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SMOKE & SACRIFICE

In this day and age of modern and advanced technology I am unsure as to what to make of Smoke & Sacrifice.

It is the story of Sachi, a young mother (father not included) who lives in a sparse village where everybody (except her) seems to walk sideways (as if line dancing).

Yak-like and other creatures wander around the village and all seems serene, easy and peaceful.

 

 

One day Sachi is called to meet the elders in their place of worship - an open arena style Temple. She is told that the power of the Sun Tree (tree of light) is waning and demands a sacrifice, her baby to be exact. Not the sort of thing one expects in a computer game.

She is a good villager though and takes her baby to the circle of stones where the chief elder lays the babe on the ground. Lightning strikes and smoke swirls and the baby disappears. Sachi realises her babe's favourite cuddly-snuggly is still back at her hut and so she goes back to get it. Like every journey to from the village the land outside of the huts the land is full of possible danger from wild animals etc - luckily dodging these is never a problem - and Sachi is soon back at her hut before rushing back to the Temple.

Distraught that her baby has gone she throws herself onto the the ground inside the ring of stones and, flash, whizz, wallop, she disappears.

 

Sachi finds herself in what appears to be an underground universe, certainly it isn't her village as she knows it. There she soon discovers that she needs a net to catch a firefly and the two necessary materials to make the net are just laying around to be collected, or so I thought. The necessary wood can just be picked up off the ground, along with various herbs and plants, which you carry in your shoulder bag (inventory) until required. The second resource required caused me a whole lot of problems. Being so close to the start of the game I expected to just pick up the spirit tentacles (some type of vine I thought) as easy as collecting the wood, not a chance!

To collect these spirit thingies you need to locate the floating luminous jellyfish creatures and then defeat them in combat. It took me a long while to realise that there is an easy way to kill these things before they kill you and bashing them with your fists is not the best way, it's possible but not the best.

One of the problems, apart from the fact they take about 6 hits to die and that they sort of explode every few seconds causing nasty damage if you are in range of the blast, is that by the time you have punched one to death and collected its loot, darkness has begun to fall. Darkness kills! Just being in the dark causes you damage. Going into the water around what you discover is a small isle causes you damage. Nasty critters cause you damage. It is possible to live through the night by finding patches of light and moving between them, the difficulty here is that you have no camera control, what you see on the screen is all you can see, so you have to carefully study the area as death closes in around you and hope you have picked the right direction and found a sustainable light area - rare is success!

Eventually you find your way out of this nightmare into the next, and so on.

 

Visually this is a beautiful game to behold but I, personally, am not keen on it. I don't like; the animation, the way things move, the combat, many aspects of play in fact. I cannot fault the game as it all works well and looks, as I say, beautiful, and I am sure there are many players who will, and do, love it, it's just not my cup of tea.

The story is a sad tale designed to get players to continue driving Sachi through these weird lands as she struggles for survival. There are many survival/escape games around at the moment, especially card games and board games, but electronic games are the obvious way forward for what are widely known as 'Escape Room' adventures (the 'room' being the entire environment not just a specific room per se).

As this is a single player adventure I can only speak for myself when I say that this is a game I found I was forcing myself to play, it wasn't addictiveness more like I wanted to get through it and be on my way - rather like a long flight, say from London to LA, you aren't really enjoying it and you just want it to end. It isn't a bad game, in fact it has a lot going for it (on paper) but I felt the story needed something extra; despite all that was in it, for some reason which is hard to put my finger on, it just didn't do it for me; I didn't dislike it, but I didn't really like it either. I believe 'horses for courses' is the old fashioned term used.

Smoke and Sacrifice is an open-world, narrative-driven RPG following the tale of a woman named Sachi whose young child has just been sacrificed in a ritual to the Sun Tree, the only source of light in a world where the sun has waned out. Convinced that her baby is still alive, Sachi journeys to an expansive underworld, full of grotesque creatures and an all enshrouding fog in search of her lost child.

This strange and mysterious realm is complete with its own functioning ecosystem, in which flora and fauna consume one another and reproduce based on the population. You’ll need to learn how to tame the wilds by trapping creatures, baiting beasts, training animal companions, and disguising yourself from predators. It’s only by fighting, crafting, exploring, and out-thinking this harsh wilderness that you’ll uncover the fate of your child and the mystery behind your village’s sacrifices.

 

© Chris Baylis 2011-2015