For those reading one of my Wii review blogs for the first time, here is the basic concept:
The Wii is often mocked for its game library, yet, it actually has a solid list of exclusives that are unavailable anywhere else. Though only Nintendo games were available where I am from, I was always interested in other games. Hence, I decided to play the top 50 Wii games as chose by GamesRadar in this list:
Without further ado, here is:
5: Sin & Punishment: Star Successor:
Genre: Rail Shooter, Bullet Hell.
Developer: Treasure, Nintendo SPD.
First things first, I am changing my rating system to better rate different genres according to their own rules. It will still be from 50 quality points, but every title will start from 25 and earn/lose points according to criteria important to the titles and genres themselves.
A sequel to the cult classic Nintendo 64 game, Sin & Punishment: Star Successor is exactly the type of game the Wii was made for. A laser-focused mid-budget game that takes advantage of the Wii's biggest strengths without falling for any gimmicks that detract from the experience.
For fans of the Bullet Hell genre, this game is pure bliss. For everyone else, you wouldn't probably appreciate the great depth and brilliance of the game's mechanics, but there is enough action for you to be satisfied.
"Your allegiance to that monster will threaten the entire universe!"
Maybe fans of the first game would understand more of the cryptic story since few of it is explained in this sequel. Ostensibly, this is a game about two characters, Isa and Kachi, escaping from the murderous clutches of the "Creators".
The game doesn't tell you much, other than the fact that Isa was originally supposed to capture Kachi, and is now aiding her escape. The setting of the game is a post-apocalyptic Earth, where mechanoid bio-creatures have evolved as an immune system against everything threatening the planet, including the two main characters.
The relationship between Isa and Kachi is a central part of the story
True to an arcade game of this type, the story doesn't matter much, but lacking a narrative motivation is a bummer. Especially when research on the backstory of the game reveals many details that could work to craft an interesting story.
With the limited narrative, the world and character design are left to do the heavy lifting, and it's interesting enough to work, even if a proper narrative would have been appreciated.
Missing Story: -4
Interesting Setting: +1
"Hand over the girl. Act swiftly and I might just spare your life"
Obviously, for a game of this type, it lives and dies by its gameplay.
Although it offers several control schemes, the main one is undoubtedly the Wiimote and Nunchuck. Using the Wiimote to accurately aim and the analog stick to move your character, the game is a mixture of Rail Shooters and Bullet Hells SHMUPS.
As you move on-rail from encounter to encounter, you are faced with an impressive variety of enemies and bosses that are trying to kill you. To fight back, you have a basic array of abilities with a lot of utility.
First, there is basic shooting with an additional ability to lock-on targets. Adding to that, there is a powerful charge shot that can be unleashed after a cool-down. Then there is a melee combo that can be used against enemies that get physically close to your avatar.
Some enemies even try to eat you
As for movement and evasion options, you can move all over the screen to avoid enemy attacks, but can also phantom dash through attacks. Though, you need to pay attention not to dash into an attack.
So far, Star Successor is not offering anything different. However, one more ability that you have is to deflect some special shots (bombs, rockets, energy balls) right back at your enemies. That introduces an element where you need to make the decision between dodging an attack or the higher risk option of taking it head-on and kicking it back into the face of your enemies.
All these elements combine to create a frantic, chaotic, but very deep and precise gaming experience. This experience is focused not on narrative brilliance or even novelty, but rather on the mastering of the game's mechanics and increasing your high score. This is why the game is immensely replayable.
Great Tight Gameplay: +10
High Replayability: +3
"Leaving so soon. There is no escape from the Nebulox"
Fans of the main developer of the game, Treasure, will be familiar with their modus operandi. Basically, their games are famous for having several unique and exciting bosses per level. As in, five bosses per level easily.
These provide the highwater moments of both excitement and difficulty.
They will require you to recognize their patterns, evade seemingly unavoidable attacks, and whittle down and impressive health bar. It is usually at these moments where many will see the game over screen and become familiar with its chime.
Getting several game overs will not affect your ability to finish the game, as the checkpoints make sense and can allow you to progress despite dying several times. However, they do reset your score and score multiplier, essentially landing a good hit to your ego.
One of the game's many formidable bosses
Frankly, that scoreline is not cosmetic only, or in any way the sole domain of experts. Finishing a level without dying is what you should strive for, as it is evidence of understanding the game's systems and utilizing them well.
That's easier said than done however, as the later stage's enemies and bosses ramp up the difficulty significantly. In my first Normal difficulty run, I died at nearly every checkpoint in the last two or three levels. Only after finishing the game again at Easy was I able to get he chance to fully understand the game, at which point I mostly managed to finish each level on Normal without dying (but still being hit a lot which affected my final score).
While this difficulty and ego bruising may be off-putting to some, it only serves as an extra motivator to those who are willing to put in the time and practice to perfect the game.
Great Bosses: +5
Off-Putting Difficulty: -2
"Hey!! Where is my Alien donkey?"
Being on the Wii, Star Successor naturally misses the extra detail present in the HD consoles of the time. This is obvious in the muddy textures and washed-up graphics that are prevalent in the entire games. Note that the bullets, missiles, and attacks you need to avoid are all very distinct and clear.
To compensate for its graphical weaknesses, the game's art direction tries to focus on the creature and location design, which looks foreboding and cool. In motion, you can easily ignore the shortcomings of the Wii and instead appreciate the sheer creativity in movement.
Like when you are flying around a flying fortress
This is made easier thanks to the explosions of sound an color that comes with the action. Sound effects are top notch, and that's only supported by a good soundtrack with some excellent music. Every time I hear the opening riff of the boss tune, I sit in attention to prepare for a grueling but exciting battle. Although, that familiarity with the tune may suggest that it is used too often.
Finally, the voice acting is decent, with the ability to choose the original Japanese VA if you prefer.
Washed-Up Graphics: -2
I sincerely believe that everyone who tries Star Successor and attempts to learn its intricacies and quirks will come to very much like the game, despite the difficulty and Wii-related limitations.
That's the case for the majority of people. Yet, for the minority who are fans of the genre, and are willing to truly go into the depths of the game at all its difficulty levels, they will absolutely love the game.
The game has some cool concept art
Looking Back at Destructoid's Review:
As Dtoid's resident Wii games reviewer, Jonathan Holmes was the person to review Sin & Punishment; giving it a very good 8.5. The summary of his review being: "Would I love Star Successor if the current gaming climate were as packed with third-person shmups as it is with first-person shooters? I think so, but under those conditions, the game would have had to struggle a lot more to get my attention. As it stands, Sin & Punishment: Star Successor is the only retail release of its kind in town, and for fans of the genre, that's reason enough to stand up and take notice. Thankfully, Star Successor did more than get my attention. It's an amazing game, one that I see myself playing for years to come. "
The comments section almost all agreed with Holmes's review here, with some even giving it a higher score:
Cynic without a Cause was not at all cynical about the game or the review:
"Truly nothing like it. A crazy donut filled with insane cream and stuffed in a soup sandwich. This and its predecessor are maybe the only games that can make me suffer every step of the way and enjoy the living hell out of it. Few games can bring out my masochistic side like that of the Treasure variety. If it were up to me, you would lose your gamer license if you didn't buy this game. Great review for a great game Holmes!"
There were also some Treasure fans who surely liked the game, like the case with gunstar:
"See my avatar this is Smash Daisaku, the hilarious villain from Gunstar Heroes- one of the best games of all time made by Treasure- one of the best game developers of all time. I might get my self a Wii just for this game Sin & Punishment alone. Whether this game sells by the hundreds or the millions I will get and play this game for its value alone!"
Of course, some posters like Kaocrat were struggling with the difficulty but still enjoying the game:
"I'm loving this game so far. When the original S&P came out I bought it during a trip to Japan, but I was too lazy to mod my N64 and didn't get around to playing it until it was re-released on Wii VC. Fell in love right away, of course. Sequel seems much harder than the 1st one, though. In the original, I can beat Easy and Normal mode with no continues, but currently I'm struggling to get through even Star Successor's easy mode, nevermind normal or hard."
I am generally not interested in the sales of the games I like, and I don't measure my penis size through the success of games I like. However, sales data is interesting in studying market trends, people's general interest, marketing strategy, genre effect, and other factors. Which is why I am going to check the sales data of every modern game I review (Gen 4 and beyond).
The game managed to sell around 500K Units, which is actually quite respectable even if lower than Nintendo's own first party standards. It's very much higher sales than other Treasure titles and is respectable for a mid-budget title.
Still, you can imagine that with Nintendo's current marketing strength, a new game in the series may sell significantly more on the Switch.
You know, the game can be a little gorgeous sometimes
1- I suggest to play your first playthrough on easy mode and increase the difficulty in the subsequent runs.
2- Your hitbox is in the middle of the character's torso, meaning that shots in the legs and even the face wouldn't count.
3- Make sure to practice deflecting bombs and rockets, as that is a very efficient way of dealing with threats.
4- If you want to target something specifically with a deflected shot, make sure they are locked-on.
5- To get extra points, try to stay in the ground as much as possible.
6- Pay attention to the color coding in the game, which suggest which attacks you can counter and which have homing abilities or extra effects.
With this game, I have played almost all of the games on GamesRadar Top 50 Wii games (which now inexplicably became a top 25 list). The final games on the list, numbers four, three, two and one are all games I already played before so I am not reviewing them again. They are Kirby's Epic Yarn, Super Smash Bros. Brawl, The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, and Super Mario Galaxy.
This doesn't mean I am done with my Wii reviews yet (although I am close to doing that). I am going to review two or three other little known Wii games, starting with Phantom Brave, a little known SRPG that was also released on the PS2.
For Previous Wii game Reviews:
For More Screenshots:
None available at Moby Games