Unsouled, the tried

Unsouled, the tried


Defined on the official Steam page as an ultra brutal action RPG, characterized by frenetic and rewarding fights, but above all a title inspired specifically by Onimusha 2, Unsouled is another of the video games that caught our attention during the Steam Games Festival: forget about puzzles or the grueling quest for the highway within a dispersed and interconnected map, in the style of Dark Souls, because Unsouled is focused only on the combat system. The Megusta Game development studio, composed in this case by Jinsub Jung and no one else, has opted for this approach by providing a very layered gameplay from the very first approach.

The story itself is rather vague, it hints at a boy and a girl whose destinies are intertwined and linked by the common ability to absorb the souls of the dead, but beyond this we know nothing else; sure, everything will be revealed thanks to the environmental narrative, however it is curious to note that even the official website does not report any dedicated section, preferring instead to provide very detailed information on the combat system - which makes Jung's choice to focus almost exclusively even more evident. on this aspect. The trial of the demo left us with the desire to improve ourselves even more because, although the story has the prerequisites to intrigue, it is precisely the desire to come out better the real driving force of the experience.

Brutal but satisfying gameplay

Our adventure begins in an abandoned dungeon, with the protagonist in critical condition who gradually regains awareness of himself and his powers: once absorbed souls for restoring health and accumulating some that will instead provide the "currency" with which to enhance ourselves and various skills, we are pushed into the middle of the tutorial. Fortunately, those who do not like to waste a lot of time with explanations will be happy to know that Unsouled is based on a few mechanics: attack, sprint that becomes dodged if used with the right timing, parry which in turn can turn into a deviation if performed in time, and finally the absorption of souls. Then there are additional techniques that improve the aforementioned abilities, stressing the concept of concatenation a lot, but basically these are four. If at first glance the game appears simple, giving us the possibility of eliminating enemies with a few swipes, it remains appropriate to practice and specialize because the tutorial phase represents a taste of what lies ahead.

It must be said, however, that very often we found ourselves waiting for them to attack, in order to respond in the best possible way, but at this point the demo showed a bit the side by presenting puppet opponents, who just followed us in the movements without ever attacking (both in phase tutorial is in the game itself): it's hard to say if it was a conscious choice or, indeed, a sign that Unsouled still needs to be improved. Still in terms of artificial intelligence, the game becomes much more complex when we are surrounded by hordes of creatures who, in fact, have their main strength in number but sin for a pattern that is always the same based on the type. The undead will always perform the same attack when they do, while the ninjas will keep themselves hidden and then run towards us, attack, go back to hiding; this makes them easy to read and is the reason why we often find ourselves facing large groups. Taken alone and with a little practice they are very easy to defeat and, although scoring a perfect detour by splitting the enemy in two is very satisfying, it is obvious that Unsouled had to rely on something else to keep the challenge ceiling high. . Being surrounded by swordsmen, ninjas and archers actually leads to an increase in difficulty, even if only to have to keep an eye on everything that happens and at the same time defend yourself at best.

Unsouled: a phase of combat. In all this, the environment plays another fundamental role since there will be situations in which the enemies will be, for example, hidden in the tall grass so as to make it more complex to adopt a strategy. There are therefore several solutions to keep the player alert but the litmus test comes with the boss fight: the demo included one, enough to test our abilities and the possible effectiveness of the upgrades chosen during the journey - you can unlock them at the statues, as long as you have the right amount of souls. Closed in a real gladiatorial arena, we faced a giant who demonstrated a somewhat more varied pattern than mobs but still easy to memorize: you have to pay attention to attacks, understand if and when it is worth deviating rather than moving from the trajectory, and the sense of satisfaction when you hit a perfect detour with its counterattack you can hear everything.

To enhance the fight there is the fact that, having lost a certain amount of health, the boss can grab us and throw us on the stands, where the fight will then move and there will be a brief moment in which we will have to avoid being crushed by the rubble that we ourselves have generated after having been crashed into the wall. We cannot speak of a true QTE but it still requires a shot on our part if we do not want, presumably, to die on the spot. Notice how this "stage change" may very well not happen if we avoid getting caught, and then the fight would end smoothly in the same arena it started in. Very interesting as a possibility, especially given the fact that the room for maneuver is reduced a lot in the stands, making the battle a more complex thread: we appreciated this variety and we hope to be able to find it again in the future.

Unsouled: some enemies can attack while staying hidden Last, by no means least, complicating life in Unsouled is the lack of healing items. If you thought that up to here everything was maybe not a rosy one but manageable, the fact that to restore health we must not only rely on the souls eventually lost by enemies but that these are not collected automatically, thus requiring action from the part. ours, changes the cards on the table: both against bosses and against multiple enemies at the same time, finding a window within which to absorb the souls before they disappear (yes, there is also the time factor) complicates the matter, making it necessary master those skills that allow you to end the fight as soon as possible. Of course, while they are absorbed you can still move, albeit at a very slow speed, but the difficulty remains and it is not uncommon, when overwhelmed, to die while the green orbs on the screen look at us, almost making fun of us.

Overall, Unsouled is an interesting experiment, focusing on the combat system by layering it with an advanced skill level and specific attributes that are valid for us as well as for enemies; Little is known about history and, at this point, despite a slight curiosity about why the world has gone wrong, it is not even important. What matters is to perfect yourself to the extreme.

Unsouled: the first boss fight Beyond some rough edges, especially considering that it is developed by only one person, Unsouled is an experience brutal and at the same time satisfying: the initial phases are used to get in tune with the combat system, realizing that it is not enough to strike a blow to be able to get by in the clashes, and at the end of the demo we felt satisfied with what we saw. There remain some doubts about the variety of enemies, which could make up for the very minimal artificial intelligence, and to what extent the game will dare to propose solutions that test our ability to adapt but the premises are there: the author is wanted to concentrate only on the combat system, leaving history a marginal role, thus offering a potential experience that revolves all around the player's ability.


Stratified and satisfying combat system The quantity of enemies makes it necessary to re-evaluate strategies Customizable style based on one's attitude to the fight DOUBTS Artificial intelligence of the enemies very basic We hope that the quantity of opponents is not the only solution to complicate the game

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