Red Steel is about the first first person shooter for the Wii that wasn’t ported… and unfortunately you can’t notice that. Ubisoft tries to play into the unique capabilities of the wireless controller and wanted to implement these in just about every way. My teachers always told me “less is more” and I finally understand what they meant. This game is a wireless overkill…
The storyline is quite decent. It’s a bit like a bad Asian B-movie, but also that has its charms. As friends of a Japanese mob boss’s daughter (thunk Lucy Liu, but with the mental capacity of Paris Hilton) you get dragged into a plot where everything turns about the katana sword of her father. It’s not so much a weapon as a sign of power over the Yakuza, Japan’s infamous mob.
This game gets its kicks mostly from the way you play. The looking around and aiming is all done with the Wiimote, the famous wireless controller. Not only the pointing direction but also the rotation gets noted which results in you being an ace if you manage to keep your weapons horizontal. Not really that handy which results in you keeping your controller on your lap most of the time. With this in mind, you should be able to aim at an enemy after about five to ten minutes.
When the opponent is outside of the screen, it’s quite hard to first turn the camera until the hostile is centered on screen and afterwards shoot him. Luckily (or not?) Red Stell has a possibility to lock onto a character so that the camera can only movie slightly. Once a fiend in view you can zoom by moving the controller towards the screen. You do understand this is a difficult move that everyone will try to avoid where possible. The trick is to first move the controller backward, then push the button and then put the Wiimote back on your lap.
The sword fighting also has a bit role in the game but it isn’t more than swaying the controller around at the right time. Moves are all too often wrongly interpreted, or maybe they’re randomly chosen by the game? Instead of having to stop incoming attacks, the makers opted for letting you shake the nunchuck at the right time. Here Ubisoft really drops it as this was supposed to be one of the highlights of the game.
Graphically, everything looks pretty decent, taking into account we’re talking about improved Gamecube graphics. At certain moments it’s clear the devs tried to make something beautiful, like with the lighting effects which do add some additional atmosphere to the game. The sound is decent but contains too little variation and hostiles all too often repeat themselves, something also the background music does.
Red Steel is good to be the first FPS on the Wii, but goes down due to the far too integrated point-controls. That you even have to drag – instead of click – menus is one of the best proofs of this. And why would anyone start fighting with a sword if you’ve got a full arsenal of bullets at your disposal?