pulling switches, blocking swords with a tanto... you get the point. The controls do not disappoint!
Enemies are a bit stupid and will sometimes run straight into the open, making them easy targets for your gun. However, later in the game, enemies start developing decent strategies and good accuracy, making it quite a bit more difficult. The sword-carrying enemies will rather be ridiculously easy or needlessly hard. However, since they all swing their sword in a pattern, learning certain enemy behavior patterns can make all the fights easy. Unfortunately, you can't brandish your sword and swing wildly against gun-wielding enemies, though; you must get close and wait for the sword-action sign to appear on them beforehand. This can get a bit annoying, and will probably seem pointless given the amount of ammo spread throughtout the levels. There is a special move that allows you to temporarily freeze time and fire away at enemies. You can kill them or disarm them this way.
You are a protagonist named Scott, your fiancee has been kidnapped by Yakuza gang members, and her father's dying wish to you is to rescue his daughter. It sounds like your generic "save your girl" plot, but there were some pleasant plot twists that made it better than I expected. Since Scott is dealing with Yakuza, there's plenty of deceitful things going around. Semi-generic story, some decent plot twists. Well, at least it all fits.
Replayability (6 or 9/10):
For an action game, the length is good. The first story run will probably take around 9 hours or less. Rankings are given out at the end of each missions, so those who must be perfect will get lots of time out of this. There's also a split screen multiplayer mode. If you've got buddies who play this or love to perfect your games; 9/10. If you're the guy who likes to go through once, and occasionally go through another stage; 6/10
It's a must-have for any action/shooter fan and will definitely please. Certain shortcomings, such as a few rushed textures and stupid-to-decent enemy AI somewhat push the game down, but the beautiful scenery, immersive music, and fun controls net this game a 9/10.
Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 02/05/07
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