Soul Sacrifice (PS Vita)
Developed by: Marvelous AQL / Sony Entertainment
Reviewed by Matt Adcock
Will you save or sacrifice your mortally wounded enemies?
That’s the crux of this superb Monster-Hunter-em-up for the PSVITA…
As a kick-ass sorcerer who can wield a crazy array of battle magic, it still comes down to ‘what sort of person do you want to be’ in the end.
You see having smashed an enemy to the point of submission you then have the power to sacrifice them and drain their magical energy for yourself (this leads to the dark path) or save them and boost your life force – and thus be a ‘good guy’.
It is rare to see a compelling new Triple A title burst onto the gaming scene – especially on the VITA which has been collecting a lot of indie games and PS3 / 3DS ports but only a handful of really ‘must have’ exclusives to date. But Sony are masters of creating new I.P.s and Soul Sacrifice is a ready made battle adventure that will eat up your life with its addictive monster slaying (both as a single player campaign or with pals in multiplayer).
The plot sees you start the game in a grim prison made of wood and bone – with only a strange talking sentient book for company – it’s name is ‘Librom’ and he is the place where you’ll find missions to play through and the backstories about the fantastical beasties hidden in it’s pages. The gameplay is very ‘jump straight in and figure it out on the fly’ with six magical powers to use from the start – you can see three at a time and jump between the two banks of them with the right trigger. The combat system is a lot of fun to use – experimenting with eh various ranged and close attacks, weapons, shields, abilities to morph into other forms and more…
"big battles are standard"
The leveling up system is linked to the whole save / sacrifice mechanic. It’s not just enemies that you sacrifice either – when playing with an ally you can sacrifice them or save them too – either to give them life-points back or unleash a devastating attack on all enemies. If you or an ally is sacrificed you can still ‘watch’ the rest of the fight in spirit mode boosting allies or weaken enemies but not actually attacking. The magical powers each have a limited number of uses before they break and can’t be recharged but they can be repaired using Librom's own ‘tears’, which you can evoke by talking to the book and wiping his face (sounds a bit odd but it kind of works).
There is lots to do – hundreds of powers to obtain and enhance by combining them / mixing elements to create a new customized weapons. In addition you get the chance to customize your arm – opening up slots to add new skills and this is made even more complex by super powered sacrificial powers that you can equip and use when near death – but they require you to ‘give’ something in order to use them – so rip off your skin to summon a fire giant or pluck out an eyeball to send a cloud of bomb like eyes at the enemies… But beware as you’ll have to fight without your limbs given up from then on (although Librom can help you rebuild yourself after battles).
Sacrificing part of your own body is known as using a ‘forbidden spell’ but it can be very addictive trying out differing attacks and reaping the rewards of risking yourself. The menagerie of enemies is a real strong point of Soul Sacrifice which has a fantastic design look, feel and unique takes on traditional creatures – such as goblins which are super sized mutated rats etc.
The graphics are far far in advance of anything you’ll see on a 3DS, and the special effects of your magical weapons are slick. Everything works really well, the menus, animated pages of the book, soundtrack and weapon creating are all very slick. Creating and customizing your sorcerer is a satisfying gaming experience – then of course you can take your character online where the multiplayer fights are really fun too – and playing with friends is a rush over the rock solid connection that the free PlayStation Network allows.
Soul Sacrifice is a quality game which can provide a ton of addictive battling, it can be rewarding to leap in for a 5 minute blast but beware, you may well find it will keep you coming back for ‘one more battle’ until you have lost hours. Add to this ongoing support of downloadable content with new missions and equipment and this is a game that no Vita owner should be without!
Out of a potential 5 you have to go with a Darkmatters:
öööö - worth an arm and a leg!
4 – Super magical battle hunting fun
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