You may have heard of this little game called Dark Souls and the many titles it has inspired. If not, you can check out our review of Dark Souls Remastered and do whatever you can to play it. From Software’s crowning achievement has opened up the floodgates to many Souls/Borne types of games and while many are competent in their execution, it’s almost impossible to find any that even come close to the brilliance that is the Souls series. Sinner: Sacrifice for Redemption, from developer Another Indie Studio, is one such title that is not afraid to completely rip-off the combat and tone of Dark Souls, but while this may seem like a negative I’m happy to report that this is actually a huge positive.
Sinner: Sacrifice for Redemption is a boss battle action-RPG where you get to face eight different bosses with the first seven representing the seven deadly sins. Much like Dark Souls, you start out in a simple tutorial area where you get to take down some regular enemies and get accustomed to the combat mechanics and controls. After a short time you’ll reach the true beginning and from there you get to choose which boss battle you wish start with.
Like many titles of this type, your character has a strong attack, a fast attack, a dodge, and a block. The big twist though, is that you only have two weapons as the beginning and these are the only two weapons you’ll ever be able to defend yourself with. Also, the major twist of Sinner is that you start off with all your stats maxed and best skills and spells to use. Upon taking part in a boss battle you will lose a skill or stat boost and this is where the difficulty comes into play. Your stats and abilities will decrease with every boss you encounter and defeat, but you’ll also gain more skill with how you control your character, relying more on your own skill rather than power-ups. The advantage is that each time you manage to eliminate one of these giant monsters, you will be given a health boost, and while it’s not huge, it’s certainly substantial in the long run.
You are able to take on the bosses in any order of your choosing, though as mentioned before, vitally before each epic clash you must sacrifice a stat and level down to enter combat. This means that every fight will be tougher than the last and is a unique concept that I’m not sure how I really feel about it. Players are use to becoming more powerful or more skilled in almost every game released that this concept goes against every fabric of our gameplay experiences and may be too much for many to overcome.
Given how difficult the base experience is, this general gameplay mechanic can either be something you hate or love depending on your susceptibleness to challenging experiences. Fortunately, anyone can pick up on the controls as they are intuitive and felt tight. It was easy to switch between targets and I found cycling through my inventory while playing easy to perform allowing me to focus on the boss battle at hand. Controlling the camera was my biggest challenge and unfortunately I never could find the perfect setting and speed of movement for it, even though there are plenty of setting to personalize your experience.
Graphically, Sinner looks great and moves smoothly with wonderfully rendered backgrounds and gigantic bosses to slay. The gameplay is smooth and responsive, with only a few slowdowns occurring. I appreciated the interludes before each boss battle and they gave some interesting backstory to each boss, including psyching yourself up for a memorable encounter.
As a major Dark Souls fan, I was glad Sinner was trying to do something different, while following in its footsteps. Sinner plays much the same and if you manage to get the timing down of your dodge rolls o an enemies weakness, you’re going to feel a nice sense of accomplishment. The bosses are the main attraction of Sinner and they do not disappoint with each one feeling completely separate from the last. Bosses have multiple forms or stages of aggression, starting out easy and gradually getting harder as you whittle away their health. Much like Mega Man, there is probably a certain order to tackling these bosses that makes them easier given what you have to sacrifice, but I did appreciate allowing the player to choose what order they felt was most appropriate.
Overall, Sinner: Sacrifice for Redemption is a Dark Souls boss battle clone that, while not near as memorable as my multiple trips to Lordran, is solid in its own right. Despite the fact that there are some balancing issues, this is undeniably a very fun game and is highly recommended for anyone looking for more Souls-like experiences.