Treasure Brings The Pain Once Again...
Developer Treasure has a known pedigree of memorable shooters through the years and console generations from Gunstar Heroes, Radiant Silvergun, and Ikaruga. One of their known efforts was only on the Nintendo 64 called Sin & Punishment as it never seen an official release outside Japan until its appearance on the Wii Virtual Console two years ago. Due to the success of the N64 import classic as a download, Nintendo of America decided to bring in the sequel, Sin & Punishment: Star Successor, to other territories beyond Japan on the Wii once again made by Treasure. In Japan, it is known as simply Sin & Punishment 2 and continues the franchise with more shooting goodness and crazy challenge Treasure games have been known for being notoriously difficult. Even though Star Successor is not that bad in terms of difficulty compared to past Treasure games, it is still a hard game and definitely something hardcore shump fans can appreciate especially on the Wii. It turns out to be one of the Wii's better games out this year and a potential sleeper hit.
The story is what you expect out of a Japanese developer with insanity your brain can not comprehend. You play as two characters, Isa and Kachi, as Isa is trying to protect Kachi from the Nebulox. Along the way, you will encounter cutscenes between the two protagonists as the dialogue is as cheesy and weird as you expect out of something from Japan. This story is not going to win any awards as you rather focus on shooting thousands of enemies, surviving the toughest stretches, and encounter epic boss battles. You can select between the two characters at the start of the game as Isa and Kachi have separate gameplay styles of shooting. Isa is focused on manual aiming while Kachi has auto lock-on with her aiming, so separate playthroughs with these characters keeps the experience as fresh as it can through the seven stages that take a few hours to be.
Unlike the shaky controls that were on the original game, Star Successor with the Wii controls like a dream for a shooter as the Wiimote is used for aiming and firing while the Nunchuk is for evasive maneuvers. Other than the shooting, you can tap the fire button for a melee attack as in the original as well as it works wonders against enemies up close and deflecting enemy fire such as missiles back at them if locked on by the A button. There is a charge shot as a more powerful attack, but differs with Isa and Kachi as Isa is one big shot while Kachi can lock on to multiple enemies at once when charging. The evasive maneuvers become second nature as you progress through the game as it is required to survive the crazy waves of enemies and the numerous boss battles. Timely dash dodges make you feel like a badass of sorts, but it is all about knowing enemy patterns to master evading in this game as it would take dying to learn them and trust me, you will die a lot in this game just like any other Treasure game that came before it. Luckily dying and continuing is not that bad of a penalty since the checkpoint system is pretty generous, but your score will reset to zero for every continue. The shooting does indeed feel satisfying with the Wii controls defeating wave after wave of enemies, but there are definitely difficult roadblocks in your way with the numerous boss battles. It is all in matter of having a wonderfully executed run through the game's seven stages, which doesn't take long to beat. There are three difficulties to choose from before starting as well from easy, normal, and hard as each difficulty does offer tougher enemies, you receive more damage the harder the difficulty, and more boss patterns to memorize. In addition, there is a co-op function in Star Successor, but the second player is just another cursor to fire at the screen rather than playing as the other character. I can see why the decision was made with that since the action is already crazy as is now with one character, but with two it would just make things more chaotic even though it is a little unfortunate co-op feels limited. The only online functionality the game has is leaderboards to keep your scores compare with the best of the world as these will make players stay busy and motivated for perfect runs that makes you wish there was a replay option. Despite that, this is Treasure shooters at their finest keeping your toes and reflexes intact through the game as it is filled with intense moment after another, which makes it one of the more challenging experiences out there to get this year.
There is somewhat a lack of visuals in Star Successor especially with the characters. Isa and Kachi look pretty bland compared to the rest of whatever is going on in the game as if it is early to mid Playstation 2 stuff rather than Wii graphics at this time in its lifespan. However, it is made up with a smooth framerate that rarely slows down, which is an amazing feat considering all the chaos that is going on the screen. The diverse backgrounds are the shining stars when it comes the game's graphics from underground cities, the water tunnel in the second stage, sky fortresses, and the vehicle level at the desert as you travel throughout post-apocalyptic Japan. The soundtrack is also pretty good for a Japanese shooter with tunes that fit the levels, but the English voice acting is lackluster though because of the awkward dialogue. At least there is a Japanese voice action with English subtitles which makes things seem more tolerable.
Sin & Punishment: Star Successor is as hardcore as it gets on the Wii especially being a Treasure game as they once again bring the pain delivering another solid and challenging shooter. The Wii controls do make the game a little easier even though there are other control options with the Classic and Gamecube Controllers if you do not prefer aiming at the screen, but this game is meant for Wii controls out of the gate. It is definitely still a hard game, but finishing all seven stages is very doable with the generous checkpoints even though you still see the game over screen numerous times. Since it is a Japanese shooter, it is not as long as it takes a handful of hours to beat, but shorter if you are able to execute high scoring runs to put on the game's online leaderboards. That alone gets incentive for the game's replay value pushing players to become better as avoiding attacks and thinking of ways to rack up higher scores on the three difficulties. This is truly one of the better games out on Wii to buy now and it could be a potential sleeper hit for the year.
- Controls like a dream for a shooter with the Wiimote + Nunchuk
- This is Treasure at its finest once again with its notorious challenge and delivering intense moments at a breakneck pace
- Generous checkpoint system makes the game a little more easier to beat
- Online leaderboards push for more replay value to rack up higher scores becoming better at the game
- The story is a little too crazy for your mind to understand
- Some of the graphics feel a little off especially with the characters
- English voice acting can be atrocious at times
- Way too challenging for the casual players that play Wii Sports and Wii Fit only