Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Soul Sacrifice Looks Brutal, Awesome

Look at the screenshot above.  Now look at your Vita.  The above screenshot is concept art for the oft-teased (at least, in the last week or so) "Soul Sacrifice", a game which has just now started spilling out delicious delicious information.  A game that will be on the Playstation Vita, and a game that looks wonderfully screwed up.  A game that has literally planted itself on my radar simply by being insanity given form in a budding thing.  And a game that I will no doubt be following fairly intensely in its development process.

You've probably been thinking to yourself "Why is he eating his hand?" or something similar while looking at the above picture and I assure you, I will get to that in all due time.  First, I should probably explain the premise of the game, or at least what little bit of it has been shared.  You play a wizard that is the slave of a more powerful mage and, at some point, a demon comes by with a magical book that seems to serve as the 'hub' by the way it sounds, since it apparently lets you 'experience' the different events inside, indicating that it would ideally be the actual storyline and the way it progresses.  The wizard that you play is meant to be -your- wizard and as such, you'll be able to change their appearance to your liking, and I imagine the style in which the wizard specializes in will be up to your whims as well.

Speaking style, I of course mean fighting style, which hasn't been detailed too much, but the little bits that have been pointed out are....quite a thing.  They're the focus of the game for a very obvious reason when you get into it, and will likely be the main thing you either love or hate about the game.  You see, the magic used in Soul Sacrifice all works off of, well, "Sacrifices".  Whether it be an item, likely health or, for the big, bad spells, parts of your body itself.  Literally.  You see, the picture at the top of the post here depicts a wizard using the "Excalibur" spell, for which the required sacrifice is, uh....your spine.  So he literally rips his spine out through his mouth and the body part is used as an instrument of death, likely for a short period of time only.  After which, one could assume it just sort of...uh....goes back in.  Maybe.  Similarly, other spells discussed so far are "Greipnir" which sacrifices....the bones in your fingers, s'far as I can tell, to turn your hand into an extending instrument of torture, and "Gorgon" which requires an eye, thus summoning other eyeballs that fire lasers.  Seriously.

Some will likely take well to the rather over-the-top insanity that the game clearly has at its core where others will simply say that it's 'trying too hard'.  I'm sure with my history and the praise I've had for it so far makes it fairly clear which camp I'm in.  And still others won't know what to think beyond "How is he walking around if he ripped his own spine out" to which the obvious answer is "Shut up, that's how".  One does not question the merit of using your own spine as a weapon, but rather must simply applaud the ingenuity involved in even -thinking- about that, much less the backbone guts to actually do it.  Of course, with only these three spells being the ones I've seen so far, that's only the tip of the ice berg and I can't wait to see just what else they can think of along those lines.

Of course, there is a downside to ripping apart your own body in various ways to destroy your enemies.  Who would've thought, right?  Apparently, from a few pieces of information pulled together, the baddies of the world may just be other wizards who wielded the same sorts of spells in the same situations (fighting the wizards before them) until they twisted and mutated them into that which they sought to destroy.  It's a vicious cycle thematically, and might just come into play in the gameplay itself, especially with the Multiplayer aspect of the game that plays up on the slight "Monster Hunter" vibe the game carries.  Which is to say that there will be lots of rather large monsters that will be much more fun to take out with a friend or friends, and the Vita's capabilities will allow just such a thing to occur.

Despite the rumors and comments about the art style of Soul Sacrifice, From Software, the makers of Demon's and Dark Souls, has nothing to do with the game.  In fact, it's one of those (I'm assuming) rare games that actually have three different developers behind it working cooperatively.  Soul Sacrifice's trifecta come in the form of Sony's Japan Studio, Marvelous AQL and Keiji Inafune (or rather, Inafune and his development studio Comcept I would assume).  If you had managed to hear word of Inafune accidentally admitting to working on a Vita game, well, this would be the one and it's...certainly not what anybody expected, I'm quite sure.  Still, it looks quite out there and as I've said, I'm already looking forward to it just based on the little information we have.  There should be a trailer here soon for the game, so when it comes out, I'll link it here for your viewing pleasure!

Update!:  As I said, a trailer went up today, so let's take a gander, yes?

Still no real gameplay, but it does show what "Excalibur" looks like in motion and it's just as brutal as you might expect.  Also, at the tail end of the video, it gives a little glimpse at just what you might expect after using such a high-end spell:  Death.  Of course, with a game like this, that might not be quite as much of a barrier as you might expect; after all, the creatures of the world are only creatures because they were so badly disfigured after using so many strong spells.  Death in battle seems to be able to serve as a primary tactic as this siliconera post goes on to say.
This group of players decided on sacrifice and a wounded sorcerer set himself on fire to cast the spell Salamander. The other three players decided to sacrifice Cerberus and claim the reward.
One player sacrifices himself so that the others can finally finish off the creature, or even offer it salvation, after the end of the battle.  They will then be rewarded accordingly.  I've seen elsewhere that such a sacrifice from a player can result in a large buff for the remaining party as well, though I imagine there are other advantages.  And of course, it won't always be completely necessary for three players to reap the benefits of a victory; I'm sure part of the challenge comes in at finding out just what these times are.  With such a system in place, though, I'm curious as to hearing just how the lasting effects work.  After all, after playing your character online with others for so long, you'll likely use enough magic for disfigurement, but it seems a little odd to reward your players for success by rendering their characters to being awful abominations.  Regardless, it's something curious and great to look forward to, since even though localization is just 'an option' at this point, this is almost assuredly coming this way.

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