More like Dim Souls - Let's Play Sinner: Sacrifice for Redemption

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#1

Sinner: Sacrifice for Redemption is a game that manages to take some neat ideas and turn them into a shallow and unrewarding experience. The developers say it was “influenced by the Souls games”, but I defy you to provide a better description of this game than “Dark Souls but with all the fun parts removed”. The combat is effectively identical to Dark Souls, except that you can’t customize or upgrade your character and there are no enemies to fight aside from the bosses. And while the boss fights are at least unique and not quite all patterned on the least fun bosses from the Souls series, they’re brutal and punishing and far more frustrating than fun at first. You can always give up on the boss you’re fighting and come back later, but you’ll have an even harder time when you do, because you lose power every time you fight a different boss and it never comes back. There isn’t even much of a story driving you to keep trying - the protagonist, Adam, is apparently trying to redeem sins, but the details are about as compelling as a history textbook and don’t explain more than the sins a bunch of people committed. It doesn’t say who those people are, or what their relationship to Adam might be. I’d invite you to judge that for yourself, but there’s another quirk to this game - you only ever get to see the story once. If you see a cutscene, it will never play again, even after you finish the game and restart. That makes a Let’s Play fairly useless, but I didn’t discover that until I’d already started recording, so I figured I might as well just finish the job. I expect this will be a short thread, since there are only eight bosses and nothing else to the main game, but I’ll probably toss in some videos of challenge modes I unlock and anything else that seems interesting.

Part 1: Tutorial and Faiz Tilus
Part 2: Yordo and Levin Undok
Part 3: Chanel and Camber Luce
Part 4: Rhodes
Part 5: Angronn
Part 6: Adam

Part 7: Nightmare Challenge, take 1


#2

Faiz Tilus was an alchemist who gave into greed and searched for immortality. This turned him into some kind of giant crow wielding a scythe. He can shoot homing projectiles, spread shots, eyeballs, and exploding leeches, and he bleeds poison every time you hit him. There is no way to cure poison, not that the game would explain it if there were. Fortunately, the sacrifice you make to greed is just a portion of your HP and Stamina, so the experience shifts down the scale from playing Dark Souls at level 1 to playing Dark Souls at level 0.3. You get used to it. The game clearly intends for you to fight this boss first, even though it’s one of the worst fights. My advice would be not to play at all, but if you’ve gotten this far, you might as well start here. At least this sacrifice won’t fundamentally change the way you fight, and taking on this boss any later would be a disaster. I also called the opening of the game a tutorial, but that’s being generous. If you haven’t done umpteen challenge runs of Dark Souls by now, you’re not going to defeat any of the enemies here.

Part 1: Tutorial and Faiz Tilus


#3

i can’t help but wonder who the target audience for this is. if it’s every bit of a slog as you’ve described and you’re punished instead of rewarded for progressing it feels like they might’ve been aiming for the niche of ‘getting over it of dark souls’


#4

It reminds me of nothing so much as some of the early literature on Majora’s Mask, when the developers were quoted as saying something like “Since the best part of Ocarina of Time was fighting the bosses, and players expressed regret at only being able to do it once per playthrough, we decided on a mechanic that allows players to replay the boss fights as many times as they want,” and then cut the number of bosses to five, thus putting less of the good thing they intended in the game. It was still a good game, but not for the reasons they seemed to intend. A boss rush isn’t inherently bad, but even Shadow of the Colossus had some semblance of a story and meaningful character motivations, an obvious Hero’s Dilemma, and a vast countryside to explore with stuff to do if you felt like looking for it. Sinner seems to have eliminated everything except the bosses, even going so far as to assume that if you’ve played the game and come back for more, you clearly didn’t care about the story enough to want to sit through it again anyway.

It’s not even as if the emptiness is itself vital to the game. There is one entity in the game that talks, and in some cases, could provide some meaningful dialogue. It just doesn’t seem to want to do that very often, and depending on the order in which you fight the bosses, you might never get anything out of it at all. They could have done so much more with that idea - incarnations of all of the bosses you defeat, with lines relating to the things you’ve done or are about to do. Anything to provide some background or depth.


#5

You know how Dark Souls is insanely rich in lore, with every single item telling a part of the story? Remember those many, many unique characters, each with their own horrible demises distinct personalities? What about all of the gear, the fighting styles you could adopt, the swiss army chainsaw of powers? The vast expanse of the world, how about that?

What if you had none of that and the entire game feels like you couldn’t run away from the Asylum Demon and just had to punch him to death, right down to being taught next to doing about combat? Also it’s reverse Mega Man.

That’s the impression I’m getting.

I guess (or perhaps hope) the sacrifice system is there because scaling the power of the bosses doesn’t happen. Even the first boss fight wore out its welcome by the time it did might as well have been its first fullscreen instant death attack and that really ought to be because the bosses always have the same stats. I can’t imagine how miserable making the bosses even more of a bunch of damage sponges (on top of the sacrifice that makes bosses even more of a bunch of damage sponges) would be.


#6

yeah this seems like the kind of game i would personally hate to play i’m gonna keep watching to see if my opinion changes in time


#7

So the story is actually really good?


#8

:man_shrugging: The story is “everybody forgot what happened and we’re not going to tell you”. That’s what was in the opening cutscene that you missed.


#9

“Dark Souls with all the fun parts removed” doesn’t sound like the game the Dark Souls fanbase would want, but it is absolutely the game they would make.


#10

Yordo killed his brother to seize a throne he didn’t want and let the kingdom fall into ruin. I can really sympathize with someone going to a lot of effort for a reward he didn’t really want in the end. The fight is entirely a matter of numbers. No individual warrior, including Yordo himself, is much of a threat, but they’ll surround you and poke you to death with their spears. Early in the game, that’s manageable. If you make too many sacrifices, I expect this fight could cause some problems, but the sacrifice here is that running out of stamina carries a big penalty, which will hurt a lot in future fights. Like most sacrifices, it’s associated with the fight where you’d least like to suffer that penalty. Here, Yordo spends most of his time running away or surrounding himself with soldiers, so you’ll be chasing him all over the place and potentially blocking a lot of attacks. The good news is that if you block with good timing, you can parry, which allows riposting, similar to another game series you may be familiar with. That gives you invulnerability frames, and gives the enemy soldiers a chance to surround you. Use with caution. This fight is more of a slog than a challenge if you play defensively, since it’s not that hard to stay out of the action and wait for chances to attack.

Levin Undok was a duchess who grew jealous when she couldn’t steal a wanderer’s heart from his wife, which I suppose made her two-faced? She’s a pair of mechanical dolls, one of which controls weapons telekinetically while the other controls lightning. Watch for her to swap heads. If you can learn the attack patterns, neither body by itself is a huge challenge, but the desperation phase where both bodies attack simultaneously is unfair at best. There’s a spot in the middle of the room (but near the edge of the traversible portion) where you can fall to your death without the columns and border that mark the edge the rest of the way around. The safest way to deal damage is to get behind the dolls when they attack with their swords. I recommend staying as far from Indok (the gold one with the weapons) as possible. She’s got a lot of ranged attacks, but she’ll close in frequently, allowing you to fight back. Undok (the silver one with the lightning) can be baited into aiming some of her attacks farther away, giving you a chance to close in for some attacks. The only way I’ve found to deal with the pair effectively is to throw every attack item you’ve got at the one with the least health and keep moving. Sadly, this is the fight that takes away most of your attack items, so you may have to use your sword to finish the job. If you can defeat one, the other is barely distinguishable from the first half of the fight. Watch the floor to see where the chandeliers will fall and coast to victory.

Part 2: Yordo and Levin Undok


#11

I haven’t gotten around to watching this yet but I saw the thread. Sinner is basically a direct ripoff of a somewhat-obscure PS2 game called Blood Will Tell, which in itself is an adaptation of a 1960s manga called Dororo (written by Tezuka Osamu, the same guy who did Astro Boy).

Blood Will Tell is essentially Sinner in reverse - you play as a guy who has had all of his body parts stolen by a pack of demons and have to kill 48 of them to get all of his parts back. The game is a little different from the manga in that every part you recover is a powerup, whereas in the manga the main character starts out as basically a psychic-powered robot and becomes more vulnerable as he becomes more human.

Now, Blood Will Tell wasn’t exactly well-received on release (even though I think it’s a good game that happens to have some flaws that were kind of a consequence of being released in the PS2 era) but at least it was playable and had some pretty hilariously bad cutscenes. Sinner just seems like they didn’t realize what made Blood Will Tell playable.


#12

I’ve only watched the first video so far and I think the comparison brought up earlier to Shadow of the Colossus is rather apparent. Clearly heavily inspired by the play style of Dark Souls, while the format is similar to SotC. But without a compelling story, or anything really it just makes a dry experience. But if what they wanted to do was a simply boss rush game I suppose they are free to do so.

It just feels like there wouldn’t have been that much work to make this game more compelling. And if it was, it might actually have been a pretty worth while game that could have put their name on the map or something.


#13

It’s not really clear who Chanel was, but she fell in love with a warrior and obviously that’s lustful and evil. That’s the whole story as near as I can tell. Like Yordo, she’s about the same size as your character, so parrying is an effective strategy, but missing a parry is more or less a death sentence. She’ll freeze you a bit with every attack, and if that meter fills up, you have to mash buttons to escape while she refills the meter with every attack. Sometimes, for no apparent reason, she’ll circle around you and miss until you break free. Most of the time, she’ll just freely kill you. Blocking reduces the damage, but not the freezing effect, and if you use the shield too much, it’ll shatter thanks to the sacrifice. In addition to the twin swords, she also has a bow with freezing arrows. The single shots can be parried, but they’re much easier to dodge most of the time. You just have to watch those near-misses, because the arrows that hit the ground seem to spring up and hit you at the worst times. Her desperation mode just allows her to shoot an entire volley of arrows that track you as you move, but if you know what’s coming, that’s easy enough to run from. The real desperation is when she’s almost out of health. If you can’t finish the job quickly enough, she’ll turn into a giant puking worm with an enormous tongue. The true picture of Lust, everyone. This is honestly probably the easier part of the fight, although you may be low on resources. Just get behind the thing and hit it as much as you can.

There are also thorned tentacles all over the place, but the Faiz Tilus fight was many times more phallic. I think they got the sins wrong.

Camber Luce was a ship’s captain who found a cursed treasure that made him so hungry that he ate his crew. So, Pirates of the Caribbean, only with the Johnny Depp character from Sweeney Todd instead. The boss is basically the Adjudicator, but you can damage him with any attack and he can spin as far as he needs to between attacks to hit you every time. Also, he rolls like those panther things in Darkroot Garden, but multiple times in a row. Then he can eat you like… well, just about everything in Dark Souls, honestly. And he spits acid, and he can heal himself in desperation mode, and what little arena there is has giant holes that open with little warning - why are you still playing this game? Why am I? This is a matter of stamina management, because there’s so much less health to manage thanks to sacrificing two of your healing orbs and turning the rest into Lifegem-style slow heals. Aha, a Dark Souls II thing at last! Basically, just stay close, keep behind him, and accept that you’re going to eat some hits when he starts rolling without warning.

Part 3: Chanel and Camber Luce


#14

What would be interesting is if the start of each boss fight makes you sacrifice things like items, health, and what ever else it does, but beating the boss gave you the boss weapons. And then different weapons do more damage to other bosses like Megaman does. That could create actually interesting playthroughs and different challenges and paths.


#15

yall ever notice how whenever these games have a lust boss it’s always a woman
what’s up with that
(i know exactly what’s up with that)


#16

Media-makers just looove making Envy a woman, too, though not quite as often as Lust. If this was a more compelling game I’d be disappointed; since this is Sinner: Sacrifice for Redemption, it just feels like one of those “oh, of course they did that” details.

It’s frustrating since clearly more than a little time and effort went into creating this thing. I wonder what the story behind its process is like? There’s multiple titles on Another Indie’s release list, some of which have been out for a bit, so I doubt it’s just “first game, mistakes were made.” Is this seriously what they wanted to make or was this the best they could do in the face of [insert adversity here]?


#17

Wait, so you didn’t make this character? So they intended for it to look so off? Like, the whole game looks kinda bad imo, but the character doesn’t look like he belongs in it, only Chanel looks kinda similar to him, but she also looks like she doesn’t belong.

Man, this game doesn’t look fun to play at all, even without your commentary, it just doesn’t look good. The idea of a boss rush game with dark souls style combat doesn’t sound bad in paper, but this game really isn’t. And like it’s been said, the reverse megaman thing could also work, in this case it could be that you receive rewards that indicate being released of those sins, like a faster run for sloth or a farther dodge for pride, just something so it’s not basically a net loss.


#18

Keep in mind that Another Indie is the publisher. The developer is Dark Star games, an outfit based in China as far as I can tell that may or may not also have developed and published Abyss Raiders: Uncharted. The sources I’ve found disagree on that, and I don’t care enough to dig for the truth.

There is, at least, a health upgrade for defeating each boss, although I recently discovered that it’s optional. It’s entirely possible that there’s another ending, or multiple endings, based on which bosses you redeem and which you don’t. I don’t know how far into this rabbit hole I want to go, but I will say that it reminds me of the more obscure bits of Dark Souls in that I have no idea how anyone would think to do some things without hearing about it elsewhere.

I know I’ve played games where you get temporary abilities via items that later disappear, or are replaced with alternate items that have different effects, but I can’t think of many. I think some key items in Legend of Legaia could be equipped as accessories until they were used, for example. I could see a game where you have to use an item to reach certain goalposts, and you might get a different item for achieving the objective. Pretty much the same thing as you described, but with a more tangible mechanic. I also envisioned a game in the reverse Megaman style, where the abilities lost would be things like sliding, double-jumping, charged shots, etc. and the stages would have traps geared toward those abilities that would disappear as you lost them. The final level could be accessed at any time, but would be harder the earlier you tried to take it on. But I don’t think I’ve got the patience to make such a game.


#19

Im also completely unsurprised by the design of gluttony being a big fat guy. Like, we get it, eats a lot, is fat har har har.


#20

I’m completely unsurprised by the design of that boss being a guy whose attacks take up far too much space take up far too much time and don’t really end so much as form a continuum.

Once I saw his desperation was mostly him slowing right the hell down all I could think was “Oh, is this their Sif?”