Sine Mora Ex - PlayStation 4 Review

A Beautiful and Tough Shmup

Game Info: (Box Display)

  • System: PC, P4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch (Q2 2017)
  • Publisher: THQ Nordic
  • Developer: Digital Reality, Grasshopper Manufacture
  • Release Date: Aug 8, 2017

Who it Caters to

For those who love rich graphics, deep storytelling and tough shmup gameplay than Sine Mora EX will be a title you’re going to want to play. Players will engage in air combat on several stages each with multiple enemies to defeat and large boss machines to destroy. Unlike most traditional shmup titles, Sine Mora EX doesn’t have a one-hit-and-you’re-dead mechanic. Time is what fuels Sine Mora EX and taking damage means losing it. Run out of time and it’s game over. Being an updated version of the original Sine Mora, Sine Mora EX delivers updated visuals, remixed music and a few new features for even more impressive gameplay. Sine Mora EX aims to be reinvent the shmup theme and in many ways it accomplishes this feat.

What to Expect

As the case with all shmup titles, Sine Mora EX will test you with tons of bullets and enemies on screen all at one time. Players will need to avoid using a mixture of skill and Sine Mora EX’s bullet time powers. While the game can be beat in only a few hours, Sine Mora EX’s difficulty will test the best shmup players and gives incentive to replay on different difficulties. Sine Mora EX plays incredibly well but the narrative is just as amazing as it tells the story of multiple pilots dealing with various issues and have different goals. If you want a beautiful and tough shmup title then get ready for Sine Mora EX.

Story

In the world of Seol, the planet has been suffering under the rule of the evil Layil Empire. As a means of growing larger and strong, the Layil Empire has constantly enslaved the Enkie race causing them to suffer and die. Following two different stories, Sine Mora EX focuses on those who have decided to stand against this evil empire once and for all. One is a father who lost his son to the empire while another is one of the last Enkie left and wants to take revenge for the whole race. What will these pilots give up to stop a force that is ten times more powerful than they are? Find out in Sine Mora EX and discover that time plays a larger role than the story leads you to believe.

Gameplay

Sine Mora EX plays like most shmup titles in concept but it does deviate in several ways. Unlike most shmup titles that have a single shot as being a means of losing a ship—or a life—Sine Mora EX gives players a set time at the top of the screen that gets affected by taking damage. Equally, players earn time from kills and collecting on screen items. If your timer runs out then it’s game over and either you must restart the stage or the beginning of a boss fight using one of several continues. While this seems like it would make Sine Mora EX easier than other shmup titles, don’t be fooled Sine Mora EX is still extremely challenging. If you want to win in Sine Mora EX you’ll need to pick up weapon upgrades and use the slow down time feature to truly survive the various skirmishes.

The narrative of Sine Mora EX also is just as impressive as its gameplay mechanics. What seems like a simple story of those rebelling against an evil empire is actually far more complex than it lets off. As you play Sine Mora EX’s two-three hour campaign, you’ll get to enjoy a story that has a depth and maturity we here at Honey’s Anime don’t see too often in shmup titles. Plus once you beat the game, you gain an alternative story to see another ending to the narration that you won’t want to miss. Developer Grasshopper Manufacture and Digital Realities really knew the story they wanted to tell and took what could have been a cliché story trope—time travel is used sometimes poorly in games—and crafted a tale you’re going to be shocked at seeing unfold. Sine Mora EX will keep you interested from beginning to end and that indeed is a rare treat for a shmup title.

Graphically, Sine Mora EX is indeed a few steps above the original 2012 release on the older consoles. Environments, enemies and ship still wow us but now with a nicer sheen and look that only the newer consoles can bring. It’s not a super huge difference from the first entry but you can definitely see the changes if you look at comparisons between the two. The same can be said of the OST which has been remixed and altered slightly to bring new beats into the Sine Mora EX title. While we wish the voice acting was also remixed—it still has some weak points here and there—overall Sine Mora EX still sounds incredible and looks just as awesome.

Now let’s talk about the few issues that Sine Mora EX faces. Honestly, Sine Mora EX can still be a brutally hard and unforgiving game even on normal and thus, it has that appeal for those who want their shmup titles to be difficult. Plus as we mentioned the voice acting—while solid most of the time—isn’t always the best. Mind you, these are very small issues. Sine Mora EX honestly might be a repeat of the same game that came out years ago but with what’s been added it’s hard to deny that it feels different. Just remember not to rage too much if you do bump the difficulty up to hard mode...

Honey's Gameplay Consensus:

Sine Mora EX contains a lot of new elements and honestly is very easy to recommend to fans of the shmup genre. Regardless if you’re on normal or hard, Sine Mora EX is brutally tough and while it has mechanics that keep it from being impossible you’re going to need to learn to master the controls of Sine Mora EX or face terrible defeat. While the voice acting at times is meh, it doesn’t stop the incredible story of Sine Mora EX to lose ground and really makes the shmup title unlike any other we’ve ever played. We fully recommend Sine Mora EX even if you have played it before as the new additions are pretty neat and the new alternative ending is solid.

Honey's Pros:

  • Beautiful Graphics
  • Nice new Soundtrack
  • Still an impressive story
  • Solid Shmup gameplay
  • Co-Op story mode

Honey's Cons:

  • Still brutally difficult
  • Voice acting is hit and miss

Honey's Final Verdict:

Sine Mora was an impressive shmup game when it released in 2012 and we’re happy to report that Sine Mora EX is just as amazing as it was before. The updated visuals and remixed music are nice features and co-op mode is a pretty neat idea. Sine Mora EX is still a tough game and stops overly brutal but we expect that from a shmup title. For the $19.99 price tag Sine Mora EX is worth every penny to enjoy this breath of fresh air in the shmup library. We here at Honey’s Anime would love to hear your thoughts on Sine Mora EX. Are you planning on picking it up or will you wait for a sale? Let us know via the comments down below and be sure to keep refreshing Honey’s Anime as we’re always writing up more gaming reviews for you folks to enjoy.

Aaron

Writer

Author: Aaron

Hey everyone I’m Aaron Curbelo or Blade as I’m called by my YouTube Subscribers. I’ve been an anime/manga fan since I was a young kid. In terms of anime I have watched nearly a thousand shows and have read hundreds of manga series. I love writing and honestly was so happy to join Honey’s Anime to get a shot to write articles for such a wonderful site. I’m a firm believer in respect in the anime community being the most important embodiment we should all have. We all love anime and we have varying opinions of series but we should respect one another for those differences! Life is too precious to spend it making needless arguments in a community that should be the shining example of loving an amazing medium. I hope as a writer for Honey’s Anime I can bring you folks some amazing articles to read and enjoy!

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