Soul Sacrifice Review (Vita)

Soul Sacrifice is a very interesting concept – how much would you sacrifice to achieve victory?

Incubated by Keiji Inafune, the person behind the Megaman series, Soul Sacrifice took you to a realm where Sorcerers were employed to rid the world of monsters consumed by their own weaknesses. You begin the game as a prisoner waiting to be sacrificed for the greed of Magusar to perpetuate his life. Luckily a book came to your aid, informing you that if you managed to finish reading it you might have a chance of survival. The game has you re-visit the memories of the author who happened to be Magusar’s companion before he went all psycho like. The good thing is, as you relive the author’s memory you also acquire his knowledge and skills permanently, and thus the ability to defeat Magusar.

Soul Sacrifice

The bosses are big and vicious

The gameplay of Soul Sacrifice is very straightforward at first glance – you fight battles, acquire skills and experience, equip and upgrade skills and fight another battle. However, similar to the story, there is more deep down. In Soul Sacrifice you constantly need to make the decision of whether you would sacrifice or save your enemies. Saving your enemies increase you defensive stats and replenishes your health but sacrificing your enemies gives you a boost in attack stats and renews your Offerings (magic). This means with a total level of 100 your will need to decide whether you want to become a divine or dark sorcerer. This choice will show up in your arm where you can equip passive abilities called sigils. You learn new Offerings through completing mission objectives but what you get depends on your behaviour and performance in battles.

Battles are played out in an active action manner. You can bring six Offerings into battle but each of them has a limited use. Once you exhaust that ability you break it, and won’t be able to use it in the current battle again. The only way to avoid breaking them is to sacrifice your enemies once they are down. This constant decision making is what makes Soul Sacrifice engaging despite its repetitive battles. Also, later in the game you are able to sacrifice one of your senses to unleash a super move called Black Rite. Once activated, depending on the nature of the Black Rite, one of your stats or senses would suffer a penalty, be it narrower vision or much slower speed. A price must be paid after the battle to remove the side effect. Luckily your trusty book companion Librom provides that currency at a pretty regular interval.

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The land is rough, better get a companion to tag along

While Soul Sacrifice might at times feel repetitive when playing alone, the online play of the game is where it shines. To finish off ridiculously hard bosses these ‘save or sacrifice’ decisions become more critical to the outcome of the battles. Yes, you can sacrifice your online companion if you find someone annoying or not pulling their weight, but that would mean your party has shrunk and decreases your odds of winning. Luckily the sacrificed party can still contribute to the battle in a limited way. The sacraficed party member will be able to unleash one final devastating attack, and can increase the stats of the living or decrease the stats of the enemies by tapping on them. But, mostly, it is the still-living that count in these ridiculously hard battles. In addition to being sacrificed involuntarily you can also request to be sacrificed, especially when all your offerings have broken and you know you have become a liability. The constant decision making while with partners is what makes the online aspect of this game so addictive.

Storywise Soul Sacrifice has an interesting enough tale to keep you invested in the single player campaign. However the tone is quite depressing. The in game graphics are good, although it would be great to have more variety in the environment. Some of the attacks, especially the Black Rites are spectacular.

All in all Soul Sacrifice has an addictive online gameplay that could transform the game into a cult hit of its own right and with free DLC being released each month there is much here to keep you interested.

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Save or sacrifice? It is your choice

Rating: ★★★★★★★★☆☆

About the Author

Level up freak. Level 99 is a norm not a goal. Love my JRPGs and RPGs in general. Also love my platformers and puzzle games. Was addicted to Zoo Keeper, Magnetica, Animal Crossing, Disgaea DS, Dragon Quest IX and White Knight Chronicles. Prefer to spend my time away from gaming as an actor although do have a full time job that keeps my mortgage going. But generally love anything creative. And if anyone tells you gaming is a waste of time, tell them you have great eye, hand and brain coordinations that they will never have!