Video Game Rentals Delivered

Red Steel

David Yun David Yun: (contact-deleteme[at]-deleteme-direman [dot] com) 2008-02-07 07:33:57

Red Steel - Rank D

Developer: Ubisoft Paris
Publisher: Ubisoft
Date: 11/21/06

I checked out Red Steel because of its notoriety as a launch game, and for its purported motion control swordplay mechanics. What I found was a buggy and unpolished run-of-the-mill first person shooter. Red Steel's story is forgettable. You're a round-eyed gaijin devil (white guy) trying to save your Japanese fiance, whose father happens to be a Yakuza boss in the middle of a gang war. The characters, voice acting, and plot are so generic that I didn't care about any of them. The graphics are visually unappealing, with the sort of bland textures and frame rate issues that made me nostalgic for the Nintendo 64.

Red Steel's biggest problem is how horrid the controls are. Aiming with the Wiimote is a simple point and click affair, but using it to turn is miserable. You have to jam the reticule to the side of the screen, and hope it doesn't twitch around. If you use a wireless mouse, it's kind of like when the batteries are low. Even when it works, turning is an arduously slow affair, which is extra fun when you're being shot at.

Occasionally, you run into a guy with a sword, and lose all movement control as you're forced into a swordfight on rails. These sequences pretty much sum up the Wii thus far: great in theory, but garbage in actual practice. Red Steel promises the visceral thrill of using the Wiimote as the hilt of a katana, but randomly waggling it around works just fine. Instead of simulating swordsmanship, it's the tendonitis-of-the-wrist-inducing equivalent of button mashing. You can also run up and slice a guy in the middle of a firefight, but the mechanic for doing so is the same nunchuk waggle as reloading. Instead of skewering my opponent, I enjoyed watching him riddle me with bullets while I slowly slid shells into my shotgun.

As an afterthought, there's a 4 player split screen option, but you'd get more enjoyment dusting off your Nintendo 64 and playing a few rounds of GoldenEye.

I'm trying to think of something positive to say about Red Steel. If you're in a "gangsta" mentality, you can turn your gun sideways by holding the Wiimote accordingly. The audio is decent. I suppose you could glean some entertainment from Red Steel akin to watching a bad made-for-TV action movie on basic cable. I can wholeheartedly say that I'd choose Red Steel over say, castration.

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