Soul Sacrifice is Keiji Inafune’s next game and if that name doesn’t ring a bell I don’t blame you.
Not a lot of people would know about him, but if you ever owned some Capcom games, I bet you played at least one of his games. Megaman is the game he is most known for, but he’s trying to change all that with his new Vita exclusive game.
The game tells a great dark story full of remorse, regret, pain and anger. From the onset of its story you are a prisoner. Trapped in a cage made of bones, full of rotting corpses and a book. You have been imprisoned here by the evil sorcerer Magusar.
To escape from your cage and get your freedom you need to read Librom–Magusar’s talking journal made of flesh. He will guide you through the past of your captor as you find out what it is that drove this once good sorcerer over the edge of sanity. You get to relive each quest that Magusar did and strengthen your own power by completing the missions he once lived.
The main thing you will be doing in Soul Sacrifice is reading Librom. From inside Librom’s pages you have access to everything you will need. Once you open Librom you have 4 main sections to chose from. First is the “Mad Chronicle” which details the story of Magusar and his fall into madness and all of his side quests.
The second option you are going to become very familiar with, is the “portraiture” section. From there you will be doing all of your changes to your character. You can change your offerings (magic), Sigils (stat boosters), black rites ( a sort of super move with a steep cost) and your appearance. The 3rd and 4th section “Lore” and “Postscript” are less important and for the most part cover information on the history of the world, places and different monsters. While the “Lore” section isn’t very important it does give you a very interesting look into the world you are in and why things are like they are. They did a fantastic job of creating a world with an interesting story to go with it.
Now that you know your way around Librom you are going to want to jump into some action, but first you are going to need to check out your offerings. Soul sacrifice has a very deep weapon crafting system with a ton of offerings. I’ve played for about 15 hours or so now and still haven’t gotten close to seeing half of them.
You get offerings by completing quests with a high rating. Different things you do in battle will earn you points that get added up at the end to determine how good of a sorcerer you are. Things like counters and surviving without taking much or any damage will build up your points giving you a better rating and better spoils.
Once you have some offerings you can boost them by combining them with the same offering to give them more cast’s or increase their damage. You can also fuse 2 different offerings to create a completely different one. Offerings have different types like elementals; homing, summon, armor and many more.
You can use each offering a certain number of times before it breaks. Once it’s broken you cant use it any more until you go back to the “portraiture” section and use some Lacrima that you get by talking to Librom to repair it. You only get to take 6 offerings into battle with you so chose wisely.
The next thing to check before jumping into battle are the Sigils on your right arm. You can place 5 different Sigils on your right arm to boost your stats. These are more important then they might seem and necessary to change around later in the game when fighting hard beast’s of a certain element. You can unlock different Sigils by saving or sacrificing your fallen enemies and collecting their souls.
Saving monsters in battle will give you their soul and some health while sacrificing them will give you there soul and refill some of your offerings magic letting you use it more in battle. This is the driving force behind the entire game an a very interesting way of leveling up.
The more souls you save the higher your life level goes and the more you sacrifice the higher your magic level goes. If you sacrifice more then you save you will end up with a “Dark Arm” and saving more then you sacrifice will get you a “Divine Arm”. If you keep your saves and sacrifices about even you get a “Neutral Arm”. Having a certain type of arm will boost some Sigils making them better. The important thing to remember about saving and sacrificing is that you get either health or a slight refill to your offerings.
That offering refill is going to be important in battle because the only other way of refilling them is to find somewhere on the map to refill it and each one can only be used once so chose when to use them wisely. You can also choose to save or sacrifice your fallen friends. Saving them will restore some of their health at the cost of your own while sacrificing them will kill them but not before doing some serious damage to your enemies. If you get sacrificed you go into a ghost mode where you can tap on your teammates to give them stat boosts or enemies to lower their defense for who ever is left alive.
Soul Sacrifice has a bunch of different levels that you will be battling on. Some maps are small while some are fairly large areas. There are all different types of settings like the woods, caves, what looks to be a broken down church and many more. Each level has areas you can find to create weapons or armor, refill health and refill your offerings. By pressing down on the D-pad to go into a sort of detective view to find these areas. I cant stress this enough, each one can be used only once so use them wisely.
Maps are covered in all types of crazy looking things like giant plants that can explode and do damage. If you read the “Lore” section it explains why the world looks like it does and it explains it well. The only problem I have with the maps is that the floor is very often blurry or pixelated. It’s not a huge problem and eventually you stop noticing it. This is something I think will probably be fixed in a patch in the near future so again not much of an issue.
Soul Sacrifice’s audio is amazing. As you read through Librom’s pages, each character reads what’s written. The voice actors do a great job making you feel all the sadness and despair the characters are going through. Monsters have their own different sounds so you know what might be coming up behind you and Offerings have there own unique sounds.
You can tell they really put a lot of work into their sound. The menu music sounds good and fits the game well however the battle music is lackluster. You can barely tell its there unless you are listening for it but for the most part there’s going to be a lot of action going on and offerings being thrown around so the music will be the last of your concerns.
Aside from the ground being noticeably pixelated at points as mentioned before the graphics are pretty good. You wont be blown away but you wont be disappointed either. Soul Sacrifice is full of color even on stages that are dark and ominous. A bunch of detail was put into the characters, their costumes and the actual levels. Everything looks good but it could have benefited from another layer of polish.
Online play in Soul Sacrifice is fantastic. Once you get online your given the option to make a room, join a room or quick join dropping you into a random room. Once your in a room you can make any changes to your offerings that you might need and even review the other 3 players offerings if u like.
Once you are all set just hit ready and be prepared to battle. Online play is just as smooth as the normal offline ga me and everything works exactly the same except that there’s a small tab on the side of the screen with preset things to say to your partners. You could all use the Vita’s party chat feature to talk to one another. You can also use the near feature from the online section to give or find offerings players around you have left behind. Don’t worry though you don’t really lose the offering it just copies it for whoever finds it.
So far my only real gripe are the monsters. There are a decent number of different of monsters but for the most part you will be fighting the same 9 or 10 just with different colors to show their element. I’m a little disappointed that there isn’t a larger variety of enemies but the recently leaked promo poster for Soul Sacrifice shows off the DLC that’s coming and each one apparently brings with it another monster.
Soul Sacrifice set the Vita on fire in japan when it was released and I think it will help the Vita somewhat here in America with the slump it’s currently in. It’s an amazing game if you are into the Monster Hunter style of play. It has the darkest story of any game on the Vita, great solid gameplay and most importantly it’s fun. Supposedly a sequel has already been pitched to Sony so if you have a Vita, why are you still reading this? You should already be in the PSN Store downloading it.