A story already heard and an exploration done poorly ruin an interesting combat system halfway between hack and slash and musou.
I had the chance to preview the first 6 hours of gameplay (about 25% of the main campaign) and rarely found myself having so much trouble finding the desire to progress in a video game .
The two protagonists (unnecessarily sexualized) have an incomprehensibly banal history and the game world seems to be made with the assets of the old Souls. The combat is fluid, dynamic and with an interesting synergistic progression system but it is not enough to revive the fortunes of the game.
The most difficult obstacle of all, however, was undoubtedly the fixed camera in moments of exploration . I honestly don’t remember ever feeling so frustrated as exploring the Soulstice game world. I can’t enjoy the environment , I can’t hit / collect the in-game currencies that are used to level the skills and the camera point of view that changes in a millisecond between rooms made me sick head.
Only in combat does the camera unlock and we can look around, a choice I really don’t understand.
Voiced by Stefanie Joosten (Metal Gear Solid V) , Briar and Lute (the protagonists) are two sisters reborn as Chimera. Chimeras are the only creatures able to oppose the Specters, monstrous and hungry creatures that invade the world by crossing the Veil; looks familiar? The rest of the story sees us breaking into a pseudo-medieval city destroyed by a cataclysm that, surprisingly, could have been caused by the Order of Paladins to which the protagonists belong.
One thing is clear: the developers’ priority was to put together a captivating combat , the setting, history and personality of the protagonists were all overshadowed, and it shows.
In the way Reply Game Studios wanted to handle Soulstice combat I see tributes to so many different genres mixed in a style that I’m sure will find its niche. The parry / defense system, for example, is very reminiscent of a quick time event.
The hittop (when hitting an enemy the game stops for a few frames giving the player time to understand what is happening and absorb the environmental consequences) immediately brings me to Japanese fighting games. And the air combat, on the other hand, makes me feel almost in a musou in which my swords not only magically make me levitate but hit all the minions together.
The bosses of this preview are easily forgotten but I am sure that in the late game the developers have come up with something juicier, especially for the Souls fans to whom this game gives a lot of winks .
I await the final release on September 20 (PC and Next Gen) to pronounce myself in a definitive verdict but what I have seen so far has not convinced me. Leaving aside the setting already seen (which fans of dark fantasy will probably like) and the story already heard, I can not but reiterate how the fixed camera in the exploration is a bad idea .
The whole game is based on two currencies (one red and one blue) to enhance the two protagonists. These currencies are obtained by fighting but also by destroying objects and crystals scattered around the game tracks. Headache exploration actively discourages the search for these crystals , thus affecting the most solid part of the game or combat.
Fans of fighting video games looking for something new will find a pleasant challenge in Soulstice (each fight has an upgradeable rating that contributes to the score and rewards at the end of the mission) and there are some challenge areas where you can test builds and skills. For those looking for a compelling story or a new world to explore, I recommend staying away from Soulstice for now.