Red Steel 2 Review

To some gamers, sequels are the bane of existence, tools of gaming companies to make as much money as possible based on a name alone. Others feel that sequels allow them to re-live their favorite game universes over and over again. A few of us, though, feel that sequels prove whether or not developers and publishers listen to the public, taking the criticism of previous titles into consideration while creating the newest installment.

Such is the case with Ubisoft and Red Steel 2. The first game was one of the more disappointing Wii launch titles, mixing unresponsive controls with nonsensical story elements and subpar graphics. Instead of continuing the story of the first game, Ubisoft took the franchise from the seedy Yakuza-style underworld to a Wild West universe mixed with samurai warriors. The result is what the first game should have been: a balls-out, guns-blazing fight fest that not only impresses, but more importantly satisfies.


First off, the story is still a bit silly: you play as the last member of a clan of samurai looking to reclaim his sword, which has mystical powers, after it is stolen from him. While it may not make much sense why you are fighting, the fighting itself is excellent. Aiming with the Wii Remote is tight and fluid, doing a good job of following the player’s movements no matter how subtle. The Wii MotionPlus does wonders for the control system, as the sword swings feel much more natural than they did in the first game. The only time I really experienced any issue was my own fault: I tend to get rather excited when playing games, and my erratic movements during patricularly tense showdowns would force me to pause and re-calibrate the MotionPlus multiple times. Though I was a bit overzealous, it still annoyed me that I had to continually pause and reset before finishing a battle.

Technically, the game is excellent. The graphics are quite impressive; as I played, I found myself thinking about comic books and how much the art style resembled by favorite comics. The frame rate never dropped, no matter how crazy my battles would get, and there was never any screen tear, jagged pixels, or anything else of that nature. The audio is just as impressive, whether it’s the crystal-clear voices of the characters in the game or the excellent soundtrack. I love a good fusion of two or more musical styles, and Red Steel 2 does a fantastic job of mixing Eastern-style woodwinds and flutes with Western guitar riffs and heavy drum beats (look no further than the main theme for what I mean). There’s not a lot to not like here, but one complaint I have about Red Steel 2 lies in its character design. Aside from the hero, most of the characters fall into previously established stereotypes: the old, wise sensei with the long mustache and goatee, the big, burly enemies shouting cliche insults, and even the beautiful, well-endowed female sidekick. Just once I’d like an enemy to try to beat me with wits instead of brute force, but that’s another story.

Take that!

Red Steel 2 restores my faith in not only Wii action titles, but in game developers as a whole. The story may still be dumb, and the characters may be by-the-book, but it is quite clear that Ubisoft listened to the complaints of the first game when making the sequel. Thank you, Ubisoft, and congratulations on the rebirth of a franchise. If you like Westerns, samurai, guns, action, or all of the above, don’t miss Red Steel 2.


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Author: Jason Fanelli View all posts by
Jason lives and breathes gaming. Legend tells that he taught himself to read using Wheel of Fortune Family Edition on the NES. He's been covering this industry for three years, all with the Node, and you can see his ugly mug once a week on Hot Off The Grill.

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