View Full Version : Article: Red Steel-Officially Awesome

10-26-2006, 03:26 PM
Found from Wired's Game|Life blog

Apparently I am really good at Red Steel.

What I heard was that other journalists didn't have nearly as easy a time acclimating themselves to this sword-swinging, guns-blazing Wii launch title. I was playing what was "basically" the final build of the game, and I kept asking the Ubisoft representatives in the room: this is way different from the other versions you've shown, right?

Because people kept complaining that the controls were bad at E3. And at Nintendo's New York event they were apparently saying the same things. I didn't play Red Steel at E3, and I didn't go to NYC. So I had no firsthand knowledge of the game until today. And what I played was great. Apparently they've made great strides between E3 and today, because the controls -- which have you using the Wii remote to aim your gun and swing your katana -- were spot-on, making for an immersive, thrilling ride.

In Red Steel, you're an American dude named Scott. Your fiancee and her dad have been kidnapped by the yakuza. So now you've got to kill a whole /xxx.gif/xxx.gif/xxx.gif/xxx.gifload of yakuza. I don't know how many yakuza are still around in modern-day Japan, but there are about a hundred less of them now that I've played the first hour of Red Steel.

The game's first few minutes get you acclimated to just moving around. A small white dot indicates where you're pointing the Wii remote. If you move the pointer close to the edge of the screen, you'll start to turn. (If you move the pointer OFF the edge of the screen, you'll start turning uncontrollably in that direction until you move the pointer back into the range of the sensor bar.)

Red Steel's shooting segments are thus not particularly concerned with moving around while you shoot. In fact, the way the levels are designed, you're doing a lot of standing in one place (or popping out from behind cover) while you carefully aim your pointer and pop the bad guys one by one. In this way it's much more like Time Crisis than Doom. You're able to move freely, but the levels are set up as linear point-to-point structures that take you to one little shooting gallery after the next.

This is not to say that the gameplay feels shallow or cheap. On the contrary, I was loving it. One of the most fun surprises for me was that the weapon-reload noise comes out of the speaker that's built into the remote control. It seems gimmicky at first but really does add to the immersion. You start to think it's a gun you're holding.

That is, right up until the moment it turns into a sword. During pre-scripted sword fights, the gun gets put away, and swinging the remote slashes your katana. Flicking the nunchuk makes you parry. Pressing the analog stick makes you dodge. Which is the best way to avoid an enemy's blows? You figure it out. You'll have at least four opportunities in the first hour of gameplay to fight with knives -- plenty of chances to practice the noble art of beating the living crap out of a guy, then letting him live so you can earn Respect points and become a kinder, gentler yakuza murderer.

Much has been made of the fact that Red Steel's sword fights aren't 1:1; that is to say, your hand movements do not translate exactly into your on-screen character's sword motions. While I would still like to see a game that does this, it doesn't make the sword battles here any less fun. The challenge doesn't come from manipulating your sword per se. It's about timing your dodge and parry moves as accurately as possible, reading the enemy's movements and reacting accordingly, then getting a swing in when the time is right.

Red Steel begins to get complex when these elements begin to be merged. By flicking up on the nunchuk, you can slice a nearby enemy with your left hand sword. Near tables, you can make the same motion to kick them over and create cover. If you know what you're doing, battles become a very tactile experience. If you don't know what you're doing I could see things getting quite confusing.

In that sense, Red Steel is ultimately for the hardcore gamers. Sure, I can see a lot of non-gamers trying it out for the novelty value, and some of them might be so taken with the unique control that they stick with it. But this is still directed at longtime gamers. It's not an easy thing to play. But by the end of the first hour, I was hooked.

The question still remains, however, as it remains for Rayman: is this a novelty, and if so, what happens when it wears off? Will there be enough substance to the game design such that Red Steel lasts past the point at which aiming with a pointer is old hat? From what I played today, I submit that it very well might.

Kawaii Ryűkishi
10-26-2006, 04:22 PM
Well, that's a relief.

10-26-2006, 04:54 PM
Judging from the quality of that article, I think I'll wait for the official, official verdict.

Kawaii Ryűkishi
10-26-2006, 04:57 PM
Chris Kohler has never been one to disappoint.

10-26-2006, 05:04 PM
Hes a bit full of himself thinking he can say something is officially awesome. Im still not won over by Red Steel.

10-26-2006, 05:07 PM
I'll have a legitimate opinion on launch day. It looks decent, but if it plays like an arcadey lightgun shooter as various journalists say, I'll be disappointed.

10-26-2006, 05:41 PM
Might merit a rental...it does seem like one of those things that won't be as fun once the whole motion-sensing business is old news.