A little Sacrifice is VERY good for the soul!
Review (At Last)
by Dave "Marauder" Kratky. Dec 3/2000
At long last here comes Sacrifice! And was it ever worth the wait.
Sacrifice is the game I've been looking forward to for months, ever since Kingpin brought us back his exclusive (Sneakily taken behind the backs of the Shiny booth guards.) E3 photos... Booyah! Prepare yourself for a veritable cornucopia of tasty screenshots. :) I got lots and lots of eye candy for 'yall to slobber on. Sorry in advance for the size of the images, however with the sheer number of colors and details on the pics, I had to save them as very high quality JPGs. Anything else just didn't do them justice.
It's quite an interesting game as it seeks to be something to every gamer, and appeal to a very wide audience. I've never seen anything like it, and the only description I can think of for it is that it is a third person shooter, action adventure, role-playing strategy game. The basic story behind the game is that you are a wizard who fled a world about to be destroyed, and have come to a new land. There are 5 gods currently running things. Death, Life, Air, Earth & Fire. Depending on which god you worship you will be able to summon different creatures to serve you in battle, and you'll also have different spells to use. Generally you will be playing against another wizard for a certain goal. Ex. Kill the enemy wizard, destroy a certain building, rescue an important creature etc. Mutiplayer should be fairly similar to singleplayer.
The whole idea behind the game was to get rid of most of the boring things that people hate about traditional strategy games. Ex. Hours spent building a base before you can actually get out and do the fun stuff. ex. Killing/blowing up things. You have two resources Sacrifice, one of which (mana) is easily obtained and Souls which are not. Spells you can cast require only mana to use, summoning new minions to do your bidding will require souls. Just how many souls depends on the size of the creature. Some creatures require only one, some of the larger ones I've seen so far will require up to 4. One very interesting thing about this game is that you actually have a line of supplies. Your mana is channeled to you by a creature called a "Manahor" (Yes, insert laughter here. I did.) The more of these little guys you have, the quicker mana can be channeled into your pool from your Manaliths. (How you collect mana from manafountains.) Your Manahors get killed in a battle, you are screwed. No mana=(No spells+No creatures)/You die and have to go revive yourself. (Luckily, until your alter is destroyed your soul is anchored, so you can't actually die permanently.) Protect these little bastards and you are pretty much free to cast away to your hearts content.
Collecting souls is a little more complicated matter. Killing an enemy creature and having it then sacrificed on your alter will give you the souls that it took to summon that creature. If you can gib a creature (Blow it right to pieces) you will instantly get it's soul. You can also find peasants in their little villages around almost every map. It may be cruel, but hey, they're there for the harvesting. Slaughter a village and collect the souls for more creatures. (Actually, the life goddess gets SERIOUSLY pissed if you do things like this. Charnel, the god of death & slaughter is just tickled pink about it.)
The game is based on Shiny's Messiah engine and wow, did the Sacrifice Team ever put it to good use. The graphics and special effects are lush, and the terrain simply has to be experienced to believe it. One of the things that really grabbed me when I first saw screenshots of this game is how far you can see. Right to the edge of the game world. (Island actually) Simply amazing.
The spell effects are just amazing, and the terrain actually deforms when you throw something big enough at it, which is very cool. The spells themselves range from simple lightening and insect swarm attacks right up to tornados and volcanos that fill the screen when you look at them. Very impressive.
There are some excellent creatures in the game, but not such a wide array you get lost. Summoning a creature is as simple as clicking on an icon when you have enough mana and souls. Bang. The new minion pops up in front of you, already selected for easy ordering. Want to select every creature of a certain type nearby? Double click them. Add them to a group? CTRL-#. Tell them what to do? Right click on the target. If it's an enemy they attack, if it's you or a friendly object they defend. If it's ground, they move. Simple and intuitive. You can also use the popup orders (Hold in right mouse button) menu/tree for specific orders and formations. I was seriously worried the commands and formations structure was going to be clunky and cumbersome. Man, it's dead simple to use. Very nice work from the dev team. The in game tutorials will quickly get you up to speed on everything you need to know.
The final analysis
Wow. It's a great game. Amazing visuals & effects. Epic battles and landscapes. Great story line and decent voice acting. Overall, very, very well done. There are a few annoying things like the fact that you can't just queue up creatures, (Like in the demo movie Shiny released!) but that's not a huge complaint. I really don't know how long I'm going to want to play as the game play does eventually get a little repetitive but with the free level editor included with the game, we should see tons of new single & mutiplayer campaigns out soon that'll keep it going. Also, in the single player there are so many branches to the campaign it'll be worth playing through at least a few times just to see all the different missions. Go out. Buy it. A little Sacrifice is good for the soul. Even I couldn't find much to complain about. And that's damned unusual.