Soul Sacrifice can be a pretty deep, rewarding experience, but it can also be a bit difficult to learn at first. The confusing menu system and large variety of spells can be extremely overwhelming. But once you've bested a few stages and start to learn the flow of the game, it's a lot easier to get into.
Everything starts to make sense, as you augment and combine spells into your desired build, learn ways around the "sacrifice" mechanic that's core to the your success, and get a grip on the pacing of the game's combat.
Spells (Rites) are your bread and butter in Soul Sacrifice. They're your method of attacking, healing, and defense. Don't be afraid to fuse spells. You can grind levels to farm more spell materials, but fusing spells is the key to success.
Make sure you don't overuse your upgraded spells in combat though, otherwise you'll have to waste Lacrima on them after they "break" (the game will warn you). While there is a sold supply of Lacrima available throughout the game, it's best to save them for Dark Rites on bosses than waste them when you don't need to. Also keep in mind that you can use environmental items like weapons, which don't take casting power to use -- just scour each battlefield if you're running low on Rites.
Do not sacrifice players or use Dark Rites (self sacrifice spells) early on in a fight. Make sure you use them later, and only in Archfiend (boss) battles. That way, you'll have plenty of Lacrima to best every encounter, rather than blowing them on fights you can simply retry. Keep in mind that online teammates may sacrifice you if you're a liability in the fight with multiple Dark Rite debuffs -- they will be able to easily identify you at the start of the fight.
Speaking of Lacrima, don't forget that it's a thing! Wipe the Librom's eye whenever you see a shining dot on it, and get in the habit of looking for it. You can actually tease Libram by touching him with the rear touch screen, and swiping him to spin him.
In case you're wondering about elemental counters: ice beats fire, fire beats venom, venom beats stone, stone beats electricity, electricity beats ice.
Going for more points? Wait for enemies to attack, then counter them to get counter bonuses. Subsequent counters earn more points as you do them successfully.
Be wary of NPCs that use knockback abilities, as they'll work on your character as well. Keep in mind though that in multiplayer, this can actually save teammates (similar to Monster Hunter), as you can knock them out of the way of an impending attack.
Also, keep in mind that bringing allies makes bosses harder. Try going solo if you're having a crazy amount of trouble on your first boss encounter.
Cerberus will most likely be your first boss challenge. Running around him and using Sanguine Cannon is an easy way to deal some damage throughout the fight. Using heal over time spells is invaluable in any boss fight, and stocking up with heals to mitigate the Sanguine Cannon health loss is a great strategy as well.
If you use a shield it will stun Cerberus when he charges you. Use your dodge move liberally, bring a Golem, and you should have no issues with Cerberus.
You can press X while standing still to whistle to your NPC companions, and cancel their current actions.
You can go back and opt to Save or Sacrifice a boss (basically, whatever option you didn't choose previously), but you will have to overwrite prior progress to do this, and your newest choice will be saved. In multiplayer, if there is a tie in regards to whether an Archfiend is Saved or Sacrificed, the tie goes to whatever is chosen first.
Divine and Chaos are different beyond statistical changes, and some players will want to opt to min/max them to an extent. In addition to the former increasing your defense and the latter increasing your offense, your appearance will change, as will the appearance of many of your spells. You transform when there's a 90 level disparity between your Holy/Chaos level. If you see builds online saying "19/1," it basically means they're at Holy level 19, Chaos level 1.
If you're on the fence about the game, you can try the free demo on the PSN, which carries over save progress into the final build. You can actually farm items to your heart's content and transfer 10 of each spell over -- you'll also be able to delete the demo after you boot up the full game and initiate the transfer. Just know that online play is disabled now that the game has launched.
There will be DLC bosses for Soul Sacrifice -- the leaked dates are located here. Some will be free, some will be paid. If the encounters are detailed enough to require clarification, this guide will be updated below.
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