The Souls-like genre is excessively hard to replicate; games like Mortal Shell, The Surge, and Lords of the Fallen all tried but failed to capture what makes these titles unique. It’s a massive undertaking to try and recreate something so unique but flawed at the same time.
FromSoftware’s games have been famously kneecapped by really tight development windows, to the point where Dark Souls 1‘s second half borders on unfinished. One game, however, is frequently mentioned as the company’s best, and that is Bloodborne.
Bloodborne came in at a time when the PlayStation 4 was still struggling with exclusives, and this led many people completely unfamiliar with the company’s games to give it a shot. A lot of these new players were completely blindsided by one of the hardest games on the console, especially for a newcomer, but those who stuck around still remember it fondly.
While it may have been overshadowed by Elden Ring, there are still a lot of diehard Bloodborne fans who want a sequel, which is exactly what Lies of P feels like. Lies of P is a reimagining of Pinocchio’s story, taking place in the city of Krat, a French Belle Époque-inspired town currently overrun by rampaging puppets.
The game’s inspirations are clear to see, from the European gothic aesthetics present in the town of Krat to the more agile and fast-paced combat that rewards aggressiveness over defensive play. Lies of P wears its inspirations very proudly, as it excels in replicating the exhilarating pace of FromSoftware’s titles.
Lies of P also explores themes of humanity, replacing the allegory of keeping yourself human amidst beasts and bloodshed with Pinocchio’s struggle between being a human or a puppet. Every puppet is bound by specific laws, similar to Asimov’s laws of robotics.
Puppets cannot lie or choose their own fate, but P isn’t bound by these laws, and with every lie he tells and every choice he makes, he can feel something stirring inside of him. Geppetto made P unique, but it’s still unclear what this will mean for the town and its citizens.
The demo gives us a big chunk of gameplay, totaling around 3–4 hours, depending on how much you explore (or, more realistically, die over and over). It gives us access to three bosses and showcases some of the game’s mechanics.
Despite being more overtly inspired by Bloodborne, Lies of P seems to take cues from every FromSoftware game, taking the perfect block and prosthetic arm mechanics from Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice and the weapon arts mechanic from Dark Souls 3.
That doesn’t necessarily mean that Lies of P doesn’t have an identity of its own, as it does have some unique mechanics, like building your own weapons. Every weapon has two skills, which are dependent on how you build them.
Every weapon can be dismantled into a blade and a hilt, which will determine what skills your weapon has, as well as what its moveset will be. It’s a pretty straightforward system that allows for some really interesting combinations.
The game’s combat is also fantastic; the action is fast and responsive, and there are some quality-of-life additions that Souls-like fans will appreciate, like your lock-on symbol changing whenever you’re able to perform a backstab or visceral attack. A lot of thought went into perfecting the formula, and it clearly shows.
The bosses are unrelenting and have some brutal second phases. The last boss of the demo, especially, can be a tough fight for those who didn’t learn how to parry. Your blade can also become dull depending on how much you use it, and having to sharpen it mid-fight is a massive adrenaline rush.
Some minor things still need to be fixed, like the dodge animation, which has been criticized for not looking great. However, that is a very small defect in what is looking to be a fantastic game. I’m very excited for Lies of P, and I can’t wait to finally see a Souls-like that’s on par with FromSoftware’s quality.
Also, there’s already a Bloodborne mod for the demo, the game isn’t even out yet, but it goes to show how prolific and rabid the community can be.
Lies of P is set to release in September 19, 2023, for the PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S and Microsoft Windows (through Steam). You can also try out the demo to get acquainted with the game’s combat and mechanics.
If you want to know more about some upcoming games, take a look at some of the other titles we covered from this year’s Steam Next Fest.