Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Soul Sacrifice Review (PS Vita)


'Soul Sacrifice' saves gameplay with superb story
Written by Drei Medina


Your friend who committed atrocious crimes is dying. Would you choose to save this person in hopes of redemption or will you sacrifice in the name of justice?
Such is the grim premise of Soul Sacrifice, a game which revolves around the morbid story of sorcerers – powerful magic wielding individuals – who deal in murder to deliver justice.
In the story, Magusar the mad, the strongest sorcerer has taken over the world and uses dark magic to create monsters that abduct people which he turns into sacrifices in order to keep living.
You will play the role of one of Magusar's many prisoners who finds a strange yet humorous talking book named Librom inside your cage.
Librom claims to know Magusar's secrets and upon reading his pages you will be able to relive parts of a certain sorcerer's life who used to be a dear partner to Magusar.
For the story alone I would give Soul Sacrifice a flawless rating. The game's plot was masterfully executed with Librom's voice actor (Antony Byrne) doing a fantastic job.
The story, along with Librom's heartfelt narration has been one of the most immersive experiences I've ever had in a game.
The eerie and orchestral background music also added to the overall experience of the action-horror theme of the game.
It honestly felt like I was reading a book rather than playing a handheld. It even came to a point that I rushed the quests just to find out what happens next in the story.

Gameplay
First and foremost, I would like to point out that the tutorial for Soul Sacrifice could have been a lot better in teaching the basics. It was a bit confusing for me and I almost dropped the game due to the lack of proper directions.
But that was at first. As for gameplay it was good and although there was certainly no free roam mode it was easy to overlook this since the story strongly delivered and gave you a lead in to the next location.
Slaying enormous monsters that seemed to be conceived from a mix of Greek mythology and demonic fantasy with various elemental attacks was indeed satisfying.
But after awhile you might feel the repetitiveness of the routine since there are only around five grunts and a little over twenty archfiends (bosses) that you encounter in a handful of stages although difficulties vary per level.
The stages are also mostly undersized in comparison to their bosses but you won't really mind since the game allows you to finish stages in short bursts which makes it possible for perfect portable gaming on the go.
Having said this, I've finished the main story after sinking in around twenty hours into the game. I'm currently at fifty hours and counting and have yet to finish the hardest side quests.
So although I may be contradicting myself here, I think Soul Sacrifice is a repetitive yet addictive game since the story covers up for its recycled gameplay to some extent.
The charm of slaying monstrosities in the game over and over until you get the item you are searching for really has an addictive feel to it as proven by my game time after completing the main story.
All in all, Soul Sacrifice is not a perfect game with its flaws, lackluster tutorial and other gameplay issues but it makes up with a phenomenal story backed with repetitive yet addictive gameplay.
If you haven't played it yet I would highly recommend this game if you're a fan of action-RPGs that dangle with horror elements. Or you could get Soul Sacrifice Delta which is an expanded version of the original game.

The verdict: 9/10 [Excellent]

Soul Sacrifice is a must-play for PS Vita owners who have a taste for unique themed action-RPGs with lots of addictive grinding paired with a stunning story.
Once you've gotten past the game's minor blunders such as the tutorial you'll be a step closer to reliving one of the most immersive dark fantasy worlds with a slice of humanity that gaming has to offer.

Pros:
+ Superb story
+ Addictive gameplay
+ Excellent production
Cons:
- Small stages
- Inadequate tutorial
- Recycled mobs and bosses