Red Steel 2 Preview

April 24, 2010 at 9:18 pm | Posted in Gaming Article | Leave a comment
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I got to give Red Steel 2 a quick bash at the Eurogamer Expo in London. Pop inside to read my thoughts on one of the Wii’s biggest third-party releases for 2010.

The original Red Steel caused a bit of a stir when it was first announced – it was the first time Nintendo allowed a third party title to show off the first glimpse of the graphical capabilities of one of its consoles. The early screens were controversial in their own right with accusations Ubisoft used a bit of post-production to make them look better than the finished product actually ended up. The game itself proved divisive among the gaming press and public, the graphics and controls proving the biggest bone of contention.  But divisive or not it did go on to become one of the first million-selling titles for the console and was a good indicator of some of the future possibilities the Wii could bring to the fore. A sequel has been rumoured since before the first game was finished and now, three years later, we get the chance to go hands on with Red Steel part deux.

Despite problems with the sole working demo pod at the show we did manage to grab quite a lot of quality time with Red Steel 2, certainly enough to make it stand out as one of the most exciting Wii releases next year.

Ubisoft have brought in some major changes for the sequel, the most apparent are the graphics and control systems which brought wide criticism in the original. Gone are the gaudy neon Tokyo locations and any trace of Japanese influence; this game takes its cues mainly from the American frontier and spaghetti westerns. It employs a pseudo-cel shading effect on the shadowing and lighting, matched with flat-shaded textures, giving it an art-style not unlike Ubisoft’s own XIII released in the last generation. Overall, this new direction is a bold choice and very welcome. It certainly looks different to anything else on Wii and as FPSs set in westerns aren’t in abundance on any console (bar Call of Juarez and the upcoming Red Dead Redemption) it should help Red Steel 2 attract gamers fed up with WW2 shooters.

Ubisoft have completely renovated the control system, tidying up responsiveness, adding customisation and bringing in MotionPlus to fix the original’s achilles heel, the swordplay. You can once again slice and dice your enemies with a sword, but this time round the game doesn’t force you into sword encounters; you can choose to dispatch an enemy with your gun instead, Indiana Jones style. By simply offering a choice to the player Ubisoft have made a great leap forward – the icing on the cake is that the MotionPlus-enhanced controls work brilliantly. Swordplay in the original was one of its main selling points, with the new depth of control available in this sequel it must surely serve as one of the biggest reasons to pick this up.

It’s a shame Ubisoft couldn’t bring Red Steel 2 to retail this side of Christmas as it would have had the mature Wii market all to itself. But as long as they back it with some heavy promotion they could surpass the sales of the original and avoid the torrid fates of recent similar titles like Mad World and Dead Space Extraction. Based on our short playtime, unlike the original it seems to be a title fully deserving of any hype it receives in the run up to its release next year.

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