With the ever-growing roster of Souls-like titles releasing, it’s become harder and harder for developers to produce a new take on the sub-genre. SINNER: Sacrifice for Redemption faces that very issue, with fun, challenging, yet punishing, bosses it delivers some truly tough boss encounters, but not much else.
SINNER: Sacrifice for Redemption places you in the shoes of a grey-washed unknown soldier that returns to what’s left of his homeland. His home has been steeped in darkness and it falls on him to face his sins and take on the 7 deadly sins in hopes of banishing the evil that has fallen upon his/her kingdom. That’s pretty much it, in regards to story. Unlike its Soulsborne successors, SINNER gives you small, comicbook-like clips of the sins you’re about to face and then tosses you into the ring with them. It’s here that SINNER hits its first road bump.
The premise of SINNER: Sacrifice for Redemption is more of a combination between a boss rush and action RPG than a take on either genre, however, the action-RPG elements are pretty light here. The Soulsborne comparison comes from the ruthless bosses you’re pitted against. Each requires you to memorize move sets and abilities if you hope to beat them, and like a Souls game, these bosses hit like trucks and can take quite a beating before they kneel under your blade.
The action-RPG elements are really just there to make it sound more intriguing. You don’t spend souls to level up attributes of your character. You don’t gain new weapons or armor throughout your journey. There is no sprawling over-world that has items and lore hidden under its many overlapping layers. You walk up to a monolith, sacrifice something (we’ll get to that), and then you’re transported to an arena of sorts and thrust into a boss fight. Rinse, repeat.
If you view this game as a boss rush style game, you’re going to get exactly what you paid for. If you’re expecting a true 40-60 hour, action RPG adventure with a moving story, impactful characters and a warm n’ fuzzy message about friendship or family, or honor; you’re going to be left wanting. SINNER: Sacrifice for Redemption nails the boss fight elements of this kind of game. It’s what isn’t here that leaves the game feeling incomplete, and at an almost $20 price point, the lack of content will surely leave some feeling cheated out of their money.
In a time where “complete games” happen a year or more after they’re released, SINNER certainly isn’t a “worth the cost” title. I finished the game in about 2.5-3 hours, and though you unlock a couple of weapons and modes after, they aren’t enough to make me want to replay the game again. SINNER is a boss rush mode that throws 8 bosses at you and then leaves you to dwell on those battles. There isn’t really anything here that made me want to endure the frustrations of some of the fights again. If they had added a procedural element to it or made it so different sacrifices were required making the fight unique again, I’d probably have given it another go.
All of that being said, SINNER: Sacrifice for Redemption certainly throws some interesting fights your way. When you finish the brief tutorial, you’re brought to a room with some ominous looking obelisk type structures. Each obelisk transports you to one of the 7 deadly sins, and it isn’t until each sin is conquered that you’re allowed access to the final boss. In order to fight any of them, a sacrifice is required. These sacrifices stack, making the order in which you choose to fight each boss a decision with some serious weight behind it.
Fighting Pride lowers your damage output, Envy steals a good portion of your consumables, Wrath drops your defense and halts health regeneration, you get the idea. This weighing your options kind of decision really left me pausing in between fights before continuing my run and was a nice added element. I even found that I could make all of my sacrifices before fighting a single boss if I wanted to, which I’m sure will be an accomplishment only the truly insane will work towards. The idea of starting a game as strong as you possibly can, and then losing your strength as you go was an interesting twist on the formula.
All that being said, there is a way to counter some of your debuffs. At the end of each fight, you’re left with a choice. Redeem the Sin, or punish them. Punishing them means hitting them until they die for good. Redeeming a Sin will absolve them, and grant you a health bonus. After redeeming a few of them, I found that the health you earn made it an obvious choice moving forward. Again, those looking for an even harder challenge will probably kill off the sins, but the health gained certainly made the next fight feel a little easier.
Each boss is aesthetically unique as well. It’s clear that these 8 were the primary focus of the game, and everything else was an afterthought. The bosses and their arenas are the most varied aspects of this otherwise shades of gray game. Wrath is a giant lava titan that hammers you into the ground with his ridiculously huge fists. Gluttony runs after you with a belly full of teeth desperately trying to make you it’s next meal. Each boss is completely unique from the last, and it was exciting to discover each one during my brief time with this game.
Overall, SINNER: Sacrifice for Redemption feels more like a demo, than a complete title. It has some truly challenging fights, and some memorable bosses to go with them, but that is pretty much all it really has to offer. When every Sin is taken down, when the dust settles, there is a desire to know more about the enemies you just faced, or why the world is the way it is. It feels like SINNER was meant to be a true Souls successor, complete with an upgrade-able character, and sprawling world to explore. Sadly, all you’ll find here is some hard bosses and 2-3 hours worth of entertainment; but hey, maybe we’ll get a patch down the road that gives us more of a world to explore?