Review by wolverinefan

"Controls ruin what could have been a decent game"

Red Steel was one of the games at E3 that just didn't interest me. Despite bad reviews I actually wanted to try the game out when I got my Wii. I was surprised to have this game ship to me the same day I added it to my queue with my online rental plan. Maybe I got lucky or maybe it was an omen since as of a week and a half later I still haven't gotten another Wii game from them. Oh boy was I in for a rude awakening. Is the game amazing or is it a dud? Read on!

You're some random guy who is about to meet his Asian girlfriends father. Some thugs show up, kidnap her and now this average boy will become an amazing gun and sword fighter. Yes, it's cheesy. Yes, it's cliché. And no, it really isn't interesting. I've seen this story unfold so many times that no matter what it tried to do I was bored by it and you can't skip the cut scenes. Hell, the characters even have really bad accents, so bad I had to groan. It seriously feels like a badly dubbed foreign flick.

The graphics in the game are a mixed bag. Almost like it was meant to be a last gen title and was changed mid way and no work went into those older stages. Some stages look pretty good but others are terrible. There are moments of clipping and other glitches. I hate how the levels load two to three times and the game comes to a stand still when a checkpoint is reached. Just a poor presentation for a next gen title. Even the cut scenes are iffy as some are comic book style still frames and others are badly done in game graphics. Some stuff does look good though but it's too little and not often enough. So far out of all of the Wii games none have impressed me with their graphics.

The sound in the game isn't too bad. The voice work is cheesy and the Asian accents had me laughing. The sound effects are pretty cool. The Wiimote's speaker is used for gun and sword sounds so that was cool. They do sound kind of muffled though. Music in the game is a mix. I enjoyed the J-rock sound of some of the songs but they were too far and few between. Rest of the music was forgettable. Not that it's bad but it just felt like back ground noise while the J-rock music really came to life.

The control in the game is its biggest problem. In other consoles it's okay if the control isn't perfect but when it comes to the Wii it really needs to be near perfect and Red Steel is far from that. You move using the analog stick on the nun chuck. This works well. The top button is jump and the bottom button is crouch. Easy to do. The problem comes in with the camera control. You turn and look around with the Wiimote. This should have been smooth and steady but instead it's jerky and almost made me sick. No matter what sensitivity setting I put it on I couldn't take it. Easy was way too slow moving and stiff. Normal was a bit smoother but was too loose. Hard was very loose. I think the problem comes from using one thing for both turning and aiming. Yes, other games do it well but to aim you really need to hold the A button to go into aim mode but the camera mode seems to get stuck between both of those modes. I really don't think I can put into words how frustrating I found the camera and it isn't like I spend 20 minutes or so with the game because I spent a lot of time with it and just couldn't get the hang of it. Finally it got to the point where more than 15 minutes would give me a headache and I just gave up. You shoot with the Z button which is cool. Sword controls having you swing the Wiimote. Very simple and easy and yet it isn't always that responsive. Seems to be a problem with most of the Wii games that I have played.

My first thought on how this game would play was that I could switch between the sword and the guns at will. That it was all in my hands. That's not the case here. You can only sword fight in predetermined sword fights. That's kind of stupid and defeats the purpose. Wouldn't it be awesome to hop into a room of gun totting bad guys and take them down with your sword? Yeah, not possible in this game. They do give you plenty of chances with the sword though so that is a plus. It just would have been way cooler to unleash your sword moves whenever you wanted. And really how does an average guy know such good sword fighting skills?

The game is split up in 14 stages over three acts. The stages are mostly linear with windy turns and if there are multiple paths the others just lead to dead end rooms. Not like you walk down a huge hallway or anything but you open the door and it's an empty room. Yeah, it's that lame. Some of the areas do seem large and I guess it's better to have those open rooms than having every room locked but really, it makes the game feel more linear than it should. Actually it reminds me of Capcom's weird title “Killer 7”.

That isn't even the only problem with the game. The enemy ai is really dumb. They will stand there and wait for you to kill them. Then a few seconds later another enemy may take advantage of using cover and provide a some what decent challenge. The entire game is like this. It's either hit or miss. I personally don't want super smart AI that will cause me too many woes but come on, is it that hard to make them at least not stand there with their thumbs up there butt doing nothing?

The sword fighting is decent but bland until you learn new moves but I really didn't care for it that much. Shooting a gun is pretty easy and if the control was better it would be a whole lot smoother. There is a decent gun selection though but only one sword. Seems like the sword bits were added on when they decided to move the game to the Wii. I'm actually surprised because I tend to enjoy Ubisoft games but they have made some games I just didn't care for.

The game is average length, about 7 hours and I can't remember if there are any extra modes besides split screen which I couldn't use due to only having one set of controllers so I can't help those who are looking for multiplayer features. I haven't really heard any complaints though so I guess that's a good sign.

I really regret renting this game. It's far from good. There are so many flaws and the sad thing is, if it spent 3 more months in development every problem could have been fixed and it would have been a pretty good game. However, as it stands it's very average at best, maybe even a bit below average due to the control. The control alone is the reason for the score that I've given this game. If it had at least had better aiming than I would have at least found the game more playable but as it stands it really detracts from the overall gaming experience. I wish Ubisoft would get their heads straight because lately they have been releasing some less than stellar titles but at least they aren't at the level of disappointment that EA is at. Now that I think about it, the older game “XIII” would make a sweet Wii game. Maybe they should have made its sequel instead of this game and the sad thing is that red Steel out sold XIII.

Story - 4/10
Graphics - 5/10
Sound - 7/10
Control - 5/10
Game Play - 6/10
Replay Value - 3/10

Final Score - 5/10

Reviewer's Rating:   2.5 - Playable

Originally Posted: 04/02/07

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