Red Steel 2 Review

VGD sets foot on the Way of the Agonising Neck Cramp. Can Ubisoft’s Wii MotionPlus slasher knock it out of the park?

By Edwin Evans-Thirlwell, March 24, 2010

Gunplay has something of an instant-fix quality to it, given the plethora of terrain traps (read: conveniently situated exploding barrels), shootable door locks and remote bullseye collectables, but certain finishing moves and hidden strikes call on both sword and hand cannon. Blow off somebody’s kneecap, for instance, and you’ll drop them to just the right height for a haymaker knockout.

Barrages of enemy fire present little danger in themselves, as you can auto-block all projectiles with the A button held, but in tandem with a melee combatant or three they’re an insidious threat, nipping at your health bar when you lower your guard to deal the pain. The bullet spammage rarely reaches Ninja Gaiden levels of annoyingness, thankfully, but you’ll suffer the odd cheap death at the hands of nasties like the Uzi-wielding ninjas.

One high-speed train trip, a rooftop pursuit and a couple of conveyor belt jaunts aside, the environments are boxy and uninvolving, if reasonably attractive to the eye. Good thing we’re not required to dwell on their subtleties, then: mission pathways usually loop back to their origin points, so unless you indulge one of the many optional collection quests (or make a point of flattening all the crates, barrels and other lucre-rich destructables in each area), back-tracking is minimal.

When the going gets tough, a Sora katana technique like this wind blast will see you through.

When the going gets tough, a Sora katana technique like this wind blast will see you through.

If boss fights took the proceedings a few degrees higher than their generally excellent norm, Red Steel 2 would be a case of “TRIPLE-A CONFIRMED” or some alternative breed of forum hyperbole, but alas, these are the moments when Ubisoft’s inspiration runs dry. There are only two or three key villains to dispose of, and they fight much like their minions. Just a bit quicker. Elsewhere, half-blind struggles in thick mist or smoke hint at another level of inventiveness, but the hints remain hints, and in the meantime the repetitiveness of garden variety missions – kill this, press this button, destroy all these trucks – takes its toll on the fun factor.

Still, this is the best use for your Wii MotionPlus unit till the next Zelda arrives, at least. Red Steel 2 is complex without being incoherent, innovative without being off-putting, and one of the finest brawlers we’ve played full stop. That it will pound your biceps to cottage cheese could be considered a disadvantage, we suppose, but hey! this is an unhealthy past-time already, right?

8 out of 10

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One Response to “Red Steel 2 Review”

  1. Glayds says:

    Good morning, Happy April Fool’s Day!!

    The lifeguard told the mother to make her young son stop urinating in the pool.
    “Everyone knows,” the mother lectured him, “that from time to time, young children will urinate in a pool.”
    “Oh really?” said the lifeguard, “from the diving board!?!?”

    Happy April Fool’s Day!


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