Review of the game Soulstice. Budget version of Devil May Cry

Review of the game Soulstice. Budget version of Devil May Cry

Soulstice is an action slasher set in a medieval fantasy setting and most likely you haven’t heard anything about it. And in vain, before the release of Bayonetta 3 is the only good slasher in a very long time. In this review, we will analyze the new product, consider its pros and cons, and determine to whom this game can be recommended.

Help

We collect on a drone for attack aircraft of the Nikolaev region. It will help find and destroy the enemy

Genre: Action adventure
Platforms: Windows / PlayStation 5 / Xbox Series X|S
Developer: Reply Game Studios
Publisher: Modus Games, Maximum Games
Price: Steam — 479₴, PlayStation Store — 1199₴

Game site

Well

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In a parallel dimension

In the city of Ilden, one of the capitals of Caedas, a gap opened due to which the city was filled with evil creatures. The Order of the Ash Blade sends three chimeras to resolve this issue – demi-humans connected with the spirit of the deceased by a special ritual. We play for the sisters Brayu and Lut, at first glance, an ordinary chimera, but gradually we will be revealed the secret of their origin. At first, the story is not impressive, but in the end it gains momentum. There are few characters, barely a dozen, but they all play their roles one way or another.

The problem is only in the presentation of this story, which is very smeared as for a slasher. Also, the dialogues here can hardly be called dynamic, apparently, therefore, for the next replica to appear, you need to press the button, apparently, so as not to fall asleep (😁). This stretches the game a little, but after dynamic fights, such meditative conversations are a good way to relax.

Since the game is a budget game, the lore and plot are already revealed in the indicated dialogues, in the Codex and the Mind Halls in which we play as Lute. The game has practically no cool staged screensavers, and those that are, as a rule, precede the bosses. But we must pay tribute to the developers, especially the operators, most of the scenes are cool and even stylishly staged, and if not for the spoilers, I would have shown several dozen screenshots.

Review of the game Soulstice. Budget version of Devil May Cry
This scene is in the trailers

Hit, slash, save the world

Braya wields seven weapons of influence on opponents, the main weapon is a sword and six additional ones, which, in addition to the hammer, open gradually. In addition to the sword, all weapons have only 5 combos, which are opened for currency obtained in battles and from broken barrels and boxes (do not neglect them!). The peculiarity of the game mechanics is that, having started a combo with one weapon, you can, and even need to, switch to another, the combo chain will continue. Thus, with a small number of hits, the player has the ability to build multi-storey combos, switching at least between all types of weapons after each hit.

Each weapon is strong against one type of opponent and weak against others. Of course, no one forbids archery at armored knights with shields, but such a battle will last for a long time, and time here affects the overall rating of completing the task and the amount of currency received.

Review of the game Soulstice. Budget version of Devil May Cry

Lut is not a separate combat character, but essentially serves as an additional ability. When attacking opponents, if you press the button in time, Lut will reflect a long-range attack, or freeze the enemy for a moment, giving us a window to dodge. In addition to the defensive function, Lut herself constantly attacks opponents and does it quite successfully, and not as often happens in games with partners who only pretend to attack.

Our spiritual, in every sense, sister is also pumped, but for a separate currency. In total, it has three branches of abilities: Defense, Attack and Aura (more on that later).

In the best traditions of slashers, you won’t be able to unlock all the talents in one playthrough. But the developers themselves seemed to understand that few people would replay the game twice and all that you did not have time to get was mostly upgraded versions of already acquired abilities.

Since the sisters are mentally one, but still separate individuals, we have a Unity parameter that increases the productivity of teamwork. Unity has several levels, upon reaching the first level – Synergy, you can conduct a basic combo (usually two hits, pause, hits) and the final blow of the combination will release the true power of the weapon, it can be either an area attack or a directed strike in one enemy. For each weapon, you must first buy a basic combo, and then, in Lut’s abilities, open the possibility of a finishing blow for this weapon.

I admit that in the beginning of the game, this mechanic caused pain, because getting Unity is not so easy. Not only do you need to carry out a variety of strikes, which are not available at the beginning of the game, but also receiving damage significantly knocks down the already gained level. But somewhere in the middle of the game, with the opening of new abilities and leveling Lut, it becomes easier to achieve Unity, and landing the finishing blow does not feel like an unprecedented achievement.

Unleashing a blow slightly knocks down the Unity parameter, so you need to decide whether to land the finishing blow of the combination or fill Unity to the second level – Rapture, and this already skill is activated separately as a super ability. While in this state, Braya deals powerful blows, and after its expiration, you can additionally activate a powerful attack in a large area. With a minimum health level, instead of Rapture, the heroine will fall into a Berserk state with her own mechanics, but this is already spoiler territory.

Review of the game Soulstice. Budget version of Devil May Cry
Transformation to Rapture State

Whom to beat?

Three types of opponents oppose us: Infected, Spirits and Possessed, in total more than two dozen monsters, not counting bosses. Although it is worth noting that the spirits practically do not differ visually, except perhaps in size, but the possessed ones are really unique. But the most interesting thing is that battles with each type take place in different conditions, and in addition to the monsters of the lowest ranks, all opponents have several stages of battle.

For example, we have a knight with armor and a shield. First, we break the shield with a hammer, then we remove the armor with brass knuckles and finish it off with quick knives or a sword. And it would seem that killing an almost ordinary enemy turns into a dynamic combo.

Review of the game Soulstice. Budget version of Devil May Cry

To defeat the Spirits and the Possessed, there are two Aura fields. To detect Spirits, turn on the blue Aura, to kill the Possessed – red. Such a system works in DmC: Devil May Cry with angelic and demonic weapons, only in contrast to the game Ninja Theory in Soulstice, the opponents are really unique, and not just repainted in different colors. It will not work to keep the Aura turned on for a long time, Lute can get tired and go on a reboot for a few seconds, which will save you from protection and the ability to attack spirits and possessed. However, by attacking opponents, the entropy level decreases. By the end of the game, it becomes more and more difficult to control the level of Entropy, and this is how the Aura scale is called here, and if you upgrade your abilities, then at the moment of overload, Lut will release several projectiles at opponents or freeze them for a moment.

There are not many bosses in the game, the first ones generally appear as opponents over time. Hotel personalities, on the other hand, stand out for their vitality and several phases of the battle, although in general the battles with them are more protracted than difficult. But the bosses have an interesting design, the final one is WOW (it’s a pity that the developers partially showed it in the trailer).

Review of the game Soulstice. Budget version of Devil May Cry
I’m sure no further explanation is needed here.

Flaws

And now for the shortcomings of the game. First and foremost, in my opinion, is its duration. Depending on your skills and willingness to complete individual challenges, the story on normal difficulty will take you 20-25 hours. Slashers, as a rule, are designed for several passages, and in this case, 20 hours is already a bit much. Sometimes developers deliberately delay the game with frankly unsuccessful checkpoints or even their absence. Toward the end, there is one level that you need to pass in a certain time, and if you pierce even on the last segment, you will be thrown back to the very beginning of this level, as a result, a 20-minute race gets fat to an hour. And in some episodes it’s noticeable that they had to cut a level or two, and it’s very good that they did it.

Review of the game Soulstice. Budget version of Devil May Cry

There was an impression that the developers first made the last location, because it is very different from the others, and only then they began to build the same type of castle corridors. And one would think that in this way the developers justify the price tag of the game, but it already costs half the full price and it is unlikely that claims would be made about the lack of content.

The monotony of locations is generally the motto of the first half of the game. In general, there are three locations: The Castle and its environs where we run most of the game; in the second half, all this is overgrown with ice; Well, indeed, a new location awaits only at the final levels, I will not spoil it. But we must pay tribute to the artists, despite the monotony of the levels, they look great, although you stop paying attention to the environment after a few hours of playing.

Review of the game Soulstice. Budget version of Devil May Cry

A few more minor flaws and controversial decisions. First, through a fixed camera, platforming in rare cases turns into flour, it is very difficult to aim at the right platform. With the camera, in general, an interesting solution, when moving around the location, it is fixed, and during the battle it is detached and you can freely twist it. Secondly, the game has problems with the gamma, the light areas of the level are too bright and put pressure on the eyes, and some types of opponents are also difficult to see in the heat of battle, especially the bright Arena for testing. Also, at the beginning of the game, the base monsters merge with the level, and this is not a creative idea, but a poor visual distinction, which is important for a slasher game.

Review of the game Soulstice. Budget version of Devil May Cry
There is another monster lurking in the place of the bright gap.

Several times there were problems with optimization. For starters, the game has three graphics modes, Performance (1080/60), High Definition (4K/30) and something in between. Since this is a dynamic action game, I would advise playing in Performance mode, even if you have a 4K display, I didn’t notice any difference other than the resolution (there are screenshots of the comparison below). Most of the time, the game is very stable, but towards the end of the game, the screen is flooded with so many special effects that for a moment the FPS starts to sag.

Review of the game Soulstice. Budget version of Devil May Cry

But despite all the mentioned conventions and shortcomings, I didn’t get bored for a minute in 24 hours of passage, and the desire to see the final arose only for the reason that I had to quickly prepare this review (I failed this mission). At the beginning, the game seems boring and, frankly, this is a lack of a genre than a separate game. But the combination of all the mechanics, interesting combinations of opponents and bosses make you go through the game to the end. If the game were at least a third shorter, I would gladly decide to replay on higher difficulties.

Review of the game Soulstice. Budget version of Devil May Cry
Bria and Lut

Soulstice is the studio’s third game and it’s easy to follow the studio’s visual style and what path the developers have come through over the years (the game even has an easter egg for Theseus, the main character of the studio’s first game, Theseus). But now I’m waiting for the continuation and I hope that the developers will listen to the voice of reason and, in addition to the traditional improvements of the sequel, will make it at least a third shorter.

If you’re not a slasher fan, subtract half a point from your score.

Comparison of graphics modes and other screenshots

Pros: combat system, opponents, robot artists

Cons: monotonous levels, the plot is gaining momentum for a long time, the length of the game, minor technical flaws

Conclusion: Soulstice is a good slasher with an excellent symbiosis of mechanics and opponents, but with monotonous levels and an extended plot

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