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Sin and Punishment 2 • Page 2

Rewarding.

At some points your view shifts a full 180 degrees and you fight waves of enemies upside down - concrete for a ceiling, skies for a floor, gulping down the contents of your stomach. It's this sense of white-knuckle choreography that defined the original game and here the rollercoaster ride is just compelling, even if the backdrop of a post-apocalyptic capital city is tired.

That said, Treasure's muted colour scheme, all dull greys and subdued blues, is imbued with excitement and character through interruptions of purplish flight trails and hot scarlet explosions. This stylised presentation paints over any sense of disappointment at the jagged 3D models that furnish its world.

The two characters, Isa and Kachi, follow anime cliché as implausibly powerful children pitted against an insatiable onslaught of enemies and monsters. But their acrobatics are mesmerising and differ slightly: Kachi, the girl, is able to paint lock-on targets for her smart bomb attack and kick instead of swipe with a sword at close quarters.

The game's emphasis is on high-score attack, with a nuanced multiplier system encouraging thoughtful combat. The HUD is elegant and understated, the multiplier indicators flashing up above fallen enemies acting as visual ticker-tape readouts to aid score attempts, rather than bombastic headlines to merely encourage you on your way.

The classic quiet-loud-quiet structure recalls the company's classics, throwing multitudes of weak enemies at you before mid-boss after mid-boss en route to a final boss encounter. Midway through the level we had the chance to complete, the onslaught of flying bugs and foot soldiers parted to make way for a tussle with the aforementioned Cock Keeper. His fireballs had to be shot down to clear the air to allow for a direct shot at his torso.

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The single difficulty level presented in the demo offered a gentle challenge without being too taxing. Expect multiple testing difficulties in the final release.

Later, a one-on-one battle with a red katana-wielding enemy commander offered no clue as to how the evil forces of humanity came to join with those of oversized poultry, but lots of opportunity for twitch-based tactical play. Finally, the closing highlight with the giant turtle provided the perspective-shifting attacks found in the company's best attack pattern work in Radiant Silvergun et al.

As the Wii continues to mature, so its library broadens. But aside from its forebear on Virtual Console, there's nothing quite so hobbyist-centric as Sin and Punishment 2 available for the hardware. Indeed, here there is evidence of Treasure riffing on their old and favourite themes with a focus and clarity we've not seen for some time.

But the irony of the fact the most hardcore game of this generation may yet be found on its most casual platform will be irrelevant to the developer. Their concern is simply to deliver a compelling experience that offers the most suitable control scheme for the hardware. On this evidence, everything is going to plan.

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