Soulstice Review

Soulstice is a frantic combat driven third person title that clearly gets its inspiration from Devil May Cry. Developed by Reply Game Studios and published by Modus Games, does it actually run well and play as good as DMC?

Briar and Lute are two sisters who have been reborn as Chimera. Their transformation has granted Briar superhuman strength and resilience, while Lute, sacrificed to bind her soul to her sister’s, has become a Shade with mystical powers. They are both members of the Order of the Ashen Blade and are heroes of this world.

A Tear in the Sky has opened above the once-holy city of Ilden. As Briar and Lute fight to reach the Tear, they’ll face complex puzzles and unveil secrets of the Order while their surroundings become more hostile and twisted.

You predominantly play as Briar, with Lute following around in her ghost form. Lute is a unique touch, helping you fight enemies with her auto-attack.

You start with two weapons at your disposal – a huge sword great for fast and light attacks and a giant Warhammer that with slower but heavier attacks. You can unlock 5 more weapons as you progress through the story. You can also unlock different sets of upgrades for your weapons and a variety of combos. Beware, as you unlock new moves for Lute she uses more and more of her essence making it easier for her to overload herself and vanish to recharge.

Most monsters can just be straight up attacked. You will unlock the ability to have a red or blue aura around you, allowing you to see to see certain other enemies and objects. Things start to get a bit annoying when you have to keep switching between red aura and blue aura to fight monsters simultaneously. At first it was fun, but I found myself needing to do it far too often, making it feel more of a light switching game then a hack and slash.

Speaking of, the learning curve is steep and you can’t just hack and slash your way through enemies. You have to learn combos that you unlock and execute them. The mechanics and combos are kept really simple, but you need to master the game to truly get somewhere and that can take time. There were a few times I had to die and continue to save potions and revives just in case something worse comes along.

The map layout in some stages can be very annoying as well. There were many times where the camera angle makes you think the obvious path is in plain sight, so you look around for secret areas to the side, only for the “secret area” to end up being the actual path and you hit a cut scene or even worse, a point of no return! Just like in DMC there are challenge areas you can find where you have to kill enemies under a certain condition that will give you an item, like increasing your permanent health. However, they are indeed a challenge and even some of the simple ones killing enemies in a timeframe can be frustrating as you struggle to do damage quickly enough.

Most chapters, especially the early ones, are super long. They took me around 30-40 minutes per level, so this is definitely not a short but sweet game. You are in it for the long haul.

When it comes to the visuals, story and atmosphere in general, all of it is great. Whilst the game’s influences are obvious, it still maintains its own identity.

The story is simple, yet still intriguing. The characters are all unique, very well made and it’s great to have some amazing voice acting, with Lute’s probably being my favourite. They have nailed her voice, her performance is extraordinary and it expresses her character. The only real flaws are when it comes to the game’s presentation and some of the environments, particularly at the start as they are a bit samey.

Conclusion

Soulstice has great old school vibes but it may fall short of what it was trying to achieve. It can be frustrating at times and after a while I found it more frustrating than fun. For those who love DMC/Bayonetta, I’d definitely say give it a go, but beware that you will be sinking hours into the game.

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This game was reviewed based on Xbox S|X review code, using an Xbox S|X console. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version. Game provided by publisher.

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Good
  • Fun combat
  • Good voice acting
Bad
  • Some mechanics feel over-played
  • Levels feel too long
6.3
Okay
Written by
For me it started out on PC, back in the Wolfenstein 3D and Commander Keen days. Now I play across all platforms, but I'm gaming every day, mainly on xbox. I'm easy going, with a full-on achievement hunting addiction that I always say I will give up, but i never do! Gamertag: nuttywray

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