Red Steel 2
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Game Reviewed: Red Steel 2
ESRB Rating: T
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In Red Steel 2, you play as the nameless Hero, the last and banished member of the Kusagari Clan, an ancient tribe of master sword-smiths and elite warriors, as you return to the city of Caldera after a period of exile. From the very start of the game, you find yourself being drug behind a motorcycle by Payne, the sadistic leader of the Jackals, a gang wreaking havoc and destruction throughout the city. Freeing yourself, you embark on settling old scores and retrieving your katana, a specially wrought sword with immense and unpredictable power.
Using the Wii Motion Plus, navigate the streets of Caldera, bound along a moving train, weave through Rattlesnake Canyon and into the Tiger’s Nest, all while building your arsenal of four lethal guns and enhancing your skills as the Last Kusagari.
Each environment pits you against dubious members of the Katatara, the brutal members of the Jackal gang, and lighting quick ninjas. Every location offers the option for sub-missions from repairing communication towers to finding stolen gold; all while increasing your bankroll as you slash and smash phone booths, trash cans, and crates as well as your enemies.
Also, it should be noted that Red Steel 2 is all about motion control. In fact, the game cannot be played without the Wii’s new Motion Plus adaptor. This means that if you are using a gun, then the player must hold the Wii-mote like a gun. If the player is holding a sword, then the player must hold and swing the Wii-mote like a sword. As such, Red Steel 2 makes the player truly feel like he is part of the action.
What Parents Need to Know
Considering the frenetic and graphic-novel style of gameplay, RS2 is designed for older teens and adults. Typical of most First Person Shooters/Slashers RS2 is driven by fighting opponents head-on. While there is no blood, gore, or dismemberment, hits will register in flashes of muted colors whether by sword or gun. Some “finishing” moves are brutal. Using a special move, the Ram for example, the player can smash an opponent’s head into the ground with a crushing blow. Dispatched enemies disappear immediately after they are defeated.
In some cinematics, the level of violence is slightly elevated, such as when a certain opponent is defeated with a sword thrust to the abdomen, followed by the Hero breaking the sword in half.
Dialogue, specifically in cinematics, does include mild explicatives such as bad-a**, or damn-it.
Sexual content is minimal and is limited to the only female character seen in the game, Tamiko. Her attire is a low-cut, tight fitting top that reveals cleavage and her mid-riff.
Generally speaking, there is relatively little spiritual content. It should be noted that as the Last Kusagari, the Hero can enhance his fighting with special abilities that appear supernatural after a fashion. Each of these “powers” are named after a particular animal, such as the Cobra which allows the Hero to shoot multiple targets in “bullet time” (slow motion) making the most of every shot.
In addition, some of the enemies encountered, specifically bosses, have special abilities such as teleportation, regeneration, or dematerializing into smoke.
As was stated Red Steel 2 does require the Motion Plus module and Nunchuk to play the game and is a single player only game. Unlike other Wii games in the same class, RS2 is limited to only motion control. The player uses the C-stick in conjunction with the Wii remote to move the character, including all combat moves. (Aiming guns and moving use overlapping controls, while sword fighting utilizes a “lock-on” system to keep targets in the player’s field of vision.)
And expect a workout! RS2 is all about action, literally. The harder the player swings the controller, the harder the sword will strike. While some moves can be enhanced through button combinations or sequences, power behind the swing is the ultimate deciding factor. Do not be surprised if your arm aches after playing through the first level.
Red Steel 2 is remotely related to its predecessor, the original Red Steel. While still existing in the same universe, RS2 was specifically designed around the Motion Plus module, melding accuracy, realism and solid gameplay into one excellent adventure. But if you have played the original, do not expect the same experience or even a continuation of the first story. The world of RS2 combines the enchanting martial aspects of the East with the grit of the Old West. Here, the katana is not better than the revolver or vice-versa. Rather, the player can choose one, the other or both to quickly eliminate enemies from various arenas such as ghost towns to temple grounds. The mechanics, while sometimes quirky, are more responsive and accurate than the previous installment.
While not a “sand-box” environment or multi-linear storyline (multiple outcomes), RS2 offers the right amount of challenges with an intriguing, if not somewhat dull, plot mixed with adequately spaced fight scenes and more than a few optional side-missions.