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E3 2009: Red Steel 2 hands-on

E3 2009

The developers make Red Steel 2 look a lot easier than it really is. Maybe it’s because I’m not too familiar with the Wii, but I just sucked at it. The French guy from Ubisoft that was watching me play tried his best to not go insane at my suckitude, but beneath his smile I could detect frustration.

If he was frustrated, imagine how I felt.

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Red Steel 2 requires the as-yet-unreleased Wii Motion Plus to play, which promises intense accuracy that can mimic the movements of a sword. As my sad display showed, I still have some learning to do because it did not feel like I was wielding a sword, unless by sword you mean one of those inflatable sword balloons that I used to have made all the time.

Like its predecessor, this one is another FPS with swordplay thrown into the mix. While the last one looked (and played) fairly generic, the latest entry has this snazzy wild west look mixed with Japanese culture. East meets West isn’t anything new, but the cel-shaded graphics look pretty good for a Wii game.

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While Red Steel 2 is a FPS, the action is a bit slower than in similar games. That isn’t really an insult because that just means the enemies don’t go down too easily. A few slashes with the sword and a couple shots from the pistol are required to take down even the lowliest enemies, which makes for more of a strategic approach than killing goons with a single blast to the face.

Due to the tough enemies, Red Steel 2 seems like more of a beat ‘em up than a linear shooter. One of the developers said this at the Ubisoft press conference yesterday, and it definitely seems to hold true here. A few enemies appear, they get taken down, and then you can move on to the next area.

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Switching between the sword and the pistol is effortless, but one glaring omission is blood. It’s not like I go out seeking gore in every game I play, but the finishing moves on weakened enemies look like they were designed with buckets of blood in mind. Now, they look incomplete. I even thought things were censored for the show floor, but I was told that’s not the case.

It all sounds fun, and it definitely looks fun when seeing an experienced person playing it, but I just couldn’t seem to get anything done. By swinging the Wiimote in a wider motion, the sword is supposed to swing harder and faster, which is key to taking out armored foes. I couldn’t seem to get this done, and my swords would seem to slash from all directions rather than where I intended them to go.

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Of course, my lack of skills with the Wiimote could have a lot to do with this. Maybe with practice the Wii Motion Plus could provide the experience it’s intended for. Maybe I’m just awful at the game. Either way, the fact that Red Steel 2 is a rare adult game on the Wii (despite the glaring lack of blood) sets it apart from other games on the system.

The author of this fine article

is a Senior Staff Writer at Thunderbolt, having joined in February 2003. Get in touch on Twitter @akarge.

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