Soul Sacrifice was one of last year’s best original PlayStation Vita games, bringing the monster hunting subgenre to the portable with Keiji Inafune’s own personal twist. Now we’re back with this new title, Soul Sacrifice Delta; it’s not quite a enhanced version and yet not a sequel either – the game is something… different, and I’m here to tell you why.

I’m just going to come right out and say it – Soul Sacrifice Delta is the game that Soul Sacrifice should have been. While Soul Sacrifice was surely a great game and had no real flaws per se, Soul Sacrifice Delta is a near perfect version of that same game idea – adding pretty much everything you could have asked for after experiencing the first game, and doing so with a much more beautiful flair than the original.

Delta has organized its story portions into the clearly distinct styles of play, though it keeps the main sorcerer excursions such as those with Sortiara and Magusar separate.  The brunt of the story still occurs over these two sorcerer pacts, though it also seeps into the Avalon, Sanctuarium and Grim levels. Completing these levels will help unlock additional levels to play from the Pacts section (which includes roman numeral numbered quests and forgotten pacts styled like those from the original), extending the game much further than just the end of the story. There’s also an additional few missions to be added to the Magusar chapter, so don’t think that was settled in the first game either. To top it all off is a battle with a God that I’ll leave you to experience sans my commentary. There’s clearly no lack of content here, at least for the first time player (I’ll come back to this a bit later).

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The quests in the game play out like any other monster hunting game, giving you an enemy to defeat and then a location to defeat them in. Enemies have different affiliations, aligning them into types based on the different elements included in the game. These elemental types then have weaknesses based on their elemental opposites – giving enemies like the fire-affinity rats a natural weakness to ice-type attacks, or ice-affinity cats a weakness to electric-type attacks. This weakness/element adversity is what drives the game’s play strategy and when used properly can get you from a lowly level 1/1 to a maxed out character lickety-split. It’s a really basic system, but one that’s been tried and tested to work on a large scale – and it works well here, just like in the original.

New additions to the game include directly playable features like the Grim faction (a leave-it-to-fate option between the dark faction Avalon, and the light faction Sanctuarium) and the blank page system (a random quest generator which takes unique payment in order to generate random mission pages). There are also semi-cosmetic or indirect features which have been added such as a slayer’s points system (which denotes your title name though SP gained in quests), a bazaar ledger (which houses four unique characters with their own businesses), the Ars Magica (an offering catalog and leveling system) and the faction system itself.

2014-05-10-042228Sorcerous Deeds is the only section of the mad chronicle that hasn’t been directly carried over from the first game, though the first four Avalon sections (up to Knight of Vengeance) seem to be pulled directly from the original. The entirety of the Sanctuarium, Grimm and Pacts sections seem to be brand new pacts though – and those are really the meat of the game (aside from the story).

Now, let’s address that little bonus for returning players; the save transfer. If you’re like me, you’ve already played the original and want to bring your save over – but let me warn you; there are a bunch of benefits and a few possible negatives (depending on your point of view) to doing so.

First things first though, to carry your save over you simply boot up the title and start a new game. If you’ve got Soul Sacrifice‘s save on your memory card, it’ll automatically pick it up and ask to transfer – just accept the prompt and create a new save to transfer the data to, then it’ll walk you through the rest (and what exactly transfers).

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Just found out her level didn’t transfer from the original.

Speaking of what transfers, while things like your appearance will follow you to the new game, your level is one thing that doesn’t carry over – so say goodbye to that maxed out build from the first game. You do get to keep your offerings (with up to ten of each offering transferring over from the first title) and your black rites, though sigils you’ve acquired that transfer won’t be unlocked fully until you’ve fulfilled the requirements for joining each faction.

You can also expect a part of Avalon to be completed, the bulk of the Magusar and Sortiara quests to be completed and any trophies you already qualify for to pop after your first mission. Your offerings (if you’re like me and had a ton) will qualify you for a bunch of bonuses in the new system as well – so you’ll be off to a good start as far as offerings and rumors go. Your Ars Magica (the catalog of your magic) will fill retroactively with any offerings you’ve acquired and your INT level will reflect that.

The only downside to this transfer is that directly after it you’re likely overpowered (I had a ton of full gold offerings with three stars) and a fair portion of the game is complete for you. If you’re like me and are planning on playing this game past completion (just for fun), this might not matter; however if you’re someone who likes to “build up” their character and feel a constant challenge on everything you might want to start anew.

The multiplayer aspect of the game doesn’t seem too have changed much from the first game, offering a four player ad-hoc or infrastructure connection between players who can then attack the quests from the “Pacts” heading, downloaded quests (DLC) or a blank page task together. It unlocks after you complete the requirements for joining the various factions, and just like the original isn’t available at the start of the game. Once unlocked however, I found no problem connecting to a game or setting up my own, and there’s enough settings included to get you into just the type of game you want to play. The online mode is pretty perfect, I’ve got no qualms with them keeping it pretty much the same mechanically.

The controls are very much the same as the first title, with “X” mapped to dodge/run, and circle/square/triangle mapped to attacks. You have two attack menus, and can switch between them with “R” for a total of six standard attacks. You also have a black rite available which is activated using the touch screen. The movement and camera look have been mapped to the left and right analog sticks, and down on the d-pad is mapped to mind’s eye (where you can see damage levels and the different interact-able parts around the map). It’s pretty simple to master once you’ve played a little, and players of the original will be right at home.

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Graphically, Delta is much improved compared to the original – the textures and output resolution of the game getting a huge bump in quality and quantity. Where there were jaggies before, there are almost none now – the smoothness of the edges going way up with the bump in resolution. The textures in the levels have been bumped up as well and levels have been slightly redesigned to look more smooth and less last-gen. They’ve really done a good job making the game look better than the original, and is easily one of the most dramatic improvements in a second Vita release of a series I’ve seen.

The audio in Delta seems pretty much the same as in the first game, and still only features English audio in the main release (boo!). It features sound effects that seem clearer than the original but not of a better caliber or realism. The voice acting is still pretty bad, and the background music is still pretty strange. Let’s just be thankful it’s not any worse, shall we?

Soul Sacrifice Delta is more of the same game Soul Sacrifice had to offer, only with better organization of pacts and offerings (as well as new examples of each), better graphics, a new theme and a new mode. If you liked the original, you’ll probably like this game too – but if you avoided the original for its minor (or nagging) issues you might want to take another look. Delta has clearly addressed a lot of issues that people had with the original, making for a much more polished experience.

It’s not quite a sequel, definitely not a remaster and something more than an enhanced version; but in my opinion it’s definitely worth your time. Go pick up Soul Sacrifice Delta right now, you won’t be sorry.

Check out some screens I pulled from my play-through;

Note; There’s a day-one patch that’s ~38MB and includes a new quest called “Alice’s Eternal Maze”, a new episode called “A Voice Lost” located under the Grim heading of “Sorcerous Deeds”, Additional Pacts IV, new blank page rewards, and other improvements/bug fixes. Be sure to grab it ASAP!

Review overview
Presentation
Gameplay
Lasting Appeal
Execution
Kyle Wakeling is the Editor in Chief here at The Vita Lounge; a part of the site for over a year now. Hailing from Canada, he's a long time gamer and aspiring writer, hoping to spread the word of PlayStation Vita to the darkest corners of the internet - and beyond. When not playing Vita he's either spreading some news or has simply switched to PlayStation 4 for a bit of big-screen gaming. Trust me though, he hasn't gone too far.
  • Mostafa M. A. Morsy

    “Soul Sacrifice Delta is the game that Soul Sacrifice should have been”
    i already paid for it once
    im very reluctant to pay for it all over again specially with freedom wars and SoA coming soon

    • Kyle Wakeling

      I can understand that mentality, but after playing the game I completely disagree.

  • coco_wolfie

    awesome review, I actually read it all, even laughed at the still bad voice acting bit XD but from someone who lives in europe, the store update cant come soon enough :p

  • nonscpo

    I really really really wanted to buy this game, especially as I skipped the original one as I wanted to play the deffinitive version. Unfortunately this game came out as digital only and $35 is beyond what I can justify paying for a license. I also refuse to buy another memory card until Sony addresses the problem of the existing prices. I love my vita but hate those memory cards.

    • Slizarus

      I understand, maybe buying a used memory card would amount to the same purchase boycott and allow you to get a wonderful game like this?

      • nonscpo

        True doing that would guarantee that Sony doesn’t see any money go towards them, however there’s still the issue of the odd price tag for the game. I cannot justify paying over $30 for a license to play a game, its bad enough college campuses get away with charging you $80 for one time only use licenses with their software; the last thing I need to do is encourage that type of behaviour from our game developers.

        • Slizarus

          I think it amounts to convenience, I pick digital for a lot of titles because I (personally) have a bad track record with digital games and things get lost. If I buy digital, I sleep well at night knowing I can recover it if lost (This goes for Steam as well.. not Nintendo though)

          I support Digital, but I understand the other side of the coin.
          Hopefully you can play it when it becomes more reasonable and you don’t feel embittered by buying a license for a game (I Feel you on those textbooks though! Now that’s some DRM!)

    • MaximDualBlade

      no, if you really really really wanted the game, you would buy it. I was really bothered by it too but I actually wanted the game, so I bought it.

      Noy buying the game is like not wanting Soul Sacrifice 2 and if they managed to improve the original so much with Delta, then 2 could be too good to be true. Also Delta comes with the actual japanese dlc included from day one, and that’s a huge plus. No waiting for those extra bosses, extra story, and the infinite dungeon was something I didn’t expect.

      and if you are going to justify yourself by saying that you’re not made of money, then do it, because it’s a common justification XD

      • nonscpo

        I get that were headed to a digital future but were not there yet. There’s a lot of issues with licensing games over physical ownership especially when you takeinto account memory cards and download speeds. Anything over $30 for a license is a ripoff on any platform not just handhelds. Supporting these companies rushing to the digital future is also going to hurt vita sales. Anybody walking into a store will notice the 3DS rack with more physical games over the vita not knowing that there are more games available online; remember the largest demographic are the casual gamers and those people don’t do there homework.

        • MaximDualBlade

          On the digital games hurting the vita. I agree too much with this.

          Delta is the second chance every franchise has, and it’s a second chance perfectly taken. The fact that it’s digital only and that Sony did not promote this game at all is what will make Soul Sacrifice 2 difficult to exist…

          The game resolved and improved every issue I personally was wanting to be resolved of the original. And I was still playing the original last week XD This was my 1st full price digital purchase and I don’t regret it.

          The game improved nicely the big three of every game: it improved in gameplay, it improved in story, it improved in graphics.

          So what do I want to pass to you here? That if you really really really want/wanted this game, make some space in that memory card and get it, because it’s really fun and worth it, according to me.

          On the note of 1st month exclusive free dlc. It’s a shady practice but the dlc are just accesories man XD Not missions, not even costumes, just accesories(in-game they just cover your head). Not having them will no ruin your gaming experience if you buy the game in one month.

  • Kurisu Makise

    Nice reveiw Kyle, essentially Delta is an expansion game, not unlike the traditional Pokemon Yellow/Crystal/Emerald but I feel there’s much more content than those in SSD. Well worth the double dip!

  • WoPsZ

    Perfect Review..
    even there is no psychical copy..
    but the game it self.. so great… love epic sorcerer…!

  • http://thevitalounge.net/ Paul Murphy

    Awesome review Kyle, makes my review of SS seem so poor and indeed the game in comparison. I need this game.

  • Billy Kostyra

    As a fan of the First game I’m really enjoying delta so far and I agree with you Delta is the game that Soul Sacrifice should have been but its Ridiculous that a 3GB game does not get a retail release. Plus there was no marketing for this game at all ! its like sending this Game to Die ! Why bother realesing it then ? Man this is why i Love & Hate Sony at the same time

    • nonscpo

      Agreed the odd $36 price tag and early adopter DLC also hurts. Seriously a digital only release shouldn’t exceed $30.

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/PixelPolishHD PixelPolish

    Voice acting was/is bad? How exactly? I though they did a bang-up job with it.

    • MyBodyIsReady

      Bit hit and miss in my opinion. The main character (Who speaks during the end) is great, as is Librom and Sortiara, but I always thought Magusar’s was a bit lame.

  • Jack Sanders

    It was a fun game, the original one I mean. But finishing every quest available in the book is a bit of a chore. Been a lng time since I play this. Maybe it’s time to dive back in.

    one question though. Can I bring the old save file by uploading it to PS plus?

    • Kyle Wakeling

      No, the save file must be present on the memory card and can’t be imported from the first game via the cloud.

      • Jack Sanders

        Damn it, I bought it digitally. Need to reinstall It then

  • Earthjolly

    “The Voice acting is still pretty bad”

    Wait what? That’s one of SS biggest strengths

    • Kyle Wakeling

      Really? I’ve played through the original in English and Japanese and can tell you with no qualms that the English version’s voice acting is horrid compared to the original Japanese.

      • JeySigma

        ( i know this post is 7 months old but anyway ) with all due respect, the voice actor for Librom- the author- in english is SUPERB. I didnt really listen to his japanese counterpart.. but to call him “bad” is ridiculous. He did an amazing job and you can empathize with him easily

    • Lights

      I agree, I thought the voice acting in SS was great.

  • George Dee Thomas

    Honestly, I thought the voice acting was pretty damn good…

  • Lastlight

    Stop saying the English Voice Acting is bad cause its really not…
    Maybe for the genetic characters but the main characters have beautiful voices
    Even then the only thing ‘wrong’ with the genetic characters voices is that you hear the same lines over and over again…even when you switch it over your gonna be hearing the same thing over and over again only in Japanese.

  • Jordi Geerts

    Voice acting could be better, but I like it well enough. Graphics are way better, gameplay is better (more spells and combos and such) more pacts, the factions and all make it worth in my opinion

    OT: I’m making a site about soul sacrifice delta : http://www.soulsacrificedelta.jimdo.com
    I’m still working on it, but I was wondering if it would be okay to post the first few lines and a link on the site?

    • Kyle Wakeling

      We’d have no problem with that what-so-ever, thanks for including us!

      Also, if you’d like to share your website on our forum (a great place specifically is this thread; http://thevitalounge.net/forum/threads/soul-sacrifice-delta.535/) I would have no problem with that, it looks like it’s shaping up to be a good resource for SSD players.

  • lucky_jim

    Good review. But I don’t see any reason to get this personally, when I got the original with (EU) PS+. An actual full-blown sequel would have been more interesting to me.

    One other thing, which your editor(s) should have caught — “per say” should be “per se” (it’s a Latin term meaning “of itself” or “by itself”).

    • Kyle Wakeling

      There’s more than enough new content in this version to call the original a “demo” comparatively – it’s more of an upgrade in functionality and quality than most sequels are.

      As for the “per say”, I think that was a case of Microsoft Word not liking me mixing Latin with English. :)