?If all the third-party games due to be released on Wii launch day, Red Steel has received by far the most attention. But that doesn't mean everyone's been singing its praises. Many people have complained that the sword-fighting controls in the preview versions they've played were glitchy and unresponsive, and that moving through the levels was hard to get the hang of. Understandably, there were concerns that these issues wouldn't be resolved by the time the game was ready for release. So were we right to have lost sleep over these worries.
Short answer? Nope. The fact is, Red Steel is one of the most enjoyable, action-packed and immersive games available on the Wii, and after a while the controls rarely enter your mind, except when you're amazed at how well they work.
In our previews of the game we've gone into quite a lot of detail surrounding the plot - you're an American guy who has to go to Japan to rescue your kidnapped fiancée from the Yakuza (the Japanese mafia) after it transpires her dad's a big cheese in the gangster world - but you'll find when you pick up Red Steel you'll be having so much fun blowing bad guys away that the story may slip your mind. And the great control system is just one of the reasons you'll get so absorbed in the game.
Yakuza People Gonna Die? Whereas a lot of first-person shooters only have a handful of enemies in each
level and the emphasis is more on navigating the maze-like maps, Red Steel is a pretty linear game - you're never really in
any doubt where to head next, and your main focus is gunning down a stream of enemies to get through the level. If that sounds like a chore to you, think again. We soon found ourselves craving more and more enemies to take out, simply because the Wii Remote's aiming system makes the game so much fun.
It's not just an easy system to use, it's an ingenious one. Running over to a desk and flicking the Nunchuk will flip the desk over, allowing you to duck down behind it and shield yourself from any gunshots. Once you've targeted your enemy you can lock on by holding the A button, which brings up a white box around the general area your opponent's standing in. When you hide the box will remain on screen, meaning when you pop out again to fire some shots you'll have a general idea of where you're going to be aiming.
This is a great system because it doesn't lock straight onto the opponent (making killing him a case of simply leaning out and firing), but it also means you're not going to be leaping up and spending three or four seconds trying to find out where he was hiding, by which point the super-clever AI will have gunned you down.
And it is clever, you know. We're sure you've heard countless developers talk about their action games: the enemies are smart, they've got minds of their own. And yes, we know that ultimately ends up meaning they'll either scurry around aimlessly instead of standing still or lurk behind a wall and pop out at random moments. But in Red Steel you do genuinely feel like you're in a shoot-out with an enemy who's actually thinking.
Slice Of The Action
Bad guys here start by cautiously hiding behind columns and walls, then after a while they'll become impatient and fire some bullets. When you run out of ammo they'll charge towards you, looking for the kill. It means that when you finally manage to pick off that pesky Yakuza, you'll feel a real sense of satisfaction in having outsmarted him.
There are a couple of sensitivity options available if you want to change the speed of your Remote pointer, but we felt that the default option was spot-on. It's fast enough to let you quickly adjust your aim from an enemy at the bottom left to another one up on a balcony to the right, yet also accurate enough to let you hold your aim steady and move it a single pixel to the left or right should you need to. Basically, it offers the accuracy of a PC's keyboard-and-mouse control system with the added bonus that you actually feel like you're holding a gun instead of clicking a mouse.