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You know all those “bullet hell” shoot ‘em ups that insist on cramming as many projectiles on the screen as possible? The kind that seem to require a superhuman level of hand-eye coordination to survive? Sin & Punishment is the accessible, tough-but-not-impossible version of the genre, tossing endless amounts of lasers, missiles and rocket-breathing monstrosities in your face, albeit in a manageable, less rage-quitty kind of way.
That said, this still sums up most of the game:
You will die. A lot. But dying is part of the experience. Each level whisks you through an otherworldly, on-rails shooting gallery of robots, tanks and flesh-hungry beasties, all of which are easily dispatched by your barrage of bullets and devastating lock-on beams. The more you kill, the higher your combo count (and your end-of-level total) will be. Before long you’ll come to a boss, and hoo boy, that’s when the “Punishment” comes into play.
Above: S&P has some of the weirdest bosses you’ll ever see
Just about every boss will annihilate you at least once. Their attacks fill the screen and deal huge damage, and until you figure out their pattern and a way to counter it, you’re going to become very familiar with that Game Over screen. And in all honesty, that’s the bottom line of the game – keep the combo meter going and beat the bosses in as little time as possible. Sounds limiting, but the journey, while repeatedly frustrating, is fun in its own right.
A great example is the boss above, the weird six armed man-thing. He shoots tons of missiles and swings a humongous girder like a whip. What can you do besides pick away with your little gun? Well, some experimentation with your various abilities reveals you can swiftly dodge through some of his beams and even kick back some of his missiles and yes, even the girder, right back at him for increased damage. What once seemed like an impossible battle is now just a matter of dodging and deflecting, adding a great deal of skill and an “I am such a badass” feel to a seemingly mindless shooting hall.
There is a down side to all this – once you figure out the patterns and essentially break the game, it’s almost too easy. All the challenge seeps away and you’re left, after all that frustration, with a boss that’s now barely an effort. Treasure, the beloved developer of Sin & Punishment (as well as Gunstar Heroes, Radiant Silvergun and Ikaruga) appears to have been aware of this, and took steps to keep you playing.
Jun 27 2010 (Wii)
May 07 2010 (Wii)
Teen: Fantasy Violence