Sunday, May 5, 2013

Sacrifice All of the Things!

I've been playing a lot of things that are decidedly not Soul Sacrifice lately and I thought that today was the perfect day to remedy that error in judgement.  As it turns out, for once, I was completely right

As I mentioned previously, Soul Sacrifice is a game that a lot of people expected to be a lot of things and some walked away a little disappointed because of that.  Myself, I had a few ideas, but none of them seemed to make sense with what the others were saying, so I wasn't quite sure what to expect when I got it.  When I learned that it was an arena fighter game, basically, I admit I was a bit worried - after all, that just sounds like other games that I'm just not all that enamored with.  Still, a demo was promised for it, and I was dead-set on at least trying that before I decided the fate of my purchase.  And, as you might remember, I quite enjoyed it.  Which has not changed even slightly from the demo to the full game itself, thankfully.

I still haven't quite determined just what it is that I like about Soul Sacrifice, that makes it so enjoyable that I sank my entire day into it and still wasn't sated (in that I really just want to be playing it right this moment), but I do have a few ideas.  And they are all just dependent on the actual chords that Soul Sacrifice plays on which, combined, are a powerful draw it seems.  Though, really, I could be wrong because it's just hard to really quantify the fun that I've been having in any fashion.  Other than assuring you several times that I have been having fun, which I know sounds less and less true with every restatement of it, but I'm sure you can all also understand the difficulty to shape fun into coherent words and descriptors.

I think one of the things that the game really pushes on is the inherent desire to collect and create, since this is ever-present with the Offerings.  Not only is there benefit in getting several copies of a single offering to combine them (and combine their combinations, etc.) over and over again to boost the spell in question, giving you more base castings of it, but you can also collect offerings to fuse them together.  Where boosting requires two of the same Offering, Fusion takes two or more different Offerings and combines them into something else.  That you can then make multiple copies of to combine and boost them.  Both of these together means that you'll be spending a lot of time replaying quests for offerings to make/boost more offerings.  Over and over.  Which seems like it might get repetitive, but so far it hasn't.

Another thing is that it plays off of High Score Compulsion.  You're rewarded with points for doing certain things in a battle like attacking an elemental vulnerability or countering an attack (which you should do anyway since it deals massive damage) and at the end of a quest, you're given a rank based on your points.  Not only is there a trophy tied to getting a certain rank enough times, but the higher-tier ranks sometimes offer extra bonuses as well in the forms of bonus offerings.  For instance, your first fight with a Jack-o'-Lantern might just yield you an offering that will, I believe, allow you to temporarily become a Jack-o'-Lantern for the purpose of doing the flaming roll tackle that it possesses.  This might just be with Archfiends, but still, it's definitely something to shoot for for various reasons.

Those meta-goals aside, I really think what manages to keep Soul Sacrifice fresh as you play it over and over again for offerings is sort of a combination of both of those ideals.  I hardly switch out my Offerings unless I get one that is clearly better than what I have currently in all facets, or if I'm loading up on a particular element to take advantage of a particular archfiend's weakness, but I know that at some point, I will know the game inside and out enough that I will be able to pick out different configurations to rush the level as professionally as possible.  I'll know the strategies for countering at the right moment for this enemy and that.  I'll find the area of expertise that affords me a little wiggle-room for finesse, which I'm already taking, though perhaps at the expense of my score for now.  And that's all just because Soul Sacrifice is, at its basest level, just plain fun.  I'm not sure how it happened, but it did, and I couldn't be happier for that.

the funny text at the bottom here tells you to buy Soul Sacrifice

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