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34 Comments
Posted by arglactable

@BisonHero: First of all, yes, the term bullet hell is overused in a lot of modern game reviews by people that aren't really familiar with the genre. And even bullet hell games have difficulty curves, Second, most footage of the game looks to be on normal mode, which is far from the highest difficulty (Generally, the highest difficulty is about arcade level). In the case of this game, it's quite a bit more hellish on higher difficulties.

As for the review, I have mostly disagree. This is one of the best non-Cave modern shumps to come out in a LONG while and the only minor annoyance (less minor when you first encounter it, I'll admit), is the few seemingly random instadeath attacks that it likes to throw at you. Honestly, though, I don't see how it would affect anyone. The hardcore players are going for high scores and 1CC's anyway and will therefore replay the game MANY times and be intimately familiar with those attack, which are easy to dodge if you're expecting them. And the casual players will just play through, enjoy the great soundtrack, excellent visuals, and surprisingly engaging plot, and fun surface mechanics, use a bunch of continues, and get to the end anyway.

Posted by honkyjesus

After playing the trial the main problem with it seemed to be the price. I mean a huge problem with the price, seemed just a step above a three dollar Indie Game.

Posted by Anatana

I mean, no offense intended but I've seen Brad play games and it's pretty obvious that he really isn't that good at many of them, so obviously that's going to influence his review when it comes to a game like this. The bottom, this game is absolutely gorgeous and the story is intriguing and adds a great bit of flair to a game of this style. The difficulty (on normal) is actually fairly forgiving for this style of game too, since one or two hits doesn't mean that you immediately die. I've played ikrauga and einhander and this game is easier by far than both of those are (well, maybe its on a par with einhander but they're fairly different). Speaking as someone who is only tangentially into rail shooters, I'm not at all upset with the $15 purchase, though it definitely wouldn't be worth much more than that. At least 4/5.

Posted by NellyK

Maybe I'll get this if the price drops. I enjoyed the demo.

Posted by Brad

@Gordo789 said:

Does anyone know if this is a timed exclusive for XBLA or just exclusive? I would love it if this came to PS3 or even PC.

Pretty sure Microsoft locked it down as a permanent exclusive, as it was originally slated for both 360 and PS3 and then the PS3 version was said to be shelved close to launch.

Staff
Posted by el_tajij

Absolutely love this game and I'm useless at these games.

It's crazy to play a shoot'em'up game with such dark elements to the story. That experience is the worth the price alone.

Posted by Enigma777

Was I really tired this morning or did the score go up from 2 stars to 3 stars?

Online
Posted by Gordo789

Does anyone know if this is a timed exclusive for XBLA or just exclusive? I would love it if this came to PS3 or even PC.

Posted by sameoldstuff

I had the same issues with this game. I really liked the whole presentation of Sine Mora, but it felt more of a chore to play through than anything. I don't see myself attempting to go for a 1CC anytime soon.

Good review, Brad.

Posted by Fram

Brad is the best damned review writer on this site.

Posted by Brackynews

@BisonHero: I have only dabbled so far as a couple titles in the Touhou project, so I am also not a true bullet hell aficionado. However I think Sine Mora qualifies, even if the "western" normal difficulty lacks a frenetic pace. My understanding of the BH subgenre is a direct tie with A) reduced hitbox size and B) bullet patterns. If we can both agree that Ikaruga is BH and R-type is not BH, then it should be clear that Sine Mora comes from the Ikaruga and Radiant Silvergun schools.

Actually, I'm going to invoke Einhander. Ein was a left turn for the shmup genre and diversified it some. Mora may be seen in retrospect as evolving in a similar way. Who cares about the plot right? But holy shit what the hell is going on with the plot and characters in this game? The environments don't need to be all 3D, but weaving through them looks excellent. This isn't trying to be a Touhou or a Cave game. Euro-Japanese fusion goddammit. Delicious.

At California Extreme last year there was a university professor doing a panel on the history of the Shmup. I could certainly write to him if you'd like an academic's opinion on it. :) Me, I still need to bash out achievements for Infinity Gene.

Posted by NoelVeiga

@Dark_Lord_Spam said:

I still have to beat my head against the wall of Jamestown's Steam achievements, so I'm all set on bullet-hells for now.

Jamestown is one of my favourite games of last years, head and shoulders better than Sine Mora and way more scalable in difficulty while sharing pretty much every other feature seen here (and I also like their pixel art more than this 3D nonsense).

That said whoever balanced the challenge mode needs to be punched in the face. By me.

Posted by Sunjammer

100% agree with this review,and I really like Sine Mora a lot. It's funny how someone will look at 3 stars and think that's not a buy. I think of 3-star games as purchases with caveats.

The game suffers from Gradiitis, where you'll lose all your weapon upgrades in a hit and then be stuck with a peashooter against a boss. Super boring. The problem is exacerbated when you add in the timer; Often losing your weapons against a boss means you simply won't have the firepower to take him or any part of him out until your timer ticks out. There's this sinking feeling when a boss drops a super crazy flowery pattern against you, you get hit, watch your guns fly away, and then realize you might as well just kill yourself rather than wait for your remaining 9 seconds. It's just not a fun experience.

Worse, for a game that holds its roots in traditional STG so highly, it lends itself very poorly to score attack due to the way powerups are dropped algorithmically with a random seed. You just can't properly memorize a level and execute it flawlessly, which is a big part of STG. The result is a game that is more about experiencing the unique vision and art of a team trying to influence a traditionally super rigid genre. I love the story, the writing, the music and the art, and I'm hoping for a tighter and better balanced sequel.

Edited by murisan

@Napalm: I think of a lot of my purchases in dollar propositions. Either how much fun I'll have for the duration of the game, or how long the game is and how likely it is that I'll finish based on reviews. I appreciate GB not hiding from the fact that that's the easiest way to manage your collection these days. Brad has said multiple times that he finds this game to be a somewhat unreasonable value proposition at $15 IF you are the type to complete a game and be done. If you're a shooter fan and/or replay games, there's THAT side of the proposition.

What's wrong with that? To a lot of people, $15 for a game isn't peanuts. I tend to go along the position that the game must provide $5-7/hr of REAL entertainment. A $60 title needs to provide at least 10 hours of total, quality entertainment for me. Brad stating that this game is 90 minutes long for one completion (which I would do) and is priced at $15 allows me to say, okay, this is not something I should buy! Aside from the fact that I don't like the genre.

Posted by BisonHero

Does it slightly bother anyone else that whenever GB does any sort of coverage of a shoot 'em up/shmup, someone invariably brings up the term bullet hell, as if that describes any game where you fly a ship around on a 2D plane? I'm not saying that disqualifies GB from reviewing shmups, but I get the sense that people think the term "bullet hell" is an amusing term, and just want to use it as often as possible, regardless of whether it applies.

I'm not an aficionado of the genre at all, but I thought bullet hell meant that the screen is pretty much filled with bullets at nearly all times. The shmups that GB has covered in the past couple years get a little hectic during boss battles, but they mostly seem like run of the mill shmups to me. The number of on-screen bullets certainly never seems to get as off the rails as some of those videos of DoDonPachi games I've seen.

Sine Mora looks like, I dunno, R-Type amounts of difficulty, and R-Type is not bullet hell.

Posted by bybeach

I do not have the skill for this kind of game. I wish I had, like to know more about it. As for the review score, it is the nature of the 5 whole star review. You can either rate it too high or too low, or sometimes seem close to the mark. I've given up on numerical scores from GB, but I do like their written.

Posted by SaturdayNightSpecials

Sample comment: "It was too hard for Brad."

Posted by ESREVER

@Curufinwe: Yea, awhile back. It was alright. Nothing to write home about.

Posted by Curufinwe

@ESREVER said:

I did not know foibles was a word. Then I looked it up and I learned something new! I wish this game came to PSN. There aren't enough side-scrolling shooters out on it. At least we have PixelJunk Sidescroller, which was pretty great.

Have you tried Soldner X-2?

Posted by Curufinwe

I played the demo and it was too hard for my limited shmup skills.

Posted by tourgen

I'm going to have to check this out. It looks pretty and I haven't played a decent side-scroller in a while.

Posted by Napalm

@SuperSambo said:

Head over to Major Nelson and see the shit storm when any game is 50 points over what they deemed it to be worth...

Damn, really?

Posted by mabber36

there goes Bradley "3 stars out of 5" Shoemaker again

Posted by DefAde

@BeachThunder said:

=( Wow, a lot of 2 and 3 stars games recently.

It's that time of year... where publishers just push all their junk out the door before the end of the financial year

Posted by SuperSambo

@Napalm said:

Why are we still talking about dollar value propositions in downloadable games? Isn't this a thing we said we'd get rid of? I'm sick of, "it's a hard rec. at ninety minutes and fifteen dollars, but at ten, it's totally a steal!" How is the fucking game? It either works or it fucking doesn't.

For the record, I'm not lambasting Brad for this review, but this is a trend I see with him and the other Giant Bomb guys, specifically on the podcast, and it just irks me. We can start talking about the lunch money value when downloadable titles skyrocket to fifty dollars a title. Until then, stop it. Please. It's trivial political shit.

Head over to Major Nelson and see the shit storm when any game is 50 points over what they deemed it to be worth...

Posted by Boopie

all these kinds of games are difficult and annoying

Posted by Napalm

Why are we still talking about dollar value propositions in downloadable games? Isn't this a thing we said we'd get rid of? I'm sick of, "it's a hard rec. at ninety minutes and fifteen dollars, but at ten, it's totally a steal!" How is the fucking game? It either works or it fucking doesn't.

For the record, I'm not lambasting Brad for this review, but this is a trend I see with him and the other Giant Bomb guys, specifically on the podcast, and it just irks me. We can start talking about the lunch money value when downloadable titles skyrocket to fifty dollars a title. Until then, stop it. Please. It's trivial political shit.

Posted by yoshimitz707

I'm glad this review is out so Brad can move all his focus to Kid Icarus!

Posted by Krixok

@CaLe said:

The demo left me indifferent.

The full game, Won't Leave You Indifferent.

Posted by BeachThunder

=( Wow, a lot of 2 and 3 stars games recently.

Posted by Morningstar

Kinda low score, expected it to be a little better.

Edited by Dark_Lord_Spam

I still have to beat my head against the wall of Jamestown's Steam achievements, so I'm all set on bullet-hells for now.

Posted by CaLe

The demo left me indifferent.

Posted by ESREVER

I did not know foibles was a word. Then I looked it up and I learned something new! I wish this game came to PSN. There aren't enough side-scrolling shooters out on it. At least we have PixelJunk Sidescroller, which was pretty great.