Dr. Noh’s Sin and Punishment: Star Successor Review

Dr. Noh’s Sin and Punishment: Star Successor Review
5
Game Name: Sin and Punishment Star Successor
Platforms: Wii
Publisher(s): Nintendo
Developer(s): Treasure
Genre(s): Rail Shooter
Release Date: June 27th, 2010
ESRB Rating: T

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Sin and Punishment: Successor of the Earth (2000) for the Nintendo 64 is one of my favorite games of all time, so when Sin and Punishment: Star Successor was announced in 2008, to say I was excited is and understatement. I hasn’t been until more recently that Treasure has started to release direct sequels to their own licenses. The first were Advance Guardian Heroes (2004) and Gunstar Super Heroes (2005), both for Game Boy Advance, then came Bangai-O Spirits (2008), all which I would highly recommend. Sin and Punishment: Star Successor comes as somewhat of a surprise considering the original was never released in the US until a few years ago on the Nintendo Wii’s Virtual Console. Nintendo is putting a considerable amount of faith in Sin and Punishment: Star Successor by publishing the title here in the US. Given that the Wii perception in the US is not one that caters to a hardcore gaming audience, they might be hoping that this game helps change that perception. And what a game to do just that.
There are a few things that Treasure games are particularly known for: epic boss battles, excruciating difficulty, and simple, yet hard to master gameplay mechanics. Sin and Punishment: Star Successor delivers on all three counts, but for those uninitiated and fearful of such a description, fear not, there’s an “easy” level of difficulty. But the real reason to play Sin and Punishment: Star Successor is not because of how difficult it is, but how fun it is.

Like the original, Sin and Punishment: Star Successor is a 3D, third person, on-rails shooter, somewhat reminiscent of the Sega’s arcade classic Space Harrier (1985) or the more modern classic Rez (2001). The player controls a choice of two different characters: Isa or Kachi. Although it is possible to play Sin and Punishment: Star Successor with the Wii Classic Controller, Gamecube Controller, or Wii Zapper, the preferred method is Wii Remote and Nunchuck. The Wii Remote and Nunchuck control method improves upon one of the few weaker points that Sin and Punishment: Successor of the Earth suffered from. In the original, the Nintendo 64′s analog stick was use for aiming, and unfortunately, it was less than ideal because with the amount of enemies that would appear onscreen, sometimes it just wasn’t quick enough. With the Wii Remote, this has been rectified, now being able to directly aim anywhere on the screen by just pointing. Sin and Punishment: Star Successor works perfectly with this control scheme, and because it feels so natural, the game feels easier to play.

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You’ll need hover ability to avoid lasers like these.

Another key change is the ability to hover or fly anywhere on screen. In Sin and Punishment: Successor of the Earth, the player was limited to double jumping. The jump button is still available to use, downgraded to a single jump, but is not as essential to gameplay the way that hovering is utilized. A very powerful charge shot which can destroy most smaller enemies in one shot is a new addition. Even though it can also stun enemy bosses briefly, it does have a refractory period in which it must recharge before being used again. With the ability to hover and the inclusion of the new charge shot, the Sin and Punishment: Star Successor feel much more like a true 3D shoot-em-up rather than an on-rails shooter. Other maneuvers in your arsenal include an evade button, which is essential to dodging oncoming attacks, and my favorite, a melee attack, one of your strongest attacks, which can deflect and negate certain projectiles. Similar to numerous Treasure titles, you can redirect enemy projectiles back towards the enemy and destroy them. There’s nothing quite as gratifying than destroying an enemy with it’s very own missile.

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One of many epic boss battles.

The levels in Sin and Punishment: Star Successor are massive, or at least they seem that way because of the amount of lives a player may use to complete a level. The levels follow a traditional formula of wave after wave of enemies followed by a miniboss, more waves of enemies, and an endboss. These bosses battles are epic in classic Treasure fashion. Most bosses and minibosses will have different forms to defeat, similar to Gunstar Heroes‘ infamous Seven Force. Luckily, there are checkpoints throughout levels that players can start from, once they’ve reached them. It’s a feature heavily used when trying to progress through the game without having mastered it. It’s nice when trying to play through the first time, but not something that perfecting players will utilize once they’ve mastered the game.

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Another epic boss battle.

Sin and Punishment: Star Successor is a title that’s simple enough in its core gameplay for anyone to understand and play, but difficult to master. With numerous offensive and defensive maneuvers available to the player, there’s an element of strategy involved in mastering the gameplay. In any given situation throughout the game, there may be four or five different ways of to defeat a wave of enemies, deciding which one is the best is where the strategy comes in to play. Not only are players playing to see what happens next in the confusing plot, but like any classic arcade experience, they are trying to get the high score. Sin and Punishment: Star Successor utilizes a simple score multiplier that increases as long as the player doesn’t get hit. Easier said than done. Most players will be able to play through the game in a relatively short amount of time, but to be able to have a top score on the online leaderboards will take much more time.

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Welcome to the post-apocalyptic world of Sin and Punishment.

Sin and Punishment: Star Successor may not be the most impressive looking game graphically in the HD generation, but running at 60 frames a second, it plays like a dream. Sin and Punishment: Star Successor also has keen sense of graphical style. Much like Sin and Punishment: Successor of the Earth, Sin and Punishment: Star Successor has a post apocalyptic sci-fi theme that lends itself well to wild and extreme settings throughout the game. Unlike the original, Sin and Punishment: Star Successor has a brighter feel overall, perhaps it’s the use to more complex lighting effects or a different color scheme being used, but Sin and Punishment: Star Successor doesn’t feel as dark as the original.

If there are any weak points to Sin and Punishment: Star Successor, it would have to be story, and sound. To say the least, the plot is confusing and incomprehensible. The world of Sin and Punishment itself is quite interesting, with it’s rapid-fire gun swords, and hover board-like devices, but not much is explained in as to what’s happening and why. As for sound, unfortunately, the soundtrack is not nearly as memorable as guitar-wailing original, and the voice acting is awkward. Luckily, some of these points can actually add an aura of exoticness or unintended humor, due to the fact that this is a Japanese-developed title.

Treasure is the master at what they do. I wait with bated breath with every new release and Sin and Punishment: Star Successor in particular seems to be one of their strongest titles in the past decade. With Sin and Punishment: Star Successor, Treasure has created something fresh and exhilarating by delving heavily into classic arcade-like gameplay. There is nothing else quite like Sin and Punishment: Star Successor available today. Do yourself a favor and go play this now.

Images: Games Press