Saturday, May 11, 2013

Soul Sacrifice (PS VITA) Review

The PSVITA is one of the most powerful handhelds to grace the market. Its potential is great yet for some odd reason we have yet to see that one game that makes it a system seller. Soul Sacrifice, a Monster Hunter-esque action RPG from Comcept and Sony Entertainment, hopes to give the PS VITA a strong presence in the market. Does Soul Sacrifice succeed? Or is it just another run-of-the-mill RPG.

Look past the flesh

Taking the role of an ambiguous prisoner, you are left waiting in a hellish dungeon for your soul to be consumed by an evil sorcerer named Magusar.  You’re only chance of survival lies within a talking-creepy-looking book named Libron, who happens to chronicle the chapters of the phantom quest. By reading, you’ll be able relive the memories of the sorcerers who once faced countless beasts and foes. Reliving these memories will grant your character new spells and abilities eventually making him/her strong enough to face Magusar. Most of the game’s story is narrated with fancy animating texts and rarely has any cutscesnes. That’s not to say that Soul Sacrifice’s story lacks any depth. On the contrary I felt emotionally invested in many of the sorcerers as you come about to learn about who they are and their ultimate downfall.

The world of Soul Sacrifice is disturbing, yet, beautiful
Keiji Inafune, who is the creator of Mega Man, is the lead designer behind Soul Sacrifice. Honestly it’s hard to believe because the world of Soul Sacrifice is very dark; in fact, it’s one of the darkest I’ve ever seen. Whether if it’s talking to Libron or sacrificing your victims, there will always be a sense of tension and uneasiness—in a good way. Its dark athletics feels like watching a Tim Burton movie on acid. Those who enjoy dark fantasies such Diablo will feel right at home. The voice acting is also pretty good and matches their moody characters.

Wax On, Wax Off  

Combat in Soul Sacrifice is completely based on magic—which comes from the remnants of your fallen victims. Before going into battle you will have the choice to pick between a certain set of spells such as long range, short range, and healing. Later segments will unlock more options such as mixing spells to generate new ones. The idea is similar to card battles where finding rare ones will net you more damage or experience. These spells also need to be used wisely as they eventually break and need to be fixed. You’ll also be rewarded for exploring and finding rare items as they will allow you to upgrade your existing spells.

Choice also plays a predominant role in Soul Sacrifice. After defeating your foes you will have the choice to rather save them or sacrifice them. Saving them will increase your health but may reduce a bit your magic while sacrificing will increase your magic attack but may reduce a bit of your health. These decisions can become a bit difficult to choose especially after defeating a tough boss with a huge bounty.

Controls are very intuitive and easy to learn. Each spell is assigned to a button and can be swapped using the R trigger. It’s very handy and useful as you will quick swap a lot when dealing with tough opponents.

Soul Sacrifice can be very challenging. Similar to Monster Hunter, preparation is essential to winning as you will need constantly be modifying your characters skill sets to ensure victory in battle. Speaking of Monster Hunter, Soul Sacrifice feels a lot like it. Character customization and the way you battle enemies don't feel genuine to those who've experienced Capcom’s formula. I wouldn’t go far as calling it a clone but at certain times I couldn’t help but feel I was playing with a Monster Hunter mind set. Sadly, Soul Sacrifice doesn't really offer much in terms of exploration. There are some big maps but ultimately you’re just there to kill baddies.

It’s lonely in here...

The biggest issue with Soul Sacrifice is how tends to rely on one formula: killing.  It’s all about killing and knowing how to deal with your foes. It can be fun and creative but at times it can get very repetitive and boring.
Soul Sacrifice was designed to be more fun with friends 
Playing online, however, adds a completely new dynamic and makes things more engaging and fun.
If you’re partner dies you’ll have the choice to save them and bring them back to life or sacrifice them to unleash a powerful magic attack. It’s a great mechanic that really binds well with the game’s overall theme.

Needs more soul

Is Soul Sacrifice the killer PS VITA app we’ve all been waiting for? Not really. It still lacks some quality and can get really boring when playing alone. Of course, that’s not say it’s a bad game. It has a lot of great elements that leaves room for creativity. It’s also more fun to experience that creativity with a friend. At the very least it’s managed to justify a reason to get a 3G model.

If you’re looking for a Monster Hunter game with a darker tone and atmosphere , then the world of Soul Sacrifice beckons your arrival.



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