Red Steel DVD Review - -

Gameplay 6.5
Graphics 7.0
Sound 7.0
Value 6.5
Distributor: UbiSoft
Eddie Millarion


Red Steel

This Wii exclusive title takes place in modern-day Japan and challenges players to master both the ancient art of the katana and the sophisticated technology of modern firearms.

Red Steel takes full advantage of the console’s innovative controller and puts players directly into the action-packed first-person experience with the weapon in their hand – literally.

An engaging storyline unfolds as you learn that your fiancée has been kidnapped and her father – a Japanese mafia kingpin – murdered by a rival gang. The only way to save your loved one and defend your honor is to journey from Los Angeles to Japan and confront the Tokyo underworld.

By learning the ancient art of Japanese fighting with your katana and the focused precision of modern firearms, you will progress and adapt yourself to this foreign environment, where skills alone may not guarantee you victory. 

• Exclusively for Nintendo’s new-gen system Wii - Red Steel is the first original first-person action game built from the ground up for the Wii.

• The Weapon Is in Your Hand - Take full advantage of the revolutionary Wii controller, and control the action like never before. You’ll replicate sword-fighting movements and eliminate enemies quickly by directly targeting and shooting them.

• Master the Deadly Steel - Execute deadly combo moves using multiple swords or choose from a variety of firearms for longer-range attacks.

• Focus Is Key - Learn to harness your mental power to unleash powerful attacks in dire situations, and use the “focus system” to freeze time and effectively target several enemies at once.

• Become a Modern Samurai - Learn the art of Japanese fighting, and then use these skills to take out your enemies or gain their respect and loyalty by sparing them.

• Multiplayer Modes - Challenge friends with various split-screen multiplayer modes to see who the real master is.

Red Steel is not pretty. A glorified Gamecube game in every sense, RS manages to just barely convey the action at a reasonable frame rate while tacking on a few nice filters and effects to act as Vaseline on the lens. There are some nice lighting and explosion effects during the course of the game's campaign, but it's definitely not the prettiest of the system's launch titles.

Though this set of core control mechanics works pretty well after the relatively gentle learning curve, the experience is by no means perfect. Turning proves to be the troublesome part of this recipe, as you are forced to aim to the extremes of the screen in order to turn. While this type of control has been used in shooters and RTS games on the PC before, in Red Steel the control is far more haphazard.

This is a result of the fact that the bounding box (the invisible definition of where aiming stops and turning starts) is really quite a lot bigger than it needs to be. When the FPS formula was originally applied to the Wii remote back at it's unveiling, many people thought a 1:1 control ala PC would bring new life to the FPS control preferences. Red Steel not only doesn't implement this 1:1 control, but also goes a step further by restricting your freedom to turn.

This ultimately renders the game clumsier than it need be: a simple option to modify the size of the bounding box would have allowed the gamer to customize the feel for himself. This flaw isn't really Ubisoft's fault, though - it's a reflex of new hardware and the learning stages of software development that go along with it. Still, were it not for this single flaw, the game would have been infinitely more accessible to all but those who decide to stick it out and master the controls.

In retrospect, the graphics are beautiful for first-player mode. The stages are decent for multiplayer, but there are only four of them. The game is the only launch first-person shooter with multiplayer, making it a must-have game for group shooters missing the game since you-know-what from Nintendo 64. Still, a somewhat mediocre experience for everyone else. Think a lesser version of the Nintendo 64 shooter games from nearly a decade ago with a better way to aim. Moore's Law states that this game could have done much better, but hardcore players might still find some fun in it.

The music is repetitive and gets very bland the more you play the game. It was great for a while, but listening to it over and over beyond a game rental will have the music turned off quite quickly. The audio from the controller sounds quite nice, particularly in Killer mode when playing multiplayer and hearing the command you need to gain points. Other than that, there won't be too many people buying a soundtrack if it ever comes out.

There are too many negatives in audio that outweigh the positive. While music makes no difference in a gun multiplayer mode, there's no reason why the soundtrack had to repeat itself so often in single player. The gun sounds are nicely implemented, no problems there, but considering the lacking number of guns it really doesn't make that big of a deal.

Red Steel is a good game for multiplayer, just not excellent and not up to the level of greatness. If you need your fix, by all means try it and don't let the reviews tell you otherwise. If not, the game's worth a rental.


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