Red Steel (Wii)

[ Buy it on Amazon ] [ Official Site ] [ Gamespot: 5.5 Users: 7.2 ]

I almost didn’t buy this game after the mediocre (read bad) rating that Gamespot gave it (it’s a really well done review, definitely worth checking it out).  After playing it, I kind of agree with a lot of their issues.  But it grew on me a little.  I haven’t played it through yet, or even racked up a ton of hours.  That isn’t going to stop me from posting my thoughts though.

My biggest issue with this game is probably more of a general Wii issue.  The motion sensing controller is core to the whole Wii model so most of the games I’ve checked out try to make good use of it.  However, I can’t help but feel that the controls seem to oscillate between not very sensitive and hyper sensitive.  For example, in a sword fight in Red Steel the sword strokes don’t seem particularly natural or responsive.  In my opinion the response should be instantaneous and should follow the motion you make.  This doesn’t seem to be the case – maybe its a limitation of either the game or the controller, I can’t say.  I hope that future games do a better job of this.  The other end of the spectrum, hyper sensitive (or sometimes eratic) response is also illustrated by Red Steel.  You have to keep the Wii remote pretty stationary or you’ll find yourself constantly looking at the floor.  This causes you (well at least me) to overreact and shit up.  It takes a while to get this under control and constantly holding the controller in the right position is kind of a hassle.

So moving on, I think you’ll find my biggest gripe is tied to control.  I found it difficult to get used to waving the remote around in one hand to control where I looked and using the nunchaku in the other hand to move (or dodge in a sword fight).  It is possible that I’m just not twitchy enough for this, but it took me a long time to get used to it.  In fact, I’m still not used to it.  I did, however, find that over time I got a little more used to it and started to have fun.

My other complaint is something that Gamespot also pointed out.  The cut-scenes and dialog pretty much sucks.  I wish there was a mode where I could just go sword fight and not have to deal with the story, I’d use that all the time and give the game a much better review if it had that feature.  This would at least let me escape the annoying aspects of the game and have fun.  Like a Wii sword fight workout… that would be cool.

I also wasn’t blown away by the graphics.  I’m not sure if this is a Red Steel issue or a Wii issue.  In an FPS the expectations for graphics are just a lot higher and this didn’t get there – it pales in comparison to games like Gears of War on Xbox 360.  This may be due to the fact that the Wii is not HD, which seems like a weird choice.

So in summary:  This game is fun to mess around with and does do some interesting stuff with the Wii controller, but relative to other games in this genre it’s not very good.  I would only recommend it if you want to try out some interesting new games on your Wii.  I give the game a few kudos for the cool sword fight model and for doing some pretty cool motion sensing stuff in the interface.  I just wish they had done a little better on the quality.

My hope:  That someone comes out with a sword fight game that is really cool for the Wii.  I think the basic idea of the sword fights in Red Steel are really compelling and I would love to see a game that does a spectacular job of delivering on that concept. 

So, what do you think ?