By Janelle | September 22, 2012 at 11:08 pm
Is this one an RPG? It comes close. It’s close enough. Shut up.
The Soul Sacrifice demo was a great experience, in no small part because the people who put the demo together knew what they were doing. It was a four-playing, demon-slaying coop mission. With the booth attendant taking the lead position, her microphone feed hooked into all of our headphones, we could get game info from her without the demo bogging us down with tutorial screens.
We started by listening to a speech by a scary grimoire, covered in fangs and eyeballs, and were then plunked down on a character creation screen. I didn’t want to hold up the group, so I didn’t get to look through the character classes closely but there were five classes to choose from. Whether the class determined stats or magic types, I couldn’t tell, but I picked a girl who seemed reasonably covered and had a wicked scarf-hood.
Before embarking on a mission, there was a wide variety of magic to choose from and customize your skill sets with. Up to two sets of three spells could be selected. They ranged from summoning swords of fire, to charging forward in a flash of lightning, to shooting blood bullets.
Our team’s mission was to take to Cerberus. Before he appeared, we had time to mow down some low-level monsters and test our our abilities. We could dash and dodge using the X button, and the other face buttons were mapped to our spell sets. Tapping R would switch between the two spell sets, or put away a magically summoned weapon.
My spells were all very movement-based, so standing still and sniping from the back of the fray didn’t seem like an option, at least for my character. All the spells had me moving, jumping and slashing in all directions, which added to the fun. Our party was able to work together to take down baddies with ease. When one of us got low on health, we could look for yellow circles on the ground, which would slowly regenerate a character’s HP if he stood in it. But standing in a circle didn’t protect from enemy attacks, so I needed to stay active, moving in and out of the circle as needed.
Magic doesn’t consume MP in Soul Sacrifice, but it does require offerings, obtained by sacrificing monsters. I couldn’t see an indicator for how many uses a spell had left, but midway through the Cerberus fight, one of my lightning spells began to flash red. As I continued to cast it, the icon shattered, rendering the spell unusable for the rest of the fight.
Cerberus was large, fast, and had unpredictable movement and attack patterns. If we did enough damage to him, our party leader was able to imprison him in time for a brief moment, letting us wail on him freely. Eventually, though, she died, leaving us with the choice to save her or sacrifice her: the former would keep her alive at the cost of some of the health of the player who saved her, while the latter would consume her chance of life to cast a powerful spell. A sacrificed player could remain on the battlefield as a ghost, lowering the attributes of monsters (or watching the “ally” who let him die get his just desserts).
After we defeated Cerberus, he vanished to reveal a frightened man, whose soul our group could also sacrifice or save. Apparently it’s democratic, because I picked save, and everyone else picked sacrifice, so we wound up sacrificing him. That increased one of two levels: saving a monster would increase your armor and heal you, while sacrificing would increase damage and replenish your offerings for casting spells. Even though I picked saving the monster, at least I still got the benefits of sacrificing him when my team overruled me.
Finally, we saw a mission results screen, which tallied up all of the bonuses we received in battle and showed our spoils.
The Soul Sacrifice demo was fun, and to the point. What’s the main draw of the game? Taking down big monsters with your friends. The demo gave me a taste of that, and I loved it. Soul Sacrifice will also contain a single-player campaign, and comes equipped for both ad-hoc and Wi-Fi multiplayer. Its Japanese release date has been pushed back to the spring of 2013.