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Review: Soul Sacrifice

By Damian Seeto, Wed 8 May 2013
FYI, this story is more than a year old

Soul Sacrifice is a very unique action RPG style of game that is a PS Vita exclusive.

The one franchise that it bears some similarities to is Capcom’s very popular Monster Hunter series.

Although having said that, Soul Sacrifice is one game that stands on its own because it is unlike any other game I’ve played over the past year or so.

Upon first glance, this game appears to be your average hack-n-slash type of game but it’s not.

There is a very deep customisation mode that allows you to not only alter the appearance of your own character, but also the number of different skills and techniques that your character has in their arsenal.

The customisation mode in Soul Sacrifice is deep as there are lots of options you can choose from to make your character as weird and diverse as possible.

You can alter a character’s hair style, skin color, and gender anytime that you like. This is a great feature since most games you can only create your character once and cannot alter their physical appearance any further.

My character didn’t look anything too special, but I met a person online that managed to make his character look like Darth Maul.

Not only does Soul Sacrifice have unique gameplay, but its story is well told and interesting from the get-go as well.

The whole game revolves around an evil demon by the name of Magusar who owns a prison-like environment that resembles Hell. Magusar (for some reason) imprisons all of these men and starts killing them off.

Many other mortal men have tried to kill Magusar to stop his madness but all of them failed. This is where you come in as you are tasked to beat him once and for all. In order to do this, a talking book appears (yes a talking book) going by the name of Librom helps you out in your prison cell.

Librom was written by a mysterious author who apparently was a friend of Magusar and may have a clue on how to beat him. By “reading” through Librom, your character will get stronger and you will get to see more of Magusar’s past.

It’s like reading through an interactive book as the author narrates what is going on while you play through the action parts.

The book contains all of the missions you need to complete that retells the story of the author and his/her relationship with Magusar. Each mission requires you to kill either one hard monster or several smaller monsters.

Its setup is similar to Monster Hunter because you will need to know which weaknesses the monsters have in order for you to eliminate them as efficiently as possible.

Soul Sacrifice isn’t a simple hack-n-slash type of game either because button mashing doesn’t get you very far in this game.

This is because your most of your abilities and attacks aren’t unlimited so you cannot simply use the same technique over and over again.

Each character can only choose six abilities with them on each mission and most of the abilities can only be used for a certain number of times.

For example, if I used the health replenish skill more than three times, I cannot use it any longer and the skill is lost forever.

The same hold true for non-magic abilities such as weapon attacks too. You can however replenish your abilities with certain trees and plants that are littered in each level.

This type of combat system makes Soul Sacrifice a league of its own. Usually in action games like this, you could usually just use one sword all of the time and do the same technique over and over again.

The combat system in this game however makes you think about which skills work best on certain enemies and forces you to plan ahead. I remember several times getting slightly frustrated because I chose the wrong abilities to take with me because I had to go up against flying enemies.

There’s not much else I could do with an axe in hand when the enemies would fly away from me all of the time. The levelling up system in Soul Sacrifice is also unique too.

Whenever you defeat an enemy you have the choice of either “saving” or “sacrificing” them. Saving a downed enemy causes you health meter to grow. Likewise, sacrificing an enemy instead causes your magic to increase. Increasing your magic will make your attacks stronger.

The saving and sacrificing feature holds true for any allies you have on your team too. If a partner of yours dies during battle, you can revive them like normal or you can sacrifice them.

Sacrificing them causes them to die, but they will unleash a very powerful attack before they depart to the afterlife. This attack can be helpful against very powerful bosses.

If you die, it’s not game over as long as your allies are still alive. They too can choose to save or sacrifice you as well. Apart from the main story quest, there are side missions that you can complete as well.

These side quests can be done online too. The online mode is pretty fun because you can join up to three other people that can help you out against some of the tougher monsters the game has to offer.

So far, the online community in this game is pretty healthy and I rarely had a hard time trying to find other gamers to play with. Not to mention that the other players were more powerful than I was and helped kill a lot more monsters and bosses.

The side quests is also a great way to level up your character more quickly too. As much fun as I had playing this game, sadly it’s not without a few flaws that prevent it from becoming a must-have game.

For starters, the graphics are pretty mediocre even for a PS Vita title. The PS Vita is powerful enough to dish out some great looking games such as Uncharted: Golden Abyss and Dead or Alive 5 Plus just to name a few.

The visuals in Soul Sacrifice are nowhere near to the quality of those two titles as the levels look drab and lack detail.

Speaking of the game’s levels, they’re not even large explorable areas like those seen in the Monster Hunter series. Instead, all of the levels in this game are arena-based which can get very boring.

Another thing that bothered me is that the online mode only works for the side quest missions only. You cannot call for a friend to help you out during the main quest.

Also, you cannot even call for any A.I. allies during some missions on the main quest too. This is disappointing considering how difficult some of the bosses are in this game.

I also think that the learning curve is inconsistent as the game’s difficulty increases in an uneven pace. One moment I’m beating enemies at ease, but then I go into the next level and face a near unbeatable boss.

Because of the game’s uneven difficulty, it can get repetitive because you are required to play through the same levels again if you want to level up to beat a certain boss.

Overall, Soul Sacrifice is a very unique title that PS Vita owners should check out. It has an intriguing storyline and the gameplay itself is different from most other action RPG games I’ve played.

The only things that hold it down are the disappointing graphics and hard difficulty. However, if you’re looking to play a game that is similar to Monster Hunter look no further than with Soul Sacrifice.

Graphics: 6.5

Gameplay: 8.0

Sound: 7.5

Lasting appeal: 8.0

Overall: 8.0

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