Simply put, Sinner is what happens when you make a Dark Souls game with nothing but boss fights. That’s literally the whole game, just eight boss fights. It would be foolish to expect it to be a full-on Dark Souls-type RPG for its low price, but still, I can’t help but feel a little disappointed that there wasn’t more to it.
Aside from this, it also tries to set itself apart from the ever-increasing selection of soulslikes by including an unusual sounding mechanic that requires you to sacrifice part of your power each time you want to face a new boss.
So when you go to open a portal to a boss you might be asked to give up part of your health and stamina or some of your attack power. It all feels rather arbitrary though. These sacrifices are the only time most of your stats ever change, the reductions are usually not that huge, and you also gain health after every boss so most of the time it doesn’t really feel like much has changed one way or the other. The only one that really felt like a sacrifice to me was the reduction in items, which leaves you with half as many handy consumable weapons to spam some damage with.
These items are also about the only variety you can look forward to here. This being such a short, limited game, there are no new weapons, armor, or upgrades to hunt and play with. You’ll be doing most of your fighting with one of your two base swords, the short one that has high speed and an almost offensively short reach or the long one that does more damage, but is too slow to be very useful. Getting by with these rather weak-feeling weapons can be tough and take varying levels of getting used to.
You better get used to it quick if you want to survive these boss fights though. Some of em anyway. They’re a pretty mixed bunch, with some taking only 1-2 tries to whip and others taking…much, much more. A few of them are quite nasty and may cause some serious rage quitting if you don’t have the appropriate amount of stubbornness. Proud Rhodes (whose portal is on the far left) was especially rage-inducing.
I can’t help but think that many of these fights would have been far less frustrating if your character’s movement and actions weren’t so clunky. They’re functional, but definitely not as fluid as Dark Souls or its higher-end clones like Lords of the Fallen. Ironically, the game would probably be much too easy to be fun otherwise, so I guess it is what it is.
I guess the bottom line is: do you want a nice looking Dark Souls clone that sacrifices depth and gameplay quality for a much, much shorter and streamlined experience? It will only keep you busy for a single weekend or so, but there are certainly worse ways to spend your time and money. Unless you’re really, really into these kinds of games though, I wouldn’t be in a rush to buy it unless you see it on a nice sale.