Review: Soul Sacrifice Delta (PSV)

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Title: Soul Sacrifice Delta
Format: PlayStation Network Download (3.0 GB)
Release Date: May 13, 2014
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Developer: Marvelous Entertainment, SCE Studios Japan
Original MSRP: $35.99
ESRB Rating: M
Soul Sacrifice Delta is exclusive to the PlayStation Vita.
The PlayStation Network download version of this game was used for review.
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
PS Nation Review Policy.

Just over a year ago PlayStation Vita owners welcomed Soul Sacrifice to their libraries; filling the void for a AAA-style action-RPG on the system. Though Soul Sacrifice hasn’t sold outrageously well, be that for the system’s failures or the game’s, it has been received rather well by the majority of gamers who have played it. Even our own Eric reviewed the game and gave it a good score – read it here.

With the success and fan-following that has grown for the original, developer Marvelous Entertainment and SCE Studios Japan decided to dive back into the universe of sorcerers and sorceresses to give fans more content, adding in a substantial amount on top of the original game. Soul Sacrifice Delta is the exact same game that released back in April 2013, just with an extra 1/3 of gameplay.

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This additional content isn’t something that can be downloaded separate, at least not yet. You will have to fork out money to purchase the entire game just to enjoy the new content, but thankfully your save from Soul Sacrifice will carry over.

Gameplay:
In Soul Sacrifice Delta you take on the role of a nameless mage who, against his choices, is thrown into a battle to rid the world of a vastly superior, and outrageously evil, mage named Magusar. With the help of Librom, Magusar’s living book of spells, you will eventually face off against the powerful magic wielder to punish him for his transgressions.

In order to become powerful enough to take on Magusar and defeat him, you need to gain new powers that only Librom and his pages can provide you. Librom tells you that his pages aren’t filled with spells though, instead they are filled with the memories of Magusar’s life and all other mages he has came into contact with. Reading these memoirs, which you play in, you can gain new and powerful spells. While the overall plot of Soul Sacrifice Delta isn’t really anything special, some of the side stories are quite interesting and the new content is even more enjoyable.

These memories you’ll be reliving from Magusar’s past are, for the majority of the game, basically the same thing. You’ll load in to one of seven maps and be tasked with completing one of three main quests: kill ‘x’ number of monsters, save a specific monster, or sacrifice a specific monster. Sadly, as you can tell from the limited options, Soul Sacrifice Delta features a lot of repeat missions, potentially making the game boring really quickly. Thankfully though, the battle system is enough to keep you interested, at least for the majority of the game.

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The big hook with combat in Soul Sacrifice Delta, and in the original game as well, is your decision to save or sacrifice your enemy once you have defeated them. Each choice has its benefits like healing yourself or replenishing your magic attacks, but they also keep you from gaining the other benefit. So if you want to heal yourself, you can’t replenish your magic and vice-versa. This gameplay mechanic is even more important when you realize that the majority of the magic that you use in the game will actually take a physical toll on your health. Want to use a spell that will give you a giant sword to swing around? Then you need to be willing to give up a little bit of your health with each swing. Want to use a devastating attack on a boss that is sure to take out half their health? Be careful as you can permanently lose over half of your health with no ability to regain it for the entire fight.

During a fight, besides trying to constantly deal damage to your enemy, you are also continuously trying to determine how much of a penalty you are willing to take in order to deal with the monster at hand – trust me, at times it can be really exciting.

The biggest addition to the original Soul Sacrifice game is the inclusion of a new faction and the ability for players to pick which one they want to be a member of. Two of the three factions have returned from the original game, Avalon and Sanctorium; one holding the belief of sacrificing for personal gain while the other believes in saving all creatures. The newest faction, Grim, finds its followers from those who aren’t sitting on one of the extremes, using both sacrificing and saving as tools for their gain.

Along with the new faction, new story missions were added into the game. These missions follow the same formula as the original two but now with a dark fairy-tale twist to them. Each of the major boss monsters that you will face are a disturbing version of those wonderful childhood stories that a lot of us grew up with, like the twisted version of the Three Little Pigs in the picture above. I loved it.

Visuals:
Soul Sacrifice Delta is touted as having better visuals than the original, but to be honest it wasn’t necessary. The original Soul Sacrifice is stunning on the Vita, and these “upgrades” aren’t even really noticeable.

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Everything from monster design, to character design, to UI design to… well, everything else, looks really good. Character models are highly detailed, providing some really outstanding looking characters – including yourself. Just as the character models, the detail on the monsters is fantastic, especially the newly added ones in the new content.

Yet, for how great the models look, they are reused a lot. Though this is a knock against Soul Sacrifice Delta, it really is just a symptom of this style of game; see Monster Hunter or God Eater. While you can’t really hold it against Soul Sacrifice Delta, it is sad to see there isn’t a crazy amount of variety, but oh well.

One of the biggest touted visual additions is that a very small number of levels, only two from my experience, actually have a day/night cycle. Sadly though, when day turned to night nothing changed about the level, except for the lack of light. The lack of gameplay differences between the day/night time really makes that feature pointless other than a semi-cool looking effect watching it change.

Audio:
Soul Sacrifice Delta has very good audio for about half of the game – mainly the cut scene sections. While reading the memories within Librom, before you are teleported into the world to fight, the story is read out by the accompanying mage you’ll fight with and Magusar. The script is written really well, almost in a poem at times, and the voice actors nailed basically all aspects of engaging with the text. Librom, the living spell book, while you don’t hear him talk a crazy amount also has a great voice and interesting dialog which kept me from skipping the moments you interact with him.

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Ignoring the fantastic voice acting, the rest of the audio in Soul Sacrifice Delta is quite forgettable. Thinking back on it right now, was there even background music? I guess there was, but it sure didn’t stick out to me as even being ‘meh’. Sound effects are similarly forgettable as most of them won’t even faze you while your focusing on the battle at hand.

Online/Multiplayer:
So, yeah…Soul Sacrifice Delta does have a multiplayer portion, the exact same one from the original game, yet I never had a chance to play with another person. The fault wasn’t on me as whenever I would attempt to play online with people, the game wouldn’t find anyone to connect with. I attempted playing online on various different WiFi connections, but each time I was left playing the online-specific missions alone with AI-controlled characters.

Thankfully though I did play the online portion of the original Soul Sacrifice and can tell you that it is fantastic and I am happy to say Soul Sacrifice Delta’s online portion felt the exact same. Missions are short and sweet, allowing for a bunch to be completed in a short amount of time when you have a full group of four mages going into battle.

While again I wasn’t able to partake in a actual online game with Soul Sacrifice Delta, it looks like all the original game’s assets came over as well as the good matchmaking system/lobby. In the original, connecting to other players was quick and easy, resulting in being in a mission within seconds. I can only assume that the online portion works just as well in Soul Sacrifice Delta, since there doesn’t seem to be any change to the formula.

Conclusion:
Soul Sacrifice is already a really good game, even without this extra content. PlayStation Vita owners who do not own this game have really missed the ball here as this is one of the system’s best.

If you can get over the fact that you’re paying for what amounts to DLC, then by all means you need to pick this up; just remember, it’s basically just DLC and you’re paying the full price of the original game for it.

Score:
8.0

* All screenshots used in this review were taken directly from the game using the Vita’s built in screen capture feature.

Written by Kyle Jessee

Kyle Jessee

Your lone Kentucky writer on staff. Loves the Big Blue Nation, rock music, and Resistance 2 (the best in the series).

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  • Joshua Simpkins

    Your review score is pretty damn close to what I was thinking in my head, Jessee. I was thinking a 9, but still, 8 is great. 😉

    I did an unboxing video of this game on YouTube if anyone is interested in watching.

    https://youtu.be/JnqzG593jPg