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T (Teen)



Q4 2006



- The control scheme was a nice idea

- It loads?



- Controls feel off

- Vanilla story

- Vanilla art

- Vanilla audio

- The game is just plain boring



Review: Yakuza (PlayStation 2)



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Red Steel

Score: 4.5 / 10


When first mulling over what to write for this review, it was tempting to say, “My arm hurts, and I think I’m going blind.”  However, Omni made a convincing argument for adding some actual context to these words, so here we go.  Red Steel is one of those games that was a very good idea, but was executed horribly.  It may look fun to play a game where one points their controller at targets to shoot at them, and waves their arms around to handle swords.  Unfortunately, one needs to have responsive controls, cleaner visuals where it is easy to make out what’s going on, and it wouldn’t hurt to have a decent story, and not this plain as vanilla crime drama.  In the end, Red Steel has none of these things, causing the game to fall flat on its face.  


red steel          red steel


Right from the get go one of the main aspects of the game that ruins the entire experience is that there is no way to avoid using grand movements of one’s limbs in order to make things happen properly on-screen.  Players really need to hold up the controller and point it at the screen to shoot, and swinging swords takes a concerted effort of moving one’s arms around for anything meaningful to happen.  This is great and all, but such things should be optional, not mandatory.  If someone gets home from a long day at work, school, or whatever, they’ll probably want to do little more than subtle wrist movements while playing a game like this, not flailing their arms around, and consequently becoming even more tired than they already are.  Unfortunately, that’s exactly what happens and it often leads to an overwhelming desire to stop playing.  If people want to do that, fine.  However, sometimes we just want to flick our wrists instead.  Adding to the frustration is that the sensitivity of the controls feels off.  Players can aim, swing, and manipulate in-game objects, but it feels like there is a slight delay between players’ movements, and what is happening on the screen.





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Even worse is that it's difficult to see what is going on in the game sometimes.  This can be for a couple of reasons.  At times it’s because the visuals look a tad murky, and in other cases it’s because enemies blend in too much with their surroundings.  Whatever the situation may be, it can get to the point where it causes eyestrain, and necessitates walking


away from the game lest one wants a headache.  On top of this, the artistic direction of the game is not at all compelling.  It’s just another game focused on organized crime, with typical thugs, typical buildings, and not even the slightest spark of uniqueness (quite the contrast to the game’s attempt at a unique control scheme).


The most amazingly vanilla part of all in Red Steel is the story.  It starts off with the game’s main character, Scott, going for dinner with his fiancé, Miyu, to meet with his soon to be father-in-law.  It also turns out that Scott has been the bodyguard to his main squeeze, one thing led to another, and now they’re getting hitched.  On top of that, her dad is the head of a yakuza clan.  Before long, an attack is made on the happy group, Miyu is kidnapped, and now Scott has to rescue her, and stop an ambitious, young yakuza who wants to take over the clan.  It’s pretty straightforward stuff that most of us has seen many times before.  Moreover, the characters are extremely flat.  There’s no reason to care about them whatsoever.  If you want a good Yakuza game, go play Yakuza on the PS2.  There is no reason to care about the plot or the characters in Red Steel.  


red steel          red steel


The plain Jane sound in the game is one more area that will wear on players.  Sound effects and music are there, but there really isn’t a lot to say about either.  They serve their purpose, and that’s about it.  What really hurts the audio, though, is the dialogue, and to a slightly lesser extent, the voice acting, in Red Steel.  Seemingly every time someone speaks in the game it’s as though they either say something stupid, or spit out some inane cliché.  Moreover, it’s hard not to get the impression that whoever was put in charge of writing this train wreck of a script only just recently learned that “kuso” is Japanese for “shit” and felt compelled to insert it into every single sentence uttered.  It’s almost as bad as the potty mouth party in Yakuza.


At the end of the day, Red Steel is a huge disappointment.  The general concept is decent, but the game never evolves past that.  The controls are frustrating, and the aesthetic / story of the game is such a yawn fest that only those with tremendous patience will be able to persevere for more than ten minutes at a time.  Don’t waste your time with this game.


Mr. Nash

January 17, 2007


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