Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Sinner: Sacrifice for Redemption Review (PS4)

Sinner: Sacrifice for Redemption for Switch, XONE, and PS4 is a Souls-like that ditches the carefully planned levels and minor enemies in favor of just throwing eight devious bosses at you in a row. Souls bosses are usually cool, so there is a definite appeal to this take on the genre, but some of the other things Sinner: Sacrifice for Redemption does to set itself apart only serve to shrink its audience down to the most wildly hardcore while leaving everyone else by the wayside. There are some great ideas here, but I'm not sure how many players will find it particularly fun. Continue reading our full Sinner: Sacrifice for Redemption review for more. 

Game Details

  • Publisher: Another Indie
  • Developer: Dark Star
  • ESRB Rating: "M" for Mature
  • Genre: Action RPG
  • Pros: It's a Souls-like boss rush!; interesting "progression"
  • Cons: So-so presentation; getting weaker isn't fun
  • MSRP: $19 (also on Xbox Game Pass)
Buy PSN Gift Cards
at Amazon.com
Sinner: Sacrifice for Redemption is a 3D action RPG, medieval sword and shield, Souls-like where you are a random nobody who has to fight through a gauntlet of eight bosses because of reasons. Seriously, the story is paper thin. The bosses themselves are cool enough, at least, with the first seven representing the seven deadly sins. There are no in-between levels to play through or enemies to fight, though, as you just fight one boss after another similar to Furi

What sets Sinner apart from other Souls-likes, or even other boss rush games, is that you don't get stronger or learn new abilities after each successful boss fight and instead actually get significantly weaker as the game goes on. Referencing the "Sacrifice" part of the title, each boss requires you to sacrifice something in order to challenge them. This might mean losing some attack power, or not being able to carry as many items, weakening your shield, or losing health or stamina among others. These sacrifices are permanent, too, so by the end of the game you are extremely weak. It does create some interesting Mega Man-style strategy, though, as fighting the bosses in a particular order so your accumulated weaknesses match up with each boss's strengths better can make a big difference.

I have to admit straight up that I'm not a huge fan of this. I'm not one of those hardcore Dark Souls fans who loves Soul Level 1, naked, bare fist only runs. I like powering up and feeling stronger and playing co-op and making the game easier. A game where you only get weaker and the game gets harder the further you go is just absolute masochism. I just don't find barely scraping through unfair fights to be especially satisfying. You might, though, so please consider that before deciding on playing the game.

Mechanically, Sinner: Sacrifice for Redemption feels fairly solid. It's the same Souls formula of blocking with your shield, swinging a weapon, running / dodging, and using items while everything is governed by a never-quite-big-enough stamina bar. It is all very familiar though it feels a little clunkier than I'd like. Everything has a long windup and everything is slower than you expect so it takes a while to get used to it. One of the benefits of only having boss fights is that dying and trying over and over isn't nearly as frustrating here as it can be in a normal Souls game. And you will be dying and trying a lot since the bosses here have multiple phases that each feature new patterns to memorize and other things to figure out. 

The presentation is only so-so here, unfortunately. Your character is ridiculously generic and the environments are mostly just small-ish battle arenas with blurry vistas in the distance. The bosses are fairly distinct, at least, with some neat designs.

All in all, Sinner: Sacrifice for Redemption is mechanically sound but conceptually flawed. Having a boss rush-style Souls is a cool idea, but making you weaker as you progress rather than stronger seems like a misinterpretation of why many people enjoy Souls-style games in the first place. Not everyone enjoys participating in the smug "I'm so skilled at video game" hardcore Dark Souls fan circle jerk, but that is exactly the audience that this game is aimed at. If that sounds like you, of course, then you'll enjoy it. Personally, though it is mechanically solid, it's just not my style of game. I'd recommend playing it on Xbox Game Pass.
Disclosure: A review code was provided by the publisher.