You know, Saki did not return as an Assist Trophy in Smash Ultimate …
Sin and Punishment is one of the strangest cases in Wii's virtual console history. This project by Treasure Co. was a Japanese Nintendo 64 game played entirely in English by Japanese protagonists in Japan. It was not until the advent of WiiWare that there was a proper English publication with translated menus.
However, digital distribution is a double-edged sword. With the imminent death of WiiWare on the horizon, Sin and Punishment began to get out of reach again. It's still available through the Wii U's eShop, but since the switch does not have a virtual console in sight according to Nintendo's current plans, and it's only a matter of time before the Wii U eShop suffers the same fate as WiiWare, it will probably will not be the case forever. What a pity, because it is one of the most ambitious rail shooter and my favorite game from the Wii Shop Channel.
Each level of this N64 shooter is decorated with atmospheric scenes in which the war against Saki is being developed by the mutant Ruffians and oppressive armed volunteers. My understanding of his comrades Airan and Achi was constantly changing with new information and developments. These scenes, since they are so short, are probably about 25% of a full play, although they always move at a fluid pace. It's basically the storyline of a 13-episode anime that's condensed into a 2-hour game. More specifically, the kind of anime whose plot requires many strange twists with each major plot twist. Like the kind of change of action that I will pass on here!
To be fair, when Saki fought an armed volunteer captain who had attacked by teleporting his own soldiers and firing them as missiles, I knew I was interested in a gun comic drive . I did not know that the captain would turn into a skyscraping Ruffian, causing Saki to do the same as the on-going boss fight Tokyo bathes her own blood in a sea (quickly set aside, it's very brave and progressive for a game the early 2000s to present a game Kaiju protagonist). A bow later, the whole conspiracy reveals itself as a trick from Achi, who wants to make Saki a weapon against her true enemies, which we'll never see in this game, which of course means she takes on the role of the main challenger. Oh, and the last boss is a false Earth that you must destroy while protecting the HP Bar of the Real Earth. Yes, this plan escalates stupidly fast. I love it. Did I mention that thanks to the power of love, Saki gains control of his rude form? Because that happens too.
This story shoots so much information that it's hard to track everything in one go. I think that this is part of his charm, though this may be due to the fact that I have repeated it many times and actually know what is going on in each cutscene. In any case, tuning the plot to the pace of the game is a better alternative than ripping out the short game with long exposure dumps. In this way, cut-scenes act as breaths from the high-octane gameplay, rather than bringing the adrenaline rush to a halt. Sin and Punishment has a simple but surprisingly deep control scheme for a 3D Shmup. In addition to aiming, running and shooting, you can jump, switch target types, dodge throws and use melee attacks. Saki's context-sensitive sword shots are extremely intuitive, as they are automatically executed while you quickly shoot against near-end threats. However, despite the simplicity of this sentence, it is difficult to master, thanks to the wealth of creative supervisors who interact with these skills and their environment.
Each phase is packed with encounters that bring new gimmicks and challenges, but all rely on understanding core mechanics in an easy-to-understand way (okay, except for a quick-recovery jerk). An early boss is resistant to shots, but he is prone to fall off the stage, as the cut scene before that means. In a circular arena filled with obstacles, someone else races around, challenging you to outsmart his movements to align your blows. Another is most susceptible to its own projectiles, of which you have probably accidentally learned that you can reflect with your sword by attacking normally. These battles feel so intuitive and diverse that it feels like you're constantly learning new tricks that keep you feeling fresh all the time.
Adding this learning curve with various difficulty options and the freedom to practice every single level The main menu makes Sin and Punishment one of my favorite attack games of all time. There are so many unique nuances in each encounter that I always think there is room to develop better strategies and room for higher scores. Sin and Punishment is one of the most beautiful games I have ever played. It embodies a niche of older game design that was ambitious enough to find cult, no different than another Nintendo game. The difference is that this game finally saw the light of an English release. And this light fades.
Only digital-only games can only be in circulation for as long as their storefronts exist. If these storefronts are not responsible for the inevitable phasing out of their hardware, they eventually lose their accessibility. If their stores fail, it's only possible to play games for digital games only, without finding a console in which it already exists. This is far more expensive and cumbersome than finding a single copy of an old game.
I do not mind that Nintendo released one of my favorite games only through digital distribution, otherwise I would never have played it. However, I'm disappointed that their Virtual Console policies are always reversing and fixing the deficiencies in the system. The fact that I can not re-download the Wii U versions of the same WiiWare titles for free, or vice versa, makes collecting my security unnecessarily more costly than buying cross-buy support at outlets.
Nintendo announced that it is not a product. To bring the Virtual Console to Switch, there are several other ways to sell classic games, but many of these methods lack many previous versions of Virtual Console. Most collectors and consumers want a single, reliable platform that houses a whole catalog of classic Nintendo games rather than a few incomplete platforms. If you compare only the titles of the Wii and the virtual console of the Wii U, all classic game options of Switch are incomplete, because they lack so many games that have not been removed from the others. Even the Wii U just saw a gradual rustling of older versions of WiiWare, a fraction of it. If the switch continues with its current evolution, we have no reason to believe that Sin and Punishment will ever become the switch or even one of Nintendo's most popular N64 releases.
An online storefront itself has little to tell you how long its games remain available. But at least others think most of their libraries last longer than the durability of their hardware. If Sin and Punishment was a PS1 game that would otherwise have the same localization issues, I would not be afraid for its future as I am doing now.
Sin and Punishment is a good example of why Nintendo should actually introduce better guidelines for digital distribution or online policies. It is unrealistic to hope for a future in which all games will be preserved forever, before they enter the public domain in the next century, but Nintendo is … Nintendo. They are known to produce and publish many of the most popular games of all time. Their story of unfriendly consumer online decisions can not stop them from meeting the standards of their competitors, if not their monolithic presence in the gaming industry. It would be a pity if something as grand and unique as the English version of this game no longer exists, just because Nintendo does not meet the standards set by Sony and Microsoft.
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