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Red Steel 2 Review

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Improved sword 'n' shooter

★★★★

While most Wiisters will have bad memories of the original Red Steel and its awkward sword-and-gunplay, the seductive sequel is a completely different beast. And it’s all thanks to the Wii MotionPlus.

Although Nintendo’s control gizmo has seen little dedicated support since its release last year, Red Steel 2 is one of the few titles that requires the controller sleeve to play, and the results are stunning. Unlike the frantic flailing and inevitable broken wine glasses that hampered the original, Red Steel 2 allows players to use the MotionPlus to slash with a sword and shoot enemies with precision, allowing you to become a blur of steel and bullets in a matter of minutes. And while the on-screen graphics don’t mimic your gestures exactly – which can be disconcerting for the first handful of skirmishes – having the confidence that making the correct motions will unleash the right attacks makes this a joy to play, especially when you’re using advanced moves to hack your rivals into bite-sized chunks or seamlessly flowing between outrageous sword slashes and popping a cap between the eyes of a scowling ninja.

Red Steel 2 also improves on its predecessor with stylish, cel-shaded graphics and lush presentation throughout, making this one of the best-looking adventures on the Wii and a memorable experience from start to finish. But, best of all, unlike many motion-based combat games such as Dead Space: Extraction, RS2 doesn’t restrict players to scripted battles or on-rails shooting, instead giving you more freedom to attack enemies using whatever outrageous combos take your fancy, in turn allowing players to be as expressive or conservative in battle as they please.

On the downside, such an ambitious control scheme also requires a lot of hand-holding in the early stages, so much of the adventure thrusts you into compact battles that are clearly training for the expansive violence that follows, which can be galling when all you want to do is cut loose with nifty moves such as The Tiger. And when the stabilisers finally come off and you’re regularly assaulted by small armies of masked villains and the occasional badass boss, the game is over in a matter of eight action-packed hours, leaving you yearning for more.

Short but sweet, Red Steel 2 is a toe-curlingly brutal experience on the family-friendly Wii, and a title that’s worked hard to correct the myriad mistakes of its despised predecessor.

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