I've made a challenge for myself, it is called the Game Break Challenge. Starting from now I will play and complete 50 games, when I have completed all 50 I must take a year long break from video games. I know this sounds like the ramblings of a lunatic but I want to give it a chance. If I stopped playing video games I would be left with a huge void I could fill with all new things, I could take up fishing or something. If anything this would be the perfect chance to read and watch the great films and books I have dodged over the years. The challenge starts next week, until then here is the last game I played before taking on this challenge.
Red Steel 2 is the sequel to the incredibly mediocre and drab Wii launch title Red Steel. With the memory of the first game fading away Ubisoft did the right thing and rebooted the series, moving away from the Yakuza concept in favour of something more original. Red Steel 2 takes place in a setting reminiscent of the TV show Firefly where Western and Eastern cultures have fused together to create an Asian Wild West world where men battle each other with Six-shooters and Katana's. The developers rectified many if not all the issues with the original game, Red Steel 2 is better than the first in every conceivable way.
Red Steel had control issues due to the Wii remote, the aiming was inaccurate and the sword play just did not work at all with unresponsive controls deciding the outcome by chance. It would be wrong to blame all of the problems in the original Red Steel on controls, even if Red Steel had been on the PS2 the poor gameplay and design would ultimately purge the game into the Average at best category. With the motion + add on the Wii controller is only now living up to its potential, Red Steel 2 was to be the game to live up to said potential but to be honest it is only half way there.
The motion + makes your gun aim perfectly and while the sword combat is accurate it still boils downs to flinging your arm from side to side like you are at a Piñata party.
The cel-shaded graphical style of the game makes it more visually appealing and attractive than its predecessor but as far as the Wii is concerned anything aiming for a realistic style may as well not bother.
The story and narrative structure is linear with the gist of it boiling down to “go here, do this, come back for your next mission”, a repetitive structure which gives the player the same set of tasks again and again, this problem falls on the side missions with each one being a variant of “destroy x number of these, find x number of these, kill x number of bad guys”. It comes down to is the game needlessly padding itself out. Take the side missions away and the game becomes short, and not Portal short where the game is no longer than it needs to be, Red Steel 2 is the type of short where you feel there is some wasted potential.
A lot of the potential is lost in the lack of challenge provided. The upgrades can over power your character making him near invincible. The sword techniques you learn is where all challenge is lost, half way through the game you learn a move called The Tiger, a move capable of blocking all attacks and breaking the enemies guard, once you have this technique the game becomes an exercise tool for your arm, even bosses bow down to the power of The Tiger.
I do like Red Steel 2 but it often comes off as being designed by a committee following a check list. Quick Time Events are used in one cut scene just for the sake of it. Many things in Red Steel 2 seem to be there for the sake of it. Maybe the developers had to pass a cliché test before the game could be released.
Despite all the flaws Red Steel 2 is still one of the stronger 3rd party titles on the Wii.