A couple weeks ago I was given a bottle of Shichi Hon Yari Junmai sake along with the advice that it is fantastic, and that it is spectacular with food. Naturally, I was excited, and started thinking about what game I could pair it with. Muramasa: The Demon Blade came to mind, but I thought that was too obvious. Once I had added Red Steel 2 to my Gamefly queue, I realized that this would probably end up being the game I was looking for.
Shichi Hon Yari Junmai is named after the Seven Spears of Shizugatake, seven legendary 16th century Japanese generals who served under Toyotomi Hideyoshi. The sake is incredible. I am neither stupid nor insane, so I enjoyed a glass of it alongside beef teriyaki with mushrooms and other vegetables before I sat down in front of the TV. Shichi Hon Yari has a mellow aroma of mushrooms, chocolate, and rose petals. It tastes of the same, along with a touch of wet clay, litchi, and cantaloupe. It is smooth, well-rounded, and above all, earthy. It was fantastic with my food.
Red Steel 2 is a first-person shooter that relies heavily upon swordplay, courtesy of the hitherto-useless Wii Motion Plus attachment. It's setting and story are a combination of Akira Kurosawa and Sam Peckinpah. The game was not the first to incorporate samurai themes into the wild west, but the music and visuals of the game are refreshingly unique and well-done. The gameplay is also good. It's been a long time since a Wii game made me reach for the ibuprofen due to wrist pains, but this one did the trick. I consider that to be a good thing.
The samurai themes of Red Steel 2, along with the dusty red-dirt streets of its setting, make it go hand-in-hand with Shichi Hon Yari Junmai. This sake is as earthy and sumptuous as any beverage I've ever tasted. It stole the show tonight, but playing this particular game made it all the more enjoyable. Please try this at home.
Update: Red Steel 2 is really exceeding my expectations. The fighting is much more fluid and complex than I would have expected. I never played the first one, as I heard it was kind of crappy, but I recommend the sequel.
Self portrait as Helena Rubenstein
5 days ago