Monday, November 1, 2010

Red Steel 2 Slashes Through The Clutter

It didn't do well as an initial release, selling about 270,00 copies by August 2010. But it was still one of the best action games ever created for the Wii, and plenty of people are hoping it sees a second life in the upcoming holiday season.

There is a reason IGN named Red Steel 2 the best shooting game of the year. The first person close combat game blends the Wild West and the Far East delivers everything you want in game with movement. The innovative interface, using Wii MotionPlus technology, makes for among the most realistic sword play with the secondary fun of fire power.

The arsenal? A 357 long arm, Tataro model 44 twin-barrel shotgun, Littlejohn KH-570 Tommy gun, and 42-SD level action sidewinder rifle. And of course, the weapon of choice that the game was made for — the Katana.

However, even more important than the rare alloy used to make the Katana are the moves you learn as the game progresses. You can stab, slash, parry, and even defend against bullets as they are fired at you with surprising accuracy. Later, you can propel enemies into the air and even set off an earthquake.

All these possibilities help make it a physical game as the Wii was intended. It also adds a brutality to the play, while keeping it relatively non-violent. The real magic is in the game's ability to keep up with player movements, still more precise than any game before it. It's also a level of interaction that future games ought to strive for, at least on the Wii.

The Immersive World Of Red Steel 2

The alternative world is richly developed and artistically rendered in the vein of an animated comic. The action takes place in Caldera, a town that wants to be a city in the baking heat of Nevada.

The empty streets are packed with Jackals, a motorcycle gang similar to the Road Warrior, with its similar blend of Western and Far East influences, it's nods to the future and the past. One of the primary adversaries, Payne, is even richly tattooed. And many enemies wear welder armor as defense.

The only apparent downside to the immersive world is the hub environment, which continually brings players back to the center before entertaining the next mission. Players seem to prefer environments that continually change and progress for the sense of mystery it creates the first time through. You never know what is coming next.

There is no such mystery in a straightforward story line. I didn't miss it for a minute. The benefit of a hub structure game is that it keeps you in the action. And, the environments do change slightly as you play through, just not at every chapter like most progression games.

Another element that is missing is the opportunity to play with a second person. Red Steel 2 would be an amazing game to play against real people, even if such play was confined to split screen dual mode. It's hard to fault the developers too much. Only Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon due out this month, offers shoulder-to-shoulder play (also by UBI Soft).

Red Steel 2 Slashes Its Way To 8.2 On The Liquid Hip Richter Scale.

Even more impressive, since the game from UBI Soft didn't sell heavy on the initial release, it's heavily discounted. On Amazon, Red Steel 2 is discounted 45 percent off the release price, making it the best game on the market for under $20. I only wish I played it sooner.

Red Steel 2 is also the kind of game that reminds me what we really want from console developers: the ability to plug in an additional flat screen television and enjoy some real local multiplayer gaming. I expect we'll have to wait for that. But we can still dream.
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