Soulstice is proof that Italian video games are increasingly ambitious

Soulstice is proof that Italian video games are increasingly ambitious

At one time, when thinking about video game development, two countries mainly came to mind, Japan and America. These have shaped the gaming world since its inception with Atari, and then moved on to the era of the challenges between Nintendo and Sega and later Sony and Microsoft. Thanks to their heritage, over the years a new generation of developers has been created all over the world, developers who have managed to make the videogame world more and more international and full of ideas. Many European countries have been able to stand out in the intricate world market: just think of the success of the French Ubisoft, thanks above all to the Assassin's Creed saga, or the Poles of CD Projekt RED, which started with an unknown RPG called The Witcher which was then transformed into a worldwide blockbuster. Not to mention the countless indie teams that have been able to create many small pearls over the years.

And in Italy? The world of Italian video games has always been very prolific and full of young talents, compared to the rest of Europe, however, it has always been abandoned to itself without any concrete help from the institutions. Fortunately, in recent years the trend has been changing thanks also to the allocation of funds by the Government starting from 2020. These funds have arrived thanks also to the commitment carried out by IIDEA (Italian Interactive Digital Entertainment Association) which has acted as mediator between the government and independent game developers. In 2022 these funds were doubled compared to 2021, reaching 11 million euros.

The world of video games in Italy is growing more and more, both in terms of quality and quantity of the titles in development, as we have also seen recently. Among the many projects, recently one has arrived that is attracting a lot of attention to itself: Soulstice, a really interesting action game that has captured the interest of many gamers.

L Soulstice's ambition

Soulstice is a third-person action title created by Forge Reply, an Italian development house that had already carried out very interesting projects in the past, for example Joe Dever's Lone Wolf, taken from the famous series of game books, which had received a good response from audiences and critics, and Theseus, a horror adventure for VR viewers. Soulstice is undoubtedly their most ambitious title, given that here we are going to touch on one of the most complex types of action to carry out, namely those that in jargon are defined as "stylish action", a term born with their progenitor, that sacred monster called Devil May Cry.

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Making similar titles is very complex due to the extreme technicality of the combat system, which must be able to offer the player a wide freedom of attacking maneuvers and complex combos and where the timing for execution is very precise. Playing this type of action can give you unique satisfactions, just take a ride on Youtube and look for the videos of the Devil May Cry or Bayonetta combos to understand how much they are a world apart from the other actions.

Soulstice obviously is not a title that aims to compete with a Devil May Cry 5 or the upcoming Bayonetta 3 (coming very soon), it would not even be correct to compare them given the difference in budget and experience between the development teams. But what it tries to do is make a title full of passion created by action lovers for other action lovers, and in this it succeeds very well.

The story of Soulstice puts us in the shoes of Briar and Lute, two sisters become a Chimera, that is a powerful warrior born from the fusion of two souls: Briar is the one who fights physically, while Lute is present in the form of a ghost acting with mystical attacks. The two belong to the Order of the Ash Blade, the organization that created them and that deals with keeping under control the chaos of the creatures that live beyond the Veil, a sort of afterlife, and who try to invade the world of the living. . One day a huge rift opens over Ilden, one of the three capitals of the kingdom of Keidas, and numerous ghosts and other evil creatures invade the world, sowing death and destruction. It will be up to Briar and Lute to go to the city of Ilden and find out what happened and they will soon discover truths about their past as well.

Soulstice Reply Forge Just have a little experience in this type of game to understand how the final result of Soulstice is beyond expectations. The combat system is well thought out and offers tons of attack options, with many weapons present and special powers to use, making every battle fun and spectacular. Almost immediately it will be natural to alternate physical weapons and magic blows to unleash real dances of death in adrenaline-fueled fights, which reach their peak during the usual boss fights.

All this is accompanied by a good graphic level, with very well animated characters and settings full of details and very suggestive. The story also manages to capture and thrill the player, especially those who love manga and anime, since the influences of different works are clearly visible, for example Berserk by the late Kentaro Miura, but above all Claymore by Norihiro Yagi, a very dark fantasy manga. beautiful and with similar themes to which the developers of Forge Reply have paid a great tribute with their game.

Reply Forge The new work of Forge Reply is therefore a very competent action both in the gameplay and in the narrative, but it is not free from defects. For example, camera management is far from excellent, in many cases it becomes unstable and does not allow you to see incoming attacks clearly by cutting enemies out of sight. In addition, the variety and design of hostile creatures is not always very inspired, as well as the environments that become a bit repetitive in the long run. These problems are mainly caused by the team's inexperience in managing such an ambitious project for the first time, which will undoubtedly be filed down in the future.

Ultimately, however, Soulstice is a title that can have its say in the world of action and is an excellent alternative to much more famous titles. To notice its qualities were both the players (as can be seen for example from the ratings on the Steam page dedicated to the title) and the critics and even if the latter was a bit divided, in general the judgments were mainly positive. On the other hand, for being the first title of this type by Forge Reply, you can't really complain, on the contrary it is undoubtedly an excellent starting point for the future.

Blockbuster Made in Italy

Soulstice is a further step forward in the many facts to raise awareness of made in Italy video games around the world. In the past, our country has already distinguished itself for very important productions: Milestone, for example, is a local development house that has specialized in creating driving titles based above all on two wheels, even creating a video game in collaboration with Valentino. Rossi. Currently it has passed under the wing of Plaion, of the Embracer group, the very ones who have recently acquired several new studios, including all of Square Enix's western IP studios such as Tomb Raider and Deus Ex.

Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle and its sequel, Sparks of Hope (coming in October), are mainly the result of the work of Ubisoft Milan, the division of the French giant based in our country. The next step should be to create a real and established Italian video game industry, a bit like what happened in France, Poland and in several other European countries, and to do so would need a blockbuster that explodes like The Witcher exploded at the time. 3. Not an easy task in the competitive video game industry.

years, in terms of both skills and ambitions. The recent Tokyo Game Show was the stage for the official presentation of Project Galileo, soulslike with an Italian setting that was shown with the first gameplay trailer, in which the real title of the game was also revealed: Enotria: The Last Song.

This interesting project does not want to be the usual clone of Dark Souls or the recent Elden Ring by From Software, with a dark setting that takes a lot from the fantasy world. Instead, he wants to create something unique, which places historical cities and the landscapes of a sunny and luxuriant Italy at the center of attention, where the contrast lies in the stagnation that has made the inhabitants of this apparently joyful world grotesque, to the point of transforming them. in monsters. At the moment Enotria: The Last Song, by Jyamma Games, has the eyes of the world on it, even if the release date is not yet known.

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