Game Review

Sin and Punishment: Star Successor Review

Europe PAL Version

Posted by Damien McFerran

Treasure's cult classic returns for a second helping of laser death

When the original Sin and Punishment was passed over for Western release back in 2000 it marked one of the cruellest injustices video gaming has ever experienced. Thankfully this crime has now been partially rectified by the release of Treasure’s gloriously chaotic cult classic on the Wii’s Virtual Console service, but Nintendo is clearly feeling particularly guilty because the company is going beyond the call of duty and publishing the Wii-based sequel all over the globe.

In fact Nintendo is doing more than just handling the distribution duties; it’s taking a considerable risk. Despite Treasure’s fame as a games creator, the studio has never enjoyed mainstream acceptance and the aforementioned lack of a North American and European release for the prequel means there’s no “franchise buy-in” for your average Wii gamer.

Thankfully none of these things matter the moment the Sin and Punishment: Star Successor game disc slides elegantly into the Wii’s media slot; it’s obvious why Nintendo is taking such a chance on this title. It’s absolutely amazing.

The core gameplay is very similar to the previous game; you’re funnelled down a linear path through a wide range of 3D levels and expected to dish out all kinds of hurt on hordes of nefarious hostiles. Your standard blaster isn’t upgradeable but is powerful enough to take down most assailants and you also have a powerful charge attack which needs to be used strategically in order to eradicate as many enemies as possible.

Targeting is handled by an on-screen reticule; the default interface uses the Wii Remote and Nunchuk, with the former influencing the position of your cross-hair. It’s possible to lock your aim on an enemy using the B button, but this targeted fire is slightly less potent than your standard shot. The overall setup mimics the traditional twin-stick approach favoured by FPS titles but the difference here is that your character is on-screen at all times and must be moved around in order to avoid incoming projectiles.

Thankfully you’re not just a sitting duck when the fire comes raining down; it’s possible to perform a quick dash which makes your avatar temporarily invincible and this becomes an essential tactic on later levels. You can also hover in the air, which means the entirety of the screen is available when you’re trying to dodge bullets – something which makes the game feel a lot more open than its predecessor, which confined you to the ground.

Your final defensive option actually doubles as a legitimate attack strategy; melee attacks can be used to dispatch enemies at close quarters but they also nullify incoming bullets. Low-level fire is merely neutralised but other objects – such as missiles and bombs – are deftly batted in the direction of your reticule, providing you get your timing right. This opens up one of the most enjoyable elements of Sin and Punishment: Star Successor’s control system: there’s nothing quite as satisfying as locking-on to an enemy and then destroying them with the very same rocket they launched in order to bring about their own demise.

Despite the presence of two characters – both of which possess slightly different “charge shot” capabilities – the two-player mode isn’t as exhaustive as you might expect. The second player is limited to controlling a disembodied cross-hair and can’t lock-on to enemies or inflict charge attacks. It’s a minor disappointment when you consider how great the single-player element is, but it could be argued that adding another on-screen character would make an already overcrowded screen even more confusing.

Like so many of Treasure’s previous titles there’s a distinct emphasis on high scores in Sin and Punishment: Star Successor. Linking together successive kills ramps up your score multiplier and taking out enemies with deflected projectiles also yields points bonuses. To further increase the appeal of chasing your personal best ranking, Treasure has included online leaderboards that illustrate the depressing gulf between the world’s best and worst players; after each level your achievement is uploaded for posterity and the game is quick to point out when you’ve topped your previous high score.

Thankfully it’s not just the gameplay which hits the jackpot – the presentation is equally alluring, too. Much has been made of the Wii’s relatively humble graphical prowess but aside from the lack of HD, Sin and Punishment: Star Successor is arguably as attractive as most 360 or PS3 titles. The vast and sprawling environments seem to go on forever and are bristling with enemies and other activity. Incredibly, this lush setup rolls along at a steady frame rate, with little in the way of slowdown.

Also particularly worthy of note are the epic boss encounters that litter each level. True to form, these contests are imaginative, challenging and incredibly entertaining; it may take a few attempts to discover the pattern but the sense of achievement when you finally outsmart each foe is immense. These scraps are common, too; you can expect around three boss battles in each level, which brings to mind previous Treasure classics like Alien Soldier, Radiant Silvergun and Gunstar Heroes.

The game showcases support for a wide range of different controllers, including the GameCube pad, Zapper and Classic Controller. However, having tinkered around with the various choices it’s clear that the default configuration is unquestionably the best. As has been the case with many other titles, the Zapper peripheral proves awkward and unwieldy, while the Classic Controller puts essential buttons too far out of reach for truly comfortable play.

Star Successor isn’t flawless, though. The English voice acting is at best passable and at worst highly irritating; thank goodness then that there’s the option to revert to the original Japanese vocal track. Sadly, this change doesn’t affect the sickening cuteness of the lead characters. The child-like protagonists are curiously at odds with the dark and oppressive tone of the rest of the game’s design and while it’s probably an intentional choice on Treasure’s part, it doesn’t sit well with this reviewer. Such issues are easily ignored though and can be attributed to personal taste.

Conclusion

Treasure provided the ailing N64 with one of its most significant titles when it released the original Sin and Punishment a decade ago. It’s taken quite some time for the developer to top that achievement but this sequel most definitely out-guns it illustrious forbear and manages to fuse old-school shooting with modern controls and a fantastic degree of innovation. Once you’ve finished there’s arguably little else to encourage you to keep playing – aside from the temptation of pushing your scores even higher – but while it lasts Sin and Punishment: Star Successor is one of the Wii’s finest action titles and proves the machine’s hardcore credentials once and for all. Fingers are now firmly crossed that this sublime title finds the audience it so clearly deserves.

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User Comments (101)

turtlelink

#1

turtlelink said:

Import? Or it came out in EU or something already? Anyway, time to read the review...

CorbsAdmin

#2

Corbs said:

Review copy. And it comes out in Europe tomorrow. Can't wait to get my hands on it when it hits the US.

XCWarrior

#3

XCWarrior said:

How in the world did you guys review this? Though the score is nice. I'll read when I get a chance.

pixelman

#4

pixelman said:

Goodness, didn't expect to see this so soon. I'll pass, too many other games I'm more interested in.

Meta-Rift

#5

Meta-Rift said:

This was already on my must-buy list. I loved the N64 game, and I can't wait to try the new controls.

Chrono_Cross

#6

Chrono_Cross said:

Clicked home and saw Sin and Punishment 2 review up and I'm like woah!
Definitely going to get this as soon as it gets here in the U.S.

Supermarioman

#9

Supermarioman said:

Damn It :P
I have to wait almost 2 months for this. For once WE get screwed over instead of Europe, you lucky BARDS :D

Noire

#11

Noire said:

Awesome. This is the kind of game I can get behind.

Can't wait to shoot and/or slice some crap up. :O

Oregano

#12

Oregano said:

Metal Torrent and Sin and Punishment on the same day!

Bullet Hell or Bullet Heaven?;)

SepticLemon

#13

SepticLemon said:

Well, I'm psyked! I'm getting this tomorrow and I can't wait! for the time being I'm going to play some Metal Torrent and Final Fantasy 1.

moomoo

#14

moomoo said:

I played the original to death, so I'm not too worried about replay value on this. I'm sooooo looking forward to this one.

siavm

#16

siavm said:

Good thing this is not coming to the US yet. I still have not beat the first one and I have had it since the day it was released on the VC.

Sylverstone

#17

Sylverstone said:

Nice review, I'm not really a huge fan of S&P and I'm holding out for Other M to be honest.

BlueFlameBat

#18

BlueFlameBat said:

Can I change the set-up so that the B trigger is for firing and attacking while the A button does the charge shots?

V8_Ninja

#20

V8_Ninja said:

WHY, NINTENDO, DOES THIS HAVE TO COME OUT IN THE EUROPE REGION OVER A MONTH BEFORE IT'S RELEASED IN THE USA?!?! WHY?!?!

Machu

#21

Machu said:

Great review! Having fallen in love with S&P on VC I was already hyped for this, but now... :O

I'll buy it in a couple of weeks, after I've weaned myself off MHT. D:

suburban_sensei

#23

suburban_sensei said:

This 9 cements the fact that I need to download the N64 version ASAP and pre-order this puppy next time i'm out.

BlueFlameBat

#25

BlueFlameBat said:

But I want Sin & Punishment: Star Successor now. I'm in no hurry to play Super Mario Galaxy 2.
So, about the controls...

Unca_LzStaff

#26

Unca_Lz said:

One more thing, Europe has always been historically last in getting games. How many games have they gotten at least one month after America? And now everyone is crying about Europe getting the game first?

waffles

#28

waffles said:

I wonder how I'm going to be able to afford all these great games coming out?

Digiki

#29

Digiki said:

When the original Sin and Punishment was passed over for Western release back in 2000 it marked one of the cruellest injustices video gaming has ever experienced.
What a joke :0

Unfortunately the art direction is much the same as the original's vile one.

Digiki

#36

Digiki said:

Come on! You know how editors love to sensationalize. If they didn't, they wouldn't get as many readers.

Personally I value credibility over fanbase, but clearly it's not such a common opinion.

CanisWolfred

#37

CanisWolfred said:

@Panda

Yup.:3 Well, actually, I prefer to just comment on the game itself and on what other people say about it. Kinda like dropping in on someone's party univited and talking to all the guests but never meeting the host and never bringing the chips.

@Digiki

I agree. I care more about reading something legit and factual where it counts. It matters not to me how many views the site gets. I know the reviewers obviously disagree with me, but hey, if I don't like 'em, I won't read 'em.

kevohki

#39

kevohki said:

"Once you’ve finished there’s arguably little else to encourage you to keep playing..." And it still gets a 9? Say what? Considering the game is only 4 hours long at best and still a full $50... I don't know if the game deserves a score that high when many downloadable games are twice the playtime for a fraction of that full $50 price.

moomoo

#40

moomoo said:

@kevohki:
Chances are, you'll play it about 10 times, so change that 4 to 30. The harder difficulties in the first will make any player struggle, and that's no different here. I see where you're coming from though.
The real problem, if you ask me, is the voice acting.

motang

#41

motang said:

Wow cool, it's been pushed back a bit in the US but it's ok cause I will be buys with Super Mario Galaxy II, but I am looking forward to playing this one!

Despair1087

#43

Despair1087 said:

its either this, or galaxy 2... sorry i'm going with mario.

as soon as i get the chance though i'll check this out.
(after metroid of course)

Token_Girl

#45

Token_Girl said:

A real two player mode would have been awesome. Shame they couldn't/didn't add it for whatever reason.

Objection

#46

Objection said:

Sin and Punishment was fun but not quite a blast for me...and that was $12. No matter how pretty, it's going to be pretty hard to get me to lay down 50 clams for more of the same stuff, even if it were four times as long, which I doubt it is.

Bassman_Q

#47

Bassman_Q said:

Which one is better in terms of value: this or S&P1? Cuz Im not really liking having to shell out 50 bucks for a game thats essentially based on beating ur high score.

Adam

#48

Adam said:

@Digiki: I agree.
@TokenGirl: I agree.
@MasterDamien: I've heard that the levels are much longer this time around. Is this so? And if so, do you find this better or worse? I'm concerned that it could lose the pick-up-and-play factor a score-based game needs if the levels are too long... but really it's just a curiosity. I'm going to rent this either way, as the original was decent enough.

Klapaucius

#49

Klapaucius said:

The original's release on VC should have got a little fanbase going. The rest of the sales will be people who buy it simply because its awesome :) Then they'll download the original on VC!

ninjablaze

#50

ninjablaze said:

"Star Successor is arguably as attractive as most 360 or PS3 titles"

I'm sorry, but I literally had to lol at that.

I don't think any among us can knock this game graphically, like you said it's environments are sprawling and the action on screen is never ending, but c'mon, you can't be serious.

Have you played an Xbox 360/PS3 game before?

Crunc

#51

Crunc said:

I haven't purchased the original nor ever played it. I think I may do that, but I've got so many other games to play right now....

Crunc

#52

Crunc said:

@ninjablaze - I think they mean "given that it's not in HD...."

Games can look great on the Wii. Look at Punchout. That game looks absolutely fantastic and having it in HD would probably not make an appreciable difference. FYI, yes, I have a 360 and do play it in HD. I can't say how S&P:SS looks, though, seeing how I haven't ever seen it in person.

BlueFlameBat

#55

BlueFlameBat said:

This makes me want a Space Harrier game for Wii with multiple characters who are not in any way related to each other or to any of the other characters in past Space Harrier games.

Croz

#56

Croz said:

Got this yesterday, and ive been playing none stop, really really awesome.

jkgatling

#57

jkgatling said:

Damn its goot to be a wii gamer!!! Mario Galaxy 2, Monster Hunter Tri, Sin and Punishment 2, MEtroid: Other M, Red Steel 2!! DAMN!

Adam

#61

Adam said:

@54
In that case, it is an entirely pointless comparison as you can make an aesthetically attractive game on any system.

RichieTheSignPainter

#62

RichieTheSignPainter said:

I almost ordered this today but I'm still loving the 1st one enough to keep me busy so I ordered MH3 instead. Will get this as soon I get money again. I like game

Alza

#64

Alza said:

I think that in this review the main point (at least for me) is missing: how is the score structure? More like a Space Invaders Extreme (open-non linear) or more like an Ikaruga (linear-mnemonic)?

Zach

#66

Zach said:

@Mickeymac & BlueFlameBat - How can you judge an entire review on one sentence? Clearly the reviewer spent a lot of time and put a lot of thought and work into it, and to think that just because one sentence reflects an opinion with which you disagree is an insult to the writer and to others who hold that opinion. Personally the original isn't one of my favorites, but some think that it's one of the system's best. How is not releasing such a highly rated title internationally, especially one that had so long been anticipated, not an injustice? I think that you're sensationalizing the perceived sensationalism. My fellow reviewers here aren't afraid to go against public opinion - just take a look at the reviews of Rayman and Super Smash Bros. You imply that their opinion is based on sensationalist hype just because of the opening line. My colleagues put their heart and soul into this work, and you're doing a disservice to yourself, them and your fellow readers by dismissing it and then flaunting your dismissal like that. Of course, I'm not saying that you don't have the right to do so, but I'm sure I don't speak for only myself when I say that you ought to consider these things.

darklinkinfinite

#67

darklinkinfinite said:

Well, at least I have a month to save up for this. This is one of the games I've really been looking forward to. Probably moreso than Triple A game X on any of the other systems. Its a shame Nintendo doesn't do much to publicize its smaller games. Not that they would convice the "I haven't bought a Wii game since Brawl" camp, but it would at least raise greater awareness of some of its more obscure games.

EdEN

#68

EdEN said:

I'll have several months to save up for this since all my videogame purchases are on hold until further notice...

LEGEND_MARIOID

#69

LEGEND_MARIOID said:

I'm glad this game has made it into the wii retail library and I respect it....HOWEVER, I'm n ot getting it. Its way, way, way too hardcore. Great game, I'm sure - but no thanks!

Ristar42

#70

Ristar42 said:

Got it today, excellent arcade style shooter.
Treasure are great and I also like the review.

Chunky_Droid

#71

Chunky_Droid said:

The only thing stopping me from getting this game is the frustration caused by the stupid meteor in the N64 release

No matter how much I shot the bloody thing it never exploded and I never made it past that point

Rerun

#72

Rerun said:

I've got this game pre-ordered. A thank you to Treasure for all the wonderful games that they developed!

BlueFlameBat

#73

BlueFlameBat said:

@zkaplan
Relax. I think you're reading too far into my post. Yes, it was unfortunate that the first Sin & Punishment never made it outside of Japan and Australia in its original form. I get the feeling the game would be much easier for me to play with an N64 controller rather than a GameCube or Classic one. I also miss the rumble. I don't see it as any crueler than dangling Earthbound 64 for N64 though ... and then again for GameCube. I was personally disappointed that Nintendo Puzzle Collection never made it to the U.S., but that's another matter. I was simply pointing out that a lot of editors have a tendency to make something seem more serious than it is.

super-nintendo

#74

super-nintendo said:

I'm getting it...never played the original...Eurogamer Italy gave Sin and Punishment 2 a 10 and Eurogamer UK a 9...so it must be really good. :)

Zach

#75

Zach said:

@BlueFlameBat Sorry, my post was more directed to the person who said that this is why they don't read the reviews. Anyway, I did overreact, so sorry to that poster as well. Read or skip whatever you like. Maybe that day I was feeling STRESSED out.

Sean_Aaron

#76

Sean_Aaron said:

Although I've not played the original (no way I'm doing the dual-stick mambo with this kind of game) this was a day-one buy for me without hesitation.

I actually didn't read the review to keep it fresh and it's just like having a great arcade game in your lounge. I agree that the character design doesn't work for me, but man this game looks and plays so great that honestly I don't know that I'll play any other similar-styled game again.

It's just the perfect version of a on-rails shooter with on-screen characters (there's enough of these on the Wii now that I guess that's a genre!). Levels are long, but there's checkpoints and unless you really suck you should be able to get through one in 20-30min. easy for bite-sized gaming. Easy mode is no pushover; I've yet to get through stage 4 (though I did make it to the final boss on that stage).

I don't have a big problem with the dub, though I like the funky-fresh option to have Japanese subtitles to go with it. The prompt to do a leaderboard upload after finishing a stage is also great without having to make a manual choice. Rankings are by difficulty, stage and total score. I'm pleased to say I made the top 30 (Europe-only; there's a Euro/NA list, but no Worldwide, so we don't need to be shamed by the Japanese players I guess...), but I doubt that will last!

Nice un-sensationalist review Corbie!

Kuroshiro

#77

Kuroshiro said:

I'm going to buy this one as soon as I can get enough money, I love Treasure's hardcore games like these. It's really a shame that this game does not get the attention it deserves.

ninjablaze

#80

ninjablaze said:

@Crunc
I absolutely agree that games can look great on the Wii, I also agree with you that Punch-Out due to its cartoony colorful cel shaded style wouldn't benefit that much from a higher definiton, more powerful hardware maybe, but not just a higher definition.
This game, on the other hand, just flat out in no way shape or form looks anywhere near as good as even a launch 360 game, but we shouldn't expect that given the technical specs and common sense, so I think you're just looking to get people's hopes by claiming something as far fetched as that in the review.

JamieOStaff

#81

JamieO said:

I have been looking forward to this game for ages now and I have also been looking forward to reading Nlife's assessment of it, too. For one reason or another, I missed this review on 6th May, but that's cool because I have read it in plenty of time before I buy it on its US release. My Canadian exporters will have it in stock on Monday 28th June, so with international shipping I may be one of the last Nlifers to even get to play it! It is not cheap either, at about £43, I think that they know that they have a quality Wii game on their hands.

None of that matters, because Damo has pumped up my anticipation even more for this 3D run-and-gunner. Oh yeah, if Nintendo have gone "beyond the call of duty" here, I take that as they recognise that Treasure have turned Sin and Punishment's chaos up to 11! Countering rocket attacks, by returning them on enemies sounds sweet. The gameplay obviously rocks, even if it is a slight shame about the subdued two player option.

It sounds like Treasure have squeezed every last drip of graphical effect out of the Wii, I am particularly pleased that it runs smoothly and is slowdown free. Treasure are boss battle architects too, so I look forward to each new boss that it chucks out at me. Excellent review, @Damo. :)

I agree wholeheartedly with the review's final sentence. C'mon everyone, help to create Treasure's first ever significant sales success, I could never view this as a rental only game. I say, buy Wii Sin and Punishment: Star Successor. That is just my personal opinion, but it is clearly awesome.

WonderboY101

#82

WonderboY101 said:

Just bought this. I can't believe just how polished this is. Loved the original on VC. This sequel is like the most amazing Space Harrier type game that you could imagine.It flips between on-rails 3D and into scrolling 2D and back again and has great set-piece boss battles.

I don't usually pay full price for many of my games I usually wait until they come down in price a bit, but this I made an exception. This is well worth the £35 I paid for it and then some!

Vinsanity

#86

Vinsanity said:

This game is difficult:D Every level has, like, 17 bosses. And by level 3 (level 1 for some, I'm sure), the "kiddie gloves" come off (aka, they throw hundreds of guys at you instead of merely 10s). But I dig every minute of it. This is definitely one of those games where every time you die, you literally get enemy patterns BEATEN into you, which makes you do better next time. It's old school, and it's punishing, but it's gorgeous and awesome.

Although it doesn't feel like Sin & Punishment to me at all. Sure, the story is the same bad anime nonsense, but the sound and art direction is slightly different (just look at the eyes of the main characters in cutscenes, or the fashion sense), and of course now they can fly. It feels way more like a Space Harrier sequel to me. So I consider it a bad sequel, but another awesome on-rails shooter from Treasure. Not as good as Panzer Dragoon Orta (which also, to this day, looks sharper than this game. God, Smilebit was talented), but right up there in second place, tied with Star Fox 64:) Very, very good.

gaminguy

#87

gaminguy said:

I tried at one of thoe demo areas at gamestop while I was getting MH3, it was really fun, and I enjoyed almost every second of it

DjinnFighter

#90

DjinnFighter said:

I played a lot of games this summer and I can say that Sin & Punishment 2 is my Summer Favorite.

rjejr

#92

rjejr said:

Was loving this game until I got to the stage 3 boss "Hibaru" crazy chick w/ the blade. Tried for an hour to beat her - on easy - and not even close. And I think I only died twice before her so it's not like I totally suck. But I suck too much to beat her.

This is the reason I love Superguide in DCKR. Sure I died alot on world 4, but I did much better on 5 and 6, just starting 7. It's possible I just bought a game that I played for 2 hours and I'll never get to the rest. damn

Colors

#94

Colors said:

Got this for $20 and love it. The only flaw in it is that it's so short. Only 8 stages if you count stage 0. I've almost beat it and I have played only 2 hours.

WaveBoy

#95

WaveBoy said:

ColorOfSonic....

2 Hours? That's becuse you're playing it on EASY mode.lol
I've probably put in 7 or so hours and I'm finally at the final Boss on Normal mode.....Or at least I think it's the finall boss. ;p

Anyways, the graphics are gorgeous, easily one of the best lookin wii titles, the gameplay is frantic, intense and fantastic...And the boss battles are just epic. The downsides however aside from the crummy voice acting, are the one dimensional lifeless characters, the confusing to the point of brain surging complexity(read the manual...eek!) and mediocre 'whatever' plot, AND the music isn't that great, or memorable at least. It's prettys simplistic, and is practically drowned out by the SFX unless you tweak the SFX and Music settings in the option menu.

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