previews\ Feb 21, 2010 at 7:00 pm

Red Steel 2 - WII - Preview 3

After a lackluster reception from the press, Ubisoft has gone back to the drawing board to rethink the Red Steel franchise. GameZone was able to meet up with the developers of Red Steel 2 recently in San Francisco, California for hands-on and an intimate chat on where the series is heading.

Immediately noticing the new art direction, it’s apparent that Ubisoft has wiped the slate clean and began anew with the series. The cel-shaded style – all within the gorgeous desert metropolis Ubisoft has created – was a fresh look in comparison to the dull realistic aesthetics of the first. Attempting to push the limits within a teen rating, Ubisoft is out to provide a mature title for all ages – thus, the level of gore is low and the animated violence is high.

Gun shots won’t do much damage against the armored foe

Allowing players to switch the speeds of their controller sensitivity, along with three sets of difficulty, Red Steel 2 will have a various amount of options for user optimization. If players are having trouble using the Wii remote for attacks, they can look to the actor-guided tutorials for lessons on how to master the controls. The woman in the videos is often robotic in form, but the tutorials are perfectly crafted to aid the player in understanding how to play Red Steel 2.

The controls this time around felt more akin to what were originally promised with the original – tight and precise. The motion attacks ranged from horizontal attacks, vertical attacks and variations thereof.  If players want a strong attack, they’ll have to put effort into the swing. If they don’t, the attacks would turn into simple slices and stabs. Putting together combos, players are able to perform top-notch maneuvers such as The Guillotine that eliminated several enemies in one brave attack. If players are interested in blocking, they’ll have to hold their Wii remote up in vertical fashion to block sword attacks or ricochet bullets.

To take down this enemy, you’ll have to target the armor first

After attacking enemies, players may be eligible for a lunging attack that has The Gunslinger (the protagonist) stabbing for an immediate kill. As players continue forth in their venture towards ridding the world of The Jackals, the villains in Red Steel 2, they’ll buy maneuvers from their dojo to learn and master. After buying the attack, they’ll head straight to the training ground to gain knowledge from Jian, The Gunslinger’s sensei, on how to use the attack in combat. There are also hidden strikes such as a 360 degree attack to use to overcome the odds in battle.

Exploring the open-world environment, although linear in story progression, players can retrieve quests from the mission board. Once all missions are completed, a new area will open on the map to continue forth in the storyline. There are also option missions to aid in the exploration of the map to find chests, destroy objects and eliminate wanted posters of The Gunslinger.

Specific enemy targeting can be cycled through with the Z button.

The gunplay was also equally enticing. Instead of randomly spraying bullets across the chest of my enemies, I would often shoot the knee caps out from underneath them. Once this was done, I’d proceed to stab the enemy through the heart for an exciting disposal of my enemy. There’s also the availability to upgrade ammo, guns (along with the swords) and the armor, so if players are becoming overwhelmed with the gunplay, they can always upgrade to even the odds.

Running at 60 FPS (frames per second), the animations were more impressive than they were in the past; especially the powerful combos that were unlocked during our session. One of the more unique kills I was able to accomplish was bouncing bullets off walls to take down enemies who were using cover – it often provided  a good laugh since the enemies never saw it coming.

It’s fair to say that Red Steel 2 is a whole different beast than the original. The futuristic Wild West setting with samurais and ninjas is definitely peculiar. Upon completing my session, I walked away with sore shoulders from all the powerful swings and a smile on my face.

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