Stellar Blade Review

Stellar Blade is a “Character Action” game developed by Shift Up, a Korean studio with high ambitions to create a breakout hit. It showcases EVE, one of the most gorgeous, sexy, and incredibly shaped heroines ever designed.

Due to an unfortunate interception at the start of the game, EVE escapes death thanks to a man named Adam. Together, they embark on a quest to discover and defeat the encroaching destructive Natyiba. Along the way, they meet new allies and aid the last bastion of humanity, Xion, in its efforts to return to a bustling city. What kind of experience does this rather controversial game bring to the table? Find out in our Stellar Blade review!

Stellar Blade
Developer: Shift Up
Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment

Platforms: PlayStation 5
Release April 26, 2024
Price: $69.99 USD

The story isn’t exactly the most exciting, a retread of a dystopian nightmare far past the initial aftermath of humanity’s destruction is where the setting is laid. Deserts, dilapidated cities, construction sites, sewers, more sewers, and even a laboratory or two to move the plot along.

The main attraction of the game itself is none other than the curvy, sexy, and very roBUST combat features and visual ASSets. EVE is without a doubt, the pinnacle of female heroine character design at face value.

Attractive, likable, well-dressed, and impressively animated with the use of state-of-the-art motion capture, which the director’s wife herself used to emulate her every movement from top to bottom. Despite being an absolute ten outta ten in the visual department, on the inside, EVE isn’t much to talk about on the finer points of character writing.

However, if you spend time doing side quests around Xion, a bit of that is remedied, such as the revealing fact that she outright will reject missions that seem morally questionable.

Certain missions that can be selected from the controversial “R-Shop” mission board will become completely inaccessible out of the pure comedy of her saying “Yeah nope not doing that one, too sketchy.” It gave me a chuckle, an earnest display of the creators trying to give her some playful, quirky personality.

When I first encountered this, I was baffled. I had never seen my playable character refuse a mission before in any other game, it made me reload the game to see if I misclicked, until a bit later on it dawned on me that it was a simple gag.

The overall gameplay is pure character action. Perfect parries? Check. Perfect dodges? Check. Counter attacks? Check. The level of how Eve can counterattack becomes an entire feature of its own, known as Pulse. It utilizes flashing colors that queue the player on which counterattack input you must press to trigger the very flashy sequence of EVE utterly dominating the enemy with her sword and flexible body.

When you aren’t having fun baiting the enemy into these counterattacks, combat essentially boils down to spamming your favorite combos, as is the bane of all action games.

After a while, doing the same moves over and over starts to set in on the player, hoping to find more ways to mix it up. This never really occurs in the Stellar Blade, mostly due to the sole fact that EVE is restricted to only one melee weapon, the blood edge, which never gets replaced.

There are no different weapon types to be found aside from eventually getting the feature to shoot from your little flying robot pet. Expect to be doing the same combos for most of the game.

There is an effort to attempt some level of depth for Stellar Blade‘s combat aside from counterattacks and combo spamming. Attacking will build toward a special gauge that allows Eve to perform very devastating weapon skills, one being my personal favorite, which will cause her to do several very powerful thrusts, perfect for quickly reducing tanky enemy health bars.

Further upgrades utilizing the skill tree found at camps not only upgrade active weapon skills but also small boost features like improving your counterattacks, and slightly enhancing your combos. Improving your drone ranged attacks, your dodge windows and even allowing you to do sneak attacks as a few examples.

At first, the skill tree system seems roBUST, however, skill points are earned rather effortlessly by killing enemies and examining corpses. Usually it does not take long to inevitably learn all of the skills.

Choosing branched-out skills does not lock the player from learning the path not taken, reducing any hope of replayability the game would have gameplay-wise. In addition to that, it is possible to reset EVE’s skills with the use of easily obtainable consumables.

Despite being a very linear experience, the map design does make a small effort to give the player a sense of exploration and discovery. This especially opens up once the wasteland area is reached fairly early into the game. Exploring the regions and depths of the world is certainly rewarding, such as new exosuits, parts to equip, and vertical upgrades to your health and weapon skill gauges.

The game’s loot often falls flat past that as EVE is still restricted to only her one weapon. However… certain rare situations will reward the player with new sexy outfits and schematics that are purely cosmetic and not to be mistaken with exosuits. So more looty means more booty.

Possibly the biggest issue of all is not the game itself, but the tampering that took place inside the game itself. Several outfits have been censored, and the artistry was compromised. This is unacceptable by any means and prevented the game from being what it was intended to be by its creators.

In addition, a wall that once said “HARD” written next to the “R-shop” was replaced with the word crime, due to a pathetic, obtuse decision made by a deprived Sony executive.

Though the game is still very sexy, it originally was gonna be way sexier. Only a semi, and not a hefty, with that being said, maybe removing the word “HARD” has some merit to it.

One thing many players will find themselves comparing Stellar Blade to is Nier Automata. And when I compare the two, I can’t help but find myself preferring the latter. 2B has a much more impressive repertoire of customization that kept Automata fresh.

Different weapon types, as well as modifying her mechanics by changing her chips with a very impressive loot system of hunting them and customizing her to a unique play style. I wish Stellar Blade had something more similar to this as it kept the game fresh from start to finish.

Both games have incredible music, Stellar Blade certainly delivers a fantastic score and range of music tracks that are without a doubt worthy of being played while driving to and from work. When directly comparing EVE to 2B is yet a challenge my chode would love to abode.

Stellar Blade is the poster child of Korean game design: dazzle the player with incredible reveal trailers, immensely sexy and attractive characters, and incredible visuals and effects to get the potential buyer hooked.

Past all that razzle-dazzle always results in a milquetoast experience at its heart, and Stellar Blade sadly is no exception to this Korean trend of game design. If you want a much better example of good Korean action, look at Lies of P, which was released last year. If you still want a sexy female heroine, Nier Automata is a superior choice.

Those who simply wish to marvel at a Korean goddess and not concern themselves with a game’s finer details, then Stellar Blade might be the game. It’s a game that wants to be a masterpiece but simply isn’t. It isn’t a bad place for SHIFT UP to start, but don’t censor anything next time.

Stellar Blade was reviewed on PlayStation 5 using a code purchased by Nichegamer. You can find additional information about Niche Gamer’s review/ethics policy here. Stellar Blade is now available for PlayStation 5.

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The Verdict: 7

The Good

  • EVE is a complete and bonerfide hottie
  • Fun Counter attack system
  • Decent exploration despite linear
  • Sexy outfits, upskirt shots too
  • Fishing

The Bad

  • All Style, little substance design philosophy
  • Lacking customization/tinkering even for an action game
  • Only one melee weapon the entire game
  • Obtuse censorships
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