Review of Sin & Punishment: Star Successor

Dominic Flamini, Staff Reporter

When you hear the name Nintendo, I doubt you think about post-apocalyptic sci-fi worlds, but that is exactly the setting of one of its lesser-known franchises, Sin & Punishment. The brainchild of Nintendo and Gunstar Heroes developer Treasure, the games are action-packed rail shooters, filled with multiple enemies to blast down. Unfortunately, the second game in the series, Sin & Punishment: Star Successor, has not sold so well, and I believe we need to change that.

In terms of gameplay, Star Successor is pretty straightforward, something that works in its favor. Your main task is to avoid enemy fire—sometimes by going through it!—and then retaliate with your unlimited-ammo laser machine guns. You can even charge your shots to dish out more punishment. When enemies get too close, you can also use powerful melee attacks to take care of them. One thing to note is the difference of playstyles between the two playable characters, Isa and Kachi. Their basic movement is pretty much the same, but their shooting styles differ greatly. Isa has to aim manually while Kachi locks on to the first target her reticle crosses while you’re fire. Even their charge shots differ: Isa gets a giant explosive blast, while Kachi gets eight homing shots.

Now this game does have its shortcomings. To start, although the setting is interesting, the story is based around an excuse plot, so don’t expect a deep story or award-winning dialogue. Fortunately, if you can’t stand the cutscenes, you always have the option to skip them. There are also some amusing, if rather silly, lines in the dialogue, such as, “Running is nothing but an exercise…in futility.”

One other problem I found was that melee attacks can sometimes be a little awkward. It takes a split second for them to register in the game. Normally, this isn’t that big of a problem, but it could get irritating in some instances, such as the fight with Hibaru Yaju, whom you only can hit with melee attacks at certain points of the fight.

Something that may be a turn-off for some is the game’s high level of difficulty. Personally, I have only beaten the game on Easy so far, and that itself was a tough task! I have no idea how many times I saw the “Game Over” screen in each of my runs. Thankfully, there’s a good number of checkpoints throughout the levels, so you won’t lose so much progress when you die. Yes, it’s a question of when you die, not if.

All those problems above, however, are pretty much nitpicks in an otherwise phenomenal game. The gameplay is solid, allowing you to use that itchy trigger finger. As for control schemes, I think the Wii Zapper control scheme is the best, but feel free to try the other ones out.

The presentation and levels also were well done. It looks like Treasure put a lot of effort into making them look good. Even if you can’t freely explore them, the levels look huge, there are hordes upon hordes of enemies to destroy, and the graphics are just gorgeous. My personal favorite levels include an underwater tunnel and a desert highway.

The game is quite fast-paced after the tutorial, so you’ll need to be on your toes throughout, especially at boss fights. Speaking of which, this game has a lot of creative and fun boss fights. For me, highlights include the first boss, a multi-legged mech; Armon Ritter, a shapeshifter who turns into sea creatures; and Commander Deko at the end of Stage 6, whom you fight barehanded.

All in all, I am glad I got this game. It’s an essential for any action game fan with a Wii or Wii U. One last plus is that, if you want to get it, it’s quite inexpensive from Amazon. Even with shipping, it costs around $20 at its normal price. If you decide to get it, though, just be ready for a heaping load of punishment that will come after that tutorial level.

Rating: ****¾ (out of five)