Like most of the games I own, I picked up Red Steel 2 when I saw it cheap and mainly because it was bundled with a motion plus controller-thing. I almost forgot I had it and then when I did I wondered if I’d even bother playing it. However it had got okay reviews, I actually liked the flawed original and I’m still waiting for Portal 2 and LA Noire to drop in price so I thought I’d give it a go.
The good news first, it looks fantastic, I’d say it was probably one of the best looking Wii games. There’s so much to be said for adopting a visual style and sticking with it to achieve great results. The setting of the game is also really interesting the samurai western seems to work much better here than the original. It plays well, the controls work although I’m not sure if I really noticed the difference Motion Plus worked.
Unfortunately I very quickly got annoyed by the smallest things. At the start you have to move back and forth between the same few areas for no real reason just to learn a new move. It isn’t helped by the fact the doors (or are they lifts, I genuinely couldn’t tell from the animations) can take up to 30 seconds to open. I was willing to put up with minor problems as I settled into the game but I soon realised that I had no idea what was going on. An hour into the game I’d been introduced to a few characters but had no sense of identity or story. I wondered if I needed to read the manual or if it had anything to do with 2006 original which I obviously can’t remember.
It wasn’t long before I got to the first boss and it was here that I sensed I would be giving up with the game. I hate bosses, they usually seem like an artificial way of slowing down the game when I just want to get on with the story. I know they are supposed to a be a test of the skills you’ve accumulated so far but this rarely happens (the Zelda games usually get it right) and when they do most of the games prolong the experience to unnecessary repetition to drain an overlong energy bar, three hits and you’re out should be the correct approach. I may not be the greatest gamer but I still died over and over, lowering the bosses energy a little further each time thinking that at least if I persisted I’d get there eventually. But I was already bored having to go through the motions (literally with the remote swinging) too many times before dying and having to repeat. It occurred to me that perhaps I made a mistake selecting medium difficulty rather than beginner but as many others have pointed out how are you supposed to select a difficulty before you’ve played the game. At least you can change the difficulty during the game so I did and it still didn’t seem to make any difference. Normally I stick with bosses because I want to continue the story and see what else the game has to offer but I realised after two hours of playing I had no idea who I was or what the story was about , I simply had no investment in the game and wondered why I should give up at least another 8 hours of my life to see it through. I beat the boss and moved on, playing a bit longer I was exposed to more of the same and didn’t want to go any further.
I feel bad, it is not a bad game and I suspect many people would enjoy it but I need a reason to keep playing and after two hours the game had offered me none. I may return to it but I’d rather spend my time trying to get 100% on Undead Nightmare or going after all the starts in Super Mario Galaxy 2 (or the first game for that matter) or bite the bullet and cough up for Portal 2 or LA Noire.