When the initial trailers for Lies of P hit the gaming community, it was hard not to draw comparisons to the critically acclaimed Bloodborne. However, as I delved into this soulslike adventure, it became apparent that Lies of P is a remarkable game in its own right. The gameplay is challenging, yet it offers a unique twist that sets it apart from its predecessor. Crafting this review has been an absolute joy, especially after the highly anticipated Elden Ring left a void in my gaming experience. Neowiz's latest creation has successfully filled that void with its captivating world and satisfying mechanics.
In today's gaming landscape, the Soulslike genre has become increasingly saturated with attempts to create unique and memorable experiences. However, amidst the numerous failures, Lies of P manages to succeed spectacularly. The debate surrounding what truly makes a Soulslike game comparable to the iconic Dark Souls is a contentious one.
Many argue that factors such as a dark and foreboding art direction, punishing combat mechanics, intricately designed boss battles, and the freedom to shape one's character in various ways are essential components. Remarkably, Lies of P manages to check all these boxes. As I delved into the game for this review, it became evident that Lies of P not only replicates the perfect formula established by FromSoftware games but also distinguishes itself by introducing innovative elements that set it apart from its counterparts.
Unraveling the Puppetry: Lies of P's Narrative
The game “Lies of P” draws its story from the timeless work of Carlo Collodi, the author of the beloved tale of Pinocchio. Within the game, players will encounter a host of familiar characters directly linked to the book and its various adaptations. While prior knowledge of the source material enhances the overall experience, even those who are unfamiliar with the fairytale can still appreciate the game's originality. “Lies of P” offers a unique and engaging narrative that can be enjoyed by all, bringing a fresh perspective to Collodi's classic story.
Lies of P takes us on an exhilarating journey from the moment our protagonist wakes up on a train. As we delve deeper into the story, we are introduced to a train station filled with mystery and excitement, leading us to our first exhilarating boss battle. From there, we find ourselves at the Krat Hotel, a central hub that brings to mind the Roundtable Hold in Elden Ring.
The captivating tale of Lies of P initially reminded me of “I, Robot” as it explores the perilous consequences of robots and artificial intelligence turning against their creators. Yet, as the plot unfolds, it surprises us with its unexpected twists and turns. The narrative takes us on an unpredictable rollercoaster ride, leaving us eagerly anticipating what lies ahead.
Geppetto, the master puppet maker, had once crafted the very puppets that now dutifully served the humans of Krat. However, a calamity known as “The Puppet Frenzy” had unexpectedly erupted, sending shockwaves through the peaceful town. The once docile puppets had gone rogue, their strings severed from the control of their masters.
Chaos ensued as these once innocent creations turned against their very creators, attacking with a ferocity that left the townsfolk bewildered and terrified. Amidst this turmoil, a glimmer of hope emerged in the form of Pinocchio, a puppet unlike any other. With his loyalty unflinching and his curious spirit, Pinocchio was the only one with the potential to unravel the mystery behind The Puppet Frenzy and restore harmony to Krat.
Pinocchio stands out as a unique character due to his freedom from the Grand Covenant, the set of rules that other puppets adhere to in order to prevent harm to humans. This concept is reminiscent of Isaac Asimov's famous laws of robotics, which share striking similarities. Pinocchio's ability to operate beyond these boundaries adds an intriguing layer to the story, as it explores the dichotomy between good and evil, or more accurately, the distinction between being a human and a mechanical puppet. This departure from the norm in Pinocchio's behavior serves as a thought-provoking element, highlighting the complexities of morality and the potential consequences of unbound freedom.
Krat is the mesmerizing backdrop where the game comes to life and the captivating story unravels. Within this city, a tapestry of diverse districts awaits, each boasting its own distinct and stylized environment. As you traverse its streets, you'll witness the opulence of the wealthy, while also journeying through the humble and destitute villages of the poor peasants. A captivating feature of this enchanting city is the presence of a swamp, a hauntingly beautiful cemetery dedicated solely to the rest of puppets. Adding to the allure of Krat, each of these areas is guarded by a unique boss, further immersing players in an enthralling and challenging gaming experience.
In the enchanting world of Krat, Ergo reigns as a mystical energy that bestows power upon all its inhabitants, particularly the puppets. Much like Souls or Runes, Ergo serves as the vital resource required to elevate Pinocchio's abilities and augment his strength. However, as the gripping narrative unfolds, a startling revelation emerges – Ergo is not merely a substance but a force shrouded in mystery. The plot thickens as our heroes embark on a quest to unravel the enigma behind this rare energy, for it holds the key to the chaos that ensues, causing the puppets to defy their very nature and rebel against their own laws.
Lies of P stands out among other Soulslike games due to its clear and concise narrative. Unlike other notable games in the genre, Lies of P does not rely on ambiguity to tell its story. Instead, it presents a linear storyline that is easy to follow and digest. Even if the Soulslike gameplay is not your preferred style, Lies of P manages to captivate players with its exceptional storytelling. The game introduces memorable characters and presents their stories in a compelling and engaging way. As a result, Lies of P breaks the mold by successfully compelling players to care about the narrative in a genre known for its challenging gameplay rather than its storytelling.
Lies of P's Gameplay Mechanics
Lies of P, as a Soulslike game, successfully maintained its inspired gameplay throughout my entire playthrough. From the very beginning to the end, all the relevant mechanics remained consistently intact, creating a cohesive and immersive experience. Initially, the gameplay reminded me of Bloodborne, with its intense combat and dark atmosphere. However, as I progressed further, I noticed elements from Sekiro being seamlessly incorporated, adding a new layer of complexity to the gameplay.
It is important to acknowledge that FromSoftware's franchises, such as Bloodborne and Sekiro, serve as the foundation and inspiration for the Soulslike genre. Therefore, understanding this connection is crucial when discussing the gameplay of Lies of P.
Lies of P encompasses all the key elements that define a Soulslike game, making it a truly immersive gameplay experience. The control mapping is reminiscent of the renowned series, with light attacks executed using R1/RB, heavy attacks with R2/RT, and dodge maneuvers performed with the circle or B button.
Just like in the Souls games, death in Lies of P carries consequences, as players leave behind the Ergo they had accumulated up until that point. Additionally, the game incorporates the familiar mechanic of assigning points to specific stats when leveling up, as well as requiring different materials for weapon upgrades. Players who have delved into the world of Elden Ring will undoubtedly feel right at home in this captivating and challenging game.
One aspect that is worth comparing between Bloodborne and Lies of P is the rally system. Bloodborne serves as a major source of inspiration for Lies of P in terms of its rally system. In Bloodborne, players have the ability to recover a portion of their lost HP by attacking enemies. Similarly, Lies of P introduces the Guard Regain mechanic, which closely mirrors Bloodborne's rally system.
However, in Lies of P, this mechanic is activated only when players successfully block an attack. By effectively blocking, players are able to counterattack and regain some of their health. On the other hand, if players fail to guard against an attack, their HP will be significantly reduced. As a result, Lies of P encourages players to adopt a more aggressive playstyle after successfully defending themselves, as it proves to be more effective than simply dodging.
The combat in Lies of P immediately brought to mind the intense battles of Sekiro, as both games employ a parry system. Playing as the shinobi protagonist Wolf, engaging in these fights felt like a beautifully synchronized dance with my opponents. Timing my blocks perfectly to counterattack became crucial, as accurately predicting the enemy's moves allowed me to gain the upper hand.
While Lies of P doesn't explicitly incorporate a stance bar to break, it cleverly conceals it. By continuously blocking or launching multiple attacks, the enemy's HP bar gradually starts to glow white. This visual cue serves as a clear indication for a charged attack, which, when executed successfully, staggers the adversary and provides the perfect opportunity for a devastating critical hit.
Out of all the non-FromSoftware games I've experienced, this particular one stands out as one of the most challenging. Having been spoiled by the intricacies and unique qualities of Elden Ring, this game served as a stark reminder that skill and patience are paramount in succeeding within the realm of Soulslike games. The bosses in this game possess incredibly erratic attack patterns, constantly keeping players on their toes. Just when you believe you've mastered their moves, they unleash a whole new arsenal of devastating attacks.
It is during these moments that I truly grasped the essence of this game – it takes something already existing and breathes new life into it through engaging encounters. This game dares to challenge you at every turn, and yes, you will lose numerous times as a result. However, it never becomes punishing to the extent that you lose all desire to return and conquer the seemingly insurmountable obstacles before you.
When it comes to bosses in the game, they are nothing short of incredible, and the feeling of defeating them is truly satisfying. Each boss has its own unique designs and mechanics that keep the gameplay fresh and exciting. What caught me off guard, however, was the realization that Lies of P does not hold back when it comes to difficulty. The first boss I encountered had not one, but two phases, which was a challenge I did not expect. However, the difficulty does not stop at the bosses alone. Every enemy and mini-boss has the potential to kill you within seconds, making combat a constant test of skill and strategy.
During the Lies of P review process, I was particularly impressed with the addition of other modern features alongside the expected systems. One of my favorite features was the weapon assembly, which allowed players to create unique weapons by combining different components. Initially, there were limited options, but as you discovered and collected more weapons throughout the game, the possibilities for combinations became endless. Personally, my favorite creation was a spear with the blade of a fire dagger. This weapon became my go-to choice throughout the game, providing me with a significant advantage against a wide range of enemies.
While the game may primarily focus on melee combat, there is an element similar to magic that adds a unique twist. In Lies of P, this magical equivalent is known as Legion. Instead of relying on traditional spells, players have the ability to modify Pinocchio's left arm, aptly named his Legion Arm. This arm can be changed at various checkpoints throughout the game, each arm offering a different set of functionalities.
For instance, one arm may have the ability to throw bolts of electricity, making it particularly effective against puppets, while another arm may function as a protective shield. The variety of Legion Arms available provides players with a diverse range of strategies and approaches, adding depth and excitement to the gameplay experience.
Initially, I found the P-Organ or talent tree system to be rather disappointing. In order to obtain Quartz, players must defeat certain bosses or complete specific quests. While Quartz does provide bonuses in the game, such as extra health potions or increased dodge speed, I couldn't help but feel that these mechanics should have been available from the beginning. For example, I wished I could continuously dodge or quickly recover from being knocked out. The lack of these abilities made me feel limited in my ability to experiment with different builds and playstyles that I was eager to try.
One of the most intriguing features of the game Lies of P is its unique system of truth and lies. Throughout the game, players are presented with certain missions that require them to make a choice between telling the truth or telling a lie. The consequences of these choices are far-reaching, as they not only affect the rewards players receive but also the way they interact with non-playable characters (NPCs).
One particularly memorable instance was when I encountered a man who desperately sought my help in finding his deceased wife. However, upon finding her, I discovered that she was merely a puppet. I obtained her engagement ring, along with a note. The game then presented me with the option to either reveal the truth about the note or fabricate a lie. These choices had a profound impact on the destinies of many characters and ultimately shaped the course of the entire story.
Visuals and Sound in Lies of P
When I first started playing Lies of P, I anticipated that its art direction would mirror that of Bloodborne. However, I quickly discovered that its visuals and graphics actually bore a stronger resemblance to Bioshock Infinite. While certain areas exuded a gothic and opulent aesthetic reminiscent of Yharnam in Bloodborne, the majority of the game adopted a neoclassical style akin to Columbia in Bioshock Infinite. This fusion of classical architecture with intricate machinery that exudes a steampunk charm is truly a captivating sight to behold.
The bosses in this game truly leave a lasting impression. Their designs are unforgettable, standing out among other games in the genre. These bosses are massive, towering over the player and instilling a sense of fear with their intimidating size. Each boss is unique and original, showcasing stunning creativity and imagination. From puppet bosses to plague-infected creatures, the variety of these formidable foes is astounding. Playing this game was a refreshing experience, as I encountered boss battles unlike anything I had seen before.
In regards to its performance, the game operates seamlessly without any significant problems. I played the game on PC with the highest settings and never experienced any stutter or lag. The game quickly compiles shaders at startup, ensuring a fast and seamless gaming experience. Although there were occasional instances where textures took a bit longer to load in specific areas, it was a minor inconvenience and did not significantly impact gameplay. Overall, the Lies of P preview process was incredibly smooth, and it is evident that this game has been highly optimized, making it one of the best-performing games of the year.
The music in Lies of P is truly captivating. From the very first note, it manages to stir up a sense of nostalgia and sadness within the listener. As you navigate through the desolate streets and abandoned homes of a city plagued by death, the dynamic range of the audio adds an eerie layer of dread to your experience. Even the boss music tracks are not to be overlooked. When faced with a formidable opponent, such as the one behind the Puppet Frenzy, the music intensifies the thrill of the battle, elevating it to new heights. It is reminiscent of the masterful audio design seen in previous titles by FromSoftware, and Lies of P certainly lives up to their standard.
Verdict: Strings of Fate in Lies of P
Lies of P has garnered comparisons to Bloodborne and other games by Miyazaki for its impressive storytelling and gameplay mechanics. While there are undeniable similarities, the game manages to stand out with its unique art style. The visuals set it apart from other games in the genre, creating a distinct and immersive world.
The gameplay stays true to its roots while incorporating modern features that enhance the overall experience without straying from the essence of the genre. However, it is the captivating story that truly sets Lies of P apart. It is by far one of the most compelling narratives I have encountered in this type of game, keeping players engaged and invested throughout their journey.
Lies of P has undoubtedly earned its title as the best Soulslike game of the year. The bosses in this game are truly a force to be reckoned with, showcasing an imposing presence and a level of difficulty that will test even the most seasoned players. The sheer gratification of finally triumphing over a boss after countless attempts is unmatched by any other recent gaming experience. For veterans of the Souls series, Lies of P offers a thrilling adventure that will keep them engaged from start to finish.
However, even newcomers to the genre will find themselves enthralled by this game, as it flawlessly incorporates all the elements expected from Souls games while also infusing it with a modern twist. Lies of P has managed to create a world that is not only filled with exhilarating fights, but also features memorable locations and hidden secrets that will undoubtedly beckon players to return long after this review is written.
Lies of P Review
Lies of P has undoubtedly earned its title as the best Soulslike game of the year. The bosses in this game are truly a force to be reckoned with, showcasing an imposing presence and a level of difficulty that will test even the most seasoned players. The sheer gratification of finally triumphing over a boss after countless attempts is unmatched by any other recent gaming experience.