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Platform: Wii

Genre: First-Person Shooter

Publisher: Ubisoft

Developer: Ubisoft Paris

ETA: Holiday 2006
Related Links:

Preview: Super Mario Galaxy (Wii)

Review: Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter (360)

Review: Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy (XB) 

 

 

 

 

 

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Red Steel

 

red steel          red steel

 

Red Steel takes the honor (if that’s what you want to call it) of being the first bit of Wii software I ever played around with.  I probably couldn’t ask for a better introduction to the hardware.  Sword slashing and gun play, that’s exactly what I had in mind when the design of the Wii controller was revealed.

 

Ubisoft’s proclaims Red Steel to be “only original first-person action game built from the ground up for the Revolution.” (Though I suppose they mean, “Wii” and not Revolution.)  Based purely on semantics, the description is correct – there’s no arguing that Metroid Prime 3 is original.  Anyway, I like to point these things out because sometimes an official corporate fact sheet tends to skew things.  However, the fact sheet tends to get the story right.  Let’s take a look:

 

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.

 

Avenging a future father-in-law may have some scratching their heads, particularly if their own father-in-laws aren’t so nice, but what better way to seal the deal with the daughter?

 

Though the demo at E3 was just that – a demo – it provided a good look at what the game might have in store.  Though I tend to agree with the assessments that Red Steel’s action is

rather derivative or at a minimum a rehash of shooters that have come before it (even F.E.A.R.'s Matrix-like slowdowns), I hate to judge a game solely on a ten minute demo.  Sure there’s plenty of shooting and even some sword waving – hello Daikatana! – but the control mechanics (though a bit rough) were enough keep things interesting.

 

Aiming and firing with the remote (right hand) and navigating the environments with the thumbstick in the left hand felt awkward at first.  As a big fan of PC shooters, it wasn’t as natural as aiming with a mouse and keyboard but surprisingly I felt quite a bit more comfortable at the end of the demo.  The sword play was probably my favorite part.  Using the remote like a sword you can perform defensive and offensive 

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slashes but making giant waving motions in the air didn’t produce any results.  More subtle motions were required.  The movements seemed to be limited somewhat to eight lines – horizontal, vertical and in-between diagonals.  Even with that limitation, it seemed to work in terms of translating the motion of the remote to the action on the screen (though it may have been my imagination that there was a slight delay in that translation).

 

red steel          red steel

 

Graphically, Red Steel is no match for the likes of Gears of War or many other PS3 or Xbox 360 titles, but I didn’t find them distracting in any way.  The on-screen action was stable and there was enough pizzazz for my tastes, though I’ve always been less demanding of my games in the graphics department.  And it sure looks like it'll be a "T" (for Teen) game because there's a distinct lack of blood and/or dismemberment.

 

Ubisoft is readying Red Steel to be a launch title for the Wii and I, for one, am looking forward to see how the final game can hack it.

 

- Omni

(June 6, 2006)