What makes ‘Soulstice’ so special, the hack’n slash heir to ‘Devil May Cry’ that everyone talks about

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The hack’n slash, after years of glory a couple of generations ago, when everyone wanted to have the next ‘Devil May Cry’ or the new ‘God of War’ in their catalogs, it fell into disuse. The newcomers to the genre either changed its rules based on blood, sweat and tears, like ‘Souls’, or else shone precisely because of their unique character and reminiscent of past times, like ‘Bayonetta’.

‘Soulstice’ belongs to this last lineage: although it’s no stranger to the visual codes of trendy games, it feels and plays like a good hack’n slash traditional, full of combos, bosses and fantasy out of all sense of measure. These are some of its keys in eight basic points.

1.- We like the classics…

As we have said, ‘Soulstice’ draws from classic action and combo games. ‘Devil May Cry’, ‘God of War’, ‘Bayonetta’, ‘Ninja Gaiden’… they are all evoked in a title that the Milanese from Reply Game Studios have created as a tribute to genres that are unfortunately not so fashionable . To do this they have kept the set simple and recognizable, but have added enough new details so that it does not feel like a mere clone.

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2.- … and also the new

Aesthetically the game is very clear where to look. It is clear that the impact of classic titles in terms of mechanics is there, but the mantle of the ‘Souls’ is undeniable, especially in the size and design of the bosses. The idea of ​​the sinister and terrifying city almost as another protagonist of the game is also reminiscent of another From Software classic, ‘Bloodborne’, although obviously in a more casual and colorful key.

3.- An intriguing argument

The game takes us, as we say, to the city of Ilden, shattered by corruption in the form of specters that reach the once prosperous city through a crack in the ground. The chimeras are in charge of bringing order: a human accompanied by a spirit, as happens with the sisters Briar and Lute, on their first team mission. We carry a very special weapon, the Cinéreo Vindicator, a sword that is complemented by six other weapons that will arrive as the macabre adventure unfolds.

4.- Keep it simple…

Unlike games like some of the above, ‘Soulstice’ doesn’t want you to memorize an endless list of devastating combos, which increases as the game progresses. Only four or five per weapon are necessary to progress, and they can be improved with power-ups, but it is more important to control the few resources at our disposal than to get carried away with pointless button mashing.

5.- … but innovate what you can

However, that’s not to say that ‘Soulstice’ is a salt-free clone of a few PS2 hits. Undoubtedly, there are mechanics inherited from other games that we know, such as blocking that, well used, gives us an advantage over enemies. In addition to the main and secondary weapon attacks, we have a third button for Lute to defend us, and we can block, deflect or slow down the enemy. It is a resource that we have seen in innumerable titles of the genre, where mastering the block is very important to gain momentary advantages, but here it is tremendously satisfying, and it is given due importance when one of the protagonists does it.

But the innovation in the mechanics comes with the energy fields, which come in two colors: blue (evocation) and red (elimination). They reveal hidden objects, shortcuts and also serve to attack with special power. His abuse, however, will overload Lute. That is to say, the fields are essential to progress, and you have to alternate one and the other so that they do not crack.but their abuse will make them unusable

Soulstice Launch Screenshot 01

6.- The inevitable rolero touch

How could it be otherwise, as we progress in the game we will find ways to improve our two heroines, only we will have to do it separately but in a balanced way. In Ilden there are red and blue crystals, which will allow us to improve Briar and Lute, respectively.

7.- Many hours to spend

‘Soulstice’ is longer than usual for games of this type. Almost 20 hours and 25 chapters, easily double the usual in games of the genre. The reason is, apart from the mechanics are rich enough to withstand intensive use of them for several hoursthat the plot has multiple twists and turns (the origin of the chimeras, the Order of the Ashen Edge and many other issues) that unfold calmly.

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8.- It’s not perfect, but it’s what we needed

‘Soulstice’ is a modest game, very far from the budgetary excesses of the Triple A. It does not come to compete with the new ‘God of War’, and it shows in some technical problems such as the occasional drop in the frame rate that the game is not intended (nor does it need) to compete in the big leagues. But until those responsible get into them, we have something much better than another game of seventy thousand repetitive hours and full of filler missions: a concise, direct, highly tuned and hilarious product.

The hack’n slash, after years of glory a couple of generations ago, when everyone wanted to have the next ‘Devil…

The hack’n slash, after years of glory a couple of generations ago, when everyone wanted to have the next ‘Devil…

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