|System: Wii||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Treasure||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Nintendo||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: June 30, 2010||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-2||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Travis Fahs
June 11, 2009 - How times have changed? Around the turn of the millennium, Nintendo began to worry that their tried and true approach of family-friendly gaming wouldn't be enough to compete with PlayStation's mainstream "adult" appeal.
They decided to hire Treasure, one of Japan's most credible hardcore action game developers, to create a dark, mature game that could win over the Western audience. Alas, Sin and Punishment: Successor to Earth would arrive too late, and its American and European releases were cancelled, and the game faded into relative obscurity. Now, when Nintendo has seemingly snubbed the hardcore market, they've decided to team up with Treasure for a sequel, thanks in part to the original's strong sales on the Virtual Console. Fate is a strange mistress, indeed.
Nintendo didnt show this action game at their press conference, but its presence on the show floor was jarring, with a gorgeous painting by illustrator Yasushi Suzuki looking quite out of place amid the brightly colored logos and creepy photos of people pretending to laugh. It's only fitting, as the game itself runs against the grain of everything else in Nintendo's lineup: it's fast, furious, and tough as nails.
When Nintendo announced their intent to do a sequel to S&P on the Wii, the idea immediately clicked. The original game was unique in its genre for giving players the ability to aim and move independently, and the Wiimote and Nunchuk combo seems like a logical next step. This is still a rail shooter where you move forward along a fixed path, but unlike Dead Space: Extraction or Resident Evil: Darkside Chronicles, it's played from the third-person, like Space Harrier. Aiming and moving independently is tough, and the Wii sequel lacks the ability to auto-aim like its precursor, but after a few plays, we got the hang of it.
Like all Treasure games, the move list has a few tricks to differentiate itself. The two characters, Isa and Kachi, can do a rolling dodge in any direction to avoid fire, and tapping the jump button twice will send them hovering into the air, where they can move around freely. Tapping the fire button (as opposed to holding it down) will trigger a sword slash which can be used to slice apart nearby enemies or deflect certain shots back at your opponents. That's right; the sword is not performed with a swipe or a waggle. Utility has won out over novelty a possible first for the Wii.
The two characters each have different charge moves as well; Isa can deliver a large blast with a huge amount of splash damage, while Kachi can lock on to targets and take them out all at once (think: Panzer Dragoon or Rez). The fact that Kachi's move can't miss and works well for clearing out multiple enemies makes her the stand-out character for beginners, but Isa's shot is absolutely devastating against bosses.
Speaking of bosses, they're everywhere. The original game was always known for packing all sorts of bosses, big and small, around every corner, and the sequel is continuing the proud tradition. We took down VTOLs, tanks, and a giant chicken monster called the "Cock Keeper." Treasure has always had a knack for fending off repetition even in repetitive genres by mixing up the attack patterns, and they've continued to do that here.
In recent years, Treasure's games have suffered tremendously from rushed development cycles and budget problems, and their sequels to classic games like Guardian Heroes and Bangai-O have failed to live up to their predecessors. While we're not ready to say Sin & Punishment: Star Successor will be able to fill the very big shoes of the first game, it's clear that Nintendo is giving Treasure what they need this time. What we saw looked beautiful, controlled well, and had everything we'd expect from a first level. If the follow through is strong, Treasure might just be back on top again.
CCC Freelance Writer