The latest PS Vita exclusive from the house that PlayStation built arrives in April, springing from the legendary mind of the legendary Keiji Inafune, creator of the legendary Mega Man.
Despite having a slow start, the PlayStation Vita has been blessed with some of the most compelling IP of any console over the last eighteen months, both here and overseas. With Gravity Rush, Persona 4 Golden, Littlebigplanet and Rayman Origins all providing moments of magic for movable gamers, Vita is now a fully-fledged portable powerhouse
Based on the resume’s of its’ famed creators, Soul Sacrifice has a lot going for it. Japan Studio (makers of Patapon, Ape Escape, Echochrome and LocoRoco) and Keiji Inafune (mastermind behind Dead Rising and Mega Man) are responsible for some of the most unique and adventurous gaming environments ever conceived. And Soul Sacrifice should be no exception.
With such unique (?) creators, it’s no surprise that the demo for Soul Sacrifice is also somewhat out there. Being told primarily through interactive flashbacks being told by a living book (think a talking Necronomican), Soul Sacrifice certainly isn’t you traditional narrative structure.
Landing directly into the doomed shoes of a poor schmo, the game finds players already trapped and about the be sacrificed by a lunatic and all-powerful sorcerer. But, thanks to an equally loony and all-powerful book, said poor schmo gets to experience huge battles, learn dark magic and prepare themselves for what should prove to be a somewhat more equal final confrontation.
The demo serves as a series of basic tutorials that takes players through the worlds and arenas of Soul Sacrifice, learning the monster-hunting ropes as they go. From the outset an obvious debt to THE Monster Hunting game of this generation is apparent.
The basic premise finds the player sucked into the world that the book narrates, living, but not being able to alter, the adventures that the sorcerer experienced. Each chapter is presented as a series of battles and sacrifices. Each slain enemy can drop vital weaponry, spells or items and can also be saved or sacrificed, which provides boosts to varies stats accordingly.
It is from these sacrifices that the game gets its name and indeed, its hook. The biggest the sacrifice, the larger the reward. Sacrificing a vanquished enemy is easy, but the potential for sacrificing a limb or ally makes the potential for astonishing emotional impact to be extremely high.
As it is the demo only provides gamers with a mere hint of what might be to come with the sacrifice of your main companion on top of the regular sacrifice or salvation of defeated enemies. The arena/battle elements of the game are pretty generic and uninspiring for the majority of the demo, but the deeper RPG elements that come from items collection and spell enhancement bode exceptionally for the long term success of the game.
The Vita is not busting at the seams with strong RPG/action hybrids, so any game in the genre is welcome. But one with such astonishing talent and skill behind it has the potential to be something really special. Hopefully the full game will expand on the somewhat generic combat and take the game to the next level, and in time, let’s hope it does.