In contravention of the main vice of the reckless Pinocchio, we will not tell you lies: Lies of P is one of the main protagonists of Gamescom 2022, and probably one of the most surprising titles that could populate the gaming market in the coming months. The Korean soulslike has finally shown itself before our eyes in a demo version on the Koelnmesse show floor, creeping into our heads like a pounding Consciousness: despite having intercepted some perplexities about some components of the production, the action RPG inspired by the literary masterpiece of Carlo Collodi could even represent one of the best spiritual sons of Dark Soulsat least in recent years.
When Pinocchio meets Bloodborne
Regarding the narrative sector of Lies of PUnfortunately, we are not yet able to assess how the Neowiz Games team has reworked Collodi’s mythology, nor how much the warp has an effective weight on the whole experience. The demo we tried included chapters 2 and 3 of the game and from the very first moments we fully felt the spiritual legacy of From Software.
Before moving through the alleys of a rotting and decayed Gothic city we had to make a choice of “bloodborn” memory: select the fighting style of our Pinocchio between light, heavy and balanced. Both levels turned out to be almost identical, both in the structure and in the progression: at the beginning of the scenario we have the possibility to equip ourselves at best by interacting with a merchant who, according to his bizarre look, it could be the Mad Hatter. Always before starting our crossing of the map we can instead activate the Stargazer, another element that refers to the lesson of Hidetaka Miyazaki. It is one of the very few checkpoints scattered throughout the Chapter, and its function is perfectly identical to the bonfires of Dark Souls and the lanterns of Bloodborne (if you want to refresh your memory, here is the review of Bloodborne). The Stargazers represent the point of our rebirth in the event of death, but also a valuable hub in which to develop the progression of the protagonist: from the enhancement of his base stats to the customization of weapons to the creation of items. It is not yet clear, however, how much our paraphernalia is customizable: if, that is, the basic build can be enriched or modified in order to adapt the style most congenial to our favorite weapon, regardless of what the effective range or weight of the blade is.
Returning to the two scenarios of the demo, the redundancy of the two chapters examined does not give us much hope as regards the variety of settingsin which we recognize that soulsike inspiration that all purists of the genre have now learned to recognize.
Alongside the raids through the streets there is a verticality that catapults us between the roofs or inside entire buildings appropriately infested with mechanized creatures ready to eliminate us in the most bloody and cruel ways possible.
A convincing Soulslike?
That the main sources of inspiration of the Asian team are the great cornerstones of From Software’s production is clear. The playful and productive philosophy of Lies of P fully embraces the school of Dark Souls and the like: an extremely treacherous and punitive action that did not leave us breath, surrounded by enemies of all kinds ready to hunt us from the darkest ravines. However, it must be premised that the build at our disposal was far too short to fully test the variety of the experience.
During the two aforementioned levels we encountered rather tenacious opponents in close combat, but also rather lethal snipers from a distance, robotic beasts and beefy giants. Crossing the city you come into contact with objects to collect in a progression culminating with the boss on duty: our final opponent, a giant mad puppet, fully reflected a level of general challenge that – responding to the conceptual trappings of the genre – it becomes more and more frustrating. Our Pinocchio, whatever style he adopted at the beginning of the adventure, has a fast attack and a heavy attack availableand every movement prepared for battle (from slashing to dodging) is marked by the omnipresent Stamina bar.
Lies of P responds to the most canonical topoi of soulslike also in the not simple management of a rich and stratified inventory. From equipment, which range from weapons, clothing and supporting ornaments, to the use of mostly healing items designed to temporarily change the character’s stats or upgrade the weapon for a limited period.
A peculiarity of our puppet’s paraphernalia is the use of his bionic arm, which if necessary can become a hook capable of grabbing enemies from medium distance and catapulting us towards them. Furthermore, if appropriately interspersed with the attack command, this shot can give rise to a jump attack capable of inflicting greater damage. In the same way, the parade must be used with intelligence and parsimony, as it totally cancels the damage received only if activated with the right timing.
Although it may seem aesthetically derivative, we believe that the visual frame of the production is one of the most striking elements. The gothic style studded with steampunk veins created by Neowiz Games showed us a strong and convincing identity, as well as several elements of a solid and spectacular graphic framework.
It should be reiterated that, especially with regard to aesthetics, ours are preliminary impressions net of a technical background that we believe needs a light finishing. It is true that the principles of the genre of belonging do not make fluidity or dynamism their flagship, but we believe that some elements – in particular the dynamics of movement and some contextual animation, including the management of some particles – need some polishing. On the other hand, we must not forget that the good Pinocchio, as an android with robotic grafts, is unable to perfectly replicate the movements of a normal human being, therefore his limp and dragged advance could even represent an element of coherence with the gameplay. . After all, our puppet, once, had threads, and now no more …
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