I’m tired of waiting to fight with a lightsaber. I am talking real, full blown, motion recognition that I’m slicing through the Empire with. Ever since Nintendo announced its Wii Motion Plus, I have fantasized about how much time it will take before I’m out shishkabob-ing the neighbor’s dog with the force.
Along with announcing the Motion Plus, Red Steel 2 was revealed to be one of the first examples of what the Motion Plus can do in a gamer setting. But are there demonstrated differences between the Motion Plus and the tried and true? Yes. Does Red Steel 2 make the implementation of this technology seamless? Not so much.
I hesitate to make this a review of the Wii Motion Plus, but so much has gone into these conferences involving the evolution of how we feel and control games that it’s almost necessary. The motion control was impressive in that it did recognize my hand turning left and right. When I twisted my wrist right, my katana twisted right, and vice versa. There’s an enhancement to how the software reacts to you, but as a part of the game play, it falls short. There was much to be desired in the varying strengths of particular strikes, and the registration of these strikes as well as orientating one’s attack towards an enemy.
The design of Red Steel 2 might have something to do with this. The combat alternates between a katana and gun, both of which you can access at any time with little to no lag between the switch. However, the first-person perspective makes the motion control and orientation chaotic. With a game like No More Heroes, the location of the sword is always known because of the perspective; however, when your katana is off the screen in Red Steel 2, it feels like pointless flailing to get it back to slicing and dicing your enemies. Also, because of the first-person view, the movement is chaotically quick.
There’s something about the Wii remote being an extension of your hand that I still have never quite felt, and the feeling doesn’t evolve with the Plus either. When we think of the epitome, the great 1 to 1 idea of doing something in real life that’s imitated exactly in the virtual world, at some point, the lines between you and whatever you’re pretending to hold fade away. For all intents and purposes, you really are holding a sword or a crossbow. Because of the jagged erratic motions needed to engage enemies in Red Steel 2, the remote still feels like an instrument to draw slashes on the screen, rather than using a weapon to slay enemies. And this drastic separation renders the feel of actually fighting lackluster.
Apart from this feeling, the actual hack and slash elements are decently fun. The design of the game is heavy stylized and sleek. This simpler, cartoon-like style makes the visual soul of the game quite enticing. I fought what looked like a cartoon version of the hammer boss from the first level of Resident Evil 5, who had patterned attacks and had to be attacked from behind. The first-person perspective does make it difficult to see when and where enemies are coming from, which I can appreciate because it makes the game a bit harder and more realistic when I’m reacting to things on both of my sides and behind me.
For those who enjoy moving a sword quickly and switching to a pistol every once and awhile, the game will offer some decently fun play. Variation in enemies and attacks is tentative since the demo only ran through one level, but if it’s six or seven of the same levels, or similar, I wouldn’t buy it. Variability is going to be the key.
Overall, it’s an interesting new attempt at utilizing the Wii’s new technology. I don’t anticipate it’s going to revolutionize anything but it definitely gets the elements down for a decent hack and slash. The great thing about being a first is that you’re able to show the world not only what you can do, but what will be possible in the future. I look forward to seeing what this title spawns in the future of 1 to 1 motion sensing combat.
If you’re interested in reading about more games that we played at E3, have a little snoop around Gamer Limit… we were lucky to check out rather a lot. Register here.