Red Steel 2 Hands-On Preview

Steel yourself for our hard-hitting hands-on with Ubisoft’s second Wii swordfighting game.

By Edwin Evans-Thirlwell, March 4, 2010

You’ll need to separate your blows, rather than flagellate the air erratically, cranking up your biceps for bigger hits, timing the release just right and regaining poise, shoulders parallel to the sensor, after delivering the coup de grace. It’s tremendously, satisfyingly kinetic, absorbingly tactical and, much to our surprise, rather good for the posture. Just make sure you warm up before playing.

A couple of good whacks should put paid to that tinfoil T-shirt.

A couple of good whacks should put paid to that tinfoil T-shirt.

Regular sword swipes – stronger and weaker; vertical, horizontal or diagonal – are of the scripted variety: you swing the remote in vaguely the right direction and the engine translates the motion into something worthy of Chow Yung Fat. Hold A to block, however, and 1:1 sensitivity kicks in.

Most enemy attacks (including the projectile kind) are deflected automatically, but more powerful blows (conspicuous in their crackly red attire) require you to align your blade with the attacker’s too. Purchasable special moves and finishers such as a charging uppercut, dash stab and 360 degree sweep are performed with simple button-and-gesture combinations.

One early challenge is to get the hacking and slashing, in which you hold the remote at an angle to the screen, on speaking terms with the shooty bits, which naturally involve pointing it at the target. The cell-shaded scenery took the brunt of our first attempts to segue between ranged and melee, but practice makes perfect, and Ubisoft gives you plenty of time to practice.

The tale of our nameless hero’s return to Caldera, a high-tech desert metropolis reminiscent of Borderland’s junkyard sprawl, is riddled with playable tutorials. When we first went hands-on with the game at an Ubi press event, Creative Director Jason Vandenberghe was insistent that we begin at the beginning rather than fly off half-cocked, and it’s a testament to the pedagogic pacing that the combat system’s accumulating idiosyncrasies never overwhelm.

Target enemy limbs to set them up for finishing moves.

Target enemy limbs to set them up for finishing moves.

Nor do your opponents’ numbers, despite the cut in peripheral awareness incumbent on a first-person viewpoint. Cycling between locks with the Z button can be a hassle in larger battles, but context-sensitive commands allow players to swiftly retaliate against jabs from the rear. The game also reads your intentions to an extent: if you wind up facing a chap to one side of your target after a particularly forceful slash, the lock will slip to the newcomer. While canyon-like in appearance, the first clutch of areas are sizeable and it’s hard to get cornered, though the odd bit of environmental furniture does catch you unawares.

Comments are closed.


Kikizo Classic: