Sawbuck Gamer

Sacrifice

No Way Out

In Sacrifice, the only way to win is to lose your life.

By Drew Toal • March 14, 2013

Sawbuck Gamer is our daily review of a free or cheap game ($10 or less).

“She’s fucking dead!?!” This was me, to myself, in my best Jeremy London, during my inaugural playthrough of Mass Effect 2. The final objective—the “suicide mission” that you’ve spent the whole game preparing for—requires you to delegate responsibilities and send some team members off on their own. Depending on who you send where and what you’ve done to this point, they may not be coming back. I did something wrong earlier in the game (I think it was maybe not taking her side in a scuffle aboard my ship), and Jack—the tattooed, genetically engineered wunderkind—was no more. And man, was I bummed. My lack of employee management skills directly resulted in her grisly demise.

Choosing who can share in glory and riches is a much easier (and common) thing than deciding who lives and who dies. Sacrifice, a short suicide mission even more desperate than Commander Shepard’s, requires giving someone up every step of the way. The initial band consists of a fighter, magic user, priest, samurai, ninja, thief, “striker,” and brave. No one is leaving this party alive, but choose correctly when faced with traps, monsters, and other dangers, and the sacrifice will at least mean something. As the party is whittled down one by one, you’re left with four surviving heroes to face the evil wizard. Even though the game’s pixilated graphics don’t allow for knowing glances or penultimate loin-girding, I picture them all looking at one another and giving a brief nod of acknowledgment before jumping into the breach one last time.

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20 Responses to “No Way Out”

  1. duwease says:

    It’s odd how, across genres and even across languages, I was able to so easily able to make the right choice based on single-word descriptions of the characters alone.  Of course a thief is the right choice for jumping over a gap.. everyone knows people who steal have amazing leg strength!

  2. PaganPoet says:

    Kaidan or Ashley? Kaidan or Ashley?
    It was a no brainer at first, since I’m in love with Kaidan and was looking forward to making sweet, passionate, hollowed out corpse love to him in ME3 (my ear wax effigy of his likeness is nearly complete…just have to collect a week’s worth of hair more from the shower drains at the local Y); but damned if playing my “alternate” of the series if Ashley didn’t grow on me by the end.

    Those adorable little pipsqueak sprites are calling to me. I’ll have to wait until this evening before I get to play this game.

    • Matt Gerardi says:

      Ashely was a dirty space racist AND she killed Wrex in my game. The choice was pretty much made for me. 

      • PaganPoet says:

        Did she? Or did you kill Wrex, sir? All he wanted was to resolve his daddy issues with a family heirloom, a rite that you denied him. Look at your life. Look at your choices.

        (btw, on my Renegade playthrough of ME3, I betrayed both Wrex and Mordin; I couldn’t eat for days because of the guilt)

        • Chum Joely says:

          Guilt. In Fallout: New Vegas earlier this week, I was on my way to Nipton when I randomly ran into a thief named Jacklyn who had apparently just shot some guy to death over a necklaces of Star bottle caps. I pretended not to know what she was talking about and let her go on her way, but as soon as she took 3 steps I shot her ten times in the head (very realistic, Bethesda) and took the necklace from her in turn.

          After that I was shutting down the PS3 anyway before entering Nipton, but I was wracked with guilt. What have I become?? I thought about this quite a bit over the next few days and tried to figure out what it meant for my character going forward. I don’t usually obsess this much about role-playing in games.

          Then, just now, I looked up Jacklyn on the New Vegas wiki and I realize I was actually acting in pre-emptive self-defense. I guess my character still doesn’t know that, though.

          You needn’t tell my that me story is cool, dear brothers, for I already know it to be so.

    • Boko_Fittleworth says:

      Ashley, but I’m a sucker for video game women who can throw a punch.

    • OrangeLazarus says:

       I chose Ashely because her space racism made her a much more interesting character than boring ol’ Kaidan. The decision came down to “Well I don’t like either of you that much but your intense xenophobia is close enough to a personality to me. Bye Kaidan.” He may have been more boring than Carth from KotOR.

    • The_Misanthrope says:

       People always seem to dismiss Ashley as the “space racist” (or “spacist”, if you prefer brevity), but I like to see her story as a redemptive arc.  She may start out as a “spacist”, burdened by her aggressive temper and her family history, but she really changes over the course of the series.  Plus, I cannot not like a soldier that can recite Tennyson’s “Ulysses” by heart.

  3. Mercenary_Security_number_4 says:

    AV Club makes a point of not spoiling a 20 year old sci-fi show, and GS doesn’t give a crap about spoiling the end of ME2 at the very beginning of an unrelated article.  Thanks a lot.  Some of us do have backlogs, you know.

    • PaganPoet says:

      To be fair, though, they really didn’t spoil anything. The ending of the game can range from everybody dies to everybody lives depending on your actions.

      • Naked Man Holding A Fudgesicle says:

        No, I completely agree with @Mercenary_Security_number_4:disqus . When I played through ME2 the first time I did not know that my squaddies could die on me if I made poor choices. That shock made the suicide mission even more exciting.

    • George_Liquor says:

      Is there an establish statute of limitations concerning spoilers?

      Because if not, there should be.

    • John Teti says:

      Rosebud is Commander Shepard’s sled.

  4. The_Misanthrope says:

    I had the above reaction with Mordin.  It wasn’t so much that I didn’t expect some of my team to not make it back–the game pretty much signposts the fact that it’s a suicide mission–but it was rather the way they show Mordin’s death.  I didn’t get a cutscene showing him meeting his grisly end, but instead I just got a glimpse of his body as the enemy advanced.  They don’t even show his face, so I indulged in the fantasy that it was another Salarian.

  5. uselessyss says:

    I love that if you make a bad choice “DIE USELESSLY” is thrust in your face.

    If someone yelled that at me whenever I made a bad choice, I would very quickly start making better choices.

  6. nattyish says:

    Is there a good ending to this game? Or was the black screen with the word “END” written on it as much reward as I should expect? 

    Because if so, that’s cool. I think there’s a lesson in that.