There are never too many Soullikes and Metroidvanias, right? So the authors of Salt and Sanctuary, the iconic “two-dimensional Dark Souls”, released a sequel Salt and Sacrifice six years later, adding, among other things, more metroidvania elements. Trite and predictable? Perhaps, but what difference does it make if the game is hard to break away from?
The Inquisitor went hunting in Salt and Sacrifice
The style in Salt and Sacrifice has changed only slightly, if at all, and in general it is still the same very dark, atmospheric and well-drawn adventure in a world where there are obvious problems with faith, hope and love, and the number of optimists tends to zero. The music matches the general mood.
This time we play as one of the “Marked Inquisitors”, who hunts for the souls and hearts of magicians, because they are (quote) “ruthless embodiments of elemental chaos.” And indeed, these are not guys in a cap and with a staff, but some kind of infernal monsters. Their invasion threatens to destroy the once peaceful kingdom.
That’s pretty much the entire plot. Gradually opening more and more new locations, we visit five different worlds, finding and destroying more and more powerful sorcerers. You can communicate with the characters, learning from them the details of what is happening here – the world is spelled out in great detail. You can even listen to the dying confession of the defeated magicians – somewhere it will be anger, somewhere – denial, and somewhere – acceptance. And we have a choice of what to say to them in the end.
If this kind of games are not interesting, you can read about Arcadegeddon – a new project from IllFonic, primarily known for Friday The 13th: The Game.
More metroidvania, good and different!
The mechanics of hunting mages looks like this. First, the monster runs around the location from us, letting loose his henchmen, who are designed to pat the hero as much as possible, and only then does the general battle begin. If they died, the game will throw back to the place of the last save (special altars where you can rest or return to the camp) and ask whether to continue hunting or stop. If the stocks of resources for restoring arrows, potions, bombs and other consumables are running out, or you just feel that your opponent is not up to par, then it is better to postpone the execution for now and start pumping/collecting materials.
After defeating a monster, new crafting recipes are unlocked, and players get powerful ingredients to create cool items and new artifacts with passive bonuses. But most importantly, it allows you to pass through the doors, on which it was written: “To pass, defeat one more [two / three] mages.” In addition, now you can find useful devices that also allow you to climb into previously inaccessible places – for example, a grappling hook or an object with which we quickly and for decent distances move up / down the cables. Therefore, we often have to return to places we have already visited, but this is a pleasant experience, because there we discover something new.
As a result, the research process has become more interesting, freer and more “vertical” – more than once or twice I was surprised to find myself in places I didn’t even know existed, and finding new chests, weapons and crafting components there. By the way, there is also a procedure for enchanting equipment, as well as the ability to increase the maximum number of arrows and health potions – this also requires rare materials.
Swing or call for help in Salt and Sacrifice
For the rest, we do things that are familiar to soul-likes – we fight and level up. Only first you need to choose one of eight classes (assassin, ranger, priest, paladin, warrior and other comrades), which determines the starting equipment and skills.
In fights, we use dodges, blocks, regular and heavy hits, and remember the central role of endurance. You can also alternate melee and ranged combat and use magic. Collecting salt (similar to souls), for which we raise levels in the camp, getting new skill points, the danger of losing it if, after death, on the way to the place of death, they died again, this, of course, is also in place.
It is important to consider here that each weapon has unique attacks and combos, and each is focused on one or two characteristics – for example, strength, agility, luck, “lasso” or even persuasion (conviction). And if you increase these characteristics on the skill tree, then the damage from such weapons will increase. Fortunately, the tree is so extensive (obviously, it was not without the influence of Path of Exile) that it allows you to do this many times.
And if the class of my character determined that agility, a spear, light armor and a bow were the key for him, then I pumped just that, opening up the opportunity to use more advanced equipment in these categories.
On the other hand, no one will forbid wearing heavy armor, boots and gloves of level zero (the ban only applies to equipment of level 1 and above) – here it is important to ensure that there is no overweight. Well, in principle, the aforementioned sprawling skill tree allows you to move in a variety of directions, flexibly focusing on the situation and making your class a hybrid. In general, there are many options for pumping, as well as amulets, artifacts, and so on. You can generally grind, given that after resting on the altars or returning to the camp, the enemies respawn.
However, the role of one’s own skill, and not levels, is still very large. There are also traps that are hard to spot, controls that are not the most convenient on a PC, and hitboxes that are not always correct.
If you want even more thrills, then go to the online multiplayer, which was not in Salt and Sanctuary (there was only local co-op). Now everything is almost like in Dark Souls – you can join one of the two factions and fight other players. It is also allowed to call someone to fight a particularly strong boss.
Salt and Sacrifice expands on the mechanics of Salt and Sanctuary, makes exploring the world more interesting and free, adds multiplayer in the style and spirit of “souls”. Yes, in some places the battles feel not entirely fair due to problems with hitboxes, but these are not critical problems for passing. On the contrary, it is possible, necessary and very desirable to play.
Pros: new mechanics of hunting for mages; explore the world has become more interesting; a lot of opportunities for pumping; difficult battles and cool bosses; gloomy, attractive atmosphere and style; the same gloomy music, which came very out of place.
Cons: problems with hitboxes; the character doesn’t always act responsive in platform episodes.
Questions about this game:
In Salt and Sacrifice, leveling up requires collecting Salt, which is obtained by defeating enemies and bosses throughout the game. Once you have enough Salt, you can visit a Sanctuary or Altar to level up your character.
At the Sanctuary or Altar, select the “Level Up” option and choose which attributes you want to increase, such as strength, dexterity, or magic. Each attribute has its own unique benefits and affects different aspects of your character’s abilities.
It’s important to note that the amount of Salt required to level up increases with each level, so it’s a good idea to focus on defeating enemies and collecting Salt as much as possible. Additionally, some bosses will drop large amounts of Salt, making them a valuable target for leveling up quickly.
To farm mages in Salt and Sacrifice, you can try the following method:
- Find an area with a high concentration of mages. One such area is the Tower of the Blue Order in the Abydoss region.
- Equip gear with high magic defense to reduce the damage you take from mage attacks. You can also use items such as Elemental Resistance Potions or Magic Damage Reduction Rings to further increase your defense.
- Use a weapon with a long reach or a ranged attack to take out mages from a safe distance. Spears, halberds, or bows can be effective options.
- After defeating the mages, make sure to collect the Salt they drop, as this is necessary for leveling up.
- Rest at a nearby Sanctuary or Altar to respawn the mages and repeat the process.
By following this method, you can efficiently farm mages for Salt and gain levels more quickly. However, be careful not to get overwhelmed by their attacks and keep an eye out for other enemies in the area.