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Soul Sacrifice Review

Following the early Soul Sacrifice trailers, hopes for a Dark Souls style game on the Vita were high with a very similar art direction and apparently the same sort of action. After playing the demo, disappointment was rife, with the game's first few levels feeling awkward and claustrophobic with long drawn out and boring battles and far too much grinding. Thankfully the final game is beyond my expectations, offering the same action as the demo but totally opening up in pretty much every possible way.

The story is all about a master sorcerer called Magusar, with you playing as an unnamed prisoner waiting for death by his hands. Your only hope for survival lies within the pages of a magical tome, a talking journal called Librom that looks to train you in the ways of magic in hope to defeat Magusar, if not your fate will be far worse than death, with the sorcerer personally ripping apart your soul.

Inside of Librom lies pages and pages of notes and a journal written by its former owner, covering the trials and tribulations of becoming an all-powerful master of magic. As the reader of the book you are able to witness first-hand what occurred, at the same time learning the many powers that they learnt as a fledgling sorcerer, hopefully learning enough from the book to stand toe to toe with Magusar himself.

If we are to compare games, then Soul Sacrifice is more akin to the action in the Monster Hunter games, you select a mission from a page in the book, set up your equipment and then depart to a far off land to defeat whatever lurks there. The battles themselves take place arenas of varying sizes, granting a wide range of environments and tactical areas you can hide behind, with them all being littered with powerups and recharge points to assist in the fight. Some pages you can read and experience straight away, others are hidden away, revealing themselves as you progress, others fogged by lack of memory, requiring you to venture into an unfinished land trying to piece together whatever happened in the past by collecting memories. The nature of the book allows for many appendices and side notes which offer loads of extra content, adding a little lore to the beings that lurk the world and also the chance of a tip on how to defeat some of the larger foes. Aside from sorcerers main story there are plenty of side quests like meeting up and working with other powerful sorcerers and even taking up requests by the sorcerers guild. There is loads of content crammed into the warped and deadly pages of Librom.

As a sorcerer there is a wealth of powers and magic's that you can use, though all come at some sort of cost. The more simple powers come in the way of offerings, with your sorcerer summoning powers via the many objects collected, each able to be used for different powers and even be fused together for even more possibilities. Each power has its own function which is then grouped into categories, with giant bones able to transform your own arm into a huge club, items that will cause fists to burst from the ground, ivy vines that will seek out an enemy, ranged attacks like launching shards of ice, shields of rock, summoning powers and even the power to morph into other objects, pretty much whatever you earn can be used as either a weapon or support function.

Whilst these powers are relatively weak without clever fusing and boosting there are other offerings you can make with your own body like offering your skin to unleash a huge fire demon, though this comes at the cost of halving your defence. With your right arm acting as the conduit for most powers it is also able to wield a large variety of sigils, with up to five markings granting power and defence boosts along with plenty of other stat changers to assist with some of the larger monsters.

Most of the levels you approach will also allow you to bring along an ally to the battle who also is able to cast spells and most if the time, act as a decent partner, though they do on occasion get stuck on scenery or just stand, waiting for you to whistle to get their attention. These other sorcerers will act in the same way as you, with similar powers and also have the ability to revive you on your request. You can also assist them in their moment of need, offering some of your health to pick them up or if you need that little bit more firepower, sacrifice them, releasing their soul for a huge and powerful attack.

You do not only dictate when you wish to sacrifice or save an ally but with all of the monsters that you slay, their broken bodies also await for your final decision, standing over them, be they man or beast, your ultimate decision being either to save them, which will free them from their burdens and gain a small health boost or sacrifice them, damning their souls and gaining more power from them and slightly replenishing your offerings. Due to the length of some of these battles a mixture of saving and sacrificing will be essential, topping up your very limited offerings to make sure you are able to keep on attacking whilst grabbing health whenever you can. As an extra incentive to saving you will at times also save a possessed sorcerer, who will then become your ally.

Controlling your sorcerer is perfect on the Vita, with a third person view giving you a decent scope of the surrounding area you can run and roll with X, using offerings with the other face buttons and then switching to the next set with the R button. This is initially very fiddly; tapping for combos and holding to boost powers but after a while but thanks to the easy to use customisation tools you can set whatever offerings to any of the buttons. Your sorcerer is also able to use a Mind's Eye power that with the tap of the d-pad which will then bring up a slightly different view showing locations of hidden items and also the current health of enemies. The ease of control on Soul Sacrifice filters through to the customisation area with the use of drag and drop swipes on the screen to swap offerings and scroll through what you have, fusing and boosting these items very easily.

Every element of Soul Sacrifice has been worked to perfection, from the action through to the fantastic graphics you forget at times this is all on the Vita's little screen with desert sands shifting underneath you, skies full of magical writing and dandelions drifting in the wind, each field looks amazing and other worldly and the monsters looking both gruesome and fascinating at the same time, with towering balls of slime throwing roast chickens at you, goblins that work in packs and the Queen of the Elves hurling hurricanes at you, the game never misses a step. Even with the gripping and surprising story there is so much detail hidden within the pages of Librom, especially on the monster themselves, adding so much lore to the beasts that you battle, each telling of tales of how greed, murder or other sins of the flesh turned them into what they are today.

Both local and online multiplayer adds as a huge extension to the main game, allowing four players to team together as take on some of the larger monsters and sharing the loot, though at the moment only the demo servers are open, but from experience it has been totally hassle free, no lag, no disconnects (other than when my battery died) so if anything differs I will make an addition as to be honest, this will be a rare game that I will be playing long after the review has been finished.

After the disappointing demo, Soul Sacrifice could easily have been ignored by me, which would have been a shame as this has been one of the best games to come out for the Vita to date, made specifically for the machine, it handles everything thrown at it and never ceases to amaze me with not just the story and the wealth of content but just what will I be fighting next.

Words by Ash Buchanan.
(Version Tested: PS Vita)


- Great, dark visuals with a gripping story
- Loads of extra content away from the main story
- Local and online multiplayer with no lag or connection problems.
- Lots of customisation possibilities


- Can get a little confusing as what offerings to take to the battlefield.

Edited On 30 Apr, 2013

( 12 )
troublemaker's avatar
troublemaker 4 years ago
Cool review Ash. While not usually my kind of game, I'll probably pick it up just to see how well it plays on the Vita.
0000000000's avatar
0000000000 4 years ago
this in all fairness is a reason to own a vita! but not a big enough reason top review though and the game does seem brilliant
troublemaker's avatar
troublemaker 4 years ago
But, if you already own a vita and wanna try something different!
0000000000's avatar
0000000000 4 years ago
then get it TM! BUY ITTTTTTTTTTT!!! peer pressured you in to buying 2 games before why not try again lol!
troublemaker's avatar
troublemaker 4 years ago
I still haven't finished one of the ones you got me to buy last time! haha!
Artemisthemp's avatar
Artemisthemp 4 years ago
Was so happy, when I got the shipping Confirm ad 16:48, since it means the game most likely will arrive Thursday or Friday :)
PrometheusFan's avatar
PrometheusFan 4 years ago
Dunno why you didn't like the demo, it was great. Online multi on it proved more enjoyable than a lot of full games managed imo. Anyway, can't wait to try the full game now, got my character all built up and ready to go.
Robichoico's avatar
Robichoico 4 years ago
I got too many games atm to bother with this one at the moment. And to be honest I barely bothered with Monster Hunter on the Wii U yet so don't need another one like it. As fun as this sounds I know it'll get put in the pile for the future.
Konakona's avatar
Konakona 4 years ago
I've been spamming the demo. Must have played it for about 10 hours or more! My game is dispatched, looking forward to playing :).
Loli-Nox-Tan's avatar
Loli-Nox-Tan 4 years ago
Look who is back. The Shiny Konakona
Konakona's avatar
Konakona 4 years ago
I'm always lurking!!
Shoxy85's avatar
Shoxy85 4 years ago
I think I've woken up with image 3 before.

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