Slice to see you
Ever since we first laid eyes on the Wii we've been crying out for a decent sword-fighting simulator - something that delivers the hectic clash of blade meeting blade and leaves you feeling that your swash has well and truly been buckled. The first Red Steel game may have fumbled the action somewhat, but Ubisoft's sequel, the predictably-titled Red Steel 2, uses Nintendo's MotionPlus adaptor to offer much more control to your swings and parries. The result is a game that's brilliant fun.
Ditching the modern-day Tokyo setting of the first game, Red Steel 2 transports you into a mysterious future world where Japanese Samurai and dusty cowboys live together in glorious disharmony. Playing as the last surviving member of your clan, it's up to you to work your way through the urban jungle - a place where ancient temples sit next to modern-day convenience stores - serving up vengeance to everyone you meet.
SWiipe and parry
Combat is divided between guns and swords, and while you can trick out a series of repeaters and tommyguns with some handy upgrades, most of the fun is to be had with mastering your katana skills. The addition of the MotionPlus device - it can either be bought in a bundle, or separately - allows for a wide range of different swings, parries, and lunges, and you should prepare yourself for a real workout as you swipe away at brutal enemies with your remote.
This is one of those games where you'll definitely want to get a safe distance away from the telly, and if you've got much Ming china lying around, you should probably shift it into the next room before playing.
The swordplay is mostly excellent, but there are still rare occasions where the remote can't quite figure out what you're trying to do. When things get really busy, you can expect the game to lose track of a few of your moves, which is hardly a problem when you're taking on standard enemies, but can be really annoying in the middle of a boss-fight.
Mix it up
While it's never game-breaking, it's not ideal, but the game makes up for it by giving you lots of different combat options at any time, and allowing you to mix up your strategies as you see fit. Learning new moves - some of which have a real sense of magic to them - is pretty addictive stuff, and there are plenty of vicious knockdown combos to pick up as you fight your way towards the game's final confrontation.
And in the few moments where you aren't finishing off your enemies, you can enjoy one of the best-looking games we've ever seen on the Wii. The landscape is colourful, environments are rich and detailed, and there are some memorable bosses to cross swords with during your journey. And while there's no multiplayer options, you can replay each level for various challenges, and hunt out a range of brilliant collectables, like the shiny golden Sheriff Stars that are hidden around each map, waiting to be sniped at.
On top of that, Red Steel 2 packs a seriously satisfying story, told in in-game missions and beautifully-rendered cut-scenes. There are loads of great set-pieces to take in, whether you're racing across rooftops to catch a midnight train, or clinging to the front of a speeding truck trying to avoid a deadly squashing, and the characters, dialogue, and performances are all top notch.
Red Steel 2 isn't perfect, then, but it is brilliant fun, bringing a real blast of action to the Wii, and reminding you that MotionPlus can be about more than just throwing Frisbees and going waterskiing.
- Smart visuals.
- Great story.
- Loads of collectables.
- Combat can be a bit fiddly.
- No multiplayer.
- Not long enough.