Soul Sacrifice, an Playstation Vita exclusive RPG, is one of the systems most impressive titles yet. The game was developed by Marvelous AQL and Sony Japan Studio, and published by Sony Computer Entertainment. The highly anticipated title releases today in America and tomorrow (Wednesday 1st) in Europe. Read on for our full impressions…

Without a doubt, Soul Sacrifice is of as high a standard as any great console RPG. The game has beautiful graphics, excellent combat, a good storyline and a high standard of narration. Throughout the story, you play through various missions of changing difficulty. Each level involves engaging in combat with certain types of enemies and sometimes a boss. In these levels, you can SAVE or SACRIFICE enemies in order to increase life (and sometimes decrease magic) or increase magic (and sometimes decrease life).

The game begins with a world in which all beings have been imprisoned by an evil sorcerer, Magusar. All of the prisoners are waiting to be fed to this evil sorcerer and you, as one such prisons, have a chance of escape. You find a journal which contains memories of a sorcerer, potentially with the secret to defeating Magusar. By playing through missions from the journal which happened in the past, you gain experience and knowledge. At any point in the game you can choose to fight Magusar, however, learning how to defeat him first is highly recommended.

In terms of weapons, six can be equipped by the character in addition to items known as sigils which boost stats such as attack, health etc. The combat system is quite simple – various attacks and powers can be utilised by the character to defeat enemies. After defeating most enemies, you will get the choice to SAVE or SACRIFICE, as mentioned above. These powers and weapons are each limited use affairs, so, they must be used wisely or they will run out of steam, however, there are, of course, hidden items stashed throughout missions which will refill your uses of these powers.

The story is broken down into main story chapters and side story chapters, all of which are technically optional (but many mandatory in order to obtain vital information regarding Magusar). Timed missions are also included, as well as levels which take a break from the combat to focus on a different type of gameplay as a break from the action. Overall, the balance of story missions and optional missions, as well as the balance of combat gameplay missions and other gameplay missions is very well thought out and there is plenty of content to entertain those who invest in the game.

At the end of each mission, players are given an analysis of their performance in that missions. Better performance in the missions results in the awarding of better rewards for players. As you may have noticed, the game focuses on a theme of risk taking. Everything you do in the game will have an effect on the end results. For example, if you SAVE more defeated enemies, you will become a Divine Sorcerer. If you SACRIFICE more enemies, you will become a Dark Sorcerer. If you evenly distribute your saves and sacrifices, you will be only a neutral character by the end of the game. Choosing SAVE or SACRIFICE can even result in different missions being unlocked in some cases within the game. Conversely, ‘tears’ from the eye of your journal (called LACRIMA) will allow you to reserve decisions you made within the book.

Soul Sacrifice is a very long game, easily giving over twenty-five to thirty hours of gameplay, which will easily be lost whilst playing due to the addictive nature of the game. As you play, the hours will pour into the missions and you’ll forget how long you’ve been playing. While some of the missions do feel a little repetitive, the game is extremely enjoyable and addictive overall.

Unfortunately, there is one problem in this game. The AI behaviour. Through the story, you may be accompanied by several allies. These allies become available by saving some of the enemies from boss fights, rather than sacrificing them. AI, overall, is not very intelligent and the computer controlled characters do not play very well. This is, however, only a small criticism of an excellent title. The game is very easily playable without intelligent AI and may perhaps be even more enjoyable because of this.

Overall, Soul Sacrifice is a fantastic title. It looks great, the narration through the story is fantastic, the story itself is interesting and the combat and gameplay are excellent – what more could you ask for from a PS Vita RPG? Thanks for reading our review, we hope you stick with InsideTheBox for more gaming & technology news and reviews.