By Ronald Gordon
In the gaming world, you often progress by getting stronger with every enemy you defeat. But what if you got weaker with every kill you made? What if you lost some items or had your health lowered with every opponent you challenged? Do you think you could beat a game that leaves you with nearly nothing by the end of your journey?
Sinner: Sacrifice For Redemption is an indie Souls-like Action game developed by DARK STAR and published by Another Indie. In the game, you play as The Sinner, venturing into a dungeon to redeem yourself for the offense you’ve committed. That’s no easy task, though, since you have to face a myriad different bosses in order to do so.
To be redeemed, you must face the embodiments of the Seven Deadly Sins. Greed, Lust, Wrath, Envy, Gluttony, Sloth, and Pride all have their own fighting styles and are all equally tough to defeat. However, Sinner doesn’t just power up the bosses, making them hard to fight on their own, it also powers you down with each boss you challenge, because you have to sacrifice something in the process.
In order to face the bosses you must first make a sacrifice at the altar that leads you to each of their specific worlds. This sacrifice activates a permanent debuff, or downgrade, making the game more challenging in the long run. These debuffs vary from lowering the amount of health and stamina you have to causing your shield to shatter once your guard is broken to making you stop moving and collapse when you run out of stamina. If you go to retrieve a sacrifice after defeating the boss, then you have to fight him all over again! So either you let your sacrifices stay lost, or you have to repeat what you did the first time as if it never happened. I kind of enjoy this aspect of the game because it’s an interesting concept, and it made me want to choose the bosses I fought very carefully. If I didn’t, I’d be screwed when I went to fight another with the current debuffs I had. I also had to strategize more, because I needed to analyze the boss I was fighting to see how I could win in my current situation.
One of the bosses I fought, The Deadly Sin of Gluttony: Camber Luce, was interesting because his fight took place in the Arctic. Luce was a slow moving enemy, but he was surprisingly fast when it came to attacking. But during his attacks he left himself open as he prepared for his onslaught. I made sure to take advantage of those windows when he would load up for an attack to chip away at his health, gradually turning the fight to my favor. After a multitude of tries, I eventually did beat Luce, although it cost me some of my health potions, and my healing rate decreased. That was a regrettable choice, because I needed as much healing as I could get to face the other bosses.
Sinner’s combat is, to put it plainly, Dark Souls-like. You have your basic attacks, fast and precise combos of hits, and your heavy attacks, slow but powerful blows that are useful if the timing is right. You can dodge and dash away from your enemy’s attacks to avoid damage altogether, and can use your items and tools to your best advantage. The in-game music is dramatic and fitting for each boss, emphasizing their fighting style or their personality. The theme for Camber Luce is slow and rhythmic, highlighting his sloth-like moves due to his massive size but also foreshadowing, with subtle yet dramatic tone shifts, his devastatingly strong attacks. The graphics are also nothing short of next gen as the textures of the characters and the levels they’re found in are all well detailed and eye-catching. One great example of this is The Deadly Sin of Greed: Faiz Tilus’ marsh level. The textures of the muddy and poisonous swamp where Tilus is found makes it feel as though you’re looking at something from the real world.
All this attention to detail makes Sinner: Sacrifice For Redemption a great game. The fact that the bosses in the game get tougher because you have to make sacrifices is an interesting mechanic. It made me want to pick my fights carefully to avoid the trouble caused by my limited supplies or lowered defense. The combat is straight to the point, attack when you can, run when you have to, heal when you need to, nothing too complicated. With the right combination of timing and analysis, you should be able to win the fight with only a bit of difficulty. I’d suggest this game for anyone who likes recognizing patterns or likes fighting tough enemies. Luckily for me, it doesn’t take me long to recognize a pattern, so taking advantage of the different openings in a boss fight was relatively easy. Of course I still died a lot but, if at first you don’t succeed, try try again. And make sacrifices.
Ronald Gordon is creating the City Tech College chapter of the New York Videogame Critics Circle.