Sacrifice - Not Quite Godlike

Sacrifice - Not Quite Godlike

Sacrifice is fantasy-based real-time strategy game that delivers an interesting story and impressive replay value, but hampers itself with an unhelpful camera that works against the rest of the otherwise solid gameplay.

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Wait, wait wait wait, wait.... wait...

... you could pause?
Wow. I guess that would've made things easier.

I had a love/hate relationship with the gods being so in-between on their alignments. While it was refreshing at the time, it was also sort of discouraging that I couldn't match myself with any of them without feeling like I was being suckered into a faction I didn't really like. As far as I remember though, you could mix and match units and spells depending on the missions you took.

I remember really liking Sacrifice as a child, it was such a different take on strategy compared to the C&C-style. And it had magic, no obvious villain or bright shiny hero and great voice acting that really drew me in. I must have replayed that game about half a dozen times, despite it's camera problems. And it cemented my love of magic using characters that still influence my choice in characters to this day. Why play a warrior when you can shoot lightning? Who needs a blade when you can summon a freaking volcano or army of demons?

Where else could you have an army with a massive dragon mother, big dragons, demons, fire spitting bugs, rock monsters and whatever other odd creatures I've by now forgotten about? Then the constant chanting when casting spells? "Laam totel herra" and so on that really drove home that you're casting some big powerful spell, in combination with the animations of your wizard? And that mass heal that was a rainbow bouncing between units. The presentation is just fantastic.

It just has so much style and unique gameplay that I still remember it very fondly today, even though I also remember the problems with the close camera vividly. Pausing did help a lot though, that, and finding a hill to command from now and then. I do remember the final battle being really freaking hard though, just a massive spike in difficulty - but still very beatable with the right strategy.

Now I kind of want to play it again. I've still got it, in the original box, in a drawer.

YEAH! YEAH! SACRIFICE REVIEW! YEAH!

Really awesome to finally see a review of this, even if it's not one I wholly agree with.

It was the presentation that really cemented this game in my mind. It's just so completely alien, so far removed from the typical conception of what "fantasy" means. It's beautiful, but in a really twisted kind of way.

Mind you, it's not that I don't get why the developers made it this way. It'd be as much of a problem if they made it a cakewalk and let me just have the souls sans resistance.

...Which made it really irritating when the end boss could do exactly that. Basically, the only way I ever figured out to win that last battle was to keep blasting the enemy mage, specifically, with overwhelming force- combined with a little dumb AI/luck that kept him from just annihilating my troops with instant death spells and then scooping up their souls every time.

Good luck with that if you've been following the Life god all game.

Otherwise, though, I remember having a lot of fun with Sacrifice. It has been a while, however; it's quite possible I'd be less tolerant of the camera, now.

This may not be the best game ever, but it's still probably my personal favourite game of all time. I don't think there's any game I've replayed more than this.

The camera is part of the charm for me. True, you can't perform lightning fast orders, or steer your units all around the map (although you can give orders on the minimap too), but I feel that's kinda like complaining that Dark Souls doesn't have a Dynasty Warriors-style room-clearing superattack. Yes, it'd make things easier, but that's not how Dark Souls is supposed to be played. And Sacrifice isn't suppoed to be a Starcraft-style clickfest, IMHO. Good thing too, cause I don't like that all that much. I tend to get by quite well with numbered groups of units, set in specific formations and with orders to guard either my wizard or another one of my units. That greatly reducs the amount of micromanaging you have to do. I never use the pause-function.

Same thing with the souls-system. I'll admit that it can be annoying to have the enemy wizard swoop back in and get all his souls back, especially in the first levels when you don't really have the firepower to stop him from doing that. But on the whole I've think it works. It means you do have to pay attention to what you attack, and where you fight (hint: don't expect to capture any souls if you fight right beside an enemy manafount).

That said, the game isn't perfect. The problem is that, due to the camera and the soul system, there isn't any real strategic manoeuvering going on during fights. You always have to be there when your troups fight, and usually the enemy wizard will and his army will be around where you are (or he'll be attacking your base, in which case, you need to teleport back and defend). The only real kind of battle you'll see is the two main armies slugging it out in frontal matches. Only the highest tier fliers could conceivably be used to attack the enemy base while you keep the wizard busy.

On top of that, the best way to win given the soul system and camera is to camp near your most forward base with your entire army, wait for the wizard to come, and settle in for a battle of attrition. Try to kill the wizard as soon as possible, then take out his army, steal as many souls as you can before he comes back, rinse and repeat until he's lost so many souls he can no longer attack, then mop up the map. It works better than anything else, but it's not very exciting.

It would be nice if they'd manage to incorporate a way to let groups fight semi-effectively without your presence. (The Guardian system kinda works that way for defense, but it'll only delay a wizard-led army for a bit.) And maybe make it a bit slower to recreate armies, especially at low level, so that even a wizard gets all his creature's souls back, he'll be out of the fight for a bit longer and he'll have to either concede more territory to his opponent, or face that opponent with an incomplete army.

Still, whatever imperfections the game may have, the humor and characters make up for it.
"Kill the blasfemer!"
"Charnel! Death is not the answer to everything.
"Yes. Torture also has its merrits."

Oh, and that one multiplayer match against a friend when we started at mid level: On the first encounter of our armies, I cast an Explosion that launched him and half his army clear off the side of the map, killing his wizard and destroying his souls, while I could finish of the other half and steal their souls. That was fun.

One of my favourite old games, the one with the absolute best voice-acting out of all oldschool games too I think.

Other than that the atmosphere and the weird designs in Sacrifice just give it a feel that is very hard to find in any other game. The only thing that comes a bit close to this level of original design for me is Morrowind.

I replayed it only recently too. The camera is indeed a problem, but it didn't piss me off much more then the bad camera in a host of other games in which both the camera and the actual game underneath is bad.

Sacrifice is also a difficult game, but the whole thing with souls is pretty much how it should be. Try to rush manaliths as well and trick them into fighting near your own manaliths with a ton of guardian creatures bound to it, that way they've got little mana to cast spells and a much tougher time killing you.

StewShearer:
Sacrifice - Not Quite Godlike

Sacrifice is fantasy-based real-time strategy game that delivers an interesting story and impressive replay value, but hampers itself with an unhelpful camera that works against the rest of the otherwise solid gameplay.

Read Full Article

Okay, seriously? You talk about the voice talent without mentioning Michael Bell or Tony Jay?

For shame, Sir. For shame.

Those two were not only the two main characters, but the highlight of the experience.

Also, Raziel and the Elder God, so it was interesting to seem them put a new twist on what were essentially the same roles.

ExileNZ:

StewShearer:
Sacrifice - Not Quite Godlike

Sacrifice is fantasy-based real-time strategy game that delivers an interesting story and impressive replay value, but hampers itself with an unhelpful camera that works against the rest of the otherwise solid gameplay.

Read Full Article

Okay, seriously? You talk about the voice talent without mentioning Michael Bell or Tony Jay?

For shame, Sir. For shame.

Those two were not only the two main characters, but the highlight of the experience.

Also, Raziel and the Elder God, so it was interesting to seem them put a new twist on what were essentially the same roles.

Forgiveness, please... :(

bificommander:
That said, the game isn't perfect. The problem is that, due to the camera and the soul system, there isn't any real strategic manoeuvering going on during fights. You always have to be there when your troups fight, and usually the enemy wizard will and his army will be around where you are (or he'll be attacking your base, in which case, you need to teleport back and defend). The only real kind of battle you'll see is the two main armies slugging it out in frontal matches.

Oh, I don't know about that. It's true that your forces can't branch out much without risking being wiped out but within the skirmishes there's definitely some room for tactical maneuvering, given the rock-paper-scissors balance between melee, ranged and flying units and the need to keep the enemy wizard off balance. I like to send a melee squad after the wizard and have some archers on a hillside to deal will anything in the air, though depending on the god I'm playing I might just deal with flying units myself.

CHAIN LIGHTNING FTW.

Callate:

Mind you, it's not that I don't get why the developers made it this way. It'd be as much of a problem if they made it a cakewalk and let me just have the souls sans resistance.

...Which made it really irritating when the end boss could do exactly that. Basically, the only way I ever figured out to win that last battle was to keep blasting the enemy mage, specifically, with overwhelming force- combined with a little dumb AI/luck that kept him from just annihilating my troops with instant death spells and then scooping up their souls every time.

Good luck with that if you've been following the Life god all game.

She actually has one of the best spells for that level, though: Charm. Use it on any enemy creature and it becomes yours, permanently. It's like an instant conversion, and it even works on Guardian'd creatures (of which Marduk has many.)

I must say that I always considered the rock-paper-scissors system that the game actually explained in the tutorial a bit of a false advertising. It's true with the level 1 creatures. After that, you get melee units which can swat fliers out of the sky if they fly low enough (they often do, unless they flew from a hilltop, and you can't control their altitude), fliers with melee attacks who need to get down to ground level anyway, and ranged attackers who can knock melee creatures flat on their faces.

bificommander:
I must say that I always considered the rock-paper-scissors system that the game actually explained in the tutorial a bit of a false advertising. It's true with the level 1 creatures. After that, you get melee units which can swat fliers out of the sky if they fly low enough (they often do, unless they flew from a hilltop, and you can't control their altitude), fliers with melee attacks who need to get down to ground level anyway, and ranged attackers who can knock melee creatures flat on their faces.

It does get away from being that simple, but I'd say there is still a strategy to what units work best in which situations. Even against the more powerful ranged units, melee units still seem preferable because they can close the distance and are usually tougher. Even the level 1 units remain pretty useful throughout as long as there's some bigger guys to protect them.

EIDT: I just realized I have on major gripe with this review... no gifs? We got gifs for Postal 2 and Blade of Darkness but not Sacrifice??? This game looks amazing in motion.

I suppose the units go for hard counters to soft counters. Which is cool, I prefer that anyway.

Whether or not I still use lvl 1 units at higher levels kinda depends on the god and the unit. Units that stay useful IMHO are the frostwolves (very, very fast), Braniacs (long range knockdown), Trogg (magic-imune, send them after the enemy wizard), Spitfire (powerful AoE, especially in groups), Scythes (decent damage and steal life) and locutsts (good against wizards). The problem with most of these is that they get too frail once AoE spells become available, and it's hard to micro them to be far apart. You can lose half a dozen fliers to a single fireball if you're unlucky.

You complain about the camera of all things while not mentioning the elephant in the room that is unit balance?
There's no point in building level 1 melee units that aren't frostwolves or troggs, flying melee units are utterly worthless outside of manalith destruction and once you got a decent sized army or warmongers or styxes, everything is over anyway.
That rock paper scissors system flies out the window and fast once you amass a decent sized ranged army that just evaporates "counters" before they can reach them.
Spells are wildly unbalanced too.
Charnels revive snaps the game in half while persephones wine wall literally does nothing.

Hahahaha. I played this game when it was new and never knew you could pause the game. That would have made things much easier. I remember this game fondly but definitely agree that the camera was super annoying. I loved that it was a RTS done in 3rd person. The only other games I remember doing RTS differently were the Battlezone games which were 1st person. I had lots of fun with Sacrifice and I'm glad that it still seems to hold up.

SnakeTrousers:
She actually has one of the best spells for that level, though: Charm. Use it on any enemy creature and it becomes yours, permanently. It's like an instant conversion, and it even works on Guardian'd creatures (of which Marduk has many.)

It's been a while since I played the game. I think my experience was that trying to Charm Marduk's creatures just ended up being a waste of time because they'd just end up getting Grim Reapered and sucked back up anyway... Without a way to stop Marduk himself, everything else seemed to be a waste of time. I went back and sided with James for the final fight and did better.

That's my recollection, anyway.

 

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