The PS Vita. We used to love it. Playing Gravity Rush in the park, Uncharted whilst waiting for the bus and snapping trees to decorate our LittleBigPlanet. But then… nothing.
Now with the 3DS reigning supreme with triple A titles launching every month, the Vita has just become an expensive paperweight compared to the all-encompassing game changer Sony envisioned at its launch. And with Killzone: Mercenary and Tearaway way off in the distance and, well, absolutely nothing of any merit hitting the console before then, it falls to Soul Sacrifice to fly the flag for Sony’s little box of wonders. We’ve gone hands on with Vita’s latest action adventure, and here’s the lowdown. Basically a watered down God of War with spruced up magic attacks and scaled down swordplay, Soul Sacrifice is a bite-size brawler that’s built for on-the-go bouts.
You play as a customisable Sorcerer with a variety of magical abilities – or ‘Sacrifices’ as the game so charmingly labels them – in a series of arena-based battles against half of Greek Mythology. Flying skeleton Harpies, giant Cheshire cat-faced Orcs, sand hyena zombie things – you know, classic mythic critters. But after a couple of rounds in the ring though, what your fighting simply doesn’t matter. It’s how you fight. And that’s where Soul Sacrifice hits a knockout blow.
Combat is great – and with the sheer amount of sacrificial killer blows on offer, it never gets boring. You can throw these giant stone fists around, toss a casual spinning disc of death or 5 and conjure whatever this lava torso monster-hybrid is. And with the unlocks coming thick and fast after every battle, there’ll always be something new and interesting to try out in the next battle. The sheer variety on offer is initially overwhelming. But once you get your head around how they all work, the carnage really kicks into gear. There’s even a nifty levelling up system based around a save or sacrifice dynamic.
Save and you get extra health; sacrifice and your sorcerer goes full-on badass with a range of combat and magic perks. You can even sacrifice yourself. Offer up your skin, and your defences will be reduced by 50 percent, let the gods take your eyes, and your vision will be blurred for the rest of the match. Sacrifice yourself completely, and you’ll be limited to a mere spectator of the match – with the added benefit of seeing enemies’ health bars. Admittedly it’s pretty simple stuff, but Skyrim style depth is never really going to work when you’re on the bus.