Soul Sacrifice: 3rd person magic infused monster hunting action-RPG game from Megaman - User Reviews - www.GameInformer.com
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Soul Sacrifice: 3rd person magic infused monster hunting action-RPG game from Megaman

Soul Sacrifice, New Action-RPG Game for PlayStation Vita.

Many games require decision making, but Soul Sacrifice emphasizes choice more than most. Everything, from the abilities you possess to the monsters you battle, is subject to choice: to save or to sacrifice? This notion is ingrained in both story and character progression, presenting you with limitations and dilemmas that make this grim monster-hunting game very appealing. Decision making alone isn't the only reason to give Soul Sacrifice a try.

It's rich with evocative characters, has creatively fiendish enemy designs, and is coated with an effective layer of gloom and doom. Pleasingly, the captivating presentation and narration overshadow the game's repetitive tendencies, and the weight of every decision makes the otherwise straightforward action a truly thought-provoking affair. The game is basically a third-person magic infused monster hunting game that takes place in a series of Phantom Quests. These quests are housed in sprawling arena-style levels, where you either take on a pack of small monsters or one (or two) very big monsters. Sometimes you do this solo, other times you enlist the aid of AI allies. Or, if you’re feeling social, you can tackle the quests in either ad hoc or online co-op.

Soul Sacrifice is a rad little title. It's one of those post-Monster Hunter Sony handheld action games where its core is broken down into bite-sized missions accessible from a central hub and character progression as well as new gear is the overall goal. The ultimate prize in Soul Sacrifice, though, is gaining magical abilities. Find the more powerful ones on offer and the better your chance of besting harder monsters, which will net you better rewards, will be. Rinse, repeat. As Monster Hunter has proved, it is an incredibly addictive (and successful) formula.

You head into every mission with a set of six abilities, or offerings, ranging from melee weapons to summon spells. You start with a small selection, but every mission rewards victory with new offerings based on your performance. An offering can turn your arm to stone, heal your party, trap your enemy, and even stop time. Without a stock of offerings, all you can do is run. Offerings can be used only a certain number of times during the course of a single quest, though sacrificing enemies and tapping into one-time-use environmental pools lets you replenish an individual offering's cast count. If, however, you get sloppy and sacrifice all of a particular offering during the course of a mission, you must wait until the end before replenishing your ability to use it.

Soul Sacrifice screenshot

Combat is fast and ferocious, a blur of magical powers that range from quick melee hack-and-slash powers to huge, magical arrows and giant stone fists plunging out of the earth, sending foes high into the sky. Mechanically, the combat is actually pretty deep.Counter-attacks have to be timed, but pack a huge punch and lots of damage. There’s no jumping, but your dodge is extremely useful. The left shoulder button can be used to reorrient your POV, but when you hold it down you lock on to an enemy—which is essential for survival, and basically required if you ever want to hit anybody outside of nose-to-nose melee.

 

However, your various powers will slowly run out depending on how much you’ve boosted them in the character screen between matches. You can fill these powers up at special locations in each map, but if you use any power all the way you’ll lose it for the match (and until you spend “lacrima” to replenish it.)The combat is good, solid, and varied enough to stay interesting despite some of the problems the game does have with repetitiveness. When it comes to the actual fights, your sorcerer can be a melee brawler or a ranged specialist or a combination of all sorts of different powers, from healing magic to poisonous fists.Once an enemy is defeated, it's up to you to choose whether to save or sacrifice its soul, permanently boosting either your stamina or strength stat, respectively.

Soul Sacrifice screenshot

You have two sets of three powers mapped to the square, triangle, and circle buttons on the Vita. This means you can choose up to six powers, mixing and matching from long, mid, and close range combat powers as well as various defensive amulets, shields, and special moves. While you don't have equipment in the traditional sense, you can equip sigils, which are symbols carved into your right arm. When you defeat enemies and absorb their soul shards, new sigils are unlocked.Furthermore, some enemies fly, or at least spend a great deal of time skyward, making it important to balance out your armament with some ranged weapons.

You can combine these Offerings to boost their power or fuse them together to make new Offerings that are even more powerful.On top of all these powers that form the bread and butter of the game’s combat are a small selection of Black Rites. These are super-powers, essentially, which can be used once in a stage and then have to be repurchased with the game’s bizarre currency. Once used, however, the Black Rite will penalize your character until it’s repurchased. This is because in order to use a Black Rite, you have to sacrifice a part of your body.

Maybe if I play dead, the centaur-carriage will leave me alone.

You also have a special sorcerous right arm. It’s basically possessed, and you can carve different sigils you learn into it all of which give you passive buffs to various defenses or attacks depending on the composition of your character.The entire game is built around digging up the memories and stories of an evil sorcerer who has imprisoned you by reading through his journal, the Librom, a grotesque talking book from whence you gather the precious “lacrima” currency by wiping the tears from its one, ugly eye.

Levels in Soul Sacrifice are flat. They’re also boring and repetitive. While each area looks neat on the surface, it’s apparent almost instantly that surface is all there is.In an ideal world, this whole arena model would be saved for multiplayer only, or as a special kind of side mission. The story and bulk of the side quests would be built using actual levels, in which you progressed through waves of enemies until you reached the big monsters. Many of the big monsters in the game are awesome, and even many of the smaller monsters. Goblins are dog-like beasts, for lack of a better description, that look nothing like what you’d imagine a goblin would be.Big monsters are better, and some of them are simply incredible.

Massive slimes are made of gold and treasure, others of food.The Harpy can fly and has a powerful swooping dive move. The Jack-O-Lanterns turn into huge fiery boulders. These are great boss-type monsters whose challenge lies in more than just damage soak. Sacrificing items and resources is one thing, but asking the player to sacrifice hours of hard work takes the notion of sacrifice a bit too far for the game's own good, especially when you consider the repetitive nature of most missions.It is also a surprisingly daft game, too. First of all, there’s the frankly bizarre atmospheric choice that is Librom’s character.

Good

  • Forces you to make interesting decisions  
  • The original and gloomy visual style  
  • intriguing characters and side stories.
  • Brilliant presentation
  • Addictive gameplay

Bad

  • Extremely Repetitive 
  • The main storyline falls flat
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