Contrary to expectations, not much interesting was shown at the last Summer Game Fest 2023. However, there were even fewer actual gameplay shots Lies of P was a pleasant exception. Viewers got to see a new trailer and also got access to a free demo – a good two hours long. We have already analyzed the available fragments of this game, but now it’s time to get acquainted personally with the project. What is Lies or P, what assumptions turned out to be true and where were we wrong – all the details in the article.
Everything everywhere and at the same time
For convenience, we’ll combine our impressions from the demo and story trailer, as this will help paint a more complete picture. We begin our acquaintance with the beginning of the story, where the hero has just come to his senses and is studying the structure of the city of Krat. No one calls the character Pinocchio, he is just a puppet, but it will soon become clear that he is not ordinary. Unlike other robots, Pi can lie, which means he has free will. How it happened is one of the plot riddles yet to be solved.
Almost immediately one of the main differences with FromSoftware projects stands out: Lies of P relies heavily on history. You always have a specific goal and the characters are not shy about giving all the necessary details. No need to vacuum the town hoping to find the note that explains the whole lore in three paragraphs. In the presented passage, the hero must find Geppetto. By the way, the search for the “father” will not become the central link in the plot, this is only the first quest.
The lying system was also shown, but here lies the first disappointment. The developers have said more than once that your decisions change the plot and the ending, but you literally have to make the first choice as the writers intended or you won’t get any further. This only means one thing: you should not expect much variety. At the right times, you may come across various consumables and other variables, but the plot is unlikely to turn 180 degrees.
Side missions are arranged as in bloodborne. You notice an active door or window, discuss the problem with the voice of the NPC and agree to the implementation. However, the creation of “Fromov” is not the only thing that inspired the developers.
The initial phase of history is painfully reminiscent of the recent one steel rise. Also a Gothic-Venetian style city, also rebellious cars, many deaths and a lack of understanding of the true causes of what is happening. While it’s hard to say how complex and exciting the plot is, we noticed some interesting details in the new trailer. First the girl in the bunny mask. Looks like we won’t just have to play for Pinocchio. The frame and movements of the heroine indicate that she is not an NPC. Secondly, in one of the moments the piano was played by a man who looks like Pinocchio, but with a different haircut. Evil twins?
The situation with the mysterious plague in the city has also been clarified. In the demo you will find information about stone disease. Hard growths appeared on people’s skin, turning them into virtual stone statues. The plot looms intriguing to say the least, but not everyone wants to understand its twists, but the reason is in the gameplay.
Have you watched the demo?
Handicapped in the land of fools
In projects of this genre, the gameplay is very important, which turned out not quite as we expected. The main mechanics of the “soullike” are recreated in great detail, and it forms the core of Bloodborne, where the character emphasized speed and rebounds, not the ubiquitous rolls around the enemy.
Pinocchio can choose from three combat options: fast, slow and balanced. However, nothing prevents you from buying the right stick from the merchant and rethinking your style. In fact, slow fights turned out to be completely useless. Pi has to move, bounce, bounce and maneuver constantly. In addition, it has a weight indicator, so a huge sword with which the swing takes several seconds can be a disastrous solution.
There are two enchantment slots by default, which gives you some strategic room. In part, this really works, for example, a saber is good for attacking several enemies at once, and a rapier is suitable for duel combat. However, the main difference between the swords lies in the attacks of the legend.
And yes, you already know what it is. Such a system was Elden Ring and all in the same Steelrising. Each weapon consists of two parts: a handle and a blade. Each composite element has its own ability, which costs a certain number of “mana” cells. Usually, the blade provides an offensive ability, while the handle provides a temporary passive buff.
The multi-part weapon crafting system, which was supposed to be one of the main features of the game, turned out to be a rather primitive constructor of special abilities. Already at the initial stage, it is easy to determine which skills are useful only against very weak enemies, and which will help save lives. This is what will determine the layout of the parts. The difference in piercing, cut and slash attacks, of course, plays a role, but is not nearly as important.
At the same time, it suddenly turned out that you had to pay attention to the length of your hammer. And this is not a joke – the longer, the more chances to survive. The fact is that the game has a strange system of counting hits. There’s a faint hope that this will be fixed before release, but given the overall “ready” status, it’s unlikely.
When dodging an enemy attack, very often you have to do at least two knockbacks or you will still take damage. Magically, one dodge/rebound can’t always cope with the task. The joke is that by breaking distance that far, you actually lose the ability to attack quickly. With weak enemies, this is not critical, but with bosses, the fifth points will flare up for many.
By the time Pinnochio reaches the next car, it is already starting the animation of a new attack – the hit window is lost. There is also a downside, when the character accidentally gets stuck in the legs of a huge animatronic and the boss just can’t hit you. So the enemy can be stabbed even with a toothpick. At the same time, it is impossible to predict exactly how the next attempt will develop. Whether the boss makes a mistake this time and whether Pi has time to bounce without damage is almost random.
Unfortunately, the gameplay problems don’t end there. The game reads button presses very poorly and often just ignores your next block in the heat of battle. As a result, the parry system almost does not work at all. You either do not have time and receive deafening damage, or the enemy itself does not respond to the parry. It is much easier to put an ordinary deaf block, and there is more benefit, and it works much more often.
In our first review, we paid attention to the durability of weapons. We now understand exactly how it works. Each sword has a conditional margin of safety, which is spent on each hit. You can return it to its normal state with the help of a special skill of an iron prosthesis, resharpening the blade. You can do this as often as you like, but you need to be prepared for the fact that during a prolonged battle with a particularly “fat” enemy, you will simply run out of durability and have to switch to less useful weapons. The system is strange, but at least they don’t make you go to the blacksmith every time, and thanks for that.
At the same time, unlike the same Steelrising, Lies of P does not give discounts for beginners. If you do not take advantage of the “systemic weaknesses” of the bosses, you risk putting many dozens of attempts into battle. On levels in random places there are often large puppets that seem to act as mini-bosses, but the game does not indicate this in any way and there is usually no rescue nearby.
Instead of bonfires, special astrologers work on the local analogue of douches – ergos. They’re placed extremely sparingly around Krat, so you’ll often have to run for a good 5-10 minutes at a stubborn enemy. Ordinary animatronics, on the other hand, are too simple. Your initial stamina will be enough to chop down 2-3 cars at a time without stopping without any problem.
The last thing I want to talk about is inventory and pumping. There are no surprises here. Pi can change his costume, as well as some parts of his design, increasing damage resistance or attack power. The features will be familiar to all fans of “soullikes”, they work in the same way.
In the demo they were allowed to try out the very first prosthesis, which can do nothing but a strong hand attack, and a harpoon. In Devil May Cry, the gameplay does not change, the mechanical limb has a limited range of action. Separately, I would like to highlight a whole mountain of different resources, improvements and fragments that Pi collects during the adventure. Already in an hour of the game, the inventory looks like a mess, which absolutely does not add to the intuitiveness of the system.
As a result, Lies of P leaves a very mixed impression. I want to love her, but because the game is like everything at once, I can’t. Great plot ideas can turn out to be nothing, and apart from the story, the game has nothing special. It’s a rather lopsided and not the most original Bloodborne clone that reminds me too much of the recent Steelrising about the same.
The hardcoreness achieved by unnecessarily strong enemies spawning in the most unpredictable places and rare save points is tedious rather than challenging. Even in Elden Ring, the difficulty kept increasing and there was always a bonfire for every particularly tough fight. At the same time, the project has enough systemic problems, such as the distance of counting hits or a defense that suddenly doesn’t work. If you are a fan of the genre, you should wait for the full release and check out the reviews. But we recommend lowering the expectation level.
Source: VG Times
Christina Moncayo is a contributing writer for “Social Bites”. Her focus is on the gaming industry and she provides in-depth coverage of the latest news and trends in the world of gaming.