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Review: Sin & Punishment: Star Successor


Here's the first draft of my review for Sin & Punishment: Star Successor in its entirety:


While I think that pretty well encapsulates the feeling of playing Star Successor, I realize there might be value to explaining what the game is and why I enjoyed it so much. But even though there are more words to follow, they are all written in the same spirit as the above all-caps exclamation. Even thinking back about playing Treasure's latest game is kind of exciting. This is not a game to relax with after a long day at work. This is a game to play if you want to get so amped up you start typing in CAPITAL LETTERS.

Gallery: Sin and Punishment: Star Successor | 40 Photos

Sin & Punishment: Star Successor stars Isa and Kachi (the son of the Sin & Punishment 1 characters, and his otherworldly, superpowered, hoverboarding friend, respectively). They're on the run from -- man, somebody, I don't know. There's some evil organization that wants to capture Kachi, and they like to tease Isa a lot. To be honest, I didn't bother to follow the story too closely, instead letting the nonsensical dialogue wash over me as I relaxed between tense shooting sequences. The upshot is that you are being surrounded by robots, monsters, or robot monsters at all times, and it is your job to blow them all up.

Treasure uses the on-rails shooter format to fill the screen with insane stuff. You'll have aerial fish swarming you on one side and huge spaceships on the other. You'll bat missiles from submarines into enormous, mutant sea serpents. You'll have to dodge a constant stream of falling ... buffalo monsters (maybe?) onto a railroad. And there are bullets. Everywhere. All the time. One boss goes well beyond the boundaries of "bullet hell." Star Successor never slows down, never stops going overboard.

Treasure's shooters are about giving you a limited set of abilities, and then running you through a never-ending gauntlet of bullets, crowds of enemies, and giant boss rushes until you've mastered every nuance of those abilities. In this game, the moveset comprises a basic shot, a charge shot, a dodge move, and a melee attack. It's those last two that made me feel more agentive, more in control than in most rail shooters.

While the objective in this genre (House of the Dead, for example; or even the Panzer Dragoon games) is to shoot everything before it hits you, you have more options in Star Successor. The dodge move grants you a brief window of invincibility followed by a recovery period, and the melee attack allows you to instantly cut down things that get too close. Treasure makes you use these by putting lasers on the screen too big to avoid, and enemies right up in your face. There's a sword duel at one point. There's even a fist fight.

Like all thrill rides, Star Successor is over quickly. Not counting frequent, inevitable deaths, it's possible to wrap up a trip through all the stages in six hours or so. But I know that right after finishing the game with Isa, I wanted to go back through it with Kachi, who has a different charge attack and a different method of locking onto enemies. I wanted to try the game on different difficulty settings. I wanted to experiment with using a Classic Controller or a GameCube controller, even though it's kind of insane to give up the use of the Wiimote's pointer. I wanted to go into the stage select mode to improve my level scores, until I did well enough to consider uploading them to the leaderboards. Most of all, I wanted to keep that YEAAHHHHHHHHH feeling going.

This review is based on the Wii retail version of the game provided by Nintendo.

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