You will never be able to put the remote down! Red Steel has a lot of potential in it and lots of fun to play!
Alaarajab wrote this review on .
I've been watching the development of Red Steel for awhile as I was quite intrigued to play an action game where I would be fused together with my onscreen counterpart, shooting and slicing my way through hordes of enemies and trying to decide who I will shoot and who I will slice. But the reality soon came crashing down around me: the game will decide who I can slice, not me. If my enemy has a sword, I will meet him with my blade. I'm all for honor but I'd prefer to just shoot some of these samurai dudes. Unfortunately that's the not the worst of it.
It's not an unplayable game by any means but there are all kinds of unpolished elements that just make it appear rushed at best and unfinished at worst. During the gameplay you'll witness clipping, floating characters, stuck characters, slowdown and unfair and inconsistent AI which will see them standing around waiting to be killed, sniping you from unseen areas and other frustrating trials. Some other elements conspire to erode any realism the game may generate. The levels are linear and you are forced into swordplay whenever you're confronted by an enemy wielding a blade – even though you may have a couple of guns on your person. Not only can't you use your guns but you can't even shoot at one of these swordsmen from a distance as the bullet will just go through him. Is this game trying to enforce chivalry? I say you should be able to use whatever you've got in inventory. To paraphrase the classic Indiana Jones saying, "Don't bring a sword to a gunfight."
There is so much potential to Red Steel that it almost begs for a sequel, if anything, to get it right. The story is interesting as are the cast of enemy characters, the Japanese mafia known as the Yakuza. Unfortunately they are reduced to the level of the thugs on the 60s Batman television series. Playing as the nondescript Scott, the main protagonist, your girlfriend has been kidnapped by members of the Yakuza, which are hostile towards her father who is a high-ranking member of a different gang. Travelling to Japan, you befriend a rival family and by performing various tasks, they assist you in locating your girlfriend. Here you will begin training to become a samurai. The action will take you to warehouses, industrial compounds, high tech offices, apartments and the shady, neon-soaked, parts of the city. The game definitely takes its cue from Max Payne but is unable to make the gameplay and the storyline flow. It even features a form of bullet time called Focus Mode in which time slows down allowing you to pick off the enemy AI in style.
Guns include pistols, rifles, shotguns, automatic weapons as well as a sniper rifle. Using the main controller you aim your gun, pressing a button to raise it and help steady it for more accuracy. The targeting reticle is fairly generous and if you want to zoom in you just point the controller at the screen. The Nunchuck allows you to reload your weapons and also acts as the action command to do things such as open doors and move objects. The Nunchuck also controls the direction of your character. The Wii-Mote and Nunchuck work well and feel comfortable even though you'd think your arms would be exhausted after a few hours of straight play. There isn't much of a learning curve which is even made all the more easier by the fact that the enemy is so willing to get shot. Sometimes they'll take cover and other times they'll just get up in plain view and go for a stroll.
Using the swords requires some different finagling of the control system but it's equally intuitive. The onscreen sword will mimic the motions you make with the main controller, with the exception of the forward thrust. The Nunchuck will control your character's movement but it will also be used to block enemy hits. The guns and the sword have a limited assortment of moves which tend to make the gameplay repetitive even though the difficulty ramps up in the middle. To regain your health all you have to do is take cover and rest for a while. In no time you'll be ready for more punishment.
The single-player mode is a good size but it could have been distilled to a third of that so that it would be less redundant. A four-player, split screen mode is the only multi-player option. It's fun but it won't keep you and your buddies interested for days on end due to the lack of depth.
Some of the environments are visually stunning and they manage to take plenty of damage from your gun and sword. But there are also some blurry textures and cheesy character models. Some of the levels look like a shooting gallery with stiff looking characters popping out from behind buildings and doors. The explosions are spectacular if not a little over the top. The sound effects, with the exception of the voiceacting (which is terribly bad), are right on the money. They are well recorded and well balanced. The ambient suspense music is just as good as anything you're likely to see in an Oscar-winning movie. There are also some decent pop and rock tunes to lighten the atmosphere. In terms of overall graphic prowess, Red Steel definitely looks better than a Cube game without even breaking a sweat and that increases exponentially if you're playing on a TV with excellent resolution. I'd say that for comparison sake, RS looks on par with some of the best Xbox games available, perhaps even slightly cleaner yet. For those who say the Wii doesn't have any graphic muscle, I say "Shut yo mouth….Shaft!" You won't confuse a Red Steel with Gears of War or Resistance: Fall of Man, but it's clear that the Wii has some power in its corner. It will be interesting to see how it increases with experience in the hands of talented developers.
Don't wait to get your hands on a Wii system but you might want to wait for Red Steel 2.