You know, I'm not really sure what people were expecting from this game. The horrible reviews state-side kind of confuse me. The game is not THAT bad. The number one thing I hear people bitching and moaning about is the controls. So let me start there.
Some say this game has a steep learning curve. It is not in the slightest bit steep. In fact, I'd go so far as to say that this game is one of the easiest controlling shooters ever. The point and click shooting is absolutely the coolest thing about this game. If ever the arcade rail shooter genre (Area 51) and the traditional FPS genre (Halo, Half-Life) could blend, this is most certainly the way to do it. The pointer is very acurate if you calibrate it right, and mixed with the strafing and ducking behind cover, you can have a very satisfying shootout...particularly if you know what explosive environmental objects are in your area!
The nunchuck half of the controls work well too. It's basically the left stick from any controller ever made, with two extra buttons. One button jumps, the other ducks. Jumping is used occassionally, but ducking behind cover is a necessity. Perhaps that is the part that people just don't get. If you run into a room full of people with machine guns, expect to get shot. Another great feature of the nunchuck is the ability to interact with the environment by flipping tables for cover, picking up weapons, and opening doors.
The sword fighting. This deserves it's own section. Just like you can't run into a room ful of people with machineguns and expect to not get shot, you can't wildly swing your sword and expect not to get hit. The sword fighting in Red Steel feels more like a mini-game, which is unfortunate because it's so fun. The block/parry style of sword fighting really impressed me, and the fact that the nunchuck is used to the fullest extent also impresses me. You just don't get as many sword fights as you want, as this is primarily a shooter. But one thing kept crossing my mind...the Dynasty Warriors first person sword game from Koei. I can't wait.
Graphically, this game is not bad. Really. We all know the Wii's power, and there is no arguing that other next-gen games look better. But in 480p, this game has it's moments. I think with a little more time to polish this game, it could have truly looked better. I absolutely believe that the Wii can do so much better in this department.
However, graphics aside, I experienced a very unique and fun shooter. Red Steel feels a lot like Golden-Eye 64 in the way that combat is played out. Even the multi-player beckons memories of that classic. The story isn't enthralling, the graphics lack polish...but if you pass this game up for those reasons, you may miss out on one of the better Wii games. If you go into this game with ducking for cover and parrying with your sword in mind, you may really enjoy the deep combat system. This is a very great start for shooters on the Wii, and if anything, Red Steel proves that the Metroid game is going to work very well with these new controlls.
Oh, and for those of you complaining that your arms get tired, not only does Red Steel not require over exertion, it even has a setting in the menu that recognizes small sword strokes instead of large ones. But since most of the complainers probably never read the manual or bothered to adjust settings, they would never have known this.
My verdict: BUY
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