With its heavy focus on first-person swordfighting, the original Red Steel was met with disappointment from those expecting the Wii Remote to deliver precise replications of their every gesture when the system first launched. The time between then and now has proved that the remote was never really suited for those high hopes, but now that the Wii MotionPlus attachment has been released, there's a new opportunity for developers looking to deliver on those early ambitions. Naturally, Ubisoft is looking to do this with Red Steel 2. We just checked out a quick demo at GamesCom 2009 after first seeing the game at the Electronic Entertainment Expo this past June.
What's New: We had the opportunity to see 10 or so minutes from a new level in the game. Red Steel 2 features an entirely new story and setting, going to a sort of samurai-themed version of the Wild West. The new level takes place in a mining town built into the steep walls of a large canyon. You need to extend a bridge in order to cross the canyon and get to a point of interest on the other side. To do that, you'll need to venture deep into enemy territory to activate a switch. Along the way are typical grunt enemies that can be done away with by using simple swordplay, but new to this level were the more advanced ninja enemies that require much more patience in the way you fight them.
The ninjas are adept at blocking your attacks, which means it's not enough to just swipe at them all willy-nilly. But they do have a weakness, which is in the way they block you--it'll change around depending on your last attack, so you can sort of plan your next one accordingly. Get them to block their head with a high slash, then go with a low stabbing motion to stab their torso. The Wii MotionPlus makes a significant difference in the way you can pull off these gestures and feels much more accurate than any Wii swordfighting game to date.
What's Different: Nothing seems to have been changed since the last time we saw Red Steel 2.
What's The Same: One thing we saw a hint of last time that bears repeating are the energy wave attacks you can use after upgrading your abilities over the course of the game. Basically, you hold A and B to charge an energy ball at the end of your sword, then make a horizontal swiping motion to fling it like a Frisbee. This will stun strong enemies like the ninjas and let you dash at them for a few quick flurries. If you want extra style points, you can go with an upward swipe when releasing the energy blast to fling the enemy into the air and then jump up and slice him up in the air.
What Impression The Game Made This Time: We were surprised by how well the controls worked in Red Steel 2. It'll be a good litmus test for how well this new peripheral works in fast-paced action games. Nintendo has already proved it can work well enough in sports minigames with Wii Sports Resort, so now we'll have to see how Ubisoft does with it.