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Man and Woman Vs The World Intro: Sin and Punishment is a series I knew about for quite a while thanks to the Quartar Guy and CJ. Particularly, the sequel. Sin and Punishment: Star Successor is a game that always made me wonder what all the fuss is about? Why do people revere it so? A question I intend to answer in this review. PS: I haven’t played the original game so don’t expect me to compare it to the sequel. Story: The story of S&P2 is quite hard to break down. But the easiest way to explain it is that you have two main characters: Isa and Kachi. Isa was sent on a mission to kill Kachi. Isa befriends her instead, Kachi loses her memory, they both get attacked by a group of soldiers apparently working for the creators, and are now supposed to escape Earth 4. Yes, there are four Earths or more in this game. There’s a lot of other plot elements mixed in such as keepers, the fact that Kachi is not human but some kind of alien life form threatening the creators and such. And it appears that the game is trying to tell a much bigger story than its length allows. There are a bunch of villain characters introduced that recognize Isa because he used to work with them; but all of those characters have no form of character development whatsoever, and their relationship with Isa is not explored that much. And that makes the story convoluted and filled with plot holes. And the dialogue writing isn’t all that great and can feel cheesy at points. But I’ve seen much worse, so this isn’t as bad as you might think. My biggest problem with the story is that the ending sucks. It lasts for like 20 seconds and then cuts straight into the credits with little character conclusion shown. But in all honesty, I don’t come to this kind of game and expect a richly detailed world with deep characters. So while the story, characters and writing are somewhat mediocre, I can forgive that. Graphics and Presentation: The game’s visuals look pretty good for a 2010 Wii game. It’s nowhere near Prime 3 in visual fidelity but it still has some good looking textures and environments. Especially for a game with levels this big. The game’s art direction is really good, there are 7 stages, 8 if you count stage 0 and all of them have their own unique setting. The game will take you through a variety of different stages during the 6+ hour adventure, that it never gets dull or repetitive. The animations look pretty cool, they are all smooth looking and there’s not a single piece of animation that I found to look dumb or anything like that. The sound design is great, and sets the mood for each stage. And I like the punchiness behind the sound when you shoot an enemy from close range. The soundtrack, however is not all that great. And that’s a big downer for me when it comes to a game like this. The tracks are good but none of them are ones I would consider memorable. And in a game this short, even if your tracks are repetitive, you have to make sure that the tracks you repeat are memorable enough. The voice acting is alright. It’s nothing that will blow your mind, but it isn’t bad, either. Overall. Presentation wise, this game is quite impressive. Gameplay: Now we’re getting to the really good stuff. The gameplay! The thing that makes this game so addictive and fun! This game plays like a typical rails shooter in terms of structure. Gun down hordes of enemies as you go through the on rails stage, fight a boss, gun down more enemies, fight another boss, rinse and repeat. There are sometimes where you fight multiple bosses in a row. So the gameplay structure isn’t that different, but the execution here is masterful! The game begins with a tutorial level that gets you oriented with the game perfectly before taking on the real deal, levels 1-7. The boss of the first level is actually very good, it’s fun and has a lot of varied and detailed moves that he can pull off on you. It’s not difficult, since it’s the first boss. But it’s a great test of what you learned in the first level. The controls are really smooth and precise, that you can never fault the game for your death. Every time I died, I always only blamed myself and never felt that the controls were working against me. You control your character by moving the nunchuck stick, shoot by holding the B button, hit the B button once for a melee attack and continue for a deadly combo, press the A button for locking on to the enemy, press C for jumping, and finally, hold A to use your special attack. Your special deals a lot of damage, but requires you to charge it up. And it can be interrupted by an enemy attack so it’s quite balanced. Your melee attacks deal much more damage than shooting but can leave you wide open for enemy attacks. In fact, a full combo will leave you open for a split second, which is quite dangerous for a rails shooter like this, so be careful not to abuse it. Hovering is a new feature in this game added in from the first one, from what I heard. And it makes the gameplay much less restricted and more open. But battling on ground is still a viable strategy at times since there are some enemies that may require a good melee attack or two. The game is generous enough to give you health packs from time to time. Make sure you absolutely grab every one you see without hesitation, they won’t float around forever. The game is quite challenging, I played on Normal difficulty, and while I didn’t die too much, I was still faced with enough challenge to be engaged, through and through. It is a serious dexterity test in multitasking. Seek out the largest threat and get rid of them to focus on other threats, pay attention to your health so that you don’t take too much damage, and keep an eye out for small mobs as ignoring them can bite you in the ass later on as you discover that you took too much damage by just ignoring a couple of them. The game almost has no difficulty spike and the gameplay flow is almost flawless. It keeps getting gradually more challenging without ever feeling cheap or unfair. But the thing I love about this game the most is the boss battles. They are spectacular! Stupendous and are all creative in their designs in some ways. All of them have detailed movesets and quick reactions are crucial to your survival. Some of them just feel very clever and unique. Such as a boss where you have to detach train cars so they can go over her way and deal damage. A tetris boss, where it starts out by you going to the top while gunning down enemies and when you get to the top is when the camera stops following you and the boss starts becoming a bit similar to tetris where he starts throwing blocks down the arena, and you have to attack him, destroy the blocks before they start covering up the arena and get you cornered but at the same time avoid all of his deadly moves. There’s also a boss that changes the game into a 2D fighting game. There’s all sorts of cool and creative bosses, and the best ones are some of the best I’ve encountered in any game. There’s even a boss rush near the end but the bosses you fight there, while they are the same characters, are in no way the same boss at all. And don’t worry, you don’t fight them ALL again. You just fight about 3 or 4 of them, so if you’re worried you’d fight the entire boss roster again, you can rest easy, now. The game is very addicting to play and has high replayability. I will definitely go back to it as I heard that if you beat it again with a different character, you unlock the ability to switch between them. That sounds awesome! I didn’t get the chance to play the 2 player mode as I don’t have people to play locally with, sadly. But I hear I’m not missing out that much since the second player is an assist shooter, an extra reticle rather than an extra character. But that doesn’t change that this is some of the most fun I’ve had in a rails shooter in quite a while! Breaking my score record is something I enjoy a lot in a game. And it’s quite enjoyable to do so in this game. The gameplay is the highest point for me. It’s definitely enough reason to buy this game. Final Verdict: Sin and Punishment: Star Successor is the apex of rails shooters. Never before were bosses this well done, never before was gameplay so varied and addicting, never before have I felt so engaged in a game for pure gameplay alone, that I completely ignored the story buried beneath it. The game is short at about 6 hours long. But it has really good replay value. A better soundtrack could make the levels a bit more fun to play, but the game is overall tight. And there’s not that many major faults with it. It was an absolute blast for me to play through. And I can’t wait to go back and play it again. Final Score: 9/10 Excellent Update on Upcoming Reviews: I really like playing through obscure games like this one. It helps expand my horizons a bit more. I must thank Zera for recommending it to me. But I wonder, what are the plumbers doing this time around? It’s been quite a while since they’ve been on a grand RPG adventure. But now, they have returned. Is Mario and Luigi: Dream Team as good as Bowser’s Inside Story? Find out in my next review.