Sine Mora EX is the current gen re-release of a shooter that arrived back in 2012 and was well-met at the time. How does it stack up against the competition today? It’s available for Xbox One and PC, but we tested it on PS4.
The way I remember Sine Mora is as a game that took the classic arcade shooter formula I had grown up with and brought it to the modern era with fantastic graphics and instantly recognizable gameplay. It was like the reboot that R-Type still haven’t gotten, and filled the gap that Gradius VI left behind despite the excellent Gradius V that appeared on PS2 (and is now playable on PS3 as well).
In an era where so many shooters are of the bullet hell variety, Sine Mora is an example of a game that doesn’t overwhelm casual shooter fans. That doesn’t mean it’s not difficult, as you can ramp up the difficulty level to suit your needs, but it does mean you’re not looking at screens that are entirely filled with bullets – as is the case in many vertical scrolling shooters these days, of which you’ll see tons of examples on Steam. Sine Mora doesn’t opt for that approach, instead going with the classic horizontal scrolling seen in so many late eighties and early nineties arcade games.
As with many games in the genre, Sine Mora isn’t especially long – its campaign clocks in at under two hours but there are plenty of extra game modes (and difficulty levels) to enjoy that will give you some extra mileage. In the remastered Sine Mora EX, coop is a big part of the experience as well. The story mode, for example, can now be enjoyed with two players in local co-op – which to me seems like a great way of introducing my young son to the arcade shooter genre when he’s a little bit older.
The core gameplay hasn’t changed much – your “life bar” is still replaced with a time-based dynamic that accelerates when you get hit and slows down when you shoot down enemies. Boss fights are still impressive, and evoke memories of the screen-filling bosses in games like R-Type. In Sine Mora EX, they just look a lot better – mixing 3D visuals with a 2D perspective for great dramatic effect.
The remaster features a slight audiovisual touch-up as well, with better quality rendering and the option to play at 4K resolutions if you have a PS4 Pro or PC. On the audio-front, English voice overs have finally been added as well – and if you feel like going a little further with local multiplayer then there’s that too. While the story mode allow for cooperative multiplayer, new versus modes will allow you to head to head in a variety of game modes including my personal favorite “race mode”.
This all makes Sine More EX the ultimate version of an already excellent and perhaps underappreciated game. As far as shooters go, this is the one that should appeal to a wide audience and I hope this remaster grants it the attention it deserves – the low price point makes it an absolute bargain.