Developers Spiders bring us Steelrising. A souls-like title, developed on their in-house Silk Engine, and published by Nacon/BigBen Interactive it was released on the 8th September 2022.
If At First You Don’t Succeed Try, Then Die Again
Steelrising is my first (believe it or not) introduction to a souls-like title. It has been compared to the likes of Bloodbourne/Dark Souls with a hint of Elden Ring. However, I can not confirm that as sadly I haven’t played any of them! So join me on a first-time souls-like experience and find out how many times I flawlessly fail.
Paris is on fire and Marie Antoinette has been locked away by the king in a safe place away from the trouble being caused. The king decided against a human army, but employed an army of Automats to protect his beloved Paris from any siege that might take his throne away. Automats are mechanical steampunk-esque bots. You, however, play as Aegis, the friendly Automat. It is your role to help Marie Antoinette understand what is happening in Paris. As Aegis you need to find out exactly what the king is doing and why the Automats have turned. What we have here tale about corruption in royalty in an alternative Paris.
You are first taken to character creation, then onto a tutorial to understand the combat. As someone who is new to souls-like titles I think it could have been slightly more in-depth and maybe have kept the buttons on-screen throughout the whole area until you reach the first Vestal. This is probably an issue that won’t affect a lot of people I just missed some of the prompts focusing on something I shouldn’t have. Vestals are statues dotted throughout the game, here you can save the game, heal yourself, buy new items and upgrade Aegis.
The areas of Aegis that can be upgraded are:
- Elemental Alchemy
With each one having a different impact on Aegis it is key to understand these early on. You also have the ability upgrade and collect new weaponry and armour. These can be purchased or found throughout the game. There are also Module slots on Aegis’ back each one of these brings new perks into play, the higher the level the better the perk.
When you return to a vestal or unlock a new one, as per other souls-like titles low-level enemies respawn. At first, I am not going to lie I thought this was painful. However, as you can get the anima essence (in-game alternative currency) from them over and over again it makes it easier to upgrade Aegis if you get stuck. Multiple times I found myself reworking the same area just to get the extra grenades.
As you progress through Steelrising you learn new abilities and unlock new items which aid in this area. Whether that be new weapons or utilities for Aegis. Combat is taught early on (as mentioned) and is very much a hack, slash n’ dodge scenario. Understanding the patterns of your enemies is key. Not only this but each enemy can deal their own elemental damage, this also needs to be taken into account when upgrading and purchasing extras for your battles.
Your journey throughout Paris will most likely feel repetitive if like me you saw the “Aegis Is Dead” screen quite a lot to start out with. But the story will keep you going. It might not be a title for everyone, but there will be gamers out there that will love what Spiders have put on a plate for them.
Graphics & Audio
The environment has a dark historic Parisian steampunk aesthetic. Exploring various landscape types from woodlands, to forest villages to cities there is an abundance of beauty in this game. When it comes to potential bugs in the game, I found whilst playing was Enemies kept on reappearing but you couldn’t attack them. This wasn’t a massive issue, if anything you wasted a bit of stamina. I must advise, that this never happened to me on a large-scale attack.
There are many moments of near enough silence with sounds of the environment present only. However, when the backing audio is brought in you are presented with a dark regal track. The audio fits the game extremely well, although I think it wouldn’t look out of place in most titles of this nature. The voice audio tracks are clear and subtitles are provided during cut scenes as standard.
Steelrising has a ton of potential when it comes to longevity. For a completionist, there are easily over 20 hours of gameplay available. As someone who is relatively new to the souls-like genre, it took me a couple of hours to get used to the combat strategy alone. Thankfully I didn’t find this as stressful as I have heard some souls-like titles are.
It is definitely the type of game that would benefit from extra DLC later down the line. I could see the story of the Automats going in various directions. Each would bring different elements into play (literally).
I didn’t know what to expect going into Steelrising. Expecting a challenge but on the whole, it was quite easy to pick up once I had gotten used to what I thought was going to be a complex battle scenario. I really enjoyed my time in-game, however, it felt like there was something missing when it came to the combat formula. I, therefore, award Steelrising a Thumb Culture Gold Award.
Disclaimer: A code was received in order to write this review.