Sigh. Shawn is right on this one, folks.
After being initially excited by the Ubisoft first person shooter for the Wii, and being very patient, I am ready to turn in a grade.
Yep, that's right. Red Steel gets a big fat D... not a failing grade only because there are a few neat little sequences in it (and I did have some fun playing it, which has to give it something above an F), but overall it is a game that is barely able to fill the niche of an FPS. I would guess Call of Duty might better, and I would bet the house that Metroid will be in an other league when it is released.
The reason the game falls short is mainly one of design. The developers clearly started with a conventional FPS and whittled it down to work with the Wii controls, which is fine, except they didn't focus on the strengths of the setup enough to balance this. The earlier levels seem more balanced and suited to the controls, and hence play much better.
The problem with the later levels, however, is that the game does not play well if you try to "run n' gun." It is a MUCH better game when you are in tight corriders or small rooms, hiding behind objects, and picking off Yakuza gangsters. However, the larger, outdoor areas and warehouse spaces are a real pain, as turning with the Wii-mote isn't as fast as it should be, so you'll always be taking annoying potshots from guys you couldn't see. More attention to the haphazard level design would have done wonders for the playability of this game.
The much maligned sword fighting mechanic isn't an issue for me. I don't mind the scripted moves. It helps pace the game and I feel this is one the game's postive features.
Also, I don't give a rat's patootie about graphics, so I'm not discounting the game on this count either.
I am a musician, so I will comment on the sound. It's...... competent, but not as good as it could have been. A bit repititous, but not terrible. The sound effects are well done and effective. The gun reloading sounds awesome on the Wii-mote speaker.
The plot is pretty much by the numbers. I like Japan so the theme was effective for this author, but may not be so for others. The comic book style cutscenes did begin to look silly as the game progressed.
One final gripe is that the Wii-mote controls sometimes get a bit wonky, and that has to be a game engine problem, not a Rob setup issue, since similar controls in Zelda (targeting) work perfectly. It's extremely annoying to try to lineup a sniper rifle shot only to have the cursor start to fly around a bit. This is a problem that is not extremely bad, but bad enough to notice, and bad enough to hurt the experience.
Give Ubisoft some credit for a good "college try." You can tell some effort went in to making this work. However, you cannot take totally different controls and just expect them to work with an FPS that feels like it came from 1999. The level design doesn't feel right, and it hurts the game, and lowers the grade. Rent this one, or buy it later cheap. I think Red Steel proves that the Wii has great potential for some kind of FPS gaming, but this title can only be considered a launch experiement at this point.