More than three years after the first Red Steel was unsheathed on the Wii, its pseudo-sequel has been officially dated. Following a major delay, Ubisoft confirmed this morning that Red Steel 2 will ship in North America on March 23 and in Europe on March 26. In the US, the game will retail for $50 a la carte or $60 with the Wii MotionPlus Wii Remote add-on. Those preordering the title at GameStop will receive two in-game swords as a bonus.
However, like its forebearer, Red Steel 2 will not offer the Kill Bill-style bloodletting its name implies. The game is rated a "high-end" T for Teen by the Entertainment Software Ratings Board, which flat-out says that "there is no blood and gore in the game (enemies stagger back instead of gushing apart)."
Given the ultraviolent nature of many Yakuza films, the first Red Steel was criticized by many reviewers for being too tame. However, Ubisoft has sidestepped those metaphorical slings and arrows by turning Red Steel 2 into an anime-like adventure with ultra-stylized cel-shaded visuals.
The new game's setting is also more fantastical, trading the original's urban environment for the futuristic-yet-retro town of Caldera, which blends both Western and samurai film elements. Players will assume the role of the katana-toting, cowboy-hat-wearing protagonist, who is charged with ridding Caldera of malevolent criminal gangs a la the classic film Yojimbo or its Western remake, A Fistful of Dollars.
Red Steel 2's gameplay is built around the Wii MotionPlus peripheral. The add-on improves real-time tracking and adds another axis to the Wii Remote, which players will use both as a sword and as a point-and-shoot gun, depending on the situation. Ubisoft claims that the sensitivity will let the game take into account factors such as the strength of a player's sword swing. GameSpot's latest hands-on preview has more details.