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Red steel 2 is a strange one. On the one hand it is a lot better than it's processor, but on the other, that really isn't saying much. The controls of red steel 2 take advantage of the wii's motion plus, this adds a great deal to the responsiveness of the controls. However for a sword game to work you have to take a lot of the animations out of the players hands. Which in short, disconnects you from the whole experience. That isn't their fault. Control wise, they are doing the best they can do.
The graphics and feel of the game is my issue. The impossible world of a Japanese western, sounds cool, but has been poorly executed. Apart from the occasional NPC, there isn't anyone to interact with apart from the enemy and the environment is fairly lifeless. Which doesn't seem right for a game that is set in western style towns.
Because of this I got bored very quickly. And to be honest didn't get very far, it just didn't captivate me.
Red Steel 2 is the successor to the much-hated Red Steel on Wii. Contrary to popular opinion, I actually rather liked Red Steel 1, but it did have its faults. Somewhat amazingly, Red Steel 2 improves on the original in almost every way, so much so that it's difficult to imagine why they even share the same name.
Red Steel 2 then, is a cel-shaded Wii FPS that requires Wii Motion Plus. The cel shading helps the game become possibly the best looking game on the Wii. It's smooth at all times, and the environments and enemies look superb. It wouldn't look out of place on the 360 or PS3 - although admittedly as one of the earlier titles.
Each area of the game contains its own hub - usually a saloon or dojo, from which you will be assigned quests one by one, which will take you to different areas of the same town. It's a little unusal for an FPS game, but I suppose it's best not to tax the little white box too much. You get your mission, complete it, come back to the saloon and get another. During your mission areas you don't need to access will be off limits, which strikes me as something done to conserve resources, but there are no loading screens while you complete your mission which is a big plus. The only time there is any loading it's while you're opening a door to a room, and this even this is masked very well by an animation of the door being opened.
Fighting enemies is great fun - you're trained up in different moves as you progress, but the basics remain the same - that is, B to shoot your gun of choice, and flailing your Wiimote to slash with your sword. Gunplay is flawless - just select your gun - a pistol, rifle, shotgun or tommy gun and fire. Swordplay is good too - slash your Wiimote as you would a sword, and thanks to Wii Motion Plus your sword will move exactly as you want it to. You can slash harder for more powerful attacks and quickly if you're up against weaker enemies. Sometimes, when you've battered an enemy enough, an icon will appear above its head, indicating that you can finish him off with a motion that matches the icon. This will result in a vicious finisher, and oodles of points. Larger enemies are fun to fight, and boss fights are especially fun and unique - it won't take long to figure out exactly how to beat them, but they still bring a welcome change to fighting the usual bad guys.
Although the fighting is generally fun, it's not from without it's problems. Swordplay is great while it lasts, but after the battle is over, you'll more than likely be looking at the ceiling or floor. Not really a major issue, but it's there nonetheless. What is a major issue is that the game doesn't deal well with multiple enemies. With any other FPS, you're free to move the camera and shoot at whoever you like. With Red Steel 2, when there are enemies around, your camera will automatically lock onto one of them, and any movement will be relative to this lock-on, making shooting other targets or moving out of a doorway to the side incredibly difficult. It is possible to switch the lock-on to another target with Z, but it's still far from perfect. Switching between enemies is a chore, and during chaotic scenes it can mean death - when you're getting melee attacked by an enemy, and far-off enemies are firing relentlessly at you, it becomes immensely frustrating. This is only really apparent during the later levels, but it's still something that could have been easily addressed.
In general, the swordplay works really well, but I can't help but think that Wii Motion Plus wasn't strictly required for it. I got Red Steel 2 bundled with WMP for £10 more than the standard version, but to be honest, I don't really see that there's that much difference. The game feels like it would have been much the same without the attachment. Watching your sword move around exactly relative to your movements is great for about 5 minutes, but its real value to gameplay is questionable.
All those problems aside though, Red Steel 2 is perhaps the best looking game on Wii, and certainly one of the most fun. It's a must-buy for any Wii owner sick of the usual waggle-fests and after something more substantial to sink their teeth into.