When Nintendo and Treasure first announced the never-saw-it-coming sequel to Sin & Punishment I wondered would they simplify the gameplay so it reaches the broader Wii demographic?
After beating Sin & Punishment 2 twice, I can say they didn’t. In fact, Treasure made Sin & Punishment 2 harder. Both games are on-rails shooters, but in Sin & Punishment you’re on the ground running. Most stages in Sin & Punishment 2 are, as the Japanese subtitle suggests, in the sky. This allowed Treasure to design levels with more things to dodge and add a bit of bullet hell. Sometimes (maybe, most of the time), the only way to avoid being hit is dodge rolling in the air. The Z button makes Isa and Kachi roll through bullets, fire, and most dangers unscathed. Treasure was aware that its tempting to spam Z and roll all over the place. So, during some boss fights you’ll roll right into a laser if you’re not careful.
The first real boss fight starts with Isa and the turtle freefalling while the turtle fires laser rings. You can dodge roll all you like here or play it cool and move inside the rings. When the Turtle Keeper grabs the wall you can slash it’s face by tapping B before automatically escaping a safe distance away. Then the giant reptile stars firing missiles from its shell which you can reflect with your B tapping sword attack. After this pattern a tiny turtle pops up and fills the screen with volcanic debris. Dodging doesn’t work here. Roll here and you’ll roll into a rock. You have to cut through the rocks instead of avoiding them. Both turtles move on to a new strategy – spewing fire streams in different directions. Dodge rolling through them and launching charge attacks is the best strategy here.
The big difference between Isa and Kachi is their special attacks. Isa fires and explosive blast that can hit a group of enemies at once. Kachi is armed with precise homing missiles that work like the lock on attack in Rez. There’s a delay between charge attacks, but you can still use your regular rapid laser while waiting.
Sin & Punishment 2 supports all kinds of controllers: the zapper, Gamecube pad, and a Wii remote/nunchuck combo. Out of those the remote has the upper hand. The Gamecube controls, much like the time meter, seems like they are in there just to please fans of the original game. Pointing at swarms of enemies is easier and faster than dragging a cursor by holding an analog stick. Also, you can flick your wrist to hit a group of mostly harmless, multiplier boosting background enemies. Each bug, soldier, and giant chicken you defeat adds to your multiplier. It starts at 1x and rises quickly, unless you get hit. Then it goes down. The multiplier can drop to 0x, meaning you earn zero points for each kill, if you take too much damage.
In between levels there are cutscenes that explain why Isa suddenly saved Kachi, the girl he was supposed to capture. A group called G5 is trying to get a hold of her while Kachi struggles though issues with her humanity. Unlike the original game, all of the voice acting in the Japanese version of Sin & Punishment 2 is in Japanese. The E3 build had English voice acting so this will probably be different in the North American version.
Anyway, the story takes a backseat to giant eels diving at you, non stop shooting action, and a ton of wow-this-is-awesome moments. Here are three of them.
- Shooting ninjas in a dark forest where the remote acts as a flashlight and gun.
- Releasing train cars to attack a chimera boss, made out of mini-bosses, chasing you from behind.
- The last fight where (huge spoiler!) you transform and defend Kachi.
Sin & Punishment 2 and it’s late-in-the-game Senko no Ronde style boss fights is intense. It can be less intense if you want it to be. Treasure added a Super Mario Galaxy-like two player mode where a friend can join in as an invincible cursor and fire lasers. You also have unlimited continues at your disposal, which means anyone can “beat” the game. However, if you die you lose all of your points and the greatest challenge in Sin & Punishment 2 is getting the top score on the online leaderboards.