Sin & Punishment: Star Successor Review for Nintendo Wii

Sin & Punishment: Star Successor Review for Nintendo Wii

It took seven years and two generations of consoles for Sin & Punishment to finally surface on western shores, and its cult popularity spurned the development of a belated but much anticipated sequel. Does Star Successor truly live up to its name, or has developer Treasure lost its way?

Sin & Punishment: Star Successor screenshot

In Sin & Punishment: Star Successor, you take on the role of either Isa or Kachi, and you’re on the run from the ultimate judgment of the Creators. Isa was initially sent to Earth to hunt down and assassinate Kachi for the Creators, but he has a change of heart along the way.

The sci-fi elements and art style of the game work amazingly well with the premise of Star Successor’s gameplay, though the dialogue is comprised of mostly throwaway lines. Conversations between characters are overly dramatic, and much of the significance of the story is buried underneath cheesy banter. Star Successor isn’t Asimov or Clarke, but it still manages to present an interesting, albeit obscure, science fantasy.

Like the original Sin & Punishment, there are ample cutscenes and story tidbits tossed into the mix, but for the most part the game’s all about shooting. Star Successor is less of a bullet hell than it is a shooter in the vein of Nanostray. Both Isa and Kachi are playable, and you have complete control over your character. Isa is the obvious choice for more experienced players, since he free-aims by default. Kachi, on the other hand, auto-locks onto enemies, and she has a special attack that can lock onto multiple targets at once, making clusters of foes easily manageable.

Control for both characters is otherwise basically the same. There are four controller options – Wii Remote and Nunchuk, Classic Controller, Gamecube controller, or Wii Zapper – but for my money, the Wii Remote and Nunchuk set-up is easily the most enjoyable. You move your character with the analog stick, jump with C, and you can dodge (for temporary invincibility) with the Z button. Since Kachi auto-locks onto enemies, aiming with the Wii Remote isn’t as big a consideration, and therefore, I personally had more fun playing as Isa. You can still lock on with Isa by tapping the A button, but your damage is lessoned when you do so.

Sin & Punishment: Star Successor screenshot

In addition to locking onto enemies, each character has a special, charged attack that’s executed by holding A. Your targeting reticule has a circle gauge that acts as a timer, which cues you to when your special attack is ready for activation. Use of special attacks is balanced by the fact there’s usually tons of enemies and projectiles onscreen at any given time. Movement of the characters feels good, and the button mapping is smart and easy to use.

Lastly, both characters can execute a three-hit melee combo by tapping the B button when enemies are up close. Otherwise, you can simply hold down the button to rapid fire your laser pistol.

Sin & Punishment: Star Successor screenshot

The game is broken up into sizeable levels, and the boss battles seem never-ending. There are a ton of mini-bosses along the way, and end-level bosses are usually multi-tiered, requiring quite a bit of thinking on your feet. On average, it took me about three attempts to best the game’s heavy weights, since each one requires a particular strategy to beat. Unfortunately, many of the boss battles call for heavy use of melee combat, and certain segments of the game devolve into button mashing.

The shooting itself was also disappointing in some respects. Though the original Sin & Punishment was innovative 10 years ago, Star Successor’s formula feels a bit dated. The shooting-gallery feeling is very prominent throughout the game, which makes the experience feel less like an actual adventure than a points contest. Considering the fact you’re given the opportunity to upload your score at the end of each level, it’s obvious high scores were a major part of Treasure’s philosophy for the game. It’s still a fun approach, though it’s a tough sell for a full-priced retail product.

Sin & Punishment: Star Successor screenshot

The simple, retro style isn’t the only problem I had with the game, either. The level design, too, feels somewhat dated. Being forced to rip through blocks in order to keep from getting buried alive isn’t the most imaginative device in this day and age, and even with all the crazy action onscreen at a given time, there are still blind spots where your character can take a free ride out of harm’s way.

In spite of my criticisms, I had fun with the game – playing as both characters. Once you complete a chapter, it’s unlocked for free play, and you can keep going back in hopes of upping your high score. The game’s pretty brutal, though. Even in the Normal mode, the average player will die a few times during each level. The game’s fair but frustrating. Though there are obvious patterns to learn for bosses and such, they’re not always the most enjoyable way to take on the challenge.

Star Successor does offer a cooperative multiplayer option, but it’s a novelty that is sure to grow old quick for Player 2. Rather than allow both players to control one of the two main characters from the story, the second player has only an onscreen reticule to shoot enemies with; it makes levels easier for Player 1, but the appeal is fleeting.

Visually, Star Successor is an odd beast. There are elements of the game that look truly next-gen. One or two of the game’s bosses exhibit texture effects I’ve never seen in a Wii game, yet explosions are about on par with something you might see on Nintendo DS. The lighting is very impressive, yet most everything else in the game stacks up to meet the standards of a really attractive PS2 title. With all that being said, I never once experienced an issue with the framerate. Star Successor offers a constant flurry of visual stimulus, and the game’s less-than-stellar graphical elements get lost in a sea of excitement.

The audio also helps make the ends meet nicely, though the soundtrack is an acquired taste. Here, too, the game has a lot in common with Nanostray and other games of its kind. The gameplay stands upon a foundation of other-worldly techno tunes that do little to create thematic tension, yet the music still manages to greatly enhance the shooting experience. The sound effects are equally pleasing, though certain attacks and explosions lack the impact I would have liked.

Sin & Punishment: Star Successor is a fun shooter, but it’s not quite a grand adventure. Nintendo deprived their fans of the first game for so long, and now they answer the cry with something that feels a bit outdated. It’s also a fairly anemic package in light of the asking price. Make no mistake, as a fan of old-school shoot’em-ups, I had a good time with the game. As a fan of value, innovation, and “the next, best thing,” Star Successor left me feeling a tad disappointed. If you loved the first game and simply want more of the same, definitely check this one out. The controls are a vast improvement over the first Sin & Punishment, even if the gameplay itself has aged a bit.

The game runs the gamut of cutting edge, to archaic, and back. Regardless, Treasure offers a strange and strangely appealing space-fantasy world here. 4.4 Control
Pointer functionality for this game is excellent, and the button mapping is sensible and fun. Melee combat is a nice addition, though it’s emphasized far too much. 4.5 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
The soundtrack likely won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, with music that often lacks crescendo and cadence. No matter your taste, the quality is topnotch, and the driving beats and sound effects do a great job of supporting the gameplay. 3.6

Play Value
It’s a fun shooter, but it lacks innovation and polish – two things we generally expect from Treasure. Diehard fans will enjoy besting their top scores, while casual fans will likely run through the game once before moving on.

3.9 Overall Rating – Good
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.

Game Features:

  • The precision pointing abilities of the Wii Remote controller make targeting enemies a snap. Players have the option of controlling their characters using the Wii Remote-Nunchuk combination, the Classic Controller, the Classic Controller Pro, Nintendo Gamecube controller or the Wii Zapper.
  • Choose from two playable characters with unique combat abilities.
  • It’s all about the score multiplier. The better a player’s skills, the more multiplier points are earned, and the higher the overall score. Players will want to play the game again and again to beat their personal best on each level.

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