Seeing as how Monster Hunter always caused PSP sales to surge (in Japan, anyway), why not try a next-gen handheld version for the Vita? Seems logical. So that’s why an action/RPG called Soul Sacrifice is coming our way; it’s a combined effort from Sony’s Japan Studio and Keiji Inafune’s new Comcept team. Sadly, the game – which was expected to arrive later this year – has been pushed back to the spring, but that just gives us more time to get all hyped for it, right?
A story will exist but it will hardly be the focal point. Nevertheless— You and up to three friends head out into the dangerous wilderness to hunt certain fiends. The names (and hopefully locations) of those fiends were given to you by a mysterious demon book, which for some reason desires the death of many a fantasy baddie. Toss this into a pretty standard action/RPG setup and you probably know what to expect. However, there’s one major twist that should significantly alter the gameplay and the overall experience, and that twist is directly related to the title. “Sacrifice” will not only be a part of the game; it’ll be a critical part of the action, so get ready to make some tough decisions.
As it turns out, you’ll be able to sacrifice various pieces of equipment and even body parts to create slick new weapons or give yourself a stat-boost of some kind. Even your allies are fair game for sacrifice, so this should prove to be an interesting – perhaps even psychological? – adventure. Whenever you conquer a beast, you will have the option of either salvaging or sacrificing its soul. You’ll have to take various factors into consideration when making your decision, of course, and don’t forget that there should be a wide variety of dangerous creatures. So essentially, souls from different enemies will offer different things, so there should be a fair amount of strategy involved. Weighing pros and cons = crucial.
It’s just weird to think about. Parts of your own body? Really? And depending on what body part you decide to sacrifice, a certain ability will be imbued in the weapon you create. But at the same time, you’ll lose the benefit of having that body part about your person…so what to do? Take my arm? My leg? My eye? Sacrifice strength, agility, maneuverability, and vision? Will it be worth it? Even more intriguing is what happens if you don’t survive the battle, especially if you’re playing with friends. See, your “friends” can either be noble and reverential or they can be brutally practical and opportunistic. Can’t blame ‘em for being the latter, though.
There’s no Game Over; if someone dies, the other members of the party can either resurrect the fallen comrade or simply use what that ally left behind. Furthermore, if you do bite the dust, you’ll continue on in spirit form while your body is ravaged. You can’t do as much in spirit form, but you can still assist by using the touchscreen function in some capacity and sharing buffs and what-not. This sorta reminds me of Demon’s Souls and the difference between running around with your body, and exploring in your spirit form. The bottom line is that, obviously, playing with others will make this new Vita game vastly more entertaining.
Soul Sacrifice is now slated for mid-March and I’m hoping it’ll be a fun, cooperative-oriented title that will make the Vita even more attractive. If you were a Monster Hunter fan, well…this is a no-brainer.
10/4/2012 Ben Dutka