Razentsu's Sin and Punishment Review
- Fast and furious gameplay you've come to expect from Treasure
- Multiple difficulty modes
- Plenty of great boss fights
- Some amazing set-piece battles
Hello there, and welcome to my review of Sin & Punishment, which can be downloaded for 1200 Wii Points on the Wii's Virtual Console. An N64 version exists, but that would require importing and probably a decent amount of cash.
Here is my rating system:
5 - Outstanding, with very little or no flaws. A must play for fans and newcomers of the genre.
4 - Great, with minor flaws. Fans of the genre should definitely pick this up.
3 - Good, with several apparent flaws. Die-hard fans of the genre should pick this up, others should look into it.
2 - Bad, with major flaws. Only die-hards should look into this one.
1 - Just plain terrible. Many major flaws mar the experience, almost making it unplayable. Not even worth a rent.
Keep in mind that these scores are only meant to gauge recommendation. For example, a 5 score does not mean the game is perfect, instead it means the game is highly recommended.
Now with that covered, we can get on with the review!
The story of Sin & Punishment is told through cutscenes shown in between segments of gameplay. Cutscenes aside, you don't have much to work with. They don't even give you an introduction to the story in the beginning of the game; so you already start out in confusion. As the plot gets progresses, things become a little clearer, but it still may require you to rewatch the cutscenes in order to fully understand the plot.
The plot is pretty interesting once you finally understand it, though. I'll give you an idea as to what the story is about so you won't be so confused once you start playing the game.
Sin & Punishment takes place on our planet, Earth, in the year 2007. Due to overpopulation, the world now suffers a lack of a stable food source. The solution to this problem was clear; create an entirely new food source. Using their futuristic technology, scientists created their food source; a species of artificial animals. The food was to be first mass marketed to Hokkaido, one of Japan's many islands. If the new food source solved problems there, it would for sure solve the world's food problems.
Too bad it didn't work out. The artificial species began to mutate. Their bodies changed along with their mindset. Aggressiveness took over, causing the death of many on the Japanese island. The creatures, now known as Ruffians, rampaged across the island and eventually managed to spread out of its boundaries.
The United States grew worrisome, and took the effort to try and contain the species. They sent Armed Volunteers led by a man with mysterious powers, Brad. With their powerful leader and weapons supplier, the Armed Volunteers decided to do more than defeat the Ruffians. With their power, they attempt to take over Japan!
The game places you in the shoes of Saki and Airan, two teenagers involved in a group whose purpose is to defend the citizens of Japan from both the Ruffians and Armed Volunteers. Saki is a young, male Ruffian hunter, and Airan is a young, female mechanic. Both characters are about the same age, and seem to have an already existing relationship. The savior group is led by a mysterious girl named Achi, who, like Brad, boasts strange powers.
This is where the action begins. You must free the citizens from the grasp of the Armed Volunteers, and take out some Ruffians in the process. Liberate Japan!
The plot is interesting and has some twists and likable characters, but it is hard to understand on your first play through. The story moves along too quickly, and you are not given a decent introduction. 3 out of 5.
The presentation score is evaluated by the game's music/sound, and graphics. There will be scores for each subsection and one overall score.
First of all, let me say that this game does not look pretty by today's standards. Not pretty at all. I'm going to rate the game's graphics for what it is, an N64 game.
As an N64 game, this game looks great. Detailed characters, backgrounds, and fearsome creatures. The sword slashes look cool, and you can easily make out what is what. The game has kind of a serious tone, which fits it appropriately. Treasure knows that death and violence is serious stuff. The cutscenes are pretty cool and the game features some awesome looking locations. You'll be on an abandoned train, combating enemy jets on a flying platform, slicing guys up in a beach and more. It's really cool. You know what else is cool? Having tons of enemies on screen to shoot down and cut up without slowdown. The game never slows down, and that is an excellent thing, because how fast the game is. You can't miss a beat. This game looks great as an N64 title, but doesn't look very good by today's standards. If you go in expecting outdated graphics like you should, then you'll find the visuals to be more than acceptable.
Graphics - 4/5
The music serves it's purpose of setting the mood, but it doesn't really stand out. As I am writing this segment, I am trying to remember some of the music, but I really can't remember anything. It's just so forgettable. The sound effects are decent, but there's nothing special about that either. Nothing sticks out and tries to "Wow" me. I only found the voice acting to be memorable. But I only find it memorable because of how awful and cheesy it is. Like in the beginning when Airan says "Wake up Saki!", it sounds like she is calling her pet dog. Still, I'm thankful they actually had voice acting in the game, as it would have been almost impossible to understand the story without it; the subtitles are only available in Japanese.
Overall, the sound is acceptable. The music, sound effects and voice acting do their jobs well enough to warrant a 3 out of 5.
Sound - 3/5
Put both scores together and you get a 3.5. Problem is, I don't do .5s. I think the presentation overall warrants a 4 because of how cool the game looks. The game has a nice style, with some cool looking enemies and characters. The bosses are especially cool looking.
Overall - 4/5
The controls are very important in this game. If you can't shoot and dodge properly, there's no way you can beat the game. But before you make your decision to buy this game, you have to make sure you have a Classic Controller or Game Cube Controller. If you don't have either one, then you should just stop reading this review until you acquire one of the two controllers. I recommend the Classic Controller, since the L and R buttons are more sensitive, allowing for more precision while jumping, and I find the thumbstick on the Classic Controller better for aiming with. It has more elevation, adding precision. Also, the D-Pad on the Classic Controller is light-years better.
There are three different control options for your convenience. I don't think you will have trouble finding one that you'll get comfortable with. I personally use the first control method. The D-Pad is used to strafe side to side, L is to shoot, R is to jump, and the right thumbstick is used to aim. The controls take some getting used to, but once you've finished the first stage or the training stage, you should have the handle of things.
The controls are spot-on and are very precise when using the Classic Controller. The Game Cube Controller is fine, but you lose quite a bit of precision when it comes to dodging. The controls get a 4 out of 5 because of the awkwardness of the controls in the beginning.
This is where Sin & Punishment shines. This is one of the best action experiences I've ever had in my gaming career. Sin & Punishment plays like an on-rails shooter, but it adds speed and intensity with it's dodging mechanics. You have to be very attentive of your surroundings and make sure that you dodge, dodge, dodge. Boss fights test your dodging ability by throwing different moves at you. You can dodge projectiles by strafing to the left or right, or alternatively, you could roll to safety. Double tap to the side to roll out of those faster, bigger attacks, jump to avoid getting tripped by logs, pits and enemy lasers, projectiles or melee attacks, and double jump if you are unsure whether you can dodge the attack with a normal jump. The double jump is required to dodge certain things in later parts of the game.
Remember that you cannot win by merely dodging enemy blows. You must return the favor with your own barrage of attacks. Slash enemies when they get close with the firing button. This will deal a lot more damage than a normal shot, while covering more ground. Your sword slashes can also be defensive. You can deflect missiles by slashing them, and you can even reflect it right back at your enemy for a massive amount of damage.
There are two shooting modes. You can cycle through them with the A button. The mode that changes the cursor to red is the one I like to call power mode, where the cursor does not lock on, but the shots are more powerful. The blue cursor represents lock-on mode, where the cursor locks on to the enemy in the direction you flick the thumbstick at, but the shots do less damage. When there are flocks of bird like creatures around that die very quickly, it is wise to switch over to lock-on. But most of the time you'll want to use power mode, since it gives you more control when aiming. Locking on to the wrong targets can be a annoying. Also, the increase in power is very apparent; enemies go don a lot quicker. You'll definitely want this when fighting bosses.
The game is challenging, but it shouldn't take long for you to finish the game. Most of the time, you can finish in around an hour. This is an extremely short game. Good thing the game is crazy fun, or else the length would have really bogged my score down. This game gets a 5 in gameplay. It's fast, furious, and tons of fun.
To compensate for it's running time, the game has some replayability. There is a Scene Select option in the main menu which allows to, as the title suggests, replay parts of the game. You can spend hours trying to beat your high scores or perfecting the stages. There's also a Hard Mode for those who want even more of a challenge. You'll find another hour's worth of gameplay in there, and maybe more trying to beat your Hard Mode high scores. Good luck trying to beat Hard Mode without using any continues. And good luck even surviving Turbo Hard Mode. The game is essentially an arcade game for the N64, so it delivers an arcade-like experience: Delivering a great amount of fun in a short period of time.
Replayability gets a 4 out of 5; you'll spend a good amount of time trying to perfect stages, and beating your high scores. Maybe you'll want to play through the whole single player again? This is a game you'll be coming back to.
This is a great buy. The steep price is offset by the amount of fun you'll have with this game. This is recommended 100% to fans of on-rail shooters and fans of the action genre. Newcomers to the genre may want to check this game out as well, but they should be wary of the difficulty. Highly recommended.