Saturday, February 27, 2010

Blades of Steel

Introducing Nintendo 5-Star's first guest blog! This Red Steel 2 blog was graciously written by Gamespot's Pierst179, a good, comprehensive blogger who always gets his facts right. Thank you for your contribution!

The Legend of Zelda Wii, whatever subtitle it may eventually get, has good chances of being as revolutionary as Ocarina of Time was at the time of its release. At first, reading such sentence will probably make you feel like ranting about the harms of overhyping a game, or even question the sanity of whoever coined that bold statement, but bear with me. As I have already discussed on a previous blog Nintendo's second generation of motion controls, the Wii Motion Plus, has already shown how it can vastly improve the experience on sports games, but as of today there are no real examples of enhancements in the gameplay of action/adventure titles, a genre that represents the largest part of the big name products that make the industry roll.

If Nintendo manages to implement the game's motion controls in a satisfying and immersive manner, the company will finally be able to prove to skeptics all around the world that their risky bet made way back in 2007 is in fact the next big leap forward the industry has to make, and knowing the company and their nearly annoying methodic approach towards their major titles the possibility of a failure is extremely low. Powered by the franchise's heavyweight name motion controls can ride their way to full acceptance around the gaming world, and a decade from now if most of the games make use of some sort of motion device we will all look back and see all lines converging directly from the first Zelda game developed for Nintendo's popular white box.

The Legend of Zelda, though, is not alone on this race towards videogame immortality and it may come as a surprise to most that its main rivals are not Microsoft's or Sony's big projects, but a lesser known title developed by Ubisoft that is the sequel to a poorly received game: Red Steel 2. The biggest advantage Ubisoft's Wii exclusive franchise has in relation to Nintendo's epic is its release date, but the game's third-party nature and the sins of its predecessor are not exactly helping. Red Steel 2 releases in a couple of months and from what has been revealed so far it looks as fun as a game of its kind can possibly be, after all slashing enemies with realistic motions in first person and shooting up some baddies whenever you feel like it has got to be gloriously delightful.
It may seem absurd, but there is a small chance Red Steel 2 will deliver the same kind of immersive motion control-enhanced experience the next Zelda game will, just a bunch of months earlier. The game's art direction lends it a very pleasant look since Ubisoft was smart enough to realize that realistic graphics and poorly colored settings just do not work on the Wii, a technically inferior system that would have to compete – only to fail miserably - with hardware demanding games such as Crysis and Metal Gear Solid 4 on the realism realm. This group of smart decisions and bold pioneer moves gives me great hopes about the direction in which this sequel is going as the company seems to be addressing the very spot in which the system's audience is so needy; a good looking original action game with great value and innovative controls.

And yet, despite its promising outlook Red Steel 2 will probably lose this battle for revolution to Zelda even if it succeeds in its premise. It is unknown how big of an audience Red Steel 2 will reach, but it is certain that it will not even hold a candle to Zelda's massive fan base. So even if my predictions do come true and Motion Controls become a standard, Zelda Wii will still be the game to receive praise for its industry-changing release as it will be most gamers' first real experience with totally immersive motion controls. It is very likely that there is a huge amount of gaming executives out there patiently waiting for Zelda Wii's release so they can jump into the bandwagon right away and ride its perfectly set motion actions into success and the aftermath of those events could heavily shift the industry's route. Will the Ocarina of Time cycle repeat itself? We shall wait and see.

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