Salt and Sanctuary

Salt and Sanctuary

I’m constantly searching for a Souls-like that isn’t designed by assholes, where all the mechanics are effectively tutorialized, the checkpoints are distributed humanely, and all hints of artificial difficulty have been exorcized out. Such a game would be practically perfect. Salt and Sanctuary is not that game. In fact, had I realized how closely it mimics its inspiration, including every unintuitive detail of its interface, I probably wouldn’t have bought it. Which is not to say that it’s terrible. Part of copying Dark Souls is copying the things it does right, so S&S is still intensely atmospheric, impressively deep, and skilled at environmental storytelling. There’s just not much reason to play it unless your major issue with Dark Souls was its number of dimensions.

Anything that doesn’t owe its existence to From Software is an undisciplined jumble of quality. Switching to a wholehearted Metroidvania was appreciated, but the continued omission of a map in such a case is inexcusable. Wall-jumping and the ability to reveal/disperse certain matter via torchlight are cool features, but the controls are still emulating the clunky movement of armoured 3D characters. I’d love to welcome the full co-op gameplay with open arms, but it’s clearly a late addition, as it’s noticeably unbalanced and often bizarrely implemented. Finally, that brutal, smoky art style is terrible for navigation and populated by characters that comically look and animate like Salad Fingers.

5/10
5/10

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