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I take a look at the new PlayStation Vita game Soul Sacrifice. What I have here is a Japanese copy of the game, A Japanese account enabled Vita, Little to no knowledge of the Japanese language and a huge desire to play this game. Everything you read here is my take on what I think is going on in this game. Yes some things may be wrong, But then some things may be right. This is the joy of import gaming, The game is what you make of it.
You play as a nameless prisoner, Sent to a cage to await your death. Punished for what crimes I do no know as of yet. You meet a book in your cage which seems friendly and offers you a escape, By this I mean you can be transported into the stories held within this book and level up and earn experience for yourself. You get the feeling that the book may have a dark side to it and that it has its own motive and desire. The book is split up into chapters and you unlock stories as you beat missions. The book seems to split off after a while and you can start playing different parts of the book, which I think are kind of split into main missions and side missions. Side missions being used to explain a bit more story and allow you to level up and unlock new powers. All side missions in a particular section are unlocked at once and you can pick and choose and replay levels as much as you want. Main missions is the true bulk of the game and obviously move things along and completing these give you more side missions.
The game plays out very differently to what people Ive spoke too were expecting. For a start its an area based environment meaning you get transported into a world with an objective and off you go. People expecting expecting huge scaled open ended worlds will not find that here. Yes later on levels do get bigger and do have some degree of exploration, But its all on a much smaller scale. The levels themselves are breath taking, from the huge back drops of fallen cities and statues of the gods, to a dessert city in ruin with mountains all around, to a nice tranquil look forest with a dark underbelly. The draw distance on some of the levels are a thing of beauty and will see you just standing there looking out on the world. Each world has its own unique feel and the many areas I have encountered, I have never felt like a level has just been re skinned or this level feels like this level.
With in the levels and this is where I get them either mixed up or wrong is the pick ups. Throughout a level and especially whilst exploring, you will come across a prompt to hole the X button. Doing so causes you to rip energy from the level, almost like Soul Reaver where you take souls but on a grander scale. Harnessing that energy gives you an immediate pick up and by this it usually means either a free top up on your weapons, or it grants you immediate access to a newly equipped limited time use weapon. The other pick up is one that shows as you step over it so you can never see it in the distance, only walking around will show it. It will be a swirl of blue and black particles in an almost tornado type display. Harnessing this energy will give you new items which can be used after the game and will be put in your inventory for later.
When you kill an enemy you get the option to sacrifice or save your fallen foe. Doing either raises either your good or bad, light or dark side (however you like it) level bars. In game saving someone will replenish your health bar a bit whilst sacrificing someone will recover some of your weapons durability. For each weapon you use has a durability limit and early on it is very short indeed. Using the weapon over and over will eventually cause it to break and you wont be able to use. Once its got to that state you can only fix it with tears. No I don’t mean you have to cry over your Vita and pray for a fix, Oh hell no you just need to collect tears from the book. You collect them after beating a level, just go back to the main menu so the book is shut and the game will prompt you. Building your levels unlocks better magic I believe and I think dark gives powerful offensive weapons whilst light side gives powerful defensive weapons.
The game is all about weapons and by weapons it should really be called magic but anyway. The whole point of the game is to make the best magic and destroy huge demons and banish everything evil. New magic can be found in a level, acquired through story progression, buying them or by combining items in your inventory. The combining of them in the inventory as far as I know only increases the power of the magic but I think it could be possible later on to concoct your own devilish magic. Some of the magic you get makes Harry Potter look like a drunk Paul Daniels doing a charity gig at an old peoples home. For here you can summon huge screen filling gods to come out through the floor and destroy your enemies. Yes they are stuck in position so no movement, but the sheer size and power more than make up for it. I have a huge stone Golem looking guy who towers over my enemy and just ground pounds the crap out of anyone stupid enough to stand there. Anyway summoning your own gods is only one of many many many many many spells you can find. For your more traditional magic you have a simple system of earth, water and fire elements within your magic. You can have a fire arrow attack where the arrows hover around your head as the wait to deploy, Or you could have a huge ice ball attack that freezes enemies. Shields whilst considered in some games as a noob weapon, Using a shield in this game is a helpful tactic. Shields take the hits for you but you can also attack with it.
If all this magic and its endless possibilities isn’t enough for you then there is also Seals to unlock which yield a much greater power. I don’t know fully how these are unlocked, I have 2 or 3 at the moment but I think that it is done by saving the boss at the end of each chapter. Anyway using a seal is like a one time special move that causes huge damage and looks epic. You charge it up in game by just fighting as normal and once charged a prompt will come up on screen and then use as you see fit. Be warned that using it will break it and a substantial amount of tears will be needed to fix it back up.
The game is nothing like Monster Hunter and really needs to lose that tag. Yes it has 4 player co op taking on huge bosses and unlocking new gear BUT and heres the facts. You dont need to do any grinding on the game to get better stuff, New Armour whilst nice is not a necessity and doesn’t have a huge selection anyway, Its all about building your magic up and getting the next best magical attack. The single player story is fine and if nothing else serves as a good training for the online portion of the game. Here is where the game ramps up the difficulty the speed and overall awesome factor. Up to 4 people can play online, just pick a level and off you go.
I am enjoying the game alot and despite the PAL version coming out shortly, I decided I am going to stick with the copy I currently have. No game play or options are different between the regions except the text and voice over language. I have heard though that the Japanese version is indeed getting a English voice over DLC pack which will be nice. But like any game once you know whats what you don’t really care what language it is in. I could go on and on about the many parts of the game I like but I fear the post may get to encyclopedic levels of content and no one wants that.
Like I say I may well have got the wrong end of the stick with some of this but I haven’t read any articles on it or any wikis and went in blind. Please leave a comment if you have this game or anything you feel should be added.