Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Sacrifice Reader Review
I was very surprised to see this in Game last week, and then I was even more surprised to find out that no one else had it, and that it was a Game exclusive!
Is it that bad that the publisher actually wants to limit who they sell it to? Released with no fanfare, or any kind of review presence on the internet that I could find, and pitched at a premium ?29.99, it really is a leap of faith to give Buffy a chance on the DS.
I'm glad I did.
At least I think I am. I haven't played much, but I thought I'd give some first impressions so that at least other people might benefit from my jaunt back to Sunnydale.
The game seems to have some decent production values but is almost schizophrenic in its approach: -
It's fully licensed of course, but lacks the familiar Buffy opening theme, settling rather for some generic, bland "similarish but clearly not as good" thing.
Despite Sarah Michelle Gellar posing on the cover, the in-game cut-scene artwork is hand drawn, and while the artist has done a reasonable job, for a lot of the scenes I've seen at the beginning, you simply get a view from the back of Buffy's head, it's almost as if they couldn't get her face right for a while so "shot" everything from the back for a bit until they could get it right.
All of this is simply aesthetic however, and once the game starts, it boasts a surprisingly complex set of controls and options. Touch screen (gesture) based magic casting is in there, as well as some simple (so far) beat-em-up combos. I've died a couple of times, and there appears to be a generous checkpointing system in place.
Does it feel like a Buffy game? On the whole, I'd say yes. I've already run into most of the Scooby gang, and while there's no voice overs, I can hear the characters just fine in my head. There's a lot crammed onto the DS's screens, so it takes a bit of getting used to, but it's got me intrigued to see just where the story takes you.
So, is it worth your time and money? I'd have to say yes - if you can find it for less than full price. ?30 is quite frankly astounding (I traded in a few things and had a voucher that eased the pain). But Buffy's Buffy (the first XBox Buffy game was one of the system sellers for me - the other being Knights of the Old Republic), and this already feels more fun and interesting than the awful "Chaos Bleeds".
If you're not a Buffy fan, I'd say knock a point or two off that final score, but if you are a fan, I'd say jump back into the world of the Slayer. And to the publishers, good grief; pull your finger out and make an effort for crying out loud - you'll only sell games if people actually know they're out and can get their hands on them!
7 / 10