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Sin and Punishment 2


Verse chorus verse: grunt, boss, grunt. In Sin and Punishment 2, the rhythm and structure remains as traditional as it ever was. Fistfuls of insectoid enemies are thrown relentlessly at your face for five minutes, then ten seconds of calm before the storm of a mid-boss fight with a 10-foot tall strutting chicken called 'Cock Keeper'.

As feathers flutter to the ground all around, it's back to the business of machine gunning down conveyor-belt soldiers whose ambition reaches no further than to chip away at your health bar while providing fodder for your ballooning multiplier. The level heaves like an orchestra, gunfire the timpani in a build that rolls up to a dizzying crescendo: a fight with a giant flaming space turtle. Konnichiwa bitches, it metaphorically screams. You can pop that Milo video in the Recycle Bin and shove your MotionPlus in the drawer: Treasure's back to remind us all why we play videogames.

In many ways the Sin and Punishment 2 developer is the antithesis of contemporary Nintendo. While each company's games may be tuned and polished to an unusually high degree, this boutique codeshop turns out few titles that your grandmother would be happy settling down to of an afternoon. With deep combat, complex scoring systems and a talent for clothing twitch gaming in outstanding art direction that stretches the hardware's technological boundaries, these are games for the talented and tenacious; gamers willing to dedicate themselves to the pursuit of high-score perfection.

So the marriage of Sin and Punishment to Nintendo's hardware-du-jour is an unexpected one. Whether the decision to start work on this sequel came before or after the original N64 game found its way onto the global Virtual Console channel is unclear. Perhaps Treasure's dazzling on-rails shooter sold enough digital copies to justify this sequel, or perhaps they just released it to a wider audience (the N64 version was Japan-only) to soften the ground for a sequel on which work had already begun. Regardless, what's immediately clear is that Sin and Punishment 2 is an assured continuation of the spunk and spectacle of the original - one that, in the Wii remote and nunchuck, has at last found its ideal control scheme.

Nintendo has confirmed that an online leaderboard will be included, an essential feature in making the pursuit of high scores meaningful

You point the Wii remote and squeeze the trigger to fire an automatic volley of bullets at the reticule on screen. This hail of trace-lined projectiles tears into the distance to whittle away at enemy hit points, killing them softly by chip damage increments. In contrast, the A button, when held down, stills your fire while filling a gauge built into the reticule. When this is maxed-out you release the button to paint the screen in a cleansing fireball.

Tap the trigger briefly and, depending on which of the two characters you're playing as, you'll either let go a flurry of sword swipes or flying kicks for close quarters combat. It's intuitive in a way that its predecessor struggled to be and, after just five minutes with the new system, we were wishing Treasure had taken the time to rework the original control system when updating the game for Virtual Console.

In a similar way to other on rails shooters such as Panzer Dragoon and Rez, the camera moves along a fixed path - leaving you free to move your character around the screen using the nunchuk. In contrast to other on-rails shooters such as Panzer Dragoon and Rez, the camera wheels and dives with unmatched drama. The window onto the derelict Tokyo-esque city through which your character runs, tumbles and hoverboards zooms and pans frenetically. It offers three-quarter views on the potholed streets far below one moment then extreme close-ups as you squeeze between two dilapidated office buildings the next.

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Simon Parkin


Simon Parkin is an award-winning writer and journalist from England, a regular contributor to The New Yorker, The Guardian and a variety of other publications.