Soulstice review: two souls, one chimera

In this review we will analyze and discover Soulstice, an interesting all-Spanish hack 'n slash available for PlayStation, Xbox and PC

Should we seek or try to define the meaning of the word bond, there would be the risk of encountering a certain underlying ambiguity. If on the one hand a bond can be interpreted as a means of conjunction and union between two or more elements, on the other hand that same bond can also represent a sort of bond or limitation of individual freedoms.

soulstice, our own title developed by the team of Forge Replay and edit by Modus Games and Maximus Games its main focus is precisely the plurality inherent in the concept of bond. A bond that affects what is the narrative structure of the game and the purely playful structure. But stop the chatter and let's go into the world of Soulstice in this ours review.

Narratively ...

The narrative structure of Soulstice, the first element that we would like to analyze in this review, is in itself complex and articulated or, at least, we found it so. After an introduction that illustrates what is the world in which we will move our steps, the narration of the title develops through the use of cut-scenes (sometimes with a decidedly interesting and engaging impact), memories linked to the world and dialogues with some characters who will flesh out what will be our knowledge, and of our protagonist, regarding what is the lore of the game.

We opened this review talking about bond and it is this concept that is the protagonist. Indeed, our protagonist is a chimera, which has the task of fighting the corruption that is invading the world and, remaining on the subject, a chimera is born precisely from the union of two souls, in this case two sisters: Briar and Fight of which we will gradually discover the origins and the past.

Soulstice review: two souls, one chimera

No, it's not a souls-like… - Soulstice review

Contrary to what the title might suggest, Soulstice is not a souls-likeIndeed, from the point of view of gameplay it is probably one of the games that is furthest away from the now famous structure - and repeatedly ridden - that has made the fortunes of From Software. Soulstice is a hack 'n slash, in the wake of the various Devil May Cry or Bayonetta. The gameplay alternates combat phases with exploration and platforming phases. Starting from this last exploratory component we can underline how much the movement system is fluid and well managed as well as well manageable.

At times, however, exploration is affected by slight level design problems which, in the long run, could cause some grumbling or annoyance. Sometimes you find yourself retracing the same areas several times trying to clarify the path you have to take to reach the next area. The same thing happens with those environmental puzzles that will appear in front of us. Not excessively complex but at times, too, suffer from those level design problems mentioned above.

Soulstice review: two souls, one chimera

When there is a hand ... - Soulstice review

Just as it happens right inside the title, ours too Soulstice review will have as its heart the analysis of combat system. This is because it represents the real strength of the game and is the pivot around which the whole play structure develops. As already mentioned, Soulstice looks like a hack 'n slash and as such there are those classic components of the genre to which, however, it adds some interesting elements related to the union of the two souls of our protagonist. 

That bond, in fact, also translates into gameplay insights that we particularly appreciated and that limit - but do not cancel - that sensation of button smashing that could be created by playing. Briar and Lute, in fact, to make space between the long lines of enemies (of different classes) that they will meet will have to cooperate and will do so through the exploitation of some details abilities and powers

We will have two skill trees available. In the case of briar they correspond to the combos that can be performed with different weapons and unlockable by paying some crystals that can be easily accumulated in game. As for Lute, however, we will have a more branched skill tree. Well four main strains from which then several sub-skills branch off. Skill of attack, defense, camp skills and fury. The first two are easily understood while, as far as the skills related to the fields and the fury are concerned, there is a little deepening to be done. 

Soulstice review: two souls, one chimera

Lute will have the ability to create real magical fields, called: fields of exile and fields of summoning. The former will appear in red while the latter in blue. They will be fundamental both in the exploration phases and during the fighting. Through the exile camps you will have the opportunity to hit and destroy red crystals that will often prevent our exploration of the areas. The summoning fields, on the other hand, will offer additional platforms useful during platforming and will recreate crystals that, if destroyed, will add what is the real "currency" with which to unlock Lute's skills.

All this is combined in combat actions that take into account the different abilities, both of Briar and of Lute because, if with Briar we go to hit our enemies directly, with Lute we will have the possibility to defend ourselves by evading the opponent's attacks and, moreover, through the use of fields, we will be able to attack those enemies that can only be hit within an exile or summoning field. During the fights the level of cohesion policy between the two characters will increase and, reaching the maximum, we will be able to unleash the fury (and the various abilities associated with it) which will make us almost invincible. 

Also in this case - or perhaps it will be better to say "especially in this case" - the link between the two souls of our Chimera will be of fundamental importance. Both during the clash with the minions and during the boss fight, also well sipped and very satisfying as well as stimulating. Each boss will experience different phases in which we will have to adopt different strategies depending on the weaknesses and move-sets of our enemy.

Soulstice review: two souls, one chimera

A dark and corrupt world… - Soulstice review

Visually speaking Soulstice turns out to be convincing from all points of view. Starting with the setting very gloomy, dark and that offers a new interpretation to the fantasy genre that often risks becoming stagnant and falling back into the usual solutions. The models of the characters and enemies, too, are presented well and above all perfectly integrated into the environmental framework of reference. Technically speaking, the title is solid, never a decline, never an indecision despite the many elements on the screen, so chapeau to the guys of Forge Replay.

Graphically we are not dealing with a latest generation product but, in our opinion, in addition to not being necessary in this case a super pumped and super realistic graphics, the choice to adopt an almost cartoon style in some ways is absolutely to be commended, both for the general impact and for the facilitation that it entails in the performance and performance phase. Also on the sound, nothing to say.

Soulstice review: two souls, one chimera

We draw conclusions

Under the sign Soulstice review ends here and the time has come to draw up a final judgment. Let's start immediately by saying that when we find ourselves gods Spanish products our attention rises and, above all, we want to be precise in the analysis but, even more, we want to praise and reward a work that was born in a nation that is still a little behind, as far as videogame culture is concerned , compared to the rest of Europe (not to mention the whole world).

Quel bond (trait d'union of all this examination) patriotic leads us to consider Soulstice an excellent title, well thought out and that does what it has to do very well. It is not a game without defects: level design management as well as the narrative system can be improved, but it is still a product of extreme quality and that we would like to recommend to all fans of the genre and beyond.

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7.8 A tricolor hack 'n slash!

Points in favor

  • Technically solid
  • Dark and fascinating setting
  • Challenging boss fights
  • Well thought out exploration and platforming ...
  • The combat system is...

Points against

  • ... but suffer from some level design problems
  • ... does not totally erase the feeling of button smashing
  • Sometimes dispersive narration
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