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Jeremy Jastrzab
24 Mar, 2010

Red Steel 2 Preview

Wii Preview | Steel yourself for an improvement.
While Red Steel had a mixed critical reception, it did pretty well commercially. This makes it a bit more surprising that we’ve had to wait over three years for someone to copy the intriguing gun-and-sword play-style, and it’s from none other than Ubisoft themselves. Apparently, it was the lacking technology that has bottle-necked the potential for development, but this will hopefully change with the implementation of the Wii Motion Plus technology and the release of Red Steel 2. Recently, we had some hands-on time with the game.

Red Steel 2 is only a sequel in name. Gone is the B-grade Yakuza/martial arts action flick, with a clash of Eastern and Western cultures and in is the Samurai Spaghetti Western (which we imagine is similar to the film, Sukiyaki Western Django), with a clash of Eastern and Western cultures… So it’s quite a different setting this time around. Gone are the neon-lights of Tokyo, replaced with the Wild West and Feudal Japanese buildings, and a cel-shaded style. The result looks like a mix between Afro Samurai and Borderlands. And from what we saw, it was an intriguing mix but one that mightn't have a vast appeal.

We didn’t get much on the story, which has something about a silent protagonist in a red trench coat (slightly reminiscent of Vash the Stampede), who has lost an important sword and needs to go slice hockey-masked bad guys driving around dojos on motorbikes to get it back. But really, it doesn’t seem that you’ll be in it just for the riveting story. Because in truth, it’s not going to be the main attraction.

It's a Western! Of course there are trains and tragic falls!

It's a Western! Of course there are trains and tragic falls!
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It’s the Motion Plus controls that we’re all interested about, isn’t it? While the original game had controls that were serviceable (mind you, they improved as you played, along with the game design), the technology makes for a remarkable improvement. Furthermore, it seems to have allowed for an interesting mould of wielding a gun and sword at the same time. This is opposed to the scripted moments in original game, where you’d either be running and gunning, or pulling out your sword when a sword fight came along. Why not just shoot the guy with the sword? That would have been dishonourable, duh!

The best we can say at this early stage was that the gunplay was very accurate and responsive with the technology, where we were able to get a handle over it quite quickly and rarely were found wanting. This could have been attributable to a better, and at times, less complicated design, but in Red Steel 2, it’s not just about one weapon or the other. It was very easy to forget that you have both weapons out, as a lot of people tended to play gun-only or sword-only.

Thanks to the new technology, your swordplay is quite accurate and responsive. We don’t remember a single instance where our action didn’t come off because it wasn’t recognised, but only when we’d done it incorrectly. Once you've got a grip of how it's meant to work, the sword play is accurate and engaging. The setup is such that you pretty much have both weapons out and ready at all times. It makes for an interesting combination, as for example, you can shoot an enemy lunging towards you and then perform a finisher on them when they’re on the ground. Still, enemies will get more complex, such as being armour clad but you will be continuously learning new techniques as you play in order to deal with them.

You're in for it now...

You're in for it now...
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In terms of structure, the game is laid out in a similar style to Borderlands. So this relates to how you pick up your missions, and the involvement of a bit of light (and less random) looting, as well as a number of colourful personalities. Be warned though, there are quick time events present as well. Red Steel 2 will be a single player only affair though. While this may be a little disappointing to some, we’re pretty sure that the multiplayer from the original Red Steel wasn’t ever played that much…

Red Steel 2 seems to be as an extreme a blend of the East and West as you could get. A cel-shaded style and highly caricatured setting may put some people off, but in the least, it’s trying something wholly fresh. That, and for those who have already invested in Wii Motion Plus, Red Steel 2 looks to be one of the more compelling reasons yet to showcase the true gaming potential of motion control. This just might be the game to show developers just what is possible on the Wii. So while we won’t know about the overall game until its impending release, we’re quietly confident that Ubisoft have at least got the technology in order.
Overall:
Red Steel 2 showcases a massive technical improvement, and we're not far away from seeing whether it has the gameplay to match it.

Related Red Steel 2 Content

Red Steel 2 Review
26 Apr, 2010 Great Western Samurai Django. With Motion Plus.
Red Steel 2: Making of Okaji
19 Apr, 2010 Big. Bad. Angry.
Red Steel 2 launch trailer
27 Mar, 2010 *Pow* *bang* *boom* *crash*
2 Comments
4 years ago
That first screenshot doesn't look like Back to the Future III or anything...
4 years ago
Well played the game and must say its not that great.
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  Pre-order or buy:
    PALGN recommends: www.Play-Asia.com

Australian Release Date:
  25/03/2010 (Confirmed)
Standard Retail Price:
  $79.95 AU
Publisher:
  UBI Soft
Genre:
  Shooter
Year Made:
  2008
Players:
  1

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