Red Steel

Published by Ubisoft, Developed by Ubisoft

Genres: Action (4 players)

US release date: Nov 19th, 2006 | EU release date: Dec 8th, 2006

Red Steel review

Looks can be deceiving.

Matt Edwards wrote this game review.

Review written by
Matt Edwards

When I opened my N64 it came bundled with Goldeneye and I was extremely excited. At this point I had never played with an N64 but knew from friends that this was going to rock and fancying myself as a bit of James Bond, I'd be killer at the game.

Truth of the matter is I was shockingly bad, the N64 controller was like nothing I'd ever played with before, the unique thumbstick had me majorly stumped. Now at this point you'll be thinking what in blue blazes has this got to do with Red steel, please bear with me.

Red Steel screenshotAfter about 1 hour of Goldeneye I started to develop my controller skills and eventually I became quite the ace, beating the game some week later. Red Steel presents itself as a Japanese style FPS, the style of the game and the general execution seem to point at a very credible first wave Wii title, however looks as we know can be deceiving.

The first thing you notice on Red Steel is the horrible initial game menu screen which is a play on neon light signs, but it is awfully presented and makes initial setup confusing to say the least. I had been warned by the guys in the local game store to set the controller sensitivity to low, but accomplishing this task alone through the main game menu is unnecessarily difficult.

When you finally get into the game you'll be greeted by average graphics and during the game there are some nice lighting effects, however Gamecube titles such as Resident Evil 4 really point to what could be achieved graphically. Bearing that in mind you can't help but feel that Red Steel fails to tap into the Wii's supposed Xbox-like graphics capability.

Red Steel screenshotSo what was all that Goldeneye talk about then, well Red Steel uses a very difficult and different controller setup, one that takes a lot of practice. However unlike Goldeneye there seems to be no incentive to keep working at it. The game itself doesn't encourage you to work at it and there is no training mode to speak of. There are several main problems with the controller setup in the game but the most annoying is that you can accidental spin your viewing angle merely by moving the main Wiimote controller into a corner. This puts you in a flat spin and sometimes it's hard to pull yourself out of it, which for a first person shooter is a ridiculous position to find yourself in. I'd hate to have turned the sensitivity up to high! Wax on Wax off.

As you progress with the game there are more niggles that start to play on your mind. Firstly ammo, if you do not have enough in the earlier levels you cannot then pull out your sword, there is also no way to battle using your hands, no punch or karate chop. This is so bad Daniel Son!

The second major niggle is your sword. When actually using the sword the experience is mediocre, the controller and nun-chuck do not translate your movements accurately, then there is the issue of only being able to use your swords with certain baddies and suddenly it's all starting to feel like Dragons Lair... mmm how very preset. There is no way you can pull your sword out ad-hoc and equally annoying is how the game will pause your swordfight to reposition you before allowing you to take back the helm. It's more fun to catch flies in chopsticks for sure!

Red Steel screenshotThe third problem I had was the story, it's your typical daughter kidnap caper with you as the boyfriend, but when I say that the story elements are bad, I mean they are real bad. It's like Max Payne but achieved by a ten year old with an Amiga, the cutscenes are terrible. They look like a South Park joke, really Ubisoft what were you thinking?

Red Steel at its best would have been an average PC game 2 years ago. To be honest after 1 hour unlike Goldeneye everything felt as alien. After 4 hours of playing the game I had gotten bored, and felt unrewarded as I progressed to bigger guns which in essence struggle to differentiate themselves from the last.

The only unique use of the controller I actually liked was the zoom sight being accomplished by moving the wiimote forward or back when in targeting mode.

In short, if you want to have a try go rent a copy. I guarantee that you will not be sad to give it back. It fails to really showcase the Wii and its unique controller. In short Mr Miyagy would be "weerry disappointed".


Gameplay: Gameplay score: 5

Graphics: Graphics score: 6

Sound: Sound score: 8

Lifespan: Lifespan score: 5

User comments


TDS said:

With respect, I disagree. The graphics are interesting, but not at all bad. I think that the fact that they are dark and everything is a shade of brown is intentional. The swordfights are intentional. You are fighting for respect, not just killing someone. That is why you put away your gun when approaching an opponent with a sword. That is not a flaw in the game, but an intentional plot device. The control scheme is actually quite nice when you get used to it. I find it difficult to go back to the KB/Mouse scheme after playing a while. It just gets intuitive to aim at the screen to fire. Lastly, you forgot to mention the interesting features like "Slow Motion" or "Bullet" time, the ability to disarm opponents with careful aim, learning new and neat sword fighting styles as the game progresses, and the fact that one of your enemies launches laughing, exploding bunny rabbits at you. And don't even get me started on the hlking Yakuza members with pink wigs and cheerleader outfits! Give the game another chance. It is a first generation with a new control scheme, and can be improved on, but there is a really fun game in there!


Max said:

I STRONGLY disagree. The wii's controls are displayed quite well and it really makes the game a blast. Sure, it has some horrible dialogue and terrible storyline, but this game is so fun that I have played this game twice over. Plus, the lifespan is awesome with over 15 levels. Ignore this review, it's wrong.


Gonzo said:

Dang, I should tell my brother not to get this. He wanted it. Maybe, we'll rent it like you said.


quartzlcc said:

I have a hard time imagining this game is that bad, especially with all the other ratings here.


Senpai said:

So few of us that seem to have gotten a good copy of the game, though I was saddened to find that CC had them for $30 after I just payed $50. It wasn't that bad, because this game was incredible. Though it was rough, it was still more fun (to me) than any other Wii title that wasn't TP. The casino level alone makes it worth the money, so creepy and fun, I replayed it countless times. As for the multiplayer, if you have this game and four controllers USE IT. I haven't had that much fun with fps multiplayer since killzone, I just wish it was A: online and B: had multiplayer sword duels. As for controls, it seems some people were just born for Wii, I played on high sensitivity from the start and I can't play any other way. So far though I only have one friend that can get it to med. But good for him, because it was his first Wii experience against me and for the first few kills he nuked me with 'nades.


wiimaster said:

I liked the game. I disagree with this review.


cmk said:

AHH! Such mixed reviews, but it seems like a rent it for yourself title.


Yoshi-1up said:

Yeah, the game isn't that great. It's ok. Not bad for a launch title. I don't like the controlling for it at all. Turning around is really annoying. The graphics could've been a lot better to make up for the gameplay. I mean, the Gamecube could've handled better graphics than that. Story is good. Good thing I bought it for only $30. Giving the game a C or D would be reasonable, yeah.

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Nova said:

I don't own the game, but I have played it with a friend in multiplayer. I felt like it gave me the same experience as Goldeneye: Rogue Agent (I think that's what it's called) in that the areas presented a bit of a lack for creativity and, like most shooters with multiplayer, the areas quickly became boring. I'm generally good at these games and I happened to beat all my friends (I was having a big party and someone brought this). I am adept to the controls of the wiimote and I adapt to the ideas and functions easily. Watching my friends however made me feel like a freak of nature as one of my friends spent 10 minutes trying to figure out why his screen was spinning so much (he was pointing his remote in one corner without realizing it). What turned me off were the graphics. They were fully lacking and I was deeply disappointed. I don't understand. The photos that this website shows have better graphics than I remember. One thing I keep noticing though, a lot of game makers are focusing to much on little facial and body detail than they should. They should focus more on the more important environmental areas because you only see the other parts of the guy's body besides the arm and hand in the cutscenes.


VerWii said:

Does this reviewer expect lighting quick pinpoint accurate dojo super sensi I'm a brilliant judo master experience? Does he forget this is a launch title and the first of many dual action weapon games to come to the Wii? Does he not realise to run you must first crawl, gain balance, walk, jog and canter! Surely a review should be impartial. Why is he hung up on Karate Kid? Mr Miyagi was a smurf with grey hair, not an astute game character with security and gun experience. Some may feel I'm attacking this reviewer but he has attacked this game and let's face it, it ain't half bad. It's got good ideas and a good platform on which to build into a good future title. Graphics can be better and no doubt will in the second leg of this chapter. Gameplay is jerky and sometimes chaotic but hey it's bloody good fun. It has you sitting on the edge of your seat flailing at the screen.


Boudreaux said:

I got it on day one. I still haven't beat the first level. I just can't get into the gameplay. I did a multiplayer level with a bud and the level was huge, it took 20 minutes just to find each other. I would have to agree with the parts of the review. The graphics are cheap and the gameplay just isn't there.


Jimbotron173 said:

You make good points, but I have to say that I enjoyed the game. Yes the sword fighting sucks, the Graphics are below par, it does handle differently. Yes the plot line and character dialogs are c*** but it is still good to beat some mafia hitmen after school for an hour or two. In short, it's not that bad, but Zelda is better!


TheKid said:

My friend and I have so much fun on multiplayer.


electrichead said:

You will find this OK if you haven't used the control system on COD3. Because oh my god. Seriously. The problem with this game is you can't turn without aiming to the side of the screen, it's pretty impractical I would say. The graphics are decent, the story is bearable etc. But did anyone try to do the sword training? It is actually a physical impossibility to copy the hot chick with the wood. Anyway, I'm trading this in. Oh! One more thing. Why don't they BLEED? I just slashed your chest and shot you in the noodles. At least make a goldeneye red stain. My steel is not red!


Gonzo said:

I thought this was like one of the top 3 games!


ukwiiman said:

I played for a couple of days and put it away, found it too hard to control. Got my wimote skills together on games like sports and play, went back to red steel after a few weeks and loved it. Very enjoyable game, terrible review. Waiting for godfather coming out now, looks awesome.


smitty said:

I have to agree. Bought the game three weeks ago and still have yet to find interest in the game. Waste of time and energy! Waiting for something that really compliments the wiimote, guess I'll be waiting for a while. The controls are a bit difficult and the gameplay sucks.


mr wii said:

I disagree. In my view, graphics don't have to be completely awesome. As long as the game is fun, like red steel, I'll keep on playing. Same goes for the story.


Garth said:

I really picked up the controls fast. The only problem is now that I got so used to that, it was hard for me to return to analog stick gun games.

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Aaron said:

After paying for it I would not advise anyone else to do the same - not a great game but ubisoft have yet to make a good one. Goldeneye was Rareware's crown to glory with multiplayer that lasted the boris and oddjobs for years ("nobody's picking oddjob- he's too small and it's cheating!"). I can't wait for metroid 3 but I'd love to see a goldeneye on Wii. Good review and as I always think it's better to give a bad review and give you low expectations rather than say it's frickin' awesome and it's crap.


Smash Champion said:

If you could just use the sword anytime, I'd play it for more than just 5 minutes a day.


IanB said:

I cannot understand where you're coming from. Red steel is amazing! The control scheme is perfect and immerses you in the game like no other. The lighting and water effects are fantastic and general backgrounds look great. The characters graphical style-granted is a little ropey at times. Nintendo official magazine rated this game at 91 percent, I agree with that, if not add a bit more. It's up there with zelda in my opinion.


WiiLiteFusion7 said:

I think red steel could use a better way of using the gun and the sword because when I swing up on the "Wii-mote" the swings sideways and when I shoot something I don't want to shoot a wall.


Matrixsurround said:

I thought the game was alright. A good renter, but it was short. The menu was too hard. I couldn't even get to the multiplayer. The voice acting was awful. But I thought the controls were better than call of duty 3. Especially throwing grenades. Though the sword fighting was a lot of work. The graphics to me looked pretty good, like a really good high end gamecube or xbox game, except the comic strip cinema scenes. Anytime you see a comic strip in a game it is because it was thrown together in a hurry, probably for launch. I have to say all things aside, I really enjoyed playing this game. I hope red steel 2 is way better.


Ian C said:

That game is awesome I don't know why you gave it a D.



I disagree with the review, sure the graphics aren't lifelike, but they are not bad. It doesn't take that long to get used to, by the time I finished the 1st mission I was putting enemies down quite easily. Aiming is much more fun than on any other console or computer, once you get used to it (and it only took my half an hour), that makes gameplay exciting. It really gets you off your feet and into the game.


stedaman said:

This review is slightly harsh, but I'd agree it isn't that good. I'd say a C on this rating system. For me the controls are terrible, a true mess up on that side of things, which is strange as the controls on Far Cry, also made by Ubisoft were much better. Rushed for launch, and even Ubisoft admitted that some of they're games had been rushed, but the would improve the new releases down the line.


wiiwanter said:

I do not own a Wii but I've played red steel at a friends. To be honest the game is quite good besides the crappy comic strips and menu arg. I disagree with this review, I think he's only looking at negatives in the games not the positives, like freezing time and zooming and the sound effects and light. I give this game a 8/10 and recommend it to fps lovers, but rental is a must if it's your first time playing.


Mr1337 said:

I think that this game is getting such mixed reviews because on the one hand you have the people that like fps and on the other you have these other people expecting it to be sort of like an rpg, since you can use swords and so on.


Wii man said:

I agree with the review. The controls aren't up to scratch, the game is full of glitches. It feels uncompleted and could easily be better.


Dox said:

I think this game is fun which is all that really matters, but the three things I did not like are the sword fights (it took me a long time to do those different katas right because it didn't translate my movements properly), the lifespan (no joke, beat it in 7 hours) and the graphics.


DeanPOWER said:

I happened to borrow this off my friend when he got it for Christmas and I can't say I was blown away, but I can say I did enjoy myself. The frame rate can be a little choppy and occasional slow down when the going gets tough can be really agitating, but it's not that much of a bad game. It was one of the first shooters out for the Wii and being the first, the formula for this type of game can be improved on. Also, we can actually give 'Red Steel' more credit because if it wasn't for this game, 'Metroid Prime 3' may not have been at the standard it is today. Who knows how Prime may have turned out if they didn't see the errors in 'Steel'?


quirky said:

Good game if you get in to it, controls are hard but if you play it a bit you get use to them.


Sam said:

First time I played this game was when I went to my friend's house. I thought it was really good then I bought it myself. Then I gave up on it because I was stuck on the Geisha house level, there's no way of getting through this window, someone tell me what to do! I've done everything, even searched the internet for solutions.


Bearman said:

I think that the review was a bit harsh on the game. For an early FPS it does fine. The sword fights, like other users said were for respect. I do however find some flaws in the game. First it seems everyone no matter where you go has a gun. This is kind of unrealistic. Also there isn't any sword fighting in the multiplayer. And like a lot of people of said the dialogue is cheesy and so is the plot really. But for anyone who likes shooting games it's a good choice.


help said:

I gave up on it because I was stuck on the Geisha house level, there's no way of getting through this window, someone tell me what to do.

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