September 26, 2022

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Soulstice, a new experience of the action made in Italy by Reply Game Studios

We’ve tried again Soulstice, Reply Game Studios’ cool action: here are my last impressions before the review.

Soulstice’s first short demo wasn’t able to show how much the game really has to offer, but even with its limitations, it gave us high hopes for the final quality of Soulstice’s work. Reply to Game Studios. On the other hand, the Italian development environment completely needs to show talent, and the Reply procedure gave the impression that he was able to be exactly that, because he is not a slave to excessive ambitions, clearly inspired by the great classics and generally sophisticated. .

The positive impact on the press must have greatly increased the response men, because, one step away from the release, they returned to the office with a demonstration lasting a few hours that allowed us to thoroughly test a large part of their child. We are glad to tell you that the demo confirms all the positive impressions you already got, while amplifying those bugs and flaws that we already noted during the original test. In this Try a new one from SoulsticeSo, we’ll go a little deeper than we did in the first place, pending a final review.

blood, death and fantasy


Soulsitce: Ilden is a very ruined and bleak city, but there is no shortage of great views

Given that the new test allowed us to start playing directly from the opening titles, now too Storytelling It’s more straightforward, and intriguing (only because you hardly ever see one who knows the pinnacle of the action genre) seems pretty neat. As mentioned earlier, Soulstice is crystallographically inspired to say the least by works of dark fantasy such as Claymore and Berserk And this is noticeable not only from a stylistic point of view, but also in history.

In fact, it all revolves around the fall of the Holy City of Elden, after the mysterious appearance of a huge wound in the sky. Briar and his “ghostly” sister Lotte, as “Chimeras” (super warriors born from the fusion of two souls) and affiliated with the Ashy Blade Order, are sent to investigate other agents. But something goes terribly wrong, and the sisters become the only hope to close the wound.

This is how it was described plot It looks nothing special, however, developers Reply has settled on the narrative background, creating an incredibly dark and dangerous world, where the threat of “corruption” is just around the corner. The heroes themselves must constantly contend with their savage natures and it is the oud in particular that always seems to be the voice of reason during the main campaign events. For Heaven’s sake, we don’t think this is the case to expect amazing twists from the Soulstice story, but what we’ve seen manages to pique our curiosity and the pace seems to be all well managed. So, the theme of the hero’s slow fall into obscurity, always has its own hidden charm. Keep in mind that there are phases that are completely plot-centric where only lutes are used and cut scenes are far from rare (although thankfully you never overexpose). In general a good job.

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However, Breyer’s little spirit sister is not only one of the fulcrum of the narrative: OudIndeed, it appears to be the beating heart of the Soulstice system, despite being largely automated during combat. This procedure has crystal inspiration after all, but it’s clear how the developers wanted to find a bedrock capable of giving it clear distinct properties.

scary groups


Soul: If enemies are scary, you'll need lute fields to hit them.  The same is true for crystals
Soul: If enemies are scary, you’ll need lute fields to hit them. The same is true for crystals

This switch is exactly Lute, which during combat acts independently of Briar in attack and can be activated directly in defense. We explain better: As has already been revealed in the past, Briar fights using classic maneuvers seen in many other Japanese-style art actions and in particular boasts the ability to change weapons During combat, perform stunning aerial combos or shift combinations on the ground based on the timing of attacks and learned maneuvers.

It’s all very true, and while you’ve never quite reached the recent peaks of complexity in Devil May Cry or Bayonettas, a lot of work has been done overall on the effects and speed of clashes. There are some hiccups in reading some shots and targeting – here we use a system similar to that of spirits, not exactly indicated by Soulstice Speed ​​and we have occasionally noticed some difficulties in recording effects, especially with several enemies on screen – but overall it’s a pleasure to lead your hands and stress You it is not clear already hit these rules. However, if Briar is limited to learning new attacks and gradually unlocking additional weapons (if only with specific weaknesses and strengths based on opponent type), things only get really complicated when you get into the game fully. development branches of lute, which dramatically changes the approach to your little sister’s ghost battles.


Solstice: We haven't had many bosses, but the bosses we've seen have boasted of some variety
Solstice: We haven’t had many bosses, but the bosses we’ve seen have boasted of some variety

Lute is usually a fairly weak offensive support, and its primary benefit is the ability to use counter-moves on enemy attacks by quickly pressing the assigned button. This alone would be enough to make it meaningful, but by advancing the girl she gets a long list of influences and specializations related to her powers, which greatly increase her usefulness and style of battle. To give an example, you might want to activate special effects with each counter movement that leaves explosive areas on the ground, throws extra bullets, or perhaps concentrates all points obtained in the attack to allow Lotte to shock enemies with her attacks and hit them with more frequency. Or bet everything on energy fields, complete with special effects once they’ve consumed the entropy they need to activate. The possibilities are numerous and their development points have not been given up properly, so these are developments capable of dramatically changing the approach to battles (and efficiency against certain types of enemies).

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There is, in short, a basic conservative tactic associated with “continuous help” and counter-moves, which is amplified by another system: the one already mentioned before energy fields, which must be activated to hit certain types of opponents. In fact, these colorful domes have two shapes, blue and red, and in the game using them correctly is very important so that you do not die against groups of enemies that contain ghosts or possessed (more precisely, they are immune to normal attacks). Some boss battles are literally built around the diversity of the fields: in fact, the oud can’t hold it forever (due to its temporary disappearance) and we assure you that the diversity of enemies forces you to manage them wisely more than you might otherwise. Believe. Of course, this isn’t an ideal mechanic: some battles with large groups of monsters can get really messy between the mix of counters and fields to activate and issues with not-so-great targeting and the camera (we’ll focus on this later), although it remains very strange, it offers possibilities Really interesting in battle and we found it quite unique.

Cracks in the armor

The only system in the mix that didn’t work perfectly in our opinion is the Adjustdue to some apparent defects. On paper, this is an impressive set of mechanics: the better you fight, the higher the bar that increases the effectiveness of your loot and the frequency of your attack, which also allows you to perform very powerful combined attacks. However, Attunement also allows you to transform by entering some kind of berserk state, which ensures Briar can damage enemies of all kinds and can end with a devastating attack on the area. Now, the final attack cannot be used freely, as it leads to a severe loss of life points; However, the shift is activated very easily, it lasts a few seconds and constantly breaks the rhythm of the battle when used. You don’t have to use this case all the time, sure, but it’s very useful for obvious reasons and we’d have preferred a slower recharge paired with a longer duration. As it stands, that only adds to the chaos of the clashes.

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In any case, the fundamental flaw remains there Camera (which we have already discussed in part). Whether for distance that hasn’t always been managed perfectly, or because of the team’s inexperience with this kind of production, there are not a few occasions where it’s hard to follow the action due to flawless shots. In the open field the problem is not usually there, but as we progress we are faced with smaller maps, with battles in areas rich in 3D elements, where everything inevitably gets crazy.


Solstice: Excitement at Home
Solstice: Excitement at Home

Things remain manageable most of the time, for heaven’s sake, but it sure isn’t a good idea to see a Briar disappear completely or have no idea how enemies will move while fighting against dozens of opponents ( Indications Direction buttons and counter prompts help in such cases, even if they are not enough). It’s a common movement type issue and we expected some snags anyway.

Little to complain about the rest. Outside the spotless transitions and a noticeable one Repetition From the settings (on the other hand, everything takes place within one medieval city) the game is valid from an artistic point of view and a pleasure to see on the go.


Solstice
Solstice

until the longevity Sounds very respectable: it took us about five hours to complete the demo shown and it should only be a quarter of the full title. This is a period that cannot be underestimated for a technical procedure. Additionally, having ratings for battles and chapters usually offers great replay potential for perfectionists. not bad.

The new Soulstice test reconfirmed all the excellent impressions that the first demo left us: Reply Game Studios is a well-thought-out title, unique enough to appear in the jigsaw and more fun and complex than expected, with no levels up. One of the main proponents of this genre. Despite some obstacles, it seems to be a very good project and we are really curious to see if it will be able to stay that way throughout the entire campaign. All that remains is to wait for the complete code.

The region

  • Fantastic, fun and complex combat system
  • It gives the oud and its related mechanics a certain uniqueness
  • Outline items are more accurate and valid than expected

doubts

  • The camera is far from flawless
  • The Breyer transformation is activated very quickly