HomeNewsSteller Blade – Hands on Impression – Soulslike in Heels

    Steller Blade – Hands on Impression – Soulslike in Heels

    Thanks to Sony Interactive Entertainment Singapore (SIES), we managed to get our hands on an early preview of the much-discussed game from developer SHIFT UP, Stellar Blade. The game is being developed in Korea, which doesn’t usually focus on creating single-player, story-centric games, so it caught my interest.

    Stellar Blade is an action-adventure game set on a desolate Earth, where players follow Eve, a member of an airborne squad sent to help defeat humanity’s enemies, the Naytiba. The game’s environment depicts alien-like creatures bringing humanity to the brink of destruction, with cities abandoned and overgrown with vegetation.

    Initially, when assuming control of Eve, I mistook the game for a typical action game. There were numerous enemies to dash around and dispatch with a few slashes. However, the game took a different turn as larger enemies and bosses appeared, resembling the challenging combat found in Soulslike games. Blocking or evading enemy attacks becomes crucial, as carelessness can lead to swift defeat.

    The game’s challenge is enhanced by limitations on recovery items between sections, until reaching the next checkpoint known as Camps but this will also reset all the enemies on the map so going from one point to another still poses a risk. Despite this, the game is relatively forgiving, lacking a stamina bar and featuring responsive animations. Understanding enemy patterns is paramount, a principle true to similar games. Moreover, there’s a Story difficulty option for those seeking a less demanding experience.

    As Eve levels up, players can upgrade various skills, hinted at by the intricate skill tree visible in the demo. Equipment upgrades are also present, although not fully explored in the demo. These features are seamlessly integrated into the game, with no resource drops upon defeat. Additionally, puzzles and collectables add an extra layer of intrigue to exploration and gameplay.

    As mentioned, there is neither a stamina nor mana system in this game. Instead, using a skill requires filling up a Beta Energy bar by attacking enemies. Additionally, there’s a Shield Bar that reduces damage when attacked or depletes significantly when blocking. Once the Shield Bar is down, blocking becomes less effective, leading to substantial damage. Parrying or evading may be preferable options as they don’t consume the Shield Bar.

    Overall, what did I think of Stellar Blade from the preview? It certainly sparked my interest, albeit not in a scandalous manner. The platforming mechanics are intriguing, and the Soulslike gameplay, along with occasional jump scares, provides ample challenge that could frustrate some players. While the story still appears somewhat vague and weak in the preview, based solely on gameplay, this game has the potential to be a hidden gem of 2024.

    Steller Blade is set to launch on 26 April 2024 for the PlayStation 5. The demo for Steller Blade will be available for download starting 29 March 2024.

    An old school gamer who plays every genre of games. Prefers games which are unique and innovative instead of just pretty looking. All he wants is content, content, content..... The more the better.

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