You Can Have My Steel
We've been on a bonanza of buying older Wii games to add to the collection. We avoided the original Red Steel on account of the awful reviews but wanted to try Red Steel 2, partly because it's one of the few games to use Wii Motion Plus. We're about halfway through but feel it's enough to put down some thoughts about it.
It's a perfectly functional if somewhat generic game. The motion controls irk at first, swordplay isn't mapped one to one to the Wiimote, the reason for this is so that a multitude of attacks can be mapped to flick, twisting, holding and tapping buttons in combinations with flails. After a couple of hours the controls become second nature and every enemy encounter can be played a number of different ways similar to the encounters in Resident Evil 4. It's not quite mindless and if you aren't paying attention every enemy goon can take you out.
Oddly, the game just sort of starts. There's very little in the way of introduction or story and for the opening levels we couldn't help but feel that the game was on the shallow side. The level design and quest structure do give Red Steel 2 a bit more depth but quite quickly a feeling of going through the motions sets in. Basically, you do the same thing over and over again in each area. Find the Sheriff, find Tits (see below), collect some gubbins, destroy some other gubbins, activate the communication beacons, upgrade your shit, fight some mobs, fight a boss. Move to the next level. Rinse. Repeat six times.
The visual style and sound design reminded us a lot of the solid PS2 title XIII but unfortunately the game doesn't reach the same heights. Destroying boxes, barrels and bottles for enough cash to upgrade items, weapons and armour very quickly gets monotonous. There's a drip feed of enemy types to try to force using different attacks but once you unlock some of the better moves there's little reason to mix it up.
The exploration side of the game pads out the playtime and hunting out well hidden cash items does make you check each zone carefully. Transitions from area to area hide the loading screens behind suspiciously long time door opening animations.
The western samurai setting is a great idea but sadly one that's a bit wasted in this game that goes through the motions but never truly excites or challenges. However, considering you can find this game for as little as £5 new, we'd recommend giving it a try. At that price point it doesn't really matter but we'd have hated to have splashed out full price for it.