My poor PS Vita has been sitting in my living room looking quite solemn and neglected for quite some time. Due to this I quirked an eyebrow at the chance to dust it off and surrender some of my precious spare time to sample Soul Sacrifice Delta. So I proceeded to kneel at the altar of Sony and offer up my prayers to Inafune Kami-Sama.
Game: Soul Sacrifice Delta
Developer: Marvelous AQL and Japan Studio
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
If you are a first timer to the series than you should probably be informed that Soul Sacrifice is not a sequel, more of a polished version of the original with a few additions. Even though the story remains unchanged for the most part, I feel it is my duty to call this game on its lackluster story telling.
Delta’s story is told via what are essentially flashbacks out of a freakishly odd looking book named Librom. Many a game have tried this form of time altering monologue, including the last Gears of War and, in my humble opinion, it just doesn’t work. This is entirely not helped by the completely transparent nature of the story itself. It attempts to add mystery, but falls flat on its face with its thinly veiled twists. That being said the small animatics that play out before and after each mission are quite well done, in spite of the obviously small budget that was afforded both titles.
Now that is out the way, let us get to the game itself. Much like its spiritual brother (Monster Hunter in case you were wondering), Delta tries to keep the schooling to a minimum. After being shown your goal in the form of a soul sucking sorcerer who is begging for a beat down, you will get shown the basics of the aforementioned art. And so the game reveals its main mechanic – to suck or not to suck. This is your only method of leveling up and with a level cap of a 100 you will need to decide what kind of sorcerer you wish to be. Draining a monster of its essence will strengthen your magic, while saving endows you with life and the defence needed to protect that life. Sounds simple enough, but of course it never is. There are a few sub systems that you will need to come to grips with in order to be an effective sorcerer, but Delta makes sure to keep them under lock and key until you progress, which can take a couple of hours. This can be a negative or positive depending on your point of view. However, no sorcerer is complete without a full set of spells and boy are there spells. It can be somewhat overwhelming, but at the same time liberating. Toying with different combinations of spells is a highlight of the game and a much-welcomed delight. There have been a few new additions in this area with Delta introducing some rebalancing and additional spells. This is presumably to help you take down the additions to the enemy roster.
The original was mildly criticised for being a tad too repetitive, much the way that Monster Hunter can seem repetitive, if you are not paying enough attention to the nuances. Don’t get me wrong, Delta falls quite some way short of the minute detail found there, especially in the early game, but a healthy dose of experimentation can always bring a fresh perspective. That being said, if you are the type of gamer that for example dislikes playing with crafting mechanics in your action RPG’s, then you will probably still find this game is a little too repetitive for your tastes. Be warned you will be asked to kill the same monster more than twice at lower levels. Don’t say I didn’t warn you! To help you through those possibly monotonous times you can also take part in pacts (hunts/quests) with another like-minded player across the information super highway, which is a large part of the appeal for the game.
Veterans will be pleased with the new Grim sorcerer faction, which adds new fairy tale inspired quests, as well as providing an avenue for the neutral sorcerer who likes to suck and blo…. Sorry, sacrifice and save on occasion or neither with the new fate option that randomly levels your life or magic. As with the other factions this alters your rewards for completing tasks and quests. Other additions include, graphical updates (frames and dynamic background objects I hear you scream), an endless survival mode aptly named Alice’s Eternal Maze and let us not forget the Bazaar Ledger. A Place where you can exchange timed buffs and the like with one of the games many allies and people around the globe.
It could be easily said that Soul Sacrifice Delta is the complete package. Those who managed to hold off from a purchase of the vanilla version will be more than pleased with what is included here. The sheer number of options, cosmetic or otherwise is nauseating (in a good way) and there are so many missions on hand you might just get lost. Soul Sacrifice Delta is not the friendliest of games, but finds itself more forgiving than its counterparts. As a result of this, this is great place to get to grips with the genre and will most definitely keep you busy for well beyond the 50-hour mark.