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Soul Sacrifice...

I've spent a good, solid 30 hours or more with this game, learning its intricacies, and experiencing the sad, epic tale of the sorcerer Magusar. I've met some amazing allies along the way, both AI-controlled, and human (thanks to this game's stellar online mode). For a company's first outing, Soul Sacrifice, to me, lives up to the hype I'd personally built up about it.
Gameplay-wise, this game would best be described as the unholy offspring of Monster Hunter, and Devil May Cry (two of Capcom's own most popular gaming franchises). Like MH, you track, fight, and kill monsters, both small and large. And like DMC, the combat is fast, stylish, and very visceral. 
If you come into this game expecting it to be just another clone of Monster Hunter, I think you'll be pleasantly disappointed. The missions usually never take more than 20 minutes to complete, unless you go in unprepared. Just like Monster Hunter.
Unlike Monster Hunter, though, your character atually earns levels, and gets progressivley stronger. With each fallen foe, you have the option to either save, or sacrifice it. Saving a beast nets you Life experience, which raises your overall defense, and healing spell efficacy. Sacrificing raises your Magic experience, which increases your spells' potency, and durability.
Aesthetically, this game is a mixed bag. The creature designs are unique, and very disturbing. The first time you encounter Illecebra's true form, you'll understand what I mean. The environments, on the other hand, are merely... "meh". They're serviceable, but nothing spectacular. Spells look amazing, which is very satisfying, since they're the only means of attack you have at your disposal.
I could go on and on about this game's story, but I won't. There are already enough reviews out there that have covered this aspect. Suffice it to say, you don't need flashy cutscenes to tell an interesting, thought-provoking narrative. 
The main appeal to this game, like its cousin MH, is the online mode. Here, you'll take on Avalon Pacts - this game's term for "quests". You can recruit three human allies to help you wade through these increasingly difficult missions, which range from item collection, to wholesale genocide. 
And, to keep it interesting, there are some twists thrown in, to raise the challenge.
  So... you've killed that Jack-O-Lantern a hundred times already?
Now try to kill it in under three minutes.
Yeah. Just go ahead and try.

Last, but certainly not least, let me just touch on the score. Composed by the legendary Yasunori Mitsuda, it is at times ambient, and other times disturbing, which definitely fits the tone of the game. Just give the following track, "March of the Dead, a listen, and you'll understand, I hope, just why this score is so amazing.
In the end, SS isn't the "I gotta go buy a Vita" game many thought it would be, but it is a welcome addition to the handheld's slowly growing collection of games. It offers up a perfect blend of pick-up-and-play portability, and marathon gaming sessions. If you're a fan of dark fantasy, and aren't scared of a lot (and I mean A LOT) of grinding, this game might be up your alley.
Just don't be "that guy (or girl, I guess)", and go buy a Vita SOLELY for this game. There are a lot of other really great games already available, with more to come.


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