Soul Sacrifice Delta Review

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Title: Soul Sacrifice Delta
Developer: Marvelous AQL
Game Type: PlayStation Vita
Download: 3.0 GB
NA Availability: 
Digital Download

EU Availability: Digital Download
PSTV Support: Yes


Raiding and Hunting games have become a popular thing on the PlayStation Vita as of late.  Games like Lord of Apocalypse, Ragnarok Odyssey, Soul Sacrifice, God Eater 2, and more have released in various territories for the device.  More games are coming, outside of that as well.  Ragnarok Odyssey Ace made the jump to both the Vita and the PS3, and Nintendo has some new games coming as well, from Final Fantasy Explorers to Monster Hunter 4.

Even within that popularity, there is an even bigger trend that is coming through the genre, and that is the release of enhanced versions of the games that aren’t quite full-blown sequels, but have much more content than the original versions of those games.  Games like God Eater Burst and Ragnarok Odyssey Ace are good examples of this, having released with an expanded story and a slew of new content to explore.

The trend is going in many ways.  North America never got the original versions of Monster Hunter 4 or God Eater, but started with the enhanced editions of those games.  Other franchises, like Ragnarok Odyssey and Soul Sacrifice, have had both their original versions and expanded versions coming to the West.  The most recent entry is what we’ve got for you today.  Here is our official review of Soul Sacrifice Delta!

Story

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In a world where Sorcerers once reigned supreme as mercenaries, there is chaos and turmoil.  Once a world full of magic, plentiful sorcerers, and monsters that began as people, it is now laid to waste from a powerful Sorcerer known as Magusar, whom captures the living and sacrifices them to maintain eternal life.

You awaken in a cage in Magusar’s domain, soon to be sacrificed and absorbed into his own body to give him the life he needs to keep living.  Just as all hope seems to be lost, you are given a talking book, the key to the memories of a sorcerer from the past.  Using the magical properties of the book, you are able to dive deep into that sorcerer’s memories and relive them as if they were your own, giving you the ability to increase your own magical power and arsenal of spells to prepare to fight and take down Magusar.

Soul Sacrifice has a very large emphasis on story, unlike most Hunting games.  Each story chapter will showcase the travels of the sorcerer whose memories you relive.  Not only is there an in-depth story to this game, but from the very first chapter, it is a story with emotion-gripping details.  By Chapter 1’s end, I was on the verge of sadness and tears for the events that lay in motion before me.  The tale is a tragic one and is well written.

Gameplay

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Soul Sacrifice Delta, like its original version, is a Hunting/Raiding game.  This means that most of the game will be spent taking on missions, known as Phantom Quests, and taking down monsters to collect items, gain various types of experience, and increasing your skills.  Otherwise, you will be flipping through pages of the book, as the game doesn’t feature any sort of exploration with a base, outside of Phantom Quests.

When you dive into the game, there are a few things you can do, with more that unlock the further you get in the game’s story.  But at the main section, you will have access to Mad Chronicles, Portraiture, Bazaar Ledger, and Lore.  The first of which, Mad Chronicles, is where you can progress through quests and the story, which we will detail later.

Portraiture is where you can customize your character.  This includes CPU Allies that you’ve obtained through quests to take on quests with you as assistance against bosses, your clothing, which can be customized from your torso and legs, unlike the original Soul Sacrifice, which required you to change the entire outfit together.  You can also modify the offerings/spells you have equipped as well as the Sigils you’ve equipped to your arm, which can add various stat effects in battle.

The Bazaar Ledger unlocks further into the game and can be used for various purposes.  There are four NPC’s you can speak with in this place, where you can purchase new clothing, listen to rumors, get palm readings, as well as playing through Phantom Quests that work as mini-games, like tilting the Vita to collect souls and memories.

Lore is where you can learn more about the world of Soul Sacrifice, including the separate stories and tales between each enemy and boss you encounter.  This section isn’t just a statistical “Bestiary” page for the game, but actually offers in-depth stories and backstories for characters and enemies.  If you really want to learn about Soul Sacrifice, you could spend an hour or two just reading through the descriptions and backstories between just the bosses, whether exclusive to Delta or otherwise.

In Mad Chronicles, you can progress through the six chapters of the game’s main story mode, as well as jumping into the “Sorcerous Deeds” section of the story.  While the main story can be quite an emotional thrill-ride, its difficulty spikes greatly, and doing Sorcerous Deeds can help you tremendously.  This section has three separate Affiliations you may belong to: Avalon, Sanctuarium, and Grim (New to Delta), as well as many “Free Missions” known as Pacts, allowing you to take your CPU allies and fight alongside them for experience.  There is also Alice’s Eternal Maze, which is also new to Delta, allowing you to progress through dungeons, completing difficult objectives.

Each of the three affiliations has their own story mode, just like the Main Story.  Avalon, which focuses on sacrificing enemies to gain power.  Sanctuarium, which focuses on saving enemies to restore them to life.  And Grim, whom let the wheel of Fate decide what happens to them, be it sacrificing or saving.  Grim is unique to the game, as it is new and every one of its bosses is its own alteration of Fairy Tales that everyone knows well, from Little Red Riding Hood to Alice in Wonderland to The Three Little Pigs.

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Actually taking part in a battle, puts you into an open plane with enemies to fight.  One thing to note about battle is the speed.  If you’ve played games like Ragnarok Odyssey and Monster Hunter, you will be surprised when you start fighting in Soul Sacrifice Delta.  Unlike those games, the combat is very fast-paced, almost on the level of speed you would expect from a game like Ys: Memories of Celceta, but in a Raiding genre.  While some spells can attack slowly, some can be extremely quick and fast, requiring quick reflexes on attacking as well as dodging.

Story Missions have set parties for you to have in battle, but Pacts allow you to choose any of the allies you’ve gained through Phantom Quests.  Your job in each of these missions is to find your targets and annihilate them, though some missions require you to do certain things to them, like sacrificing them or saving them.

This is done when an enemy is defeated.  When you equip a spell in your arsenal and defeat an enemy with it, you may Sacrifice them, Save them, or let Fate randomize whether they are sacrifices or saved.  By default, Sacrificing an enemy will give you Sacrifice Experience and increase your magic damage.  Saving them will give you Saving Experience and will increase your health.  This experience will built up until each one levels up and increases your stat parameters for each type.  Using the Fate option will randomize but give small bits of experience to both values.

Which faction you are in the mission or equipped to you greatly determines what happens in a mission.  If you’re part of Sanctuarium, whom deem Sacrificing unacceptable and Sacrifice an enemy, you won’t get as much experience.  Choosing the option that your Faction/Affiliation values will grant you more experience as well as renewing your Offerings/Spells, as they only have a certain amount of uses before they will run out and be destroyed.

What you get when you complete the mission will also depend on what you do.  If you do what your faction values, then the materials and spells you are rewarded with at mission’s end will be much greater and better than if you don’t.  However, dying and being revived by your allies or reviving them in a mission will not affect this at all.

Soul Sacrifice Delta cannot technically be called a full-blown sequel, but the game does offer a substantial amount of content that the original game did not have.  From the Eternal Maze, gameplay tweaks, and the Grim Faction, the game will boast at least 40 hours of content to clear the story, and much more to maximize your skills and complete all of the Pacts included in the game.

Controls

The controls of Soul Sacrifice do use most of the commands and buttons on the PlayStation Vita, though I wouldn’t say that they’re hard to remember.  There’s a lot to do, but the game makes it pretty easy to show you where everything is, whether you are jumping back in for the daily quest, or haven’t played the game in months.

Controlling your character is done with the D-Pad and the camera can be moved with the Right Analog Stick.  While the game doesn’t allow you to jump, you can press or hold the X Button to run or dodge.  There’s no stamina bar, so you can do this as long as you want without running out of breath.  The Square, Triangle, and Circle buttons are used for activating and using Offerings/Spells.  The R button is also used to cycle through your two menus of spells to choose which one you want to use.

The L and R buttons are also used when an enemy is defeated and you must choose to Sacrifice, Save, or Fate them away.  You can hold the L button to sacrifice them, hold the R button to Save them, or hold the two together to allow Fate to decide what happens.  The touch screen is also used in the game, but is used in menus, rather than in the middle of battle.

The control scheme may seem a little intimidating, but there will be button symbols on the screen for most commands, allowing easy access to the knowledge of what button does what.

Presentation

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As far as the game’s visuals go, it’s rather impressive.  I won’t say the engine is perfect, as a jagged edge could appear every so often, but the game’s visual presentation is very impressive, far above any of the other Hunting games on the Vita, that’s for sure.  From the effects to the character models to the gruesome environments and enemies, the game looks visually impressive.

The game plays well, too.  While the Load Times aren’t really short, they’re not incredibly long, either.  I would say I would wait an average of 5-8 seconds before going into each Phantom Quest.  Gameplay never slowed down in the middle of fighting, either, so the developers did a nice job at optimizing this game, not only to look nice, but play nice as well.

Overall

Soul Sacrifice Delta is a game packed with content that is fun with its fast combat and visually impressive.  While the missions can get repetitive if you do not enjoy “Go kill this” missions every time you go into the game, the game’s heart-gripping story can really pull you in and jab at your heart strings.  If you like Action RPGs and games with emotional plots, you should definitely check this out.

The PlayStation Vita Review Network rates Soul Sacrifice Delta a 9/10

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