Soul Sacrifice Review - the path of a sorcerer is steep with choice and consequence
- Posted April 30th, 2013 at 08:03 EDT by Michael Harradence
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Soul Sacrifice is a dark, addictive and brutal action-RPG that excels in aesthetics and rewarding combat. Poor A.I., repetitive foes and steep learning curve prevent it from reaching triple-A heights, however.
- Gorgeous level and creature design
- Addictive, rewarding combat
- Sacrifice mechanic is unique and adds strategy
- Lack of enemy variety
- Poor A.I.
- Steep learning curve
(continued from previous page) ...concept of choice and consequence; sure, you can sacrifice a partner for a mega-power attack, but you’ll lose them as an alley. Save them, and you can not only take advantage of them for the remainder of the battle, but they’ll be added to your list of partners. Avalon Pacts see you picking your own partner, so the more you save in battle, the more you’ll have to back you up. Of course, the main quest is all about bulking up your character for the inevitable confrontation with the Magusar, the psychotic sorcerer who is capable of vanquishing all but the most powerful of player characters. If that wasn’t enough to keep you busy, the game also has plenty of reading material in the shape of the ‘Lore’ chapter, letting you bone up on all the game’s creatures. The impact of your choices are somewhat dampened by the ability to reverse sacrifices via the use of Lacrima – something which can also use to replenish lost offerings. However, this is only applicable when you have enough of Librom’s tears to effectively rewrite history; sure, your decisions may not have irrevocable consequences, but it can certainly screw you over for a good while.
Visually, Soul Sacrifice isn’t the most technically impressive game on PS Vita, but that doesn’t matter when the art direction is positively scrumptious. The locations, ranging from wind-swept valleys, baking deserts and lush forests, exude fantasy appeal, although sadly there’s not enough of them to go around. Soul Sacrifice’s demonic foes suffer from the same issue, offering equal eye-candy, both unique and grotesque in their appearance, while lacking variety. Standard foes range from Goblins, Orcs and Spiders while the bosses – including a Cyclops, Harpy, Slime, Jack-O-Lantern – are beautifully presented and easily the star of the show. Voice acting is suitably dark and broody, particularly during the intro and outro of each mission, where most of the game’s exposition takes place. Librom is unequivocally the star of the show, delivering his lines with a welcome level of sarcasm, wit and humour – and strike contrast to the grim undertone that infests the campaign. Try pushing him over with your finger via the touchscreen – it’s worth it.
Obviously, there's online play to consider, although lamentably the servers were not functional during my time with the pre-release digital copy.
Addictive, rewarding and insanely tough, Soul Sacrifice is the quintessential manifestation of a hardcore game. The action is fast, frantic, and the combat and levelling system deep, with plenty to tinker with. Furthermore, the fact your actions have consequences lends the game ample strategy. Like all good grinders though, it can indulge in repetitiveness now and then, though this unpleasant side effect is somewhat lessened by the arrival of fresh allies and weapons. PS Vita has been after a that elusive killer title for some time now, and while Soul Sacrifice sadly falls short of achieving that lofty goal, it’s certainly a must-have purchase for any action-RPG fan. Newcomers be warned though, as it’s not the most inviting of games.
Soul Sacrifice was reviewed via a digital review copy provided by Sony Computer Entertainment Europe (SCEE).