I confess, I was worried about the revolutionary robot Soulslike Steelrising. I''d seen it in a hands-off capacity and thought it might be in line for the Soulslike throne, but with Action-RPGs, it''s all about hand feel: does it feel rough or smooth under the thumbsticks? As luck would have it, I managed to get hands-on with the game to see whether its substance, in fact, matches its style. Here are my results.
I had a hard time getting through the tutorial area, sock it to some robots in a woodland zone, and get on a boat and row over to Paris. Overall, I got to play a fairly large amount, and without having to get involved. On the other hand, I had a lot of exposure and interacted with one (1) NPC. It was almost impossible to get a sense of Steelrising''s character.
Steelrising is attempting to expand its own Soulslike position with its robo-revolutionary setting, however. Thing is, it''s difficult not to compare it to the likes of Bloodborne and Nioh. That is less to do with the baseline Soulslikery I''d seen a million times before, including collecting some equivalent of souls (Anima Essence), saving progress at some equivalent of a bonfire (a chair), some equivalent of an Estus Flask (vials of
In some cases, many early levels were quite shabby and varied, but I''d say they were less plagued with intrigue or mystery like FromSoftware''s offerings. Upon receipt of levers, I''d be met with that, "Oh, I''m back here!" feeling, but he eventually gave me an enticing personal moment, revealing them as they walked through Bloodborne. It seemed like a missed opportunity, and he was able to make it even more smoothly.
Then, NPC conversations and dialogue continued, reducing the number of participants who joined the show. I imagined the participants sitting outside a burning house waiting for Aegis to pass the window. Okay, please say, the answer: "Oh yes, this can''t be happening... can it?!" That''s what you can expect.
If it weren''t extra curiosity that pushed me forward, what was it? The combat, baby. This is where Steelrising merges elements of Bloodborne and Nioh into a surprisingly cohesive ensemble that encourages experimentation above all else. And that''s starting with the enemies, who were brilliant bastards and whose concept art I''d pin up on my walls in a heartbeat. Seriously, if it wasn''t extra curiosity that pushed me forwards, it was, too.
Regular enemies took a while to diversify, but by the end of my session I''d removed a few giant machines. A lot of tiny brass fellas that lurched and spayed me. Tin dogs. Bulbous golems that self-destructed before I got a chance to knock them out of shutdown. All of these were fantastic fun to dispatch, with deft dodges and satisfying cracks whenever I landed some blows. The game''s rhythm was somewhat measured, with
Weapons were elegant and relaxing, with a willingness to break away from the experiment. I used two massive iron fans that I could unfurl like a peacock to parry enemies with a clang. Later, I opted for twin claws that made enemy stagger meters fast, so I could easily punch them with a flurry of scratches and finish them off while they were in a hurry. I purchased a flaming ball on a chain, which combined heavy hits with intricate twists and spins
What makes it the most neat thing, however? The game forced me to utilize everything in my innards (Aegis whips weapons and items out of her steel shins and intestinal piping) which taught me to use the various elemental bombs I''d stowed in my front bonnet to slow down or soften them up a bit. I then brought this knowledge to my boss fights.
Right at the end of my session, I fought The Bishop, a tiny religious idol anchored inside a giant Dyson Ball squibber. Except that the ball wore a whirling buzzsaw and he put a bible on the grappling hook at you. It enhanced the game''s cooling mechanism, which allows you to recharge your stamina bar immediately if the button presses correctly. Again, it''s very, very similar to Nioh''s Ki system, but it''s
Improvements have a lot of potential for players who take their builds seriously. However, it''s a screen that''s probably confusing when you open it up, with percentages and numbers that won''t mean a lot unless there''s a guide you can consult. Even if you''re a veteran Souls player, it''s difficult to discern how they''ve renamed stamina, strength, and the same.
There''s still something new about Steelrising. It''s rough around the edges, sure, but satisfying in its familiarity. Combat is deep and satisfying, while exploration isn''t half bad too. Neat! In some ways, it builds on Souls, but it isn''t too close to what I expected. It''s likely to be a good time, and that''s all you need to know about it. Yeah, the hand feels, yes, I''d expect.