Soulstice, the most ambitious Italian video game ever | Tried

Soulstice, the most ambitious Italian video game ever | Tried


Soulstice, the new project by the Milanese Reply Game Studio, is undoubtedly one of the most ambitious Italian video games that have ever come into our hands for some time. First, it seems that the force runs powerfully in the independent team based in Milan, known for having proposed works such as Joe Dever's Lone Wolf and In Space We Brawl in the past. And secondly, Soulstice seems to actually be the proof of maturity of a team that for some time has known how to make people talk about themselves, giving the opportunity to make themselves known in a positive way not only by professionals but also by users, now increasingly attracted by homegrown productions, as happened with Freud's Bones and Ravenous Devils.

Not for nothing, Italian video games have been shining more and more with their own light for several years. They show themselves in all their splendor no longer as the last wheel of the wagon but as real protagonists, carving out an important space in a complex panorama, which is constantly updated, with new terms that are used exaggeratedly and without demeanor. br>
Soulstice, for example, was given the name of soulslike, a feature that does not belong to him at all and that could disappoint some, but which could instead conquer many other curious players waiting for works like this. Because, if you had not understood it, Soulstice is really ambitious, and not only for the dynamics of the game and the genre to which it belongs, but also for many other reasons, one above all, which seems essential to us, is in general its proposal. fiction.

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Once upon a time there was the Holy Kingdom of Keidas, a beacon for every living being …

Strong and indomitable, once upon a time there was magic, capable of protecting the weak. Once upon a time there was peace, which anyone could enjoy, even where there was little hope. And once upon a time there was a city, Ilden, destroyed by the Ghosts who passed the Veil (a name that reminds us of Terry Goodkind's The Sword of Truth, one of the most popular fantasy series of the last forty years), condemning anyone to death. , leaving behind slaughter and suffering, corrupting the survivors to turn them into hideous and disgusting monsters.

There is darkness, a dense darkness as old as the mists of time, which we know by directly wearing the the role of Blair and Lute, the sisters we mentioned earlier, transformed into Chimera, two hybrid souls forged by their union into a single body. While Blair has retained her human form, inevitably becoming stronger than her, Lute is instead a Spirit, tied in this way to her sister. Both are voiced by Stefanie Joosten, who played the role of Quiet in Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, an illustrious presence that we found absolutely compelling on our journey.

Avoiding spoilers of any kind and too many revelations, the world built by Reply Game Studio appears fascinating and rich in nuances, with characters that we can't wait to discover in even more depth. We can talk to you about the context, which is a bit of the reason why we love brilliant and out of the ordinary ideas, those that are capable of leaving you speechless. In this sense, Soulstice does not seem to be inspired by any other video game from a narrative point of view, and it is excellent news because it could offer an original story, as well as moving and reflective.

Given the concept, however, we cannot deny having been surprised by the ideas of the Milanese development studio. Let's be clear, we explored a small portion of the main story, two acts that flew away like the wind but that gave us a lot of positive feelings for the next ones too. Meanwhile, it must be said that Soulstice's story seems to be a naked and raw dark fantasy, a genre that still attracts and amazes, especially on the literary side.

What captured us in the context, however, are the two sisters, who presented themselves in an engaging way, immediately throwing themselves into the fray and accompanying hand in hand in a city on the brink that is now over. While Blair appears determined and stubborn to us, on the other Lute seems insecure and scared of the world. Yet, they both support each other, infusing each other with courage, never thinking about surrender, but only about achieving their goals.

Not being able to talk specifically about their relationship and further revelations delicate that we discovered during our exploration, just know that the choice to propose a similar story from Reply Games Studio is intelligent and well thought out, because it means having in mind not only a universe, a city and a world, but also those who live there : this is the part that most fascinated us, as we went deep inside the Tana del Bianconiglio, looking for all the information that could offer us any information on the story, the characters and yes, especially on the game world, which is a bit 'what surprised us, although it was only a small excerpt of what could actually be the new work of Reply Game Studios.

If it were not clear to you, Soulstice sem good to have an excellently structured and outlined writing of the context, and this may already be enough for you to understand what you are talking about and what to expect. After six hours and both acts concluded, we awoke from this dream, remembering a city surrounded by flames and two sisters in a single body marked by a past of pain, frightened by the present and by an unpredictable future that we do not see. time to discover it in its entirety. We believe that a good story is as important as a strong and well-crafted play structure, and that its presence, considering today's standards, is somehow essential in a video game that focuses on action and dynamic gameplay.

A playful structure that could surprise: Soulstice is a much more original work than it appears

If someone not very used to video games asked us what Soulstice is, we would reply that is a three-dimensional naked and raw action with dynamic gameplay, and we would probably list video games like Devil May Cry or NieR among the many on the market. Soulstice seems to offer an even deeper gameplay because it pushes to chain one combo after another during the clashes, with a final rating ranging from bronze to diamond, the highest grade in the scale of values ​​chosen by Reply Game Studios for the occasion. .

What struck us was the game view, which you can rotate to your liking. Blair's movements appeared fast and well implemented and, when we weren't fighting, the camera remained fixed on her, going from three-dimensional to two-dimensional, reminding us of NieR and the changes of perspective adopted on so many occasions by Yoko Taro with her series. However, this is only a small gem within Soulstice, because there are many more, starting with the combat system.

There are light and heavy attacks to be carefully placed , perhaps choosing the right moment, dodging and deflecting the attack, or blocking it with the power of Lute, thus allowing us to pursue our opponent to give him the coup de grace. There are armored enemies, which you can take down through heavy attacks after several attempts. And then there are the monsters to be destroyed in different ways through the two Summoning Fields, one blue and the other red, a curious implementation that could make the play structure even deeper. Better, however, to exploit it conscientiously, because abusing it would force Lute to recharge his energy, forcing Blair to resist the enemies without any kind of support. Considering the variety of enemies, the best choice may be to opt for different secondary weapons, which we unlocked as we progressed through the opera's two acts.

We juggled with the greatsword, using a bow, our fists and then a whip straight out of Prince of Persia, which we used against larger groups of enemies. We also had fun chatting with Layton, a character who appears suddenly and sells precious healing items, also to be used very carefully. From the seller we can also upgrade Blair's weapons or, alternatively, Lute's powers, especially if we are faced with complicated enemies that are impossible to beat on the first attempt. Before we started playing, we chose the degree of difficulty, which is not lacking in Soulstice and could represent an anchor for many players who just want to enjoy a good story, playing with a light heart.

As in the video games of FromSoftware, it is even possible to use the lock-on to take a peek at an enemy's vitality and armor, thus giving valuable information about their status. A choice that we consider very apt and fitting, especially when facing hordes upon hordes of fierce and merciless creatures. The best option, which we have used on several occasions, has been to explore the crossroads and back roads, finding valuable items that are very useful for our progression and to upgrade our best items.

If on the one hand we have a game system that appears absolutely far deeper than we would have expected, on the other there is a remarkable care for weapons and skills, which apparently represent the two predominant souls of the experience of game. During the exploration of the first two acts, we faced several bosses that we prefer not to mention so as not to reveal too much, but who in any case really gave us a hard time. Each of them, and we can say this, we faced it in a different way, anticipating, combining attacks, using the skills of Lute and the Fury of Blair, a skill capable of empowering our protagonist, capable of vanquishing any being sure of to get the better of us fearless warriors.

We were also pleasantly surprised by another aspect: we are talking about the puzzles, which in the case of Soulstice were not complex to solve and were fun, satisfying and really multifaceted, even if it is simply a first taste. They proved useful because they gave us the opportunity to juggle both fields of summoning to our liking, fundamental against the most brutal monsters. In summary, the game structure of Soulstice appears well defined and could be even more complex, perhaps with other weapons that we don't know much about yet. Connected to each other, the levels prompted us to explore every corner of the various settings present within it, giving us the opportunity to feast our eyes with a first-rate artistic direction.

What to expect from Soulstice?

As we mentioned before, the new work by Reply Game Studios is ambitious and interesting, certainly one of the Italian video games to keep an eye on. It is the most complex and intriguing project, the result of so much passion and love for the medium that it could prove not only a surprise, but also a certainty and a source of inspiration for the future, if everything goes according to plan.

Considering the style and the choice for cel-shading, which in the context is spot on and well inserted, a complete and well-structured work stands out in front of us, which we can't wait to know better in the review, so as to deepen it adequately. There is a world carefully written and curated, there is strong and well-structured gameplay and there is a lot of passion, essential if you want to risk everything and everything in such a chaotic and unpredictable landscape. The wait will be long.

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