Red Steel 2 review

  • The engaging, intuitive combat
  • Strong visual style stands out on Wii
  • Smooth, responsive controls
  • Occasional hiccups in those controls, though
  • Lots of repeating missions
  • Loading screens can really drag

Forget Red Steel. The first one, that is. It was a heavily hyped mess rushed out for Wii’s 2006 launch, one that failed to deliver on all its promises (precise aiming, intuitive swordplay, competitive graphics). Its deficiencies put the first of many dark clouds over Wii’s third party offerings, making the prospect of a Red Steel 2 less than enticing. But that’s exactly why you should forget the first, as this completely overhauled sequel is easily the best FPS on Wii and a wonderfully shocking example of how damn good a Wii-exclusive shooter can be.

Before we get into the story, or the lovely old west visuals or the moody soundtrack, we have to start with the kickass combat. As an FPS, most of the game is spent shooting and slicing enemies, but instead of taking cover or simply holding the trigger down until the bad guys die, Red Steel 2 forces you to use all of its diverse sword attacks, each of which is activated by a different flick of the wrist or swing of the arm.

We know, that sounds awful. But it’s not. This is probably the first action game on the system that uses motion for great effect, enhancing gameplay to a point that’s simply not possible with a standard controller.

Consider this:

Above: Pop a guy into the air with a vertical flick

Above: Leap into the air after him, slashing while he floats

Above: Then send him crashing back into the ground with a downwards thrust

Above: Oh hey, there was a guy waiting behind you – a simple button press and horizontal slash one-hit-kills this sneaky baddie

Above: Another guy tried to rush you head on, easily dispatched with a knockdown attack and then run through

Above: And then the last guy gets his neck broken. Boom, you just killed four guys in one minute, with all the flair of an anime superstar

About four hours into the game, you’ll have a wealth of sword moves at your disposal. The devs knew how outstanding their combat was, so it’s easy to purchase and upgrade each of these devastating abilities to their fullest. With so many motion-specific ways to dispatch enemies, it’s the most empowering sensation we’ve had on Wii. The combination of button presses and gestures is definitely not for the casual – this is seriously hardcore, with a generous number of combos, finishers, counters and sidesteps, each necessary to claw your way through the game’s remarkably capable thugs. Mapping this many moves to a controller just doesn’t seem feasible.

In fact, the combat is so well done that we can’t really make the age-old complaint of “even with all these moves it’s easier just to waggle the remote until everything dies.” Foes raise their guard and constantly alter their stance, forcing you to mix things up. It’s hard to convey in words, screens or even video, but trust us, when you clear a room of 13 enemies without taking a hit, you’ll understand.

It’s not 100 percent flawless though – despite several targeting configurations, we couldn’t find one that always kept us facing the enemy we wanted, leading to a few deaths we feel were unwarranted. Furthermore, the distinction between weak strike and strong strike is literally how hard and wide you swing. This means you need plenty of space and can’t relax while playing, so those with a fear of excessive Wii-waggle will need overcome their phobia. Plus you have to endure plenty of in-game reminders of how to play.

Above: Right, I know

Above: Oh… OK

Above: Jesus, really?

Above: ZOMG real people??

Har har, an easy target for sure. But the lessons are well taken, because they explain the most crucial aspect of the game. And at least they’re better than the original game’s tutorial images.

Above: Remember these idiots?

Now then. How about the rest of the game?

More Info

Release date: Mar 23 2010 - Wii (US)
Mar 26 2010 - Wii (UK)
Available Platforms: Wii
Genre: Action
Published by: Ubisoft
Developed by: Ubisoft Paris
ESRB Rating:
Teen: Animated Blood, Violence, Mild Suggestive Themes, Mild Language
PEGI Rating:


  • guiarherodrummer1998 - September 5, 2010 1:31 a.m.

    finally. This game makes me proud to be a Wii owner. Even better. I'm renting this on Sunday!
  • Kuraik767 - September 2, 2010 5:09 p.m.

    As uch as I liked the first one, this one is a let-down. better motion controls doesn't make up for cartoony graphics, futuristic cowboy samurais, and only five guns.
  • fartinapot - June 18, 2010 6:59 p.m.

    Me again. You know the part on the bottom that asks you to type in two words? I made a mistake and tried to post my comment, then this came up: "Ooops- that's not what was written in the image. You may be a robot. Try again" If you think I'm lieing, try it for your self. "You may be a robot." Whats up with that??
  • fartinapot - June 18, 2010 6:54 p.m.

    I got this game 5 days ago. It is so awesome! The graphics are great. The story line could be a little better, but who cares. It's good enough. I just like using special attacks and blowing up trucks. There is also this one cool part where this guy named payne tries to kill you. I'm not going to tell you how he tries, but it is so cool to watch and play. this game is fun and I think that a 9 is a correct judgement.
  • fartinapot - May 12, 2010 9:21 p.m.

    I can't wait to get this game. I don't have a wii yet, but I'm saving up for one. This will be one of the first games I will buy.
  • fartinapot - May 10, 2010 9:21 p.m.

    This game looks awesome. I am going to get it for sure
  • DrJanitor - April 22, 2010 9:18 p.m.

    Bought this from GAME (online) at bargain price of £20 - it's awesome! Played only about an hour so far but the combat seems limitless in its originality. Very impressed - and it's only the second brand new game I've bought for Wii in the past year (NSMB being the other)
  • AyJay - March 25, 2010 8:26 a.m.

    I think they kept the Red Steel name because, face it, Red Steel is a fucking badass name.
  • mdiaz033 - March 24, 2010 7:53 p.m.

    recaptcha 113-112 cells :/ anyways, i thought this was going to fail but congrats to wii
  • leemass21 - March 24, 2010 5:19 p.m.

    godofps3 the only reason it doesnt have multypaler in is because they didnt have time to put iin and i no what you mean i was wondering why aswell untill i say an interview with thier creative director.
  • leemass21 - March 24, 2010 5:07 p.m.

    i completed mirrors edge in less than 8 hours an that was on normal and devil may cry 4 took me 8 aswell u must b a pritty crap gamer videoman. aliens vs predator is 5-6 hours long and the only game iv had for the 360 thats took me longer than 10 hours is ff13 and lost oddesey.
  • leemass21 - March 24, 2010 5:03 p.m.

    to vigeoman what are you complaing for 8-10 hours is good most 360 games your lucky if you get 8 hours owt ov it, iv already preorderd redsteel 2 can't wait to play it bin waiting for this gaame since a heard it was being made.
  • philipshaw - March 24, 2010 3:38 p.m.

    Great review Brett, you just gave me my first Wii game to go out and buy in like a year
  • Blackout1881 - March 24, 2010 10:51 a.m.

    YES!!! I was really banking my decision of buying the damn system on this game. I may very well purchase one sometime soon. Honestly if a Wii game is called great by Brett Elston it's probably pretty good, just sayin.
  • n00b - March 24, 2010 2:15 a.m.

    @vigeoman isn't god of war 3, Brutal Legend, Dante's Inferno, Devil May Cry 4, Mirror's Edge,etc with in the 10 hour mark? most games now a days are within 10 hours with that said i don't like to pay full price for a game that is that long (with out no multiplayer) im definitely getting this, but when it gets a little bit cheaper. Plus I can get motion plus in time for when the next zelda comes out.
  • CH3BURASHKA - March 24, 2010 12:43 a.m.

    Didn't expect it to be THIS good. Very interested to play this... on my friend's Wii.
  • Cyberninja - March 24, 2010 12:32 a.m.

    i am glad to say i am looking forward to more wii games than ps3 games this year this is the start of the takeback where nintendo stops having the caual image and gets the hardcore image back just in time to fill the hardcore void that move and natal will leave i love irony
  • Tyboy - March 23, 2010 11:45 p.m.

    DAMMIT! i was depending on this to get a bad score so i wouldn't have to buy it... why do all the good games have to come out when i have no money?
  • Triton7K - March 23, 2010 11:02 p.m.

    Ok, now I'm REALLY happy I got a Wii in February! The game looks amazing, but does the Wii MotionPlus come in every Red Steel 2 box, or do I need to get the crappy Wii Sports Resort to get it?
  • QWERTYCommander - March 23, 2010 10:45 p.m.

    @GodofPS314 I agree. They're almost nothing alike. But a 9!? Wow. I've been looking forward to this, and it actually met my expectations. Most of the games I look forward to get 6.0 or lower.

Showing 1-20 of 44 comments

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