NWR guns n slashes its way through the crowds of TGS.
Ubisoft brought its much anticipated Wii MotionPlus title Red Steel 2 to the Tokyo Game Show, and NWR stopped by the Ubisoft booth to play the demo.
The Red Steel 2 demo starts out with you, as the main character, tied up and being ridiculed by some punk biker. He soon gets on his bike and drives off - dragging you along for the ride. This starts off a somewhat exhilarating fast paced sequence where you watch as he drags you through the desert, and then some sewers where he ends up wiping out, and a large explosion allows you to break free.
Once you’re free you’re able to walk around, pick up a gun, and finally start searching for the bastard that wronged you and get revenge. As with the previous Red Steel, this game is a FPS allowing you to aim projectile based weapons with the Wii Remote’s IR as well as wield melee based weapons by swinging the Wii Remote.
Shooting felt natural and easy enough to pull off. I was able to consistently pull off head shots on enemies at various distances. Melee combat, on the other hand, didn’t feel as natural. Once the player picks up the katana, there is a room in the next area where you can practice your melee control on a dummy that resembles an enemy. Here you can practice striking the dummy vertically and horizontally. Additionally, depending on the way you swing, the strength of your slash changes. Normal and weak attacks are done with a quick swipe, where as stronger attacks can be carried out with a more deliberate swing of the Wii Remote. I wasn’t able to always pull off the strong attacks, but I assume that the strength and perhaps length of the swing you unleash with the Wii Remote would play a role in determining what kind of attack your character pulls off.
You can also use the sword to block by holding it perpendicular to the ground. When fighting enemies with the sword, the game will indicate that enemies wearing armor must first have their armor destroyed by using the strong attack swing. My inability to consistently pull off strong attacks mixed with needing time to recuperate between swings (I would quickly begin my next swing with the Wii Remote immediately after landing a hit) led to a lot of real life arm flailing with little reaction from my on-screen counterpart. While it may very well be that I just needed more time with the game to understand the nuances of its control, I was a bit turned off by what I perceived as being unresponsive or hard to grasp control.
The game’s graphics and art direction look great. The level I played moved from the aforementioned sewers into a Western-themed town with different signs in Japanese all over the place. The town had a nice Western feel and nothing felt out of place. The enemies in this level were huge muscle-men wearing masks and wielding either guns or katanas. While masked men in katanas might not seem like the natural choice for an enemy to fight in a Western-style town, the town and the characters both looked very good and didn’t feel out of sync with each other.
The demo ends with a boss fight where you have to hit the enemy from behind in order to take him down. At this point, the rep explained to me that I can make a quick hop to the side by holding C and pressing the A button while holding the control stick in either direction. After using that technique, I was able to take down the boss quickly.
Red Steel 2 offers beautiful art direction, a cool setting for the story, and solid FPS control - all of which will help entice gamers to put their money down on it when it comes out. However, the biggest draw for the game is going to be its support of Wii MotionPlus, and will probably succeed/fail based on how much fun players have with that control. I, unfortunately, didn’t have enough time with the game to determine whether my less than stellar experience with the melee control was due to poor implementation or simply my inability to grasp its nuances in the short amount of time I had with the game. That being said, I look forward to giving it another go in the future.