To my great shame, I have never played Soul Sacrifice. For this I have no excuse, as the game is downloaded and ready to play on my Vita after getting it free through PlayStation Plus. But, what can I say? The go-go lifestyle of a video game reviewer is a hectic one, and sometimes you simply don’t have time to play every single title out there. However, if the new downloadable content for Toukiden: The Age of Demons is any indication, Soul Sacrifice must be quite a controller-throwingly difficult game.
Version 1.01 of Toukiden saw the inclusion of a couple new DLC missions starring Soul Sacrifice’s flagship demon, Cerberus. If you’ve read my review of Toukiden, you’ll know that I was disappointed to see such a small number of Oni to take on during the course of the game. As such, I jumped at the chance to see a new enemy to fight. However, this jump turned out to be about the same as leaping out of an airplane without a parachute. Much like how a pro at Guitar Hero might think he could play a real guitar, I foolishly believed that defeating the final boss of the game somehow meant I was prepared for this encounter. Cerberus quickly showed me the error of my ways.
Things started off simple enough. Upon entering the arena, the three-headed beast appeared from a large dark portal, as per the norm. Considering this was a new enemy to me, I was a little cautious about getting right into the thick of it, so I hit him a few times to coax out a few attacks and gauge his strength. After a light stomp attack that did a nominal amount of damage, I figured I could go after the demon a bit harder, and started in on him in my usual fashion. It was around this time that Cerberus decided he had had enough of me. Showcasing the rest of his repertoire, he lunged forward with a charge attack that ended in a spin, immediately taking down two of my AI partners. Needless to say, I was shocked. Not even the strongest attacks from the other Oni had nearly enough power behind them to outright destroy my teammates and me in a single hit like this.
Going back on the defensive, I scrambled to revive my teammates. Even if they couldn’t withstand Cerberus’s attacks, they could at least provide some distraction while I tried to do… something? I guess a part of me didn’t want to immediately give up. While trying to revive my two downed partners, Cerberus lobbed a couple energy balls at me. I was able to get out of the way, but my third teammate was less fortunate, and was also knocked out of commission instantly. I had to laugh. Cerberus was in a completely different league than even the final boss of the game. Clearly, I was not meant to fight this guy yet, but I at least wanted to see it through to the end.
What followed was a mad struggle between dealing damage whenever possible and reviving downed teammates. While players themselves eventually respawn if they aren’t revived, AI helpers are a different story; they will remain downed indefinitely without help. This meant that, if I didn’t immediately help my partners up, I had Cerberus’s undivided attention, making finding an opening that much more difficult. Unfortunately, my teammates also were not that concerned about their own safety, and would recklessly rush Cerberus whenever they were able – sometimes getting themselves killed again mere seconds after being revived. I eventually gave up on reviving them, and tried to see what I could do against the beast one-on-one, which, as it turns out, wasn’t much. I did manage to lop off one of Cerberus’s legs, but he was so ferocious during his injured state that I wasn’t able to purify it before he absorbed it again. Despite how careful I was, all it took was one lucky shot for the demon to take me down, and, without anyone to revive me, I hit my three-strike death limit pretty quickly, and failed the mission.
Clearly, this mission is meant for a full team of high-level players, as the AI teammates are in no way strong or smart enough for this battle. However, despite how ridiculously strong Cerberus is, I’m extremely excited to see him in the game. “But, Tyler, you stupid moron,” I can hear you saying, “Why would you want to fight something that hands you your butt to you so easily?” Well, dear readers, it’s simple. Cerberus has given me a goal. As I mentioned in the review, I never felt particularly challenged over the course of the main story, so I didn’t really see much point in continuing after the credits rolled. However, with such a powerful beast now lurking in the wings, I have a reason to keep playing and get stronger until I can finally bring him down. If you think you can do better, though, you’re more than welcome to give it a shot, as the DLC is available for the low, low price of free! Not only that, but another mission, in which players must simultaneously fight both Cerberus and Toukiden’s flagship Oni, the Chthonian Fiend, is also available. This just seems cruel. Even so, I’m not one to run from a challenge, and with a little extra effort, I’m sure I’ll be farming materials from him in no time.