Earlier today, I was given some precious hands-on time with Sin & Punishment: Star Successor, the upcoming ‘bullet hell’ shooter from Treasure, exclusive to the Nintendo Wii. Having spent a decent amount of time with the game, I have to say I’m not sure where I stand. On the one hand, I utterly disliked it, and on the other, I wanted to keep playing long after my turn was over.
Let’s get the obvious out the way; Sin & Punishment 2 is hard. Before today, I was relatively proud of myself as a gamer. I might not be the best in the world, but I’m good enough to play most games on their hardest difficulty level and come out on the other side. Star Successor however, was a different matter entirely. Dropped into a level midway through the eight stage-long game, it wasn’t long before my character Isa was flailing with 5hp left, desperate for some form of health pack. Unfortunately, one never came, and I died.
I tried again. I died again. Rinse, repeat, over and over. I turned to the booth attendant and asked what difficulty the game was on. “Oh, it’s on Medium,” they replied, smirking as they did so. Admittedly, I walked away from the game at that point, all ready to write my preview — “terrible”, “atrocious” and “a painful experience” were at the forefront of my mind. Throughout the day though, I felt something odd — a strange force willing me to go back and give it another shot. So I did.
Honestly, I’m glad that I did. Whilst I wasn’t too fond of the Wii Zapper setup they had going on, I quickly grew accustomed to the control scheme and began working through the areas pretty quickly. My only real gripe with the game was that, when the action got a little too much for the Wii to handle, the framerate crawled to around 8fps and the experience was killed as a result. It happened surprisingly often throughout my playthrough, but on the whole, but it wasn’t entirely detrimental to the experience — just a slight annoyance.
The other slight annoyance I had with Sin and Punishment 2 was mainly down to the way the controls worked. This isn’t a criticism direct to the game itself, as I’m sure that with time and practice it’ll become more natural, but having to concentrate on moving Isa out of the way on the impending storm of bullets, whilst simultaneously attempting to shoot a billion bullets at the bad guy… Well, let’s just say it wasn’t the most natural gaming experience of my life.
This is why the two player co-op was a revelation. After I had blasted through some battles, a guy came up and took up the mantle of Player 2. Due to the nature of the game, we died pretty quickly, but when we switched roles it was the most joyous feeling I’ve felt in a long time. This way, I could focus solely on shooting the enemies, while Player 1 had to worry about maneuvering around the environment and not dying every couple of minutes. Because of the lack of responsibility, I actually felt that I enjoyed being Player 2 more than I did being Player 1. Sometimes it’s nice to not have to worry.
I’ll end the way I started; I’m not sure how I really feel about Sin & Punishment: Star Successor. For all its slowdown flaws, its hard-to-grasp control schemes and its torrential unleashing of bullet hell, I think I actually enjoyed playing it. Even if the graphics aren’t particularly sharp, the art direction is absolutely sublime and each environment I experienced, be it underwater, underground or in the skies was pretty damned fun to play through. Well, I guess that settles it. I think I enjoyed it.
Sin & Punishment: Star Successor will be available exclusively on Nintendo Wii this June 27th.