One game I was really eager to try out at EGX Rezzed last weekend was Sinner: Sacrifice For Redemption. I’m a huge Dark Souls fan and right from the outset you can tell that series has had a huge amount of influence over the development of Sinner: Sacrifice For Redemption. So I was quite excited to find out if this was going to be a cheap, market stall knock off or an interesting take on an established formula. Fortunately it’s the second one…
Sinner uses a lot of the same combat mechanics as the Souls series. You have a light attack, a heavy attack, a dodge roll and a shield to block with. You also have a healing item and a couple of weapons to choose from. At least you do at first. The driving mechanic as well as theme of the game is that with every enemy encounter you complete you sacrifice either some of your stats, an item or a piece of equipment. So the seven different bosses you have to fight don’t actually get harder as you progress through the game, you just get weaker.
The game is essentially based around seven different boss fights that you access from a central hub location. There are no mobs of low tier enemies or long levels to fight through on your way to the bosses. You simply choose which boss to go up against, and what you will have to sacrifice if you do, then jump through a portal and get straight down to business. Whilst we were at EGX Rezzed I had a chance to speak to the marketing director for Sinner: Sacrifice For Redemption who explained that the conception of the game’s design involved the simultaneous realisation of two things:
1) The team wanted to take all the best elements of the Souls series (in their opinion) and do away with the frustrating boss runs and difficult levels that plague a lot of players who struggle with boss fights.
2) They wanted to explore a sacrifice system where the player gets weaker as the game progresses but the enemies stay at an even level of strength.
Now I happen to feel that the first point, whilst admirable in the sense that it allows the team to focus on one element and really nail it, somewhat misses the point of what makes the Souls games superb. Exploring the faded glory of lost civilisations and fighting off the horrors of what remain is kind of fundamental to experiencing a dark fantasy world. Losing that certainly makes for a more manageable development cycle though.
Sinner wants to tell a complicated and twisted tale of redemption through well timed portions of lore doled out like nuggets after boss fights. Sounds familiar so far but what I do like is the idea that the player character, named Adam, has actually wronged all seven of these bosses in some way and by defeating them he must sacrifice a part of himself to atone for the things he has done in the past. The seven bosses are loosely based around the seven deadly sins and you’re never quite certain if this is all taking place inside Adam’s head or if he’s in some kind of purgatory. These elements give Sinner more of it’s own identity and actually make me want to find out what Adam did all these people.
The combat mechanics are obviously Souls inspired, as I said above, but they do feel different when you’re getting stuck in. For one, the right analogue stick doesn’t rotate the camera, you’re stuck with auto orientation. This is mostly just odd at first rather than actually inconvenient as the target lock keeps the camera pointed where it’s supposed to be. There are only a couple of weapons to use in the base game but there will be others to try out in New Game +. The actual boss battles are pretty intense and provided a great challenge even though I’m extremely familiar with these types of fights.
For a further look at what’s on it’s way you can check out one of the trailers here: