Humanity has been in danger since the Ghosts, terrifying and ferocious creatures, crossed the Veil to destroy the world of the living. Spreading terror throughout the region, they seize human souls and you need more than a leather jacket and motorcycle boots to defeat these evil entities from beyond the grave. The unrestrained action, infernal combat and amazing panoramas, Soulstice cuts to the heart!
As the balance of the Sacred Kingdom of Keidas hangs by a thread, the Chimeras, warriors born from the union of two souls, are the only ones who can save what is left of humanity. It is in this apocalyptic atmosphere that Briar and Lute, two brothers reincarnated in the form of a Chimera, intervene. When the first is given superhuman strength, the second is sacrificed to take the form of an entity capable of all miracles. Even though they are one, together they explore the lands of the kingdom to eradicate the threat and realize… that the Order, the organization that governs the various Chimeras, does not have everything for them. Developed by the Milanese studio Reply Game Studios, Soulstice takes the form of a beat them (an action game where you progress by resisting waves of enemies) is nervous and has many assets to convince fans of Bayonetta, Nier or even Devil May Cry.
A real necessity
Soulstice, if it’s not as “hermetic” as Dark Souls, remains a difficult game. Very quickly, we have to juggle between different buttons and side keys. When the main character, Briar, is controlled by the stick, the title of the Italian developers often calls on the mystical skills of his brother. In the middle of a fight, like any Nier or Bayonetta, you have to control the central avatar, but also trigger the actions of the spirit that accompanies it. To support her sister, Lute can resist enemy attacks, interrupt (to a greater or lesser power) and above all activate her force fields, evocation and banishment. The latter, with two colors (blue and red), allows you to interact with crystals – to recover shards that serve as currency – or to damage the defense of some normally invincible entities. Multiple difficulty levels are available, and this is what allows Soulstice to expand its audience, but the adventure requires a certain skill to make it from start to finish. Like anything tender in the genre, the enemies are more and more fierce and cruel, and therefore it is necessary to improve by recovering as many artifacts as possible.
Fight for the score
Blue and red crystals are used to enhance the weapons and skills of Briar and her host. Only by exploring each area from top to bottom and by participating in challenges (dimensions that meet specific rules) can we ensure a less painful journey. If necessary, it is possible to change the courses visited to increase your inventory of crystals. The rhythm is pronounced, the games are many and we are gradually managing to integrate the principle of force fields, but some passages are very punishing and the choice of colors sometimes does not help to have a tin -aw and clear action. Undeniably inspired by the classics of the genre, Soulstice is a compelling homage to a somewhat hardcore approach. At the end of each fight, the game shows a score (from “iron” to “diamond”) and pro controllers will be happy to optimize their performance. If the score is not very good, we naturally want to start again to do better. With a convincing length of life and great generosity, in the game and the impression of gigantism in the environments, Soulstice does not escape, unfortunately, from the flaws that may deter some people.
Obvious technical concession
Blending action and exploration, the game has no tenor of a 2022 game on a technical level. Despite the successful panoramas, there are many visual pitfalls. Some textures seem to be from another time, we often face invisible walls and the hallway syndrome is more pronounced. In addition, the unnecessary slowdown spoils the progress and we have a bad impression of the development of a game that may be too ambitious at times. But the cause of most problems is the camera. Rarely free, often repaired, it is not always optimal and we face hordes of enemies, sometimes hit the void! We are not even talking about the camera of the exploration where some angles are so poorly thought out that we found, as if by a miracle, hidden passages. At this point, the game lacks flexibility and progression struggles to be intuitive. We come to stay everywhere, the fault of the invisible walls, to find the artifacts that escape us.
Because yes, Soulstice is one of those games where the character can jump very high, but he finds himself unable to pass a small obstacle or something like that. It seems that the title shows modern graphics, but suffers from the “32-bit” syndrome, this generation of consoles that hosted the first 3D games. Of course, that doesn’t stop you from having fun if you like the genre, especially since the artistic direction, Claymore or Berserk (depending on your references), has been the subject of impressive care (although some elements are too far apart. also copied and pasted from one place to another). To take full advantage of it, Soulstice offers three types of display: performance at 60 frames per second, resolution for the display and balance for a mix of the two. Personally, we choose the latter option to get the best of both worlds.
Under these circumstances, what can we learn from the experience? Soulstice is the archetype of games that are attractive and made with love, but suffer from technical problems that prevent them from reaching the pantheon of the genre they represent. During the development, the adventure does not lack ideas, the enemies, the puzzles or the wooden skills provided for this purpose, but it lacks a better technical and playful basis for the stand out. The camera angles are sometimes poorly chosen and we come to fight against the game to hopefully advance the story – which, again, takes a long time to get. It’s a shame because the characters in the cel shading (contours around the characters that give it a cartoon aspect) and the sometimes grandiose decorations show that the game is not lacking in ambition. Maybe also…
- Unique decoration of places
- Claymore’s inspired art direction
- Nervous and interesting gameplay
- The principle of two force fields
- The scoring system for score enthusiasts
- The dubbing of Stefanie Joosten (Metal Gear Solid 5)
- Lifespan (25 chapters, many challenges…)
- A fixed camera is usually not a good position
- A scenario that lasts forever
- Lack of visual renewal
- Too many elements are copied and pasted from one place to another
- Always a chaotic fight
With Soulstice, the developers at Reply Game Studios have created perhaps their most ambitious game yet. beat them nervous taking place in a universe reminiscent of the manga Claymore, it plays with the duality of force fields (awakening, expulsion) and a mixture of exploration, puzzles and action for lovers of the genre. Unfortunately, the lack of methods is felt at length and we often complain about a bad camera adjustment and obvious technical problems (slow down, too much copy-paste, textures from another time…). Not to mention this permanent juggling of level keys on the side of the controller. In the end, Soulstice is a game that is far from uninteresting, but is reserved for fans of the genre and amateurs of scoring.
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