My second hands-on with Red Steel 2, this time in Tokyo, confirmed to me that Ubisoft's first-person Wii sequel is the kind of Wii game that, back in 2006, I thought we would be playing more of.
It is a game that will be as fun as the motions needed to control it. If arm-swinging can't be your thing — if you want to play your games stoically — then stay away.
The build of the game in Tokyo required space (Just like the potentially sternum-cracking Gamescom one). I needed room to get into this game, room to try some new combination attacks. We were at a stage halfway into the game, set after the game would have — hopefully — introduced each move to the player one by one.
Risking having to learn and execute all the combos on the fly in Tokyo, this is what I was able to perform:
Swinging my arm with the required (and bundled) MotionPlus accessory caused my first-person hero to swing his sword. Small motions generate wimpy strikes. Big motions — the MotionPlus isn't fooled by waggling cheaters — causes big, heavy swings. But pinching the remote's A and B buttons combined with an abbreviated Frisbee-style hurls of the device emitted stunning knock-back blasts.
Holding Z with my left hand while doing a big remote swing caused a more dramatic slow-motion slash. That was good for cutting across a group of enemies. Tilting the analog stick, tapping A and swinging sent me into a charging attack. Another combo had me doing side-step slip that cut to a strike.
I've played the game at two press showcases and not seen much level variety in this game. All of the sequences I've witnessed have been in the same wild-west-with-ninjas town. And while the game looks good thanks to its cel-shaded and simple design, it is not the graphics but the gameplay that I expect to solely justify this game. I'm into that gameplay for now. The swings feel good. The shooting does too, though its controls are more standard and function as expected. I'd want to play a longer session to ensure the game's combat isn't tiring or repetitive. What I do sense, thankfully, is that the game's creative director Jason VandenBerghe is correct to say his team is avoiding waggle controls. The moves feel big and right, sweeping and effective.
One extra note about my favorite part of the demo in Tokyo: During a boss battle against a guy named Payne, the person playing the game got their hero knocked in the air. I'd never seen this effect before. In a first-person view, locked onto his enemy, my guy got lifted from his feet, rocketed several stories into the air. The closest thing I can describe it to is what it looks like if you swing back on a swing really high while looking down at the ground the whole time. That move that was being done to the player is a move that, after vanquishing Payne, the player will be able to do to enemies. As a bonus, Payne or the player will be able to leap into the sky to chase the enemy they knocked up there and beat them back to the ground. If that's the kind of dynamism the rest of the game contains, I will happily play more.