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Preview: Doing Business with the Spirits in Sony's Twisted Soul Sacrifice

Posted by Asher Asghar

An arm and a leg

Soul Sacrifice, the nightmarish action title dreamed up by Mega Man creator Keiji Inafune, has already gained one stellar review in Japan, giving the PlayStation Vita a prolonged shot in the arm in the process. With the imminent Western release just a few weeks away, Sony’s released a gigantic playable demo for the title in both Europe and North America, and based on our generous playthrough, owners of the handheld are in for one hell of a treat.

Centred on a talking, one-eyed book named Librom, the first thing that you’ll notice about the Marvellous AQL and Japan Studio collaboration is its dark, foreboding tone. Languishing in a prison, and mere moments away from execution, you use the aforementioned tome as a means to access a number of different stages, each of which plays host to a wealth of bleak arenas and tense combat scenarios.

After an atmospheric introduction, the demo thrusts you into the first chapter, a ‘Sorcerer’s Ordeal’, which effectively acts as a tutorial, and guides you through the key aspects of the gameplay. There’s a nod to BioShock at the core of the experience; harvesting or releasing the spirits of downed monsters allows you to boost your attack or defence levels respectively, offering an immediate and densely strategic reward in battle.

Throughout these opening levels, you’re accompanied by an ally named Sortiara, who shifts in and out of combat, providing support as you attempt to down a slew of grotesque enemies. It takes some time to learn the essence of the action – spells have a limited number of uses, and can be refreshed by sacrificing fallen foes – but once it clicks, it’s extremely gratifying, especially when you come up against some of the larger antagonists.

Completing missions extends the narrative – dramatically retold through the animated pages of the aforementioned novel – and also rewards you with new spells and attack types, which can then be combined to boost their effectiveness and later fused to concoct new spells. A long-distance throwing attack, for example, can be coupled with an electrical element in order to create a supercharged grenade. The interface is borderline overwhelming at first, but it soon becomes second nature as you flick through the pages of Librom to construct your own perfect warrior and loadout.

Beyond the opening chapter, you’ll also experience a selection of shorter missions, which see you offing a variety of colossal beasts. The gameplay here feels closer to Monster Hunter, as you work alongside computer-controlled counterparts or real players online to slay these gigantic foes. Cooperating with other people is particularly rewarding, and it’s empowering when a downed assistant actively encourages you to sacrifice their body rather than revive them in return for a potent magic attack.

While the demo offers a fairly robust slice of the action, the main campaign promises a lot more. With hundreds of quests, monsters, and spells up for grabs, the adventure pledges to keep you engrossed in its dark humour and bleak visuals for upwards of 30 hours. You can transfer your save data from the sampler directly into the main game, so if you’re eager to get a head start on your sorcerer sidekicks, it’s certainly worth bookmarking your progress ahead of the title’s full release later this month.


Have you played the demo for Soul Sacrifice? Are you looking forward to the full game? Let us know in the comments section below.

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User Comments (18)

Epic

#5

Epic said:

This and Gravity Rush are the only games that I'm currently interested that are exclusive for Vita Sony you only need 5 more to make me get it.

Epic

#8

Epic said:

@naruball To never regret a console or handheld purchase I always wait for it to release 7 games that completly interests me before buying the handheld/console. I already beated Uncharted on my friend's Vita so for me now it doesn't count so I will keep my seating in my spectator seat 'till I get my 7 games.

FullbringIchigo

#9

FullbringIchigo said:

well i played the demo and...honestly i didn't like it i thought the combat was dull, having to use the book for everything is slow and a bit of a pain but a novel idea just not executed right in my opinion and the story isn't that interesting, it looks nice yeah but for me at least it just wasn't interesting or fun at all.

so no i wont be buying it

naruball

#10

naruball said:

@Sanquine

Ah! Gotta love these "DUH" arguments. As he mentioned in the next comment, he borrowed a friend's vita for uncharted, so playing the demo doesn't seem impossible, now does it?

@Epic

Yeah, that's fair enough. For me one game is enough, as I tend to discover other gems along the way (bought a psp for Tekken:DR and ended up with tons of amazing games).

@Majin_Naruto
There's no way that a single game can please everyone, but I'd like to stress that Soul Sacrifice is a game that takes time to get used to, but as soon as you do, there's a good chance that you won't wanna play anything else for a long time. I was confused and far from entertained at first, but as soon as I started leveling up, things made more sense and I finally started having fun. Just out of curiosity, how many hours did you spent playing it?

Gemuarto

#12

Gemuarto said:

I want TRPG for Vita. FF: Tactics 2, for example =). Vita is such a good console for TRPG. What's happened with developers? Why they are making so much action games for handheld and still no TRPG. Maybe I need to jump to parallel universe to make thing right? Hell, I think I live in wrong universe, where logic doesn't exist.

P.S. Soul Sacrifice is really good, though.

hydeks

#13

hydeks said:

I'll try the demo and see what I think, but it looks like PSO/ Monster Hunter/ Ragnarok Odyssey type game, and I love those games, so this will probably be a must buy :)

Snorky

#14

Snorky said:

Preordered it :) I always get hooked in by all those "exclusive dlc" tags.

brendon987

#15

brendon987 said:

I love the fact that there a Soul Sacrifice demo, because this is not normally my type off game. Now I can put four hours into it and make a decision. I like how they tell the story. The few fights I have had, have been very enjoyable. The beasties graphics are amazing for a mobile game device. I hope this game does well in the west.

brendon987

#16

brendon987 said:

@Epic I understand the need for so many games before you buy. When a game come out on the PS3 and Vita. I always buy the Vita version because I love the fact I can play the games on the go. Not stuck at home.

hydeks

#17

hydeks said:

@brendon987 agreed, I would much rather the vita version cause it's on the go too. Why I have the Vita version of Battle Royale and traded in the ps3 version, liked it better on vita :P

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