Soul Sacrifice review

Soul Sacrifice’s mythology and world are as distinctive as they are cruel and unpleasant.
Soul Sacrifice’s mythology and world are as distinctive as they are cruel and unpleasant.
Soul Sacrifice’s mythology and world are as distinctive as they are cruel and unpleasant.


  • Memorable enemies
  • Original designs
  • Playing online can add a new layer to the gameplay


  • Lots of repetition
  • Side quests are often too simple
  • Combat borrows too much from other games
  • Lack of Variety in gameplay

DT Editors' Rating

Soul Sacrifice makes me worry about Keiji Inafune. The first game from his fledgling studio Comcept is also his first large scale work since leaving Capcom in 2010. Inafune’s work from 1987 on practically defined Capcom. He’s the man behind Mega Man, the art in DuckTales and the original Street Fighter, the producer on everything from Ace Attorney: Phoenix Wright to The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap.

soulsacrifice_screens_general_ingameBright, colorful, and ebullient are the words that go hand in hand with Inafune’s best work. Even at his darkest, in games like Onimusha and Dead Rising, things are never as bleak, desperate, and sad as they are in Soul Sacrifice. Five minutes with the game makes you want to take him out for a drink and see if he needs to talk about how things are going. The game’s primary currency is tears; it’s that kind of party. 

As lonesome and sanguinary as the game is, it also feels creatively invigorated in a way that no Inafune game has in years. Soul Sacrifice’s mythology and world are as distinctive as they are cruel and unpleasant.  It borrows some scaffolding from another Capcom craze that started during Inafune’s time with the company, and it suffers as a result. On the whole, however, Comcept’s debut is a standout on the PS Vita.

Murder, Not Hunting

Soul Sacrifice shares some foundational aspects with Capcom’s long running Monster Hunter series. As in that game, your time is spent taking on small creatures in a variety of arenas and collecting resources. You then take on enormous monsters that require a hefty amount of time to kill, enlisting AI partners or playing online with actual people. That’s it as far as similarities go. Everything else, from the way the monsters behave to the world that they inhabit to the way fighting works, is wholly unique in Soul Sacrifice.


There are two types of people in the game’s world: regular humans and sorcerers. Sorcerers are terrifyingly powerful thanks to their magic powers, but they’re also few in number. Regular people tolerate them because they’re the only ones that can rid the world of the countless slavering beasts – who themselves used to be regular people, animals, and sorcerers – wandering the land.

As the game reminds you over and over again, a sorcerer lives to murder. The tools of their trade are offerings, different items that get used up in order to summon a skill. Bones let you summon up an extension of your arm to pummel monsters, while herbs are sacrificed to heal yourself and your party.

Soul SacrificeSacrifice is at the heart of all your abilities. Black Rites, the game’s “super moves,” can save your life but they’ll also warp your body. The first rite your receive, Infernus, can set enemies on fire but it also burns off your skin, lowering your defense. Even the most basic skills have this give and take.

The only way to raise your attack skills or health is by “saving” or “sacrificing” enemies, which you do by walking up to a downed creature and holding one of the Vita’s triggers. On screen, you see your hands in front of you, covered in blood, waiting to make the choice. More often than not, choosing one diminishes the other. Sacrifice a bulbous two-mouthed cat, your power goes up, your health goes down, and the world is rid of a monster. Save it, and your health goes up. You’ll also have rescued a kitty.

A Soul Worth Saving

There’s not a lot of variety in Soul Sacrifice. While the enormous freaks you spend your time fighting are all memorably gross, you fight most of them over and over again in the same fourteen arenas. Fighting is just about the only thing that you do in these locations. There are side missions where you’re trying to find lost bits of memory or an item, but these tasks require little more than your Mind’s Eye ability – which highlights enemies and points of interest when you press down on the D-pad – and a willingness to wander.


Even with this simple framework, Sacrifice has enough soul to keep you gripped. The sorcerer in your control is actually imprisoned, locked in a filthy cage with a terrifying talking book named Librom while awaiting execution at the hands of a power-mad sorcerer named Magusar. Everything in the game takes place as you thumb through Magusar’s unusually gregarious, living journal. You play through each glimpse into the sorcerer’s past, in the process unlocking the power needed to maybe defeat him and rid the world of his tyranny.

Librom is more than just a menu. There’s a complete history of the game world hidden in his pages, presented in murky animated text on the Vita screen. Each story level and side quest unfolds as a chapter in the journal, and none of them have a happy ending.

Take the first chapter of the “Mad Chronicle,” the story of Sortiana. You fight alongside the sorceress against monsters while she speaks all along about being tortured by her duty. The enemies you face are also haunted figures, plagued by vanity and by their choices in life. Hearing a ghostly voice scream about going crazy as they lose their youth and beauty transforms the rote brawling into something more than just a grind.


Soul Sacrifice, with its ugly, sad world and its sardonic sentient book, recalls another imperfect role-playing game from recent years. Cavia’s Nier also failed to distinguish itself with expert play, but soared thanks to its emotional depth and feeling. Inafune and Comcept’s debut is exhausting because of its rote play and oppressive atmosphere, but it’s also a singular work. At it’s best, it becomes a singularly moving experience. The years seem to have been hard on Inafune, but hopefully the sacrifice of his old games’ brightness here will yield even more fine work going forward.

This game was reviewed on a PlayStation Vita using a code provided by Sony.

Social Media

No yolk! A photo of an egg has become the most-liked post on Instagram

Until this weekend, the most-liked post on Instagram was of Kylie Jenner's baby daughter, which has around 18 million likes. It's now been knocked off the top spot not by a stunning sunset or even a cute cat, but by an egg.

You're never too broke to enjoy the best free-to-play games

Believe it or not, free-to-play games have evolved into engaging, enjoyable experiences. Here are a few of our favorites that you can play right now, including Warframe and the perennially-popular League of Legends.

Ford’s app-based ‘Chariot’ shuttle service is offering its final rides

Chariot, the app-based crowdsourced ride service owned by Ford, is shutting down in the coming weeks. Launched in 2014, the bus-like service has apparently been unable to deal with competition from the likes of Uber and Lyft.

It's dangerous to go alone! Have fun with friends in our favorite co-op games

Video games don't always have to be so brutal, dog-eat-dog experiences! Here are some of our all-time favorite co-op games across a range of different platforms, genres, and difficulties.

Dataminers discover SNES games, more emulators for Nintendo Switch Online

Nintendo Switch Online may soon launch SNES games and more emulators, according to data miners. The list of hidden SNES titles include Breath of Fire 2 and Star Fox 2, while the other emulators may be the Nintendo 64 and Nintendo GameCube.

‘RollerCoaster Tycoon 2’ ride takes 12 years to complete

A RollerCoaster Tycoon 2 player has constructed a coaster in the game that will take more than 12 years to complete from beginning to end, and is actually a tiny ride taking up a small portion of the landscape.
Product Review

'New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe' is 2D platforming wizardry

New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe is the latest Wii U game to come back from the dead on Switch. And wow, it’s much better than we remembered.

‘Battlefield V’ adds Squad Conquest mode in ‘Lightning Strikes’ update

Electronic Arts and DICE have detailed what is included in the Battlefield V update Lightning Strikes. The update includes access to the mode Squad Conquest through the end of January.

Here's everything you need to know to trade in 'Pokémon Go'

After literally years of waiting, Pokémon Go finally gives trainers the option to trade Pokémon with others. It's not easy, though, and the cost is quite high if you try trading with strangers.

‘Rocket League’ is the latest game to get full cross-platform play

Psyonix has announced that Rocket League now supports full cross-platform play across PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC, joining Fortnite as the only games to do so.

Here's what you need to know about 'World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth'

World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth is the latest expansion for the now 14-year-old MMORPG. It goes back to the roots of the Alliance vs. Horde conflict. Here's what you need to know.
Virtual Reality

Think virtual reality is just for games? These awesome apps will change your mind

Virtual reality isn't all about gaming. Swim with turtles, paint in 3D, and immerse yourself in some unique experiences the platform has to offer with our curated list of the best VR apps.

Latest ‘Fortnite’ update channels Halo with a scoped revolver

The latest update for Fortnite, update 7.20, is now available, and it brings a new Scoped Revolver weapon to the game alongside the returning Glider item and a limited-time Snipers-only mode.

‘Call of Duty: Black Ops 4’ will make Blackout mode free to play this week

Treyarch and Activision are offering Call of Duty: Black Ops 4's Blackout mode as a free trial download for a limited time. The mode will be available from January 17 through January 24.