GoNintendo 'End of Day' thoughts - Sin and Punishment: Star Successor review
Hey, you know what’s pretty awesome? Jett Rocket, the WiiWare title from Shin’en! If you have the spare points and Wii space, you should definitely check this one out. It’s a great little platformer that looks fantastic and plays well. I’m really, really impressed with this one. Expect a review in the near future. For now, enjoy my Sin and Punishment: Star Successor review as I slip off to bed. See you in a few, short hours!
Seeing a sequel to the original Sin and Punishment is one of the stranger things I’ve seen happen in the game industry. Watching the original get released via Virtual Console in the states was strange as well. Green-lighting a sequel for release in North America when the original never saw retail release in the states is probably the strangest bit of all. It’s almost like Treasure and Nintendo know that they made a mistake by not bringing out the original Sin and Punishment until years after the initial release. These guys feel bad, so they went to work on a sequel that was destined for the states long before the title was finished. While all of these happenings may be weird, I really do love the outcome!
Even gamers in North America knew how popular Sin and Punishment was. It’s no secret that the original was very loved by those in Japan, and the lucky few that played import copies. The bulk of us had to wait for the Virtual Console release to understand what all the praise was about, but thankfully, it was worth the wait. A little less than a bonafide hit and a little more than a cult classic, Sin and Punishment showed just what could be done on the N64, and it also proved that Treasure really are the development kings of the shooter genre. Nobody does it better, or in a more stylish way.
Fast-forward past the GameCube to the Wii, and the stars aligned for a sequel to Sin and Punishment. As I said, the development was quite surprise, but nonetheless, very welcomed by long-time fans. While unknown forces seemed to keep Sin and Punishment: Star Successor from reaching retail for awhile, the game is finally out on shelves. The delays are past us, the times of Nintendo’s quiet nature on the release date have come and gone. You can walk into any game retailer in the states and grab yourself a copy. It was a very long time coming, but you knew it would be worth the wait. This is a sequel that is truly worthy of the original.
Should I even go into the story of Sin and Punishment: Star Successor? It’s one of those yarns that starts off simple enough, but quickly takes some twists and turns that may make absolutely no sense. It’s hard to decide if you are too much of a dolt to understand the way the story flows, or if it really doesn’t make sense to begin with. Part existential and part sci-fi technobable, the full tale still has me scratching my head. All I know is that Isa Jo is working with Kachi, and Kachi has some pretty interesting powers. You need to work with her and protect her along the way, and she helps unravel the story around you. Just a few minutes into the game you’ll see Kachi getting impaled, but in a matter of moments you’ll learn that she is perfectly fine. That’s when you start to realize that there’s something special about this little lady. The best part is, things just get weirder from there! Normally I care about stories, but when you’re playing a Treasure game, you know you’re in it for the action! I’m sure there’s something here for the lot of you that are smarter than I.
As I was saying, I came to Sin and Punishment: Star Successor for the action, and luckily it provides all the action you can stand. If you’re tired of Nintendo being connected to titles that are considered ‘bridge games’ or expanded audience outings, Sin and Punishment: Star Successor should make you very happy. While Treasure was the main development team, Nintendo definitely had a lot to do with getting the game put together. This is a core gamer’s delight, with non-stop action and tons of visual overload. It’s one of those flashy, insanely active titles that you either love to sink your teeth into, or have trouble keeping up with. Even if you have a rough time staying on top of the action, you’ll still have fun attempting to!
In my opinion, the thing that makes Sin and Punishment: Star Successor really successful are the controls. First off, the use of the IR pointer is absolutely spot-on. This is really the only way you could use the Wiimote/Nunchuk setup for shooting. If you played the original Sin and Punishment, you can imagine how well this approach would work. Pointing to shoot just makes sense, since you’ll be shooting a good 95% of the time! Sure, there are other control options like the Classic Controller, but in my opinion, this game is made to be played with your Wiimote pointed at the screen.
The other aspect of controls that really clicked for me was the connection from button press to on-screen action. There was just something about the way the attacks played out that felt really good. You truly feel like you’re connecting with your enemies, be it through a fired shot or a melee attack. The best comparison I can make is to that of the Zelda series. When you swing Link’s sword, you really feel like you’re connecting with your opponent. There’s that split-second where the action freezes, almost to let you feel the impact of the slash. While there’s not a freezing element to your attacks in this game, it still feels really good to go all out. In a game that’s filled with over-the-top action and tons of explosions, getting the attacks to ‘feel’ right is super important.
They better feel good, because there’s hardly any downtime in Sin and Punishment: Star Successor. You’ll be attacking pretty much non-stop, especially if you want to keep that combo meter going. The game throws so many enemies and obstacles at you that if you let off the trigger for too long, you’ll open yourself up to a wave of attacks. Depending on who’s attacking you, you could take a handful of hits and be down to half your health level. Sin and Punishment: Star Successor really keeps you on your toes, and you better be ready to process a lot of visual information if you want to escape a level. This is no walk in the park, and you’ll have to put all your old-school gaming skills to the test to make it out alive.
I’ll make no excuses for Sin and Punishment: Star Successor. It’s can be a ridiculously hard game at some points, but you’ll love it. If you’re up for a challenge, there’s plenty to be had here. I know some people are worried about a short campaign, but if you’ve been reading my reviews for awhile now, you know that I hate that argument. If an experience is 5 hours or 50 hours, I want it to be a great one. I don’t want to pay $50 for a 50 hour experience that bores me 90% of the time. I’d much rather get a shorter game that keeps me deeply entertained all the way through. No, Sin and Punishment: Star Successor isn’t the longest game you’ll ever play, but it’s the replay value that can extend the life of the title for as long as you’re willing to commit.
There are two words that sum up the longevity of this title, and they are ‘online leaderboards’. If you’re picking up this game, you’re probably ready to show your fellow gamers what you can do. That means blasting down every enemy in sight, keeping the combo meter on the rise, finding out how to trigger coin drops, and holding onto your combo for an entire level. You’ll think you’ve done as good as anyone can possibly do, and then you upload your score to see that hundreds have bested you…by a lot. That, in turn, will keep you going back to hone your skills and give things another go. I know that my personal skills are nowhere near those that play shooters heavily, so I’m not even going to try and get into that arena. I’m just happy to know that the feature is there for those that want to strut their stuff.
For all that Sin and Punishment: Star Successor does right, there are a few things that I took issue with. Now keep in mind, these are not major complaints by any means. The biggest gripe of mine would have to be the voice acting. I actually think it’s quite good, but the dialog itself makes the actors sound strained. They can only work with what they’re given, and some of the lines they have to read are pretty cheesy and shallow. It unfortunately makes the voice actors sound poor from time to time, but it’s not because of a lack of skill. When the dialog flows and the lines make sense, the voice acting is quite good. It’s just unfortunate that things don’t stay that way the whole time.
Honestly, the only other complaint I can think of is the music. I’m huge into video game soundtracks, and I think music can really help elevate a certain point in a game, be that a level or a specific part of the action. With that said, the music in Sin and Punishment: Star Successor is largely forgettable. There are some pretty great tracks, but overall, I’d say the music is just serviceable. For a game with pumping action and intense shooting like this, I want a soundtrack with intensity that matches up. In my opinion, the two don’t match up all that often. Not a game-killer, but a minor quibble.
Sin and Punishment: Star Successor is just about as core of a game you can get on the Wii. Even the easy mode will be more than willing to kick your ass from time to time. If you’re ready to really take some punishment in the name of kick-ass shooting, this title is for you. Just don’t come crying to me when you find the game ready and willing to make you its bitch. Just keep playing, and I’m sure you’ll get used to it. As a matter of fact, I bet you end up loving ever minute of it. I know that I did!
2-player mode was not played in time for this review.