Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned.
The 3D shump isn't a very popular genre this generation. When one thinks of the genre, they think of Treasure for the most part. They've created several incredible shooter/flying hybrids such as Gunstar Heroes, Ikaruga, and the original Sin & Punishment on the N64. Until the Wii's Virtual Console, the original Sin & Punishment was only available for Japanese customers. Perhaps the unexpected great sales of the game brought about the Wii sequel, Sin & Punishment: Star Successor. Does this title live up to Treasure's legacy or is it easily shot down?
If you're looking for story in Star Successor from the actual game, you will be thoroughly confused. All of the background is inside the game's instruction manual of all places. Let me try to read through the lines here, so forgive my confusion. It has something to do with a universe divided into a duo of dimensions, inner and outer space. The two are constantly in battle with one another, and it's a very bad situation. Our story follows two main characters which the player can choose to play as. Our first entrant is Isa Jo who found an android woman named Kachi, our second entrant, who is being pursued by a mysterious organization who wants her for unknown reasons.
Sin & Punishment: Star Successor plays like your typical 3D shmup. You zoom in and out of areas, blasting baddies and scoring points. The goal here is simple: destroy all the enemies on the screen as possible while cycling through rooms and areas of levels while trying to avoid enemy fire. By not getting hit your score multiplies, but when you're attacked by a shot it goes down by a significant amount. Isa Jo or Kachi's health is displayed on the bottom left whereas the amount of enemies destroyed is situated on the bottom right. There's plenty of items to collect along the way such as health boxes usually produced after a particularly difficult battle, coins that raise your score, and medals which appear when you fulfill specific conditions like destroying a whole line of enemies.
Each level plays through like an interactive movie. You destroy foes while avoiding enemy fire. Occasionally you'll come down against a boss. Most levels have multiple boss characters to take down. Each has its own attack pattern that the player must learn in order to get their coveted victory from them. It's up to the player to figure out a given boss' weak point in order to finish them off. By beating a boss before the time gauge hits zero, you'll receive a bonus score multiplier.
At the conclusion of each stage, the results screen will pop up. You'll get points based on enemies defeated, medals earned, a remaining health bonus, and how fast you defeated the stage's final boss. If your health somehow reaches zero, which it will on harder difficulties-- a lot, you'll get a game over. Luckily, you can start at the most current checkpoint you reached. Unfortunately, your points go the way of the dodo. Points are important not just for personal bragging rights, but for the public online leaderboards that the game possesses. It's great to shoot (literally) for number one.
Both Isa Jo and Kachi are maneuverable characters. They can leap into the air and fly on their jetpacks to speed around the screen, avoiding enemy fire. By pointing with the Wii remote, you can aim and fire easily. There's also the option to play with the Wii Zapper, Classic Controller, or Gamecube controller, but the Wii remote/nunchuk combination beats them all in spades. You just aim at the screen, fire, and boom-shaka-laka. You can even lock-on to enemies to get better accuracy in exchange for weaker shots. Isa Jo and Kachi can also perform melee attacks to send back enemy shots or carve up close enemies. Additionally, there's the ultra-powerful charge shot that can clear out a room of enemies with no challenge at all. However, this move as the name suggests much be charged before used.
Sin & Punishment: Star Successor isn't the most graphically intensive game on the Wii. There's texture problems here and there, but that's okay since the amount of carnage on screen at once is very impressive-- especially as there's little-to-no slowdown to speak of. Bosses are especially intimidating with their beautiful attack animations and special effects such as fire, magma, and sand. The music is usually muzzled by the intense action and shots being fired from both sides of the good guy/bad guy spectrum. When you can hear it, the J-rock is appropriate for the game and doesn't annoy whatsoever. It's just there.
Overall, Sin & Punishment: Star Successor is a worthy title to Treasure's collection of excellent games. The story may be nonsensical to most, and the graphics may be on the weak side, but the high-adrenaline action and hardcore shooting makes for a very fun time. Perhaps if the game was a bit longer (the stages themselves are already long enough) as in more stages then I could give the game a higher score, but as it is Sin & Punishment: Star Successor is a wonderful 3D shmup with an impressive feat of having so many enemies on the screen at the same time yet no slowdown. Treasure fans may have a new favorite game to play.
[SuperPhillip Says: 8.0/10]