Do you have what it takes to get a review published right here on Kotaku? Alastair does, as he gets sent to bullet hell.
Yes, that’s right, we’re now publishing reader reviews here on Kotaku. This is your chance to deliver sensible game purchasing advice to the rest of the Kotaku community.
And thanks to the very kind chaps at Madman Entertainment, purveyor of all kinds of cool, indie and esoteric film, the best reader review we publish each month will win a prize pack containing ten of the latest Madman DVD releases.
This review was submitted by Alastair Christie. If you’ve played Sin & Punishment 2, or just want to ask Alastair more about it, leave your thoughts in the comments below.
Sin & Punishment 2: Star Successor (Wii)
Sin & Punishment 2 is a shmup in the spirit of Space Harrier, in which enemies from the background attack as you madly shoot and dodge around the foreground of the screen.
I Played It: The original languished on “greatest games you never played” lists until the Wii’s Virtual Console gave it a new lease of life. Then Treasure broke their policy of very few shmup sequels. But Nintendo snagged the publishing rights, a seeming death sentence for Western fans, after Fatal Frame 4. Yet seemingly as an apology for Wii music et al, Nintendo for some reason did publish the title in the West. Well, in the US and the UK, if not Australia.
If It Flashes, We Can And Will Destroy It: There is a pervasive and awesome B-movie vibe to S&P2; lame plot, rapid pacing, no angsty guilt-ridden heroes and no look at me I’m sooo deep moral dilemmas. Pffft, all you need are simple controls so you can blow tons of stuff up with massive weaponry.
Gun/Sword: The coolest mash-up since Red Steel 2’s samurai/cowboy. Who needs cover when you can dodge and have such an offensive defense? The gun naturally rocks in laying down a stream of bullet hell, but the sword makes you strategically be a brinkman when deflecting attacks back, gives a brief trigger finger rest and figures in some sweet boss battles.
Anti-Waggle: In a Nintendo published game? Hell yes. The true key to winning is keeping your aim dead still because reflected attacks go where the cursor is and dodging takes most of your attention.
Variety: So many weird enemies to blow up, but the real key to keeping the game fresh are pseudo puzzle elements, pacing changes and the camera, which frequently transitions from over the shoulder to horizontal to vertical scrolling and back and occasionally even into the player’s control.
Rewards? The game doles out medals, but lamely only for points, not unlockables. Achievement criteria, beyond playing awesomely, are a total mystery.
Depth: Not the game length. Instead, the enemies being in the background make judging attacks and targeting enemies behind the screen filling bullet streams cheaply hard at times. Sounds like being on 3DS would have solved that problem. Kid Icarus, anyone?
There’s no doubt that Sin & Punishment 2 is a niche product, as most brilliant thirdparty Wii titles are. It feels very old school, with Treasure stripping out a lot of unnecessary complexities to leave a pure, challenging and, critically, always entertaining shmup experience. Like beloved rock pensioners The Who, Treasure still have it.
Reviewed by: Alastair Christie
You can have your Reader Review published on Kotaku. Send your review to us at the usual address. Make sure it’s written in the same format as above and in under 500 words – yes, we’ve upped the word limit. We’ll publish the best ones we get and the best of the month will win a Madman DVD prize pack.