Review: Red Steel (Wii)

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Good: A few nice motion applications

Bad: Frustrating controls, cheesy dialogue, pointer glitches

As the first Wii game that released official screenshots, Red Steel gained some easy hype months ago. It didn't hurt that it's one of the first to show gamers what a first-person shooter feels like with motion controls. Unfortunately, it turns out to be a terribly generic and frustrating gaming experience.

Obviously, the most important aspect of Red Steel is how it controls with the Wiimote/Nunchuk combination. Utilizing the much-debated "bounding box" method, you can aim at enemies within an invisible area, and move the cursor outside of it to turn. This really does hinder the gameplay on every level, as you'll spend more time battling the controls than the walking, talking stereotypes that are shooting at you.

The bounding box isn't the only problem with the controls, as they almost seem downright broken sometimes. I've never had a single problem with the Wii pointer with any other game, but Red Steel seems to re-center the reticle frequently and randomly. I was concerned that there was something wrong with my Wiimote or sensor bar, but I popped in Elebits and Call of Duty 3, and it worked just fine.

Other motion controls work better than the aiming mechanism, and some are actually pretty fun. Reloading is done by a downward flick of the Nunchuk, and you can open doors and create cover with similar motions. Watching your gun position change in relation to your hand movement is a novelty for sure, but it's still nice to see.

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Enemies have all the personality and believability of antagonists in a Brian Bosworth action movie. The dialogue and story sound like they were written by a college-aged Tarantino-wannabe, and it just comes off as corny and forced. Foes will yell things such as "You're a dead man!" and "I'm gonna KILL you!" over and over, and it's unintentionally laughable.

It may be one of the better-looking Wii launch games in the technical sense, but the art design is lacking. You can only encounter a limited number of suit-wearing gangsters before you begin to tire of them. The overall presentation and menu system is annoying and ugly, as well. Some environments are destructible, but don't expect any impressive particle effects or explosions in Red Steel. Almost all of the voice acting is terrible, and the music wore on my nerves within minutes.

If Red Steel were released on any console but the Wii, it would come and go without anyone paying any notice. It would be another generic, sub-par FPS that offers absolutely nothing new. However, it is on the Wii, and it is a launch title, so it will obviously sell a decent amount. I just hope that the unfortunate consumers who purchase it don't assume all FPS games on the console will be this mediocre. Blame Red Steel, not the Wii.

Graphics: 6.5

Sound: 5.5

First Play: 6.5

Replay Value: 4.0

Gameplay: 4.5

Overall: 5.1

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