Stray Blade, the preview

Stray Blade, the preview

Stray Blade

The gamescom 2021 Xbox Showcase was rather subdued, to the point of wondering why this presentation was when most of the thick titles ended up in the Opening Night Live: however, this does not mean that something was not shown inside. interesting, such as Stray Blade. A very intriguing action RPG, with a somewhat cartoon style, in development at the Berlin studio Point Blank Studios, which has been talked about for at least two years, but which had an official presentation only a couple of weeks ago. If at first glance it seems like an adventure like many others, we gradually discover tantalizing aspects that we can't wait to try and deepen.

Starting with a constantly evolving setting, which does not remain static even after the our death (and consequent rebirth) but it adapts; time passes, therefore, and certainly does not stop waiting for us. This, combined with a fighting system that looks promising without reinventing any wheel, is in itself enough to attract our curiosity. We also had the opportunity to discuss with the developers, trying to know some more details, and the picture that emerged undoubtedly leaves the desire to test this new adventure in the field, scheduled for 2022.

In the meantime, find out Stray Blade in our preview.

The lost valley of Acrea

Stray Blade, don't be fooled by the cartoon graphics: the valley of Acrea is deadly dangerous Stray Blade, like most fantasy stories, begins with a legend: that of the lost valley of Acrea, a wild and abandoned place nonetheless cloaked in incredible power. A temptation for an adventurer of our caliber if only, once we had discovered this mysterious land, we were not dead: it happens, it is the risks of the trade, just sorry not to have enjoyed the wonders of Acrea having only tasted the dangers. For some strange reason, however, after some time we come back to life, a grace that comes with a price - not being able to leave this earth. Sounds a bit like Boletaria and the Nexus soul issue until we solved the mess set up by Allant. In the series, the others do damage and then it's up to us to fix it. Of course, none of this would have happened if we had chosen to snoop elsewhere, but what adventurers would we be? In any case, we are now involved so we just have to roll up our sleeves and regain our freedom, arranging two or three things in our free time between one danger and another.

Acrea is in fact a place full of history that carries with it a very ancient legacy. During the journey into the unknown we will have to discover its secrets, reveal its history step by step to understand what has transformed a once peaceful valley into a place so unchanged in its beauty, but torn by war and death, to the point that the stories linked to it have been handed down for centuries by the greatest dynasties in the world. It will be precisely this knowledge that will allow us to sever the ties with the past, once again giving Acrea the peace it deserves. However, we will not be alone in this undertaking: with us will travel the inseparable Boji, a wolf xhinnon - whatever that means, at the moment we have no idea. We owe him our life, literally, and we will owe it to him throughout the course of the game, which is enough to trust him. He also has a nice design, which increases the appreciation of him. Together with him we will explore far and wide, from imposing throne rooms of giant gods-rulers to the lost cities that Acrea offers. An adventure that deserves to be handed down, if we succeed in the enterprise.

A world in constant change

Stray Blade, an excellent setting but a welcome to be reviewed. Stray Blade, is the mechanics for which the game world lives a life of its own, presenting itself in constant change. Our passage leaves a mark and time passes even when we die, making our actions shape the environment and those who live in it - be they humans or creatures of sorts. We are not just talking about blatant gestures, such as eliminating any threat in a given area, but also just the simple fact of having opened access to the area itself: everything has value in the Acrea valley and brings with it the relative consequences. For example, when during the journey we will be forced to unblock a path and get rid of the dangers that have remained isolated until then, the fact that that area is now free means that other people can settle there to create a settlement. Pacific or not it is not known but the action just performed has left room for a new, future gaming experience, because returning there at a later time we as players will be very sensitive to the changes that have occurred: in that area we have been, yet it is not at all as we remembered it.

Shaping the game world was also possible thanks to the feedback of users, who during a playtest often confronted the developers, greatly appreciating the basic idea and helping them to take the right direction. We can only agree with their enthusiasm: a game world that is responsive to our actions and at the same time indifferent to our presence is a complex goal to put into practice but tantalizing, when not really a potential pioneer for future developments. By heart it is something new, or in any case very little explored, in the videogame panorama: the settings have slowly evolved, becoming deeply interactive but in any case remaining at the mercy of us players. Stray Blade instead makes them aware, as well as those who live in them, making them take change as an opportunity. Small decisions thus result in bigger and more demanding challenges, which will put our survival skills to the test.

The best of hand-to-hand combat

Stray Blade, strategy and reflexes yes fuse for a brutal fighting system to the last blow What better way to survive adversity than to hit them harder and faster than they would? Stray Blade is preparing to offer a combat system that is halfway between the experience of Dark Souls and that of Shadow of Mordor, but taking care to have built its own identity after looking around for sources of inspiration. As far as we could see, based on an old pre-alpha build, the human enemies encountered are particularly relentless: they often move, even teleport, call for reinforcements, and generally don't leave too many openings for an "ignorant" counter-offensive. It is no coincidence that Stray Blade talks about strategic thinking, illustrating the combat mechanics, and above all about speed of action: every enemy must be read, understood and only at that moment crushed in a close combat, anticipating them where possible and reacting instantly to any blow. It is relentless, we have few doubts about this, but it rewards constancy as well as the willingness to learn the rules rather than throw ourselves head down into the fray. It is difficult to get a precise idea without trying it first hand, especially as regards the reactivity and the possibilities available, but the impressions waiting for a real tried are positive for now.

Boji e the exploration of Acrea

Stray Blade, the game menu is easy to read and well divided. : being a magical creature, he is always with us without ever really being one, this is because he is not a brute who shakes his hands but a fine craftsman. His job is to build, not destroy, and his skill grows hand in hand with the antiquities recovered throughout Acrea. Just as the protagonist has his own talent tree and accumulates experience with battles, the wolf xhinnon has his own and improves himself through exploration. Going far and wide around the game world is therefore not a necessity linked only to us or to wanting to look for a better loot but also serves Boji. Having not had the opportunity to see these talent trees in detail, we do not know how well they work (especially that of our partner) and to what extent they are implemented well in the gameplay but the idea of ​​also enhancing Boji is interesting, because it pushes us to to have an eye for someone other than us.

Rare materials, recipes, weapons, relics and places of extraordinary beauty: this and much more seems to hide Acrea, together with the epic gods-rulers who brought these lands to ruin. In the reconquest of freedom we will have to put an end to their dominion, driving out the shadows of the past from the valley, and these formidable enemies are the key to success: by acquiring their powers we can use them to unravel the mysteries of Acrea. Stray Blade promises a lot and from an initial team of five, now expanded to twenty-four, a project has developed that has all the credentials to prove interesting, challenging and even trailblazing in some respects.

Stray Blade is a video game with a lot of potential, an experience that knows where it wants to go and what to offer its players: the idea of ​​a world in constant change and subject to our actions is undoubtedly the most intriguing of all but, anyway, let's talk always of an action RPG and also the combat system will have to do its part. The relentlessness of Dark Souls, mitigated by the other source of inspiration or Shadow of Mordor, could create the right balance for a game that knows how to bring everyone, veterans and less accustomed to the cycle of continuous deaths of the soulslike. We will observe it carefully, waiting to be able to try it.


Fascinating the idea of ​​an ever-changing game world Combat system seems relentless without being frustrating Binding the exploration to the growth of Boji's talents makes it less an end in itself DOUBTS Without having tried it, we cannot confirm the positive premises Have you noticed any mistakes?

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