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 Post subject: Sine Mora EX (XB1 - PS4 - Switch - PC)
PostPosted: Wed Jan 29, 2020 9:50 am 

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Joined: 11 Oct 2008
Posts: 352
Location: Autobot City, Sugiura Base
This new generation of shmups keeps calling, and i keep posting reviews. This time: Sine Mora EX.


The gameplay makes emphasis in one thing: TIME. In order to survive you have to destroy all the enemies possible, since they give you precious extra seconds to your time limit, and getting hit or crashing with an enemy takes time away, and to make things worse, you'll lose your power ups as they scatter across the screen just like Sonic the Hedgehog's rings when Sonic's hit. So you have a chance to pick those power ups again before they disappear. To provide you support in your mission, you've got the power of slowing down time. You can make the game go slower so you can navigate through heavy bullet patterns and fast corridors, however, that power can only be recovered by picking a refilling item. Also, you've got subweapons that will help you to clear the screen of those hellish bullets, allowing you to catch a breather in the middle of a boss fight.

Along with gaining time, there's other power play features that enhance the already challenging gameplay: The "Bonus Coin" that works just like the Bonus Jewel from Blazing Star (minus the "BONUS!" voice): Pick them without miss one will increase its value. From 1,000 to 100,000 points, you can reach a million points with a little bunch of those. Speaking of score increasing, you also have the multipliers on your side, as destroying enemies without getting hit will increase their value from 1 to 9 times. Just remember, don't use the Subweapon or the Slowdown or else the multiplier will drop to x1, so it is only recommended for boss fights.

The plot structure of the Story Mode is what i can call solid, since we have many characters and their plots converge perfectly in the game rather than have unique plotlines like let's say Triggerheart Exelica Enhanced, where the character stories contradict in some aspects or have more or less information. In Sine Mora EX, we have situations that take place during the previous scene of the chapter (example "┬┐What happened to "Character B" while "Character A" was out there?") and flashbacks that answer some gaps of the game's lore.

For a shmup, the game's storyline is too dark and even mentions things unappropiate for younger audiences on the game's plot (Which i'm not gonna describe here for the sake of keeping the review safe), making the darkness within R-Type and Metal Black lores look like Sesame Street.

The only absurdity of the game is that you only have 1 life and 5 credits to burn. Once they're gone its Game Over and you'll have to start the game all the way back to the beginning. But there's a hint that i've found: Once you're in the "YOUR TIME HAS PASSED" screen, press B to go back to the Main Menu. Once you're there, select "PLAY GAME", then "STORY", select "CONTINUE GAME" and there you go, you'll be at the beginning of the level where you were killed but with your five credits intact. Not to mention, using a continue will add 1 point to the score in pure Capcom shmup style (19XX: The War Against Destiny for example).

Failing the prologue is the key to unlock an achievement, what an irony.

Along with the achievements, this game gives you the option to see what you require and how much you've progressed to fulfill the requirements to unlock them, something quite rare for achievements as most of times we end up asking in forums "How do i get this achievement unlocked?".

While the "Main game" is the Story Mode, there's other game modes along with Story Mode: Arcade Mode, which omits the plot line premise, focusing only on the action. In this mode, you can select your plane, pilot and ability. Score Attack which is based on Arcade Mode, but it only allows you to play one of the stages and only has two difficulty levels harder than those of Arcade Mode. Boss Training is the practice mode for those who want to learn how to defeat a specific boss without the continue consumption pressing them and Challenges, that features different objectives as mini-games like destroying only the yellow mines within the time limit, something that will prove to be easier to say than do as the game throws more red ones than yellow ones, making a room for error very small and quite frustrating.

Eye-catching machinery and scenery, the finest detail only in today's consoles.

One of the finest aspects of this game is its visual beauty in the scenery, which was possible thanks to the perfect adaptation of concept illustrations to the final 3D models at the point of including every detail possible without discarding ideas, resulting in an incredibly visual stunning world of extraordinary complex machinery and scenery detailing that can only be compared with Blazing Star and both Raiden IV and Raiden V which began this revolution of super-detailed shooters. This decision was very praised by the critics and they made one extraordinary job with this game.
The mechanical designs of the game are a combination of World War II-styled machinery with sci-fi, fantasy (the train boss that looks like a house on a wagon), and even Darius-influenced (the octopus boss). Prop planes, lasers, robots, trains, mechanical sea creatures, this is a game that basically comes with anything an old-school shmup fan likes.

This girl came from Corneria.

The character design of this game takes a turn from the common use of human characters of either anime-style or realistic/western style in favor of anthropomorphic animals.
I mean, if you like the anthropomorphic StarFox style, then you'll like Sine Mora EX's characters.

Now i understand why the "Deja Vu" of Steropes' cutscene.
Boss battle after the jump...A big, city slamming jump.

In a twist of fate, the game makes a reference to Contra Hard Corps when Steropes makes an appearance just like Maximum Jumbo does: Walking across the city, firing his optical beam to the ground engulfing the city in pillars of flames, and making a big jump getting close enough to attack you.

A huge battleship "Kolobok" is approaching fast!

With a soundtrack composed by Akira Yamaoka, most gamers will probably expect one thing: Metal. Hard, fast-paced metal as we heard in Contra Shattered Soldier, but in Sine Mora EX, Yamaoka decided to leave the metal aside and pull a more dark ambient-like soundtrack that reminds me of R-Type Final. However, he has expertise on that style since he composed the music for Konami's Silent Hill horror games, but if you're a more fast-paced music enthusiast, then bring your favorite media player and pick any fast paced song you've got in mind.

The voice acting is like some of the plot aspects: NOT SUITABLE FOR CHILDREN. This game swears, a lot. I mean, if you're the kind of people whose hat falls off with four letter profanities, then you'll find this game offensive. Speaking of expletives, it's incredible that such foul-mouthed game wasn't censored by Nintendo on its Switch version considering that they can't stand the word "Damn" (┬┐Remember their renaming of Damnd to Thrasher in the SNES port of Final Fight and Devil Fish to Icthyon in Super Nova?).

- In Stage V we can see human sculptures on many of the city's buildings, implying that humanity (Homo Sapiens) once existed in planet Seol.
- While Seol is virtually identical to Earth in terms of solar orbit location within the "Goldilocks Zone" of its sun, it differs on its geology, which is more hyperactive than Earth's as its crust and tectonic activity are so unstable they cause earthquakes powerful and constantly enough to reshape its geography in a small amount of time.

Thrilling beach flights and shocking beach battles!

In conclusion we have a visually beautiful shooter with a loud-mouthed way to talk and a very dark plot not suitable for young audiences.
Fan of Transformers, Shmups and Anime-styled Girls. You're teamed up with the right pilot!
Bringing you shmup reviews with humorous criticism.

STG Wikias: Thunder Force Wiki - Wikiheart Exelica - Ginga Force Wiki

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