Review by ShyningFade

"Satoooooooooo!"

Red Steel is a very important title for the Wii. From the first day it was announced, the hype began to build until it was about ready to burst. And while I feel the hype might have raised people's expectations a bit too high, it still stands are an above average launch title that shows promise for games to come.

Game play:

In standard first person fashion, Red Steel is all about killing tons of baddies single-handedly while using a wide array of weapons at your disposal. However, in an attempt to differentiate itself from the pack, Red Steel brings some new features into the mix, including the highly anticipated swordplay feature.

But before we get ahead of ourselves, let's take a look at Red Steel's bread and butter - the classic FPS style game play. Using the remote as a pointer and the nunchuck as your movement, players navigate the game's levels while dispatching enemies along the way.

At first, Red Steel takes a bit of getting used to. It's not as "pick up and play" as Nintendo or Ubisoft might have hoped, but with some practice, becomes a new way to enjoy cappin' baddies. The first problem with this, is the bugginess that rears it's ugly head the moment you start the game. The cursor tends to jump from time to time, and can cause some headaches and a lot of frustration. But thanks to some fixes from the handy message board patrons, all of those cursor hijinks can be nullified by shutting both the rumble and speaker volume off. Unfortunately, it's quite a trade off when you have to lose two features that add quite a bit to the overall experience.

Regardless, once you have those glitches out of the way, you'll find that the aiming is quick and precise, and the headshots will come quickly as you skill increases. Turning might cause problems for some, but as with everything else in this game, patience is a virtue. All in all, the turning/aiming system works nicely - if you take the time to get the most out of it.

The button layout is nice as well, as easy to remember. The C button functions are your jump, and the Z button below it allows you to crouch. A quick flick of the remote allows you to reload your weapon as well. It's unfortunate that more features weren't mapped to the nunchuck as they were in Call of Duty 3, and makes weapon swapping more uncomfortable than it should be, as you have to reach up and press left on the remote's dpad. The same applies for grenades, which use down on the dpad to activate. A nice feature though, is the ability to lob your grenades with an overhead swipe, or roll them with an underhanded one.

For the most part, Red Steel's shooting mechanics work nicely and should please most players. The levels have a ton of hiding places to let players avoid fire, which is a good thing since there are always a ton of enemies after you. This makes for some pretty intense firefights that almost always has you scrambling frantically for cover.

The swordplay, despite being the game's selling feature, doesn't fare as well.
Swordplay mechanics are stiff and often unresponsive, and when paired with cheap enemies, can lead to a lot of frustration. I found myself breezing through the initial sword fights, but later in the game they become very demanding and downright annoying. Another flaw with the sword fights, is that they never flow with the pacing of the level. For instance, you'll clear out a room with a ton of enemies and be on a great adrenaline rush, and then you'll stumble across someone with a sword. And in Red Steel, if someone has a sword, you HAVE to sword fight them. No way around it, and it completely destroys any flow the game might have created.

Special moves are yet another problem point - due to the precision required to perform the moves, you will find yourself doing the wrong motion time and time again, which if you haven't guessed it by now, becomes very frustrating.

The lack of options (No difficulty selection?) and the inability to skip the cut-scenes reduces the replay value as well, which is a shame because the shooting segments are great fun, and a lot of levels are well designed and very entertaining.

Graphics and Sound:

On a positive note, the graphics are pretty nice. The textures may be bland and low-res, but the levels themselves are nice to look at. Watching the sunlight creep through trees and windows shows off the nice lighting effects that Ubisoft was able to create for this game. Character models look nice as well although some are downright disturbing. Rabbit level, I'm looking at you.

And even though the shooting segments are the highlight of the game, I'll have to give a big thumbs up to the music. I doubt that I would have had as much fun as I did with the game if it weren't for the music. Very upbeat and energetic, it's a nice change of pace from the now generic scores that plague shooters. Does everything have to have a full, dramatic score to be engaging? No, and Red Steel proves that point nicely.

Voice acting on the other hand, it pretty atrocious. I daresay it'll go down in history with games like the original Resident Evil when it comes to low quality voice acting. At the very least, it's pretty amusing. Especially the warped cameo by the Raving Rabbids. You can never have enough of dem Rabbids.

Closing Thoughts:

Overall, Red Steel is a good game. A flawed game, but a good game nonetheless. It would have been much better as a solid FPS, instead of the FPS/Sword fighter hybrid that they attempted to create. But if there's anything that can be said about Red Steel, is that it shows tremendous promise for future sequels. After all, that's what launch titles are all about.

Pros:
*Shooting segments are extremely fun
*Above average graphics
*Excellent non-licensed soundtrack
*The Rabbit level!

Cons:
*Sword fighting could and should be a lot better than it is
*Way too many glitches
*Can be frustrating at parts
*AI is a little sketchy at times
*Inconsistent graphics


Reviewer's Score: 6/10 | Originally Posted: 03/02/07


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