Review: Soul Sacrifice Delta

Soul Sacrifice Delta is the update to the well-received 2013 PlayStation Vita game Soul Sacrifice. Not quite a full sequel, but rather an enhanced version with all the core and DLC content of the original, plus a new faction, tweaks, new features, and loads of additional content piled on. This is essentially the Ultimate version of Soul Sacrifice, and if you loved the original, you will love this. But is the game worth purchasing for owners of the original or newbies?

Let’s get this out of the way now: Soul Sacrifice Delta is packed with enough content that it is worth purchasing for folks who own the original. I’m a little disappointed that developer Comcept did not offer some kind of upgrade pricing, but regardless, it was still worth purchasing the game at full price (be warned, it is a digital-only title that clocks at over 3GB).

The original story missions are there, but all-new content has been built around it. Although the previous faction of Avalon (the sorcerers who hunt and kill monsters) is still the “official” one your character belongs to, via the conceit of reliving memories of a sorcerer’s hunts (think of as a mystical Assassin’s Creed meets Monster Hunter) you are able to join different factions, namely Sanctuary (who believe all creatures should be saved) and the new Grim (who believe Fate should decide all things). The Grim faction in particular is fascinating in how their ideology has been added to the Soul Sacrifice mythos, and this makes for some gameplay changes.

Where previously you had the options of either Saving (by holding the Left trigger) or Sacrificing monsters (hold the Right trigger), Delta adds the Fate mechanic (by holding down both triggers simultaneously).  Doing so allows “Fate” to decide whether the monster is saved or sacrificed, which leads to an even distribution of energy towards your stats.

Each faction has been fleshed out even further, with Sanctuary and Grim having their own set of quests and allies whom you can select to join you. The spells and skills system has been revamped to reflect the fact that you can join these factions, so depending on how you raise your levels (having greater Life than Magic sets you to Divine; great Magic than Life gives you Dark; and having both levels equal sets you to Neutral) affects bonuses and what skills you can set. The skill system, already fairly deep, has been greatly expanded and offers even more meaningful options to customize your character.

Aside from tons of new Pacts (sets of quests) to go through, there’s also new DLC being released for free to add even more Pacts, monsters, and items.  There’s Alice’s Eternal Maze, essentially a dungeon with infinite floors and harder monsters particularly suited for online play with others. The Maze will also net you better loot, such as spells/weapons and items.

And that’s just scratching the surface.

Soul Sacrifice Delta will appeal to fans of the original. There is so much new here that it’s worth a purchase. From a purely Hunting-RPG / Raid / “Monster Hunter clone” (note: I hate that last term) perspective, Soul Sacrifice Delta is the best one on the Vita, and one of the best games this year for the system. While hardcore Monster Hunter fans will criticize the game’s lack of being, well, Monster Hunter, the truth is Soul Sacrifice Delta is superior in some ways. It already has multiplayer built-in (in the US, handheld fans will have to wait for Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate on the 3DS next year). The gameplay is faster. It has a unique combat system with a ton of variety for builds. The environments are much, much more interesting. And quests don’t have to necessarily take a full 50 minutes (in many cases, they take 5 to 10, which is perfect for a handheld game).

At the end of the day, if you own a Vita and are looking for a unique action game, Soul Sacrifice Delta is among the best you’ll find. It takes an already solid game and improves upon it greatly. If you hate Raid-style games, then this may not win you over. But for others, Soul Sacrifice Delta is an outstanding addition to the Vita game library.

Rating: A

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