Red Steel Wii
Av. User Rating
Av. User Rating
Released on 08/12/2006
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.
- Red Steel is the only original first-person action game built from the ground up for the Wii.
- Take full advantage of the 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.
- Execute deadly combo moves using multiple swords or choose from a variety of firearms for longer-range attacks.
- 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.
- 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.
- Challenge friends with various split-screen multiplayer modes to see who the real master is.
Redy, aim… fire!
Guns-blazing action is dead. Long live Cover. Anyone whose been playing Gears of War this last week will agree; cover is en vogue; cover is cool; cover is the new bullet time. It’s nothing revolutionary, perhaps, but Epic’s Xbox 360 blaster has effectively elevated the basic mechanics of the gun game to a higher plane. Shooters may never be the same again.
A couple of day after Gears of War arrived at GAME HQ, however, we were given a chance to sit down for an in-depth extensive play with Red Steel, Ubi Soft’s Yakuza-themed big hope for Nintendo’s new motion sensitive games system this festive season. Already high on Gears’ gun-slinging glory, we couldn’t have been happier to oblige.
Now, we have to stress, this is no Gears of War. Despite the inevitable comparisons between the big shooters on rival consoles, the two boast gargantuan stylistic and gameplay differences. Red Steel has an identity all of its own, with a control setup unlike anything you’ll have experienced. It does, however, have its own stylish take on duck-and-cover action, and enough going for it to keep gamers occupied over the holidays. It’s going to be a Wii’ly good Christmas…
The story behind Red Steel is more an excuse for the gameplay than a real driving force for its 12-to-15 hour singleplayer mode. You are Scot-San, American fiancée to the daughter of Sato, a high-profile Japanese businessman, and set to meet your dad-in-law-to-be when all hell breaks loose. A gun-toting gang attack the offices you’re visiting, try to kill Sato, and kidnap your beloved, sending you on a rescue mission armed with only the finest line in automatic weaponry, and a cool-as, Kill Bill style katana Samurai sword. Could be worse.
A rescue mission with only the finest line in automatic weaponry, and a cool-as, Kill Bill style katana Samurai sword.
The majority of your time with Red Steel – around 70% or so – will be spent with a gun in your hand. It’s all rather odd at first though; there’s a certain floaty feeling which is hard to get your head around, since most movements will send your gun arm floating wildly about the screen, giving it a somewhat odd disembodied quality. With forwards, backwards and sideways movement on the nunchuk analog stick, turning means pointing the Wii remote practically off screen, and it’s all so sensitive that you’ll soon be spinning in circles on the spot until you’ve gotten the hang of it.
Cues from Halo
When you have, you’ll find Red Steel offers a deceptively simple control config with few of the contrivances often levelled at the first-person genre. Jumping, crouching, reloading, melee attacks and opening doors all come naturally with either a simple button press or flick of the nunchuk, while switching weapons is hassle-free on the Wiimote D-pad. To further simplify matters, the weapon system mimics Halo, only letting you hold two firearms at a time, plus the obligatory grenades, adding an element of tactics to your choices.
Also taking its cues from Halo is the health system, which sees your damage meter recharge when you retreat from enemy fire. Coupled with a pretty standard fare FPS weapon set (pistol, magnum, shotgun, Uzi and sniper rifle, all present and correct), plus level design proffering plenty of well-placed barricades, vehicles and the odd piece of furniture to knock over and hide behind, and it makes for a frantic ballistic first-person thrill ride.
Reaction-based, you-against-the-world kind of gameplay.
It’s all very retro, though, and decidedly draining with it. There’s no real open-endedness to the levels, with design favouring going from A to B, blasting enemies along the way in the vein of the more linear levels from N64 classic Goldeneye. A number of set pieces make up for this somewhat, and some arbitrary switch flicking and keycard ferrying helps break up play, but puzzles on the whole are overlooked for a more one-dimensional, reaction-based, you-against-the-world kind of gameplay, which – especially given the concentration required to use the control system – can tire you out after a while.
A mixed bag
Unfortunately, your foes are not exactly PHD holders, so while they’ll sometimes surprise with super accurate shooting and skilful jumps over scenery to pursue you, they’ll just as often astound with sheer stupidity – standing around in clear sight doing absolutely nothing on occasion, and failing to flank you convincingly at others. It’s a bit of a mixed bag, but if you can overlook the flaws, there’s a lot of fun to be had.
The same could be said about the sword fighting, which isn’t as sophisticated as we’d hoped. It’s easy to pick up and initially feels fresh; the Wiimote slashing the sword, the nunchuk parrying opponent’s strikes, and the C button plus analog stick together allowing you to sidestep. Yet, additional katas and special moves fail to add depth, never feeling as effective as merely waving the Wiimote like a madman to finish your opponent quickly. Thankfully, some of the gun special moves are significantly more useful than the sword ones, with the option to slow down time, tag enemies’ weapons, and disarm them in a few seconds, particularly cool.
A great-looking Japanese setting in an unmistakably western style.
In truth, Red Steel is a bit of an odd one to pigeonhole; it’s an old-school style shooter on brand new hardware with an innovative and never-before-seen control system that’s both unerringly tricky to get used to, but potentially also brilliantly accessible. The multiplayer too is a lot of fun, even boasting functions which utilise the Wiimote’s built-in speaker, but with a meagre four maps and potentially disorienting controls, likely won’t top most people’s current multiplayer shooter faves.
An altogether solid FPS
It’s also a tad indecisive in the visual department, rendering a great-looking Japanese setting in an unmistakably western style, and really pushing the Wii’s lighting capabilities, but stilting things somewhat with an overall lack of detail on characters and weapons, and tying it all together with some at-times wooden animation. Music, meanwhile, feels fitting, but the dialogue can grate at times with its overly hammed-up cheesiness, and even the menu screen, presenting Japanese symbols with English descriptions underneath, is an obvious attempt at enhancing the far-east feel, but comes across like Ubi Soft forgot to translate the game’s entire front end.
Despite some indifference, however, Red Steel still comes recommended. It’s not the most sophisticated shooter ever made, but the control system really does show off what Wii can do, while the action in itself is intense, well designed and, above all, enjoyable. Buy this hoping for a truly revolutionary experience, then, and you may be left a touch disappointed, but approach Red Steel expecting an altogether solid FPS, and you’ll discover a game offering clipfulls of fun, with more than a suggestion of what to expecting from future Wii shooters.
- The Wii launch game with the best use of the controller
- Intense and satisfying duck-and-cover FPS fare
- Brilliant bullet time-esque gun moments
- Controls take some getting used to
- Draining to play
- Not the most sophisticated shooter in existence
Review by: Mark Scott
Version Tested: Wii
Review Published: 22.11.06
Ubi-Soft Revolution-ise the humble FPS?
Red Steel is a game of contradictions. Set in Japan's dangerous Yakuza underworld but developed and published by French outfit Ubi-Soft, it's a title full of eastern promise underpinned by a distinctly western slant. It's also the Wii's most high profile new IP, and it's most significant launch FPS (we've had precious little info on Far Cry Vengeance), but has gained perhaps more exposure than any of the system's more familiar first-party names; and mostly because, for almost a third of the game, you'll not be using a gun at all - but rather a sword.
It's hard not to think that Ubi-Soft are playing on the many ironies embodied by Red Steel. Indeed, the cultural clash of West-meets-East is something they appear keen to stress, as is what they believe to be a unique and untried approach to the setting and subject matter.
They could be onto something, too. Red Steel marks the first time since Prince of Persia that its Parisian publisher has adopted a backdrop so drastically different from its archetypal, esoterically western titles like Far Cry and Splinter Cell, but, like with the Prince, they've taken a traditionally western angle on the game's design.
With women wearing intricately woven, dragon-emblazoned robes, be-suited sword-carrying Yakuza and enough automatic weaponry to make John Woo blush, it is, frankly, more of an homage to Hollywood's depiction of the far east than an actual, authentic take on Japanese culture. It's something Ubi-Soft hopes will make the game accessible to western gamers, while appealing to the (rather small) demographic of Japanese first-person shooter players as something of a tongue-in-cheek caricature on their familiar, day-to-day lives.
To be honest, we can see this being something of a smart move. Yet another of Red Steel's many contradictions (we might start labelling them now - this is #5), is that a game with such a eastern flavour should be presented in the one form - the first person shooter - which Japanese gamers tend to shirk for fear of motion sickness. It's an irony which might see plenty of Europeans and Americans walk away on launch day clutching copies of Red Steel with their brand new Nintendo consoles, but precious few in the likes of Tokyo keen on doing the same.
More of an homage to Hollywood's depiction of the far east than an authentic take on Japanese culture.
Which brings us to one basic question: Why Japan? Couldn't Ubi-Soft have found a more fitting scene for what is, ostensibly, a western game in eastern clothes? Having spent some time with the title, talked to some of the Red Steel team, and generally gotten an idea of what the game is trying to do… we have to say, we honestly don't think they could.
To explain why, we're going to go back to contradiction #3. If you weren't paying attention… don't worry, it's confused us too! For the record, we're referring to the weapons. There's a natural dichotomy between gun and sword that just simply works with Red Steel's Yakuza setting, and which we couldn't imagine feeling right anywhere else.
It's obviously the gunplay that's going to be the main focus for gamers and critics alike, taking up 70% of the on-screen action and, of most interest, showing off just what to expect from a control system many are seeing as THE new way to play first-person shooters.
First play with the Nunchuk
Our previous experiences with the Wii's wand-waving controller had extended to Wii Sports and Warioware - two immediately pick-up-and-play titles where accessibility outweighed any real depth or sophistication. Not so Red Steel, which also gave us our first play with the nunchuk peripheral. And, much as we'd like to claim pro status, we couldn't help but find the whole thing slightly disorienting at first - moving with the nunchuk analogue stick felt natural enough, but turning and aiming with the wand was an altogether different prospect.
That's mostly because it didn't work as anticipated. We'd had in mind a sort of aim-and-shoot system almost mimicking a lightgun, but the Wii remote in fact acts a more of a pointer, like a 3D mouse. It's also incredibly sensitive - even on the lowest of the game's three sensitivity settings - so a few slight twists and turns of the wrist saw our aiming reticule jumping wildly about the screen, with turning a matter of tilting the remote far enough to one side until the reticule hit the side of the screen itself.
The system took some getting used to, and most present at the press event commented how difficult it could be to re-centre their view when panicked by Yakuza gunfire. However, with practice we managed to implement some pretty slick duck-and-cover gameplay; crouching behind fallen tables, throwing ourselves through open doorways and diving behind walls waiting for the Halo-esque energy meter to recharge when we'd taken a battering. We also managed to get to grips with the zoom aiming, which saw the A button bringing up a Goldeneye-style manual aiming view and pushing the remote towards the screen allowing us to zoom in some way, while pressing the B trigger then brought about some extremely twitchy headshots.
Our slow, deliberate method of scoping in to kill Yakuza translated badly to the frantically fast multiplayer game.
Swordplay, however, is Red Steel's defining characteristic, and with approximately 30% of the title's gameplay devoted to it, is more than a limb-flinging novelty. That said, it is what got us and our journo brethren most animated, demanding full use of both remote and nunchuk to sidestep (nunchuk analogue stick) , slash (waving the remote) parry (flicking the nunchuk) and enact special strikes (flicking both forwards together) until our opponent's health was depleted. Sadly, swords are automatically selected when you've a blade-wielding opponent to duel, so there will be no running through corridors, slicing up Yakuza - or indeed, gunning down sword-equipped foes in comedy Indiana Jones fashion.
Having played and gotten used to Red Steel's two distinct combat forms, we thought we were ready for a spot of multiplayer. Oh, how wrong we were. Playing our first four-player splitscreen deathmatch we finished dead last, with just a single kill - our slow, deliberate method of scoping in to kill Yakuza seemed to translate badly to the frantically fast multiplayer game, which had more than an air of Perfect Dark about it. There wasn't any sword fighting, sadly - though a second gametype did make use of the Wii remote's speaker, giving each player a secret objective to carry out. Our order was to kill only a specific player, actually losing points if we killed anyone else - and though we faired slightly better, we still ended up in third place.
Despite being, frankly, a wee (or Wii? Forgive us...) bit rubbish at Red Steel, however, we still found our playtest to be extremely encouraging. For a game of so many contradictions, it was perhaps fitting that its controls proved both disorienting and, with extended play, highly intuitive (contradiction #6). Indeed, this could well be the title that tips the balance on how the first-person-genre evolves in the coming years. Ubi-Soft, however, will be just as concerned with Red Steel's immediate reception in December - and in that they should have little to fear. It may not be a first-party title, but - Twilight Princess aside - there isn't another Wii launch game we've higher hopes for. That's probably the biggest and best contradiction of them all. Lucky #7, then.
Preview by: Mark Scott
Version Tested: Wii
Preview Published: 26.10.06
Red Steel Review (22/11/2006)
As a valued customer we now offer you the facility to sign up to email price alerts. Please enter the price you want to be, or below, and if drops to that level we will let you know...
NewOut of stock
- Only £9.99
Free UK Delivery
- Only £3.00
Free UK Delivery
Earn 80 reward points
Please note: prices in GAME Stores may differ.
You have chosen to add this product to your Wish List, but which version would you prefer to add?