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Soul Sacrifice preview - get excited then play it yourself now

Vita needs a really good game. Fortunately, it looks like it’s about to get one. Soul Sacrifice is very much like Monster Hunter – the game that everyone said Sony would need if it wanted Vita to succeed – only better. At least, that’s what our initial impressions are. We’ll have to see if the rest of the game lives up to its early promise, but for now, allow us to explain why we’re so excited.

First-off, there’s the story. It’s actually one worth reading with just the right amount of gothic drama to make it feel dark and moody without becoming a parody by being too heavy-handed. ‘Heavy handed’ is actually a very apt description… You’ll see why shortly.

The game begins with you in a cage, awaiting certain death at the hands of a demon known as Magusar. You manage to come into possession of a book. It’s a very special book, known as Librom. It has a name because Librom is very much alive. He’s got a face that wouldn’t look out of place on a WildHearts album cover and he talks to you.

Librom’s tale has never been told in full because, he says, everyone who reads him ends up dead at the hands of Magusar before they reach the last page. Bodes well for us then. But delve into his tomely innards and you’ll find ‘phantom quests’. These are the game’s levels and can be re-read as many times as you see fit.

And so to the game. While you can rewrite some aspects of Librom’s tale (such as what you look like and even the sex of the main character), you can’t change everything. So the first chapter sees you and a girl named Sortiara going around killing beasties, sating her bloodlust and facing some interesting choices.

For instance, you can choose to save or sacrifice the soul of any enemy you encounter. The decision affects which aspects of your character will be levelled up, but also has an impact on the story. Sortiara has significant issues and wants you to sacrifice everything. However, there’s a definite tug on the heartstrings when you kill a demonic cat-beast only to watch its pathetic soul meowing away on the floor, looking for all the world like a harmless house pet. Save the kitty and it jumps away. Sacrifice it and it’s gone forever.

<Mild Spoiler Ahead> The first chapter of the book ends with the fulfilment of a prophecy. Only one of these two characters – you and Sortiara – can live. So, to proceed, you must kill Sortiara. Oddly, you still get the choice of saving her, although when you do, she immediately continues to attack you in your fight to the death. And she won’t be so merciful. <Mild Spoiler End>

But once you sacrifice her, her troubled soul, complete with its bloodlust, becomes fused with your arm. This arm can then be augmented with Sigils, essentially the usual stat boosts you would expect from an RPG. Health, defence, attack… it’s up to you how you develop your character.

But the most interesting part of all the character development menus is the ‘Offerings’ system. Before you fight, you can choose six Offerings, selectable using three of the face buttons and toggled with the right trigger. In-game, these initiate certain attack or defence states, or act as health items or stat boosts. 

Once activated as a weapon, the face buttons’ functions change again, enabling you to hammer quick combo blows or select a stronger, slower attack, reverting to your six icons with a tap of R.

Topics

Keiji Inafune

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11 comments

  • winner2 - April 18, 2013 6:57 a.m.

    Update: This game is fucking legit just from the demo
  • ZeeCaptain - April 18, 2013 1:52 a.m.

    Got home from school to discover that the demo wasn't up on the store yet T_T, luckily there was a way around it by using the online store from a pc and then downloading it from your queue on the vita. Anyway this is a great demo, at first I was put off at the thought of grinding, but each level is quick enough and the narrative changes in certain areas depending on choices, and other great attention to detail elements that make for a great game. Not only is the gameplay fun with the great many powers available and the ability to activate effects from in level points to enhance powers, etc... but the lore and detail are great, each monster has its own story and there is a lot of background information as well as an interesting look on sorcerers with the concept of sacrifice. Of course save/sacrifice is a double edge sword, its just another system of the much overused morality system all too common in games these days, but they do a good enough job of making the narrative and the benefits from both choices good enough to warrant multiple playthroughs, which is good seeing how if you want the best powers there will be some grinding. All in all this is a great game and if you didn't have a reason to pick up and dust off your VIta in the last couple of months, I can't see a better opportunity than Soul Sacrifice.
  • Blastoise - April 17, 2013 7:19 p.m.

    Nice preview Justin! Glad to see people enjoying it as much as I am!
  • Robx - April 17, 2013 8:20 a.m.

    Typo on page 2, first line: "Monstar Hunter". It NEEDS to be "Monstar Huntah". Really looking forward this game, nice preview!
  • deafwing - April 17, 2013 5:59 a.m.

    i'll wait for the console version ...
  • ZeeCaptain - April 18, 2013 1:41 a.m.

    Don't jump the gun, who knows if it'll get a console version. I mean I love this demo and a console version could not be anything but bigger and better but if you remember it was Monster Hunter that started on console, not a portable platform, and I only use that as an example because of the mass comparison of this game to MH
  • JMarsella09 - April 16, 2013 7:13 p.m.

    Looking good.
  • ultimatepunchrod - April 16, 2013 12:30 p.m.

    This has piqued my interest. I like my Vita, but I wasn't too sure about this since the comparisons to Monster Hunter came up frequently, and I'm not a huge fan of those. I'll check out the demo though.
  • rainn'sgaydar - April 16, 2013 11:01 a.m.

    Glad to see this game getting some attention now that we're past the onslaught of March. I may not pick this up day 1 because of the moneys, but I'm definitely interested to play the demo and see for myself how it plays.
  • hestar - April 16, 2013 10:59 a.m.

    I can't wait to play the demo later today!
  • winner2 - April 16, 2013 10:59 a.m.

    Wooooooh!

Showing 1-11 of 11 comments

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