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I kind of remember when Star Successor came out. I was interested in it because I like rail shooters. Although, this is a sequel and I’ve never played the first game but I did acquire it recently. Anyway, I got this game brand new for five dollars at Toys “R” Us years ago. There was an entire stack of them. So I grabbed one and didn’t really give it a chance until now. Developed by Treasure and published by Nintendo, Sin & Punishment: Star Successor was released for Wii in June, 2010. It does support two players so Jeremy and I teamed up and beat the game twice.
This game is fucking weird. We beat it twice and both times, we were confused. It takes place years after the first game and revolves around two protagonists, Isa and Kachi. Isa is some kind of agent who was sent to kill Kachi and concludes she’s harmless so he decides to protect her. Kachi is some kind of reconnaissance unit who lost her memory. I want to be very clear that we obtained this information from a plot summary we read online because the story is just not engaging, it’s incoherent, and the voice acting is terrible.
Star Successor is a rail shooter which means the game controls where you move, however, you can move around the screen freely. Whether you play as Isa or Kachi, you can shoot, dodge, jump, and perform melee attacks. You can also charge up a powerful shot to inflict a lot of damage. When playing as Kachi, there is an auto-lock mechanic which I guess is supposed to make playing as her easier but I, personally, found it annoying. Both characters can fly or hover and they will run when on the ground. Player two is almost useless. Player one is whichever character and player two is just a crosshair. The second player can only fire regular blasts and that’s it. And any time the battle calls for melee attacks or anything other than shooting, there’s nothing player two can do. The coop is very lazily implemented.
Most of the time you’ll be shooting at enemies but some battles call for melee attacks to inflict damage. There’s one phase of a boss battle that basically resembles the gameplay from a fighting game. Speaking of bosses, Star Successor is full of them. The stages are long and there’s always multiple bosses, many with multiple phases. You could say the game is a boss rush but in between those bosses are usually lengthy sequences filled with a shit-ton of enemies. Enemies coming from everywhere. Most can fire projectiles and some are just cannon fodder which are great for keeping your multiplier going. There’s three difficulty modes and on Normal, the game puts up quite a challenge. If you die, your score is reset but there are plenty of checkpoints and you’ll always respawn at the last one. Beating the game isn’t hard but setting high scores will be. Defeating certain enemies or doing something specific can reward you with medals and coins that increase your score and bosses will often drop health pickups when defeated.
Star Successor is easily one of the longest rail shooters we’ve ever played. The high difficulty will make it feel even longer. Enemies will fill the screen as will projectiles and at times, it feels like you’re in bullet hell. Most foes fly around but some are on the ground and on structures like the humanoid types. You can deflect some projectiles and counter certain enemy attacks with your melee attack and you’ll have to master the dodging to really succeed in Star Successor. Mastery of the mechanics is very important because some of the later bosses will really put your skills to the test. The game does keep things interesting by frequently throwing new things at you. Most of the time it’s just shoot to kill but sometimes you’ll have to do something specific like when you’re running away from a boss and have to disconnect train cars so they crash into him. Some of the stages and set pieces are just exciting because of the scenarios. You’ll navigate through a dark forest populated with enemies, equipped with a flashlight. You’ll ride on some kind of bike or creature, depending on the character, and engage enemies at high speeds. The action in Star Successor is always fast-paced, intense, and chaotic.
The stages are all set in different locations and are quite diverse. You’ll battle your way through urban areas, in underwater tunnels, across a desert, and around the volcanic Mt. Fuji, among other locations. The stages primarily have you moving forward but there are some sidescrolling sequences here and there as well. Some areas and battles give you a lot of freedom to move around and sometimes you can control where you can move like one boss battle that lets you circle around the boss at will. There are some environmental hazards to look out for but it’s the projectiles coming at you every which way that will keep you constantly on the move. Enemies will come from the front, back, sides, and below you.
Star Successor definitely looks a bit dated now. Character animations are stiff which is very noticeable during cut scenes. On the plus side, the game is filled with plenty of color and diverse environments. The enemies are well designed and certainly look interesting, the weapon muzzle flashes look cool, and the sheer amount of action on-screen sometimes can be impressive. The crosshairs are big but when things get intense, I found it very easy to lose track of them which can be frustrating. It’s also easy to lose track of your character or an enemy among all the projectiles and explosions during a crazy battle. The music is okay. There are some good tunes here and there and the music does drown out most of the sound effects. Many of the humanoid enemies let out a comical but generic scream when killed but no other sound effect really stands out. On the technical side, the frame rate will dip when the screen is just filled with shit but other than that, we encountered no major issues.
Ultimately, we really enjoyed Star Successor. It’s a fun and crazy action-packed rail shooter. Although, it’s more fun for one player than it is for two. The two player mode can really suck for the second player since they’re just a crosshair and there are points in the game where there’s nothing for the second player to do. The only other issue we had with the game was being able to easily lose track of your character and crosshair during the more crazy action sequences. Star Successor is easily one of the best rail shooters for the Wii and it will keep you playing for hours. If trying to master the stages and setting high scores isn’t enough to keep you coming back, there is unlockable content.
We would absolutely recommend Sin & Punishment: Star Successor to anyone that likes rail shooters and/or action games. There’s plenty here to keep you busy along with plenty of challenge. It’s the kind of game where you get better from memorization and by practicing. It’s hard but never feels impossible and winning a tough battle always feels rewarding. If you’re a fan of rail shooters, definitely check this out.