Fans have been waiting for a sequel to Salt and Sanctuary for a long time as it has set a high bar for its sequel to reach and surpass because of its compelling world, bewildering level design, and its amazing art direction and but now that the wait has ended and the product has found its way into the hand of the fans. Salt and Sacrifice has been released officially, and it begs some serious questions such as; Is Salt and Sacrifice worth it, and is Salt and Sacrifice worth buying? Continue reading our take on it and learn it all.
Salt and Sacrifice is a 2D action role-playing game with Metroidvania and souls like elements, somewhat similar to the critically acclaimed masterpiece Hollow Knight by Team Cherry. Salt and Sacrifice offers an unforgiving world to explore with crumbling castles, bewildering yet compelling level design, and a chill-inducing atmosphere.
The game has a central hub where you meet different NPCs, trade items with said NPCs, upgrade your weapons and armor, and level up after interacting with a specific altar to distribute those levels in a vast skill tree.
Salt and Sacrifice takes a lot of inspiration from Dark Souls just like Salt and Sanctuary, which brought Dark Souls level design and combat in a 2D space. If you’re an old From Software who has played the likes of Dark Souls, then you should feel right at home with this game, but if you’re one of the new fans who took advantage of Elden Ring accessibility features, then Salt and Sacrifice won’t hold your hand as Elden Ring did.
What Is Salt And Sacrifice
As a follow-up to Salt and Sanctuary, The plot of Salt and Sacrifice revolves around an inquisitor who has been condemned to hunt wizards and mages who are a threat to society and to rid the world of them. Salt and Sacrifice has an easy enough tutorial with a tutorial boss who’s strong enough to make you question my previous statement, but you are not supposed to beat this boss.
The tutorial boss is one of those bosses with whom you just have to accept your fate and welcome death with open arms. After the tutorial, you reach Pardoner’s Vale (the central hub), and from there, you can travel to any zone and are pretty much free to do whatever you want.
New Gameplay Mechanics In Salt And Sacrifice
Salt and Sacrifice seems to deliver on every mechanic that made its predecessor such a hit. It offers a beautiful world with unforgiving bosses, improved art direction, compelling combat with various builds, and a vast skill tree, but Salt and Sacrifice also improves on a few things and introduces new mechanics to keep things fresh.
Instead of having one continuous map like its predecessor, Salt and Sacrifice has five distinct zones. All are unique and enormous. Definitely, one of the strong points when it comes to deciding whether Salt and Sacrifice is worth it or not.
The game tries to add new mechanics to the game to expand the experience further, but it doesn’t quite pay off because some of the new mechanics actually degrade the quality of the Salt and Sacrifice instead of improving it.
One of the things newly added in Salt and Sacrifice is the Arch, and The Arch is a teleporter that teleports your character to new locations where you can find Mages. Exploration and Mages are directly tied to progression, so you will need to find and hunt Mages and devour their hearts if you wish to progress in the story.
This is not a welcoming change for many fans because even though the mages are like your traditional bosses. It is a little similar to the game Monster Hunter where you have to find and hunt monsters on the map to gain materials to improve and upgrade your gear.
In Salt and Sacrifice, you also have to find and hunt down different Mages throughout each zone until the mage settles in a standard boss arena where you can fight it properly, and upon defeating the Mage, you are awarded materials, new weapons, and armor.
Inspiration from Monster Hunter
Salt and Sacrifice introduces monster hunter-like mechanics such as repeatable bosses and roaming area bosses where you have to chase the boss throughout the zone, but unlike Monster Hunter, there are no maps, and each zone is huge so exploration is also mandatory for progression.
Unfortunately, Monster Hunter, Dark Souls, and Metroidvania don’t mix well together. It’s like mixing ammonia and bleach. They result in a regretful outcome because it adds a form of repetition to the game. If you’re a fan of Monster Hunter and like to kill the same boss for more loot, then this could be a welcoming change for you because you receive unique weapons and armor for defeating Mages in Salt and Sacrifice.
If hunting Mages was optional, then this could’ve been overlooked, but since it’s required to progress in the game. It doesn’t do much except artificially elongates the time it takes to beat the game. It’s definitely pretty disappointing and a downside for most fans.
As far as exploration goes, It is perfectly executed in Salt and Sacrifice. Exploring a new area always feels intimidating and unsettling thanks to its carefully designed art direction and soundtrack so it feels unique for every zone in Salt and Sacrifice, As it also makes the game feel a lot more immersive.
Another mechanic added in Salt and Sanctuary is a co-op, PvP, and PvE features. The multiplayer is activated after using the summoning candle, and it can only be used by players who have atoned for their sins by consuming a guiltless shard. Now, this is a welcoming feature.
Unlike Dark Souls co-op, the co-op in Salt and Sacrifice is rather simple. All you need is to enter a password, the player you wish to play with also enters the same password, and you will be able to play Salt and Sacrifice from start to finish together without being kicked out of the world after defeating a boss like in Dark Souls.
This is definitely one of the major improvements from its predecessor in Salt and Sacrifice. The game also has multiple PvP modes, including an invasion mechanic similar to invasions in Dark Souls.
As for the gameplay, It’s quite similar to its predecessor Salt and Sanctuary with a few improvements. Salt and Sacrifice has new features, such as the grappling hook. The animations are tighter and have improved, the game interface has also improved a lot compared to its predecessor, and in general, there is a lot of quality of life improvements in Salt and Sacrifice. And more features will be added after release.
Is Salt and Sacrifice Worth Your Time?
Despite its flaws, Salt and Sacrifice is still worth playing and experiencing at least once, especially if you’re a fan of the Salt and Sanctuary and Dark Souls series of video games. It gives the players an unforgiving world to explore with a lot of variety in playstyle. The game offers various builds, unique weapons, armor, compelling art direction, a ton of enemy variety in different zones, amazing level design, and a chill-inducing atmosphere.
Sure, the game falls behind in a few things, like the unnecessary grind of finding and hunting Mages just for the sake of progression. The story is also pretty forgettable at times, and with the lack of maps and fast travel, exploring the five different zones can feel a little repetitive or simply a hassle, and controls can sometimes be a little frustrating sometimes.
However, the co-op in Salt and Sacrifice saves it from being a total pass because it is easily accessible, the co-op elevates the experience, and the grind becomes more bearable when the pain is shared. Perhaps this is Ska Studio’s intended way of playing Salt and Sacrifice.
But still, we are confident that fans of the original Salt and Sanctuary will not be disappointed because this game is still very much worth your time and investment. And Salt and Sacrifice is indeed worth it.
Ska Studios makes a return to the gaming industry with their latest release of Salt and Sacrifice on the PS4, PS5, and PC. Salt and Sacrifice is the long-awaited sequel to the critically acclaimed Salt and Sanctuary, released over six years ago.
That wraps up our take on the game and whether or not Salt and Sacrifice is worth buying. Do let us know what you think about the game in the comment section below and if you agree with how we think about the game.