Saga of Sins (XSX) Review

Stained in Sin

Nobody jumps on trends faster than those in the game development world it seems. So it is that after Pentiment was announced and released we have seen many other games dropping with the moving ‘stained glass’ graphic style. Enter this week’s competitor Saga of Sins which bills itself as a expiatory action-adventure and im sure you are looking at this like I was and wondering what in the world does “expiatory” mean? Well I looked it up and it means “atone for”, and since the word Sin is in this game… you get where this is going.

First off just as I did in Pentiment, I love the art style of Saga of Sins. The ‘animated’ stained glass is really doing it for me, what I didn’t like was the odd static border that just looked like shattered glass. It stays in place and moves along with the character and as the background passes in front it makes for a cool effect but I quickly found it drawing my attention away from the onslaught of attacks. But the bright colors all have a painted effect on screen, and it really helps to sell Crusades era in the game, makes it feel as though players are looking at magnificent windows of one of the ancient churches in England. (They exist elsewhere I am sure but sadly all I can think of is England)

MSRP: $19.99
Platforms: Xbox (reviewed), PlayStation, Switch, PC
Price I’d Pay: $19.99

In Saga of Sins players take control of a cleric by the name of Cecil who has returned from the crusades to find that his village of Sinwell (I MEAN COME ON…ITS IN THE NAME) has been overtaken by… well sin. Cecil possesses an ability that allows him to enter people’s minds, in this case players will enter the minds of the fair citizens of Sinwell (I mean why would you people even move here) in order to break them of one of the seven deadly sins. Gluttony is the first sin that players will tackle and levels are a beautiful hellscape of demons pouring food down the gullets of villagers depicted as pigs at a local pub. Each of the sins ‘worlds’ are a sight to behold again the moving stained-glass effect makes for such a beautiful display to me. But it won’t be just the sinners mind that Cecil will go plundering around in, he will also visit the innocents’ minds which changes the game up quite nicely.

When combating demons Cecil the man is no match so when he enters into the minds of those afflicted he takes the form of one 4 monsters ranging from a werewolf who can shatter cracked glass and reveal hidden objects to a Griffin who has the ability walls covered in vines. Each of these monsters have their use as they all have abilities that players will need to explore hidden areas and reach new areas. Combat is handled in a very arcade fashion, projectile attacks is the order the day for standard moves, there is a dash mechanic that players can also utilize that can kill multiple baddies that are in the Cecil’s path. Even with the ability to transform into any of the unlocked creatures, combat never really rises above one note. There are some abilities that can be unlocked and upgraded via a skill tree but it all feels like roads we’ve traveled down before.

Thankfully there is a break in the middling combat by way of going into the minds of innocents. When Cecil delves into the minds of those not afflicted by the sins the game switched from an action laden platformer into a puzzle game. Each of these minds all have various riddles or puzzles that need to be solved in order to save the innocent and progress the level. As I said these are a God send in breaking up the combat which as I said above just wasn’t really my jam. Most of these puzzle rooms are well done and I was only stumped a few times which isn’t bad at all for an old man like me.

End of the day the only thing I really loved about Saga of Sins was the graphics and art style. The combat was passible but overall just felt very simple for my taste and maybe it was the fact the game focused on the seven deadly sins but I kept getting a Dante’s Inferno vibe. Delving into a world presented in stained glass only to save the town that is stained in sin is some clever wordplay but even with the great graphics and art style, Saga of Sins just didn’t do it for me. I did enjoy the innocent levels more than the action-oriented ones but even that isn’t enough to save this one’s soul in my opinion.

Review copy of game provided by publisher.

Good
  • Loved the stained-glass art style
  • The puzzles in the “innocent” minds is a lot of fun
Bad
  • Combat feels too simple for my taste
  • The ‘broken glass’ that borders the game becomes an eyesore
5.5
Mediocre
Written by
Terrence spends his time going where no one has gone before mostly. But when not planning to take over the galaxy, he spends his time raising Chocobo and trying to figure out just how the sarlaac could pull Boba Fett’s ship with its engines firing FULL BLAST into it’s maw with relative ease; yet it struggled with Han Solo who was gripping *checks notes* SAND!