- Lies of P, the newest addition to the Souls-like family from Neowiz Games, is shaping up to be the Souls-like to end all Souls-likes.
- Taking inspiration from all of your favorite Souls-like titles, Lies of P delivers an experience that’s both familiar and unique at the same time.
- Thanks to Lies of P’s open-ended crafting system and customization, no two playthroughs will ever feel similar, and no two boss fights will go down the same way.
FromSoftware has made a huge impact on the gaming world, with titles like Demon’s Souls and Dark Souls creating a whole new genre of action-RPG into the scene, aka the “Souls-like” titles. While these games share some common elements, each one has its own unique feature that sets it apart. And in the vast world of Souls-like games, Lies of P stands out as a dark and twisted twist on the classic Pinocchio story.
Developed by the South Korean studio Neowiz Games, Lies of P loosely takes inspiration from Carlo Collodi’s 1883 novel, The Adventures of Pinocchio. This dark reinterpretation, combined with an intriguing Belle Epoque-inspired setting, gives Lies of P an aesthetic that truly distinguishes it from other Souls-like titles.
It’s pretty clear that FromSoft titles like Bloodborne have left their mark on Lies of P, even leading to players creating mods that turn the game into the PC-ported Bloodborne fans have been begging for, nevertheless, Neowiz manages to inject just enough originality into the game to give it its own identity. And now, after its well-received demo release, you can finally get your hands on it.
Lies Of P Feels Like A Souls-Like Checklist
Throughout your playthrough, you will come across many things that remind you of the different FromSoftware titles. Familiar elements such as Patches-like NPCs, secret ledges via elevator walls, Blighttown-style swamp areas, and classic FromSoftware-esque bosses are pretty common.
And while it brings some improvements, such as picking up lost Ergo/Souls outside boss doors and refilling Pulse Cells (the game’s version Estus Flasks) by defeating enemies and not resting at Stargazers (the game’s version of bonfires), it also retains some of their frustrating aspects.
For example, unlike Elden Ring, there’s no dedicated jump button, meaning you’ll have to sprint and press down on the left stick like old-school Dark Souls. Even leveling up your character is similar to Bloodborne, as it demands a trip back to the Hotel Krat hub, rather than using Stargazers/Bonfires to spend your upgrade points.
Fortunately, as the game progresses, hotel visits become less frequent since you won’t be leveling up as much. However, it’s still worth dropping by every now and then to interact with the new hotel NPCs that offer both services and side quests, which automatically get marked on fast travel points.
NPC Interactions Are A Huge Part Of The Experience
Lies of P’s NPCs are quite versatile, offering items for sale and lending a helping hand in various ways. Some of them even have their own side quests, conveniently marked on fast travel points to aid your navigation, which trophy hunters are going have to complete if they want a taste of that Platinum Trophy.
What’s intriguing is that these NPCs possess unique storylines influenced by your in-game choices. Quests are scattered throughout your journey, and you should definitely take them on. Even your clothing choices carry weight, as NPCs react differently depending on your attire, either showing favor or increased hostility.
Set in France’s opulent Belle Époque era with a hint of steampunk, you’ll come across a variety of outfits you can try out on P. However, it’s not just about style, as some NPCs react to your attire, potentially attacking you or offering cooperation based on your clothing.
Make sure to go over each style’s item descriptions for more information. Trust me, you don’t want to end up getting jumped without any warning and losing all of your Ergo just because the French fashion police decided your vibes were off.
Your Decisions Shape The Ending
Lies of P has a morality system that throws players into situations where they have to decide whether to tell the truth or tell a lie. Now, normally, puppets are honest by nature, but Pinocchio is a special case. These lies are usually meant to offer comfort rather than deceive, so the choices are pretty clear-cut. Which path you take often depends on which storyline you want to dive into.
For example, there’s a mini-quest where a crying woman asks you to help find her missing baby, which ends up just being a broken baby doll. To finish the quest you either have to tell her the truth, or let the woman live in her fantasy world by telling her that her baby looks beautiful.
It’s choices like these that will either humanize Pinocchio or continue to send him further down the cold, hard path of the puppet machines. According to Neowiz, Lies of P has three different endings, all influenced by how truthful you’ve been during your playthrough. But it’s tough to gauge the full scope of these choices without starting the whole journey over.
The Game’s No Walk In The Park
It’s easily one of the toughest Soulslike games out there, and even the regular, tough-as-nails enemies can feel like mini-bosses, giving you a real run for your money. To make things even more challenging, some of these formidable foes can respawn, and the game loves throwing multiple of them your way as you make your way through it.
It’s safe to say not many players will be jumping for joy at the thought of facing these relentless enemies over and over again. But the real test of your mettle in this game is the boss fights. While Lies of P does offer some epic and formidable bosses that you’ll remember, it also dishes out its fair share of frustrating and downright tedious ones.
It leans a bit too heavily on the two-phase boss battles, which honestly should be used more sparingly. Going through that first phase repeatedly just to get to the second phase starts to feel more like a chore than an exciting challenge. If you want to come out on top in these fights, you’re gonna have to be patient and look for openings to stagger those mechanical beasts and spam them with your Fable Arts.
Lies Of P’s Combat System Conflicts Itself
The game nudges you to go on the offensive because enemies can heal up if you’re not keeping the pressure on, and there are moments when you can stagger them with a well-timed charged attack. But at the same time, if you get too gung-ho, the game will come down on you hard.
Some of the bosses in the game have movesets that leave you with very little room to do anything other than a block and try to pull off a parry. Even when you manage to pull off a Perfect Guard, it doesn’t always give you a significant upper hand.
This sort of lopsided combat system forces you into a defensive mode while still kind of pushing you to go on the offensive, which creates a bit of a learning curve. If you’re willing to put in the time to master Lies of P’s combat mechanics, things start to make sense, but it’s definitely a hefty commitment.
Thankfully, the game allows you to pick from a bunch of different weapons, each offering a different playstyle than the other, giving you the chance to experiment and build your character in various ways.
Crafting Is The Way
When you’re battling both humans and puppets in the city of Krat, your weapons are going to wear down over time. Keep hacking away without tending to their dwindling durability, and sooner or later, that trusty blade of yours will snap. In the worst-case scenario that it does happen, you better pray you have enough throwable bombs left to get you through the battle, a tactic favored by many fans of long-range combat.
But there’s more to it than just maintaining your weapon’s effectiveness when you use the in-game Grinder. It can actually give your weapon a damage boost once you’ve beefed up its capabilities. Plus, if you add an element like fire or poison to the Grinder, your weapon will carry that extra punch, giving you an elemental edge. Bottom line, take care of your weapons, and they’ll take care of you.
Lies of P also allows you to merge weapons together. You can split them into their two parts, the blade, and the handle, and mix and match them to create a weapon that suits your playstyle. For example, let’s say you’re all about strength, but you’ve got a soft spot for the rapier, which relies on dexterity. You could take the rapier’s handle, which determines the weapon’s attack style, and pair it with a blade that scales better with your stats.
Taking Your Time
Lies of P, while aesthetically similar to Bloodborne, leans more toward Sekiro in its focus on blocking. Dodging is an option, particularly for unblockable attacks, but the game strongly promotes using your weapon for defense.
When you block but still get hit, your weapon absorbs some damage, and you activate Guard Regain, a mechanic that lets you recover health by going on the offensive. This further underscores the importance of blocking. Rolling, although it avoids all damage, carries the risk of mistiming and taking full damage, which you could instead recover with Guard Regain after tanking hits.
Perfect Guard always results in zero damage and potential stagger, and consistent perfect blocks make the enemy’s health bar pulse white. You can capitalize on this by landing a charged attack to stagger and set up a powerful follow-up to grind away chunks of HP.
Mastering Perfect Guard is crucial, especially early on when dodging isn’t as reliable. It’s an effective way to handle bosses and formidable foes, but you’ll need to study enemy attack patterns closely for accurate blocking. So, like I said, take your time.
Don’t Be Afraid To Get Some Help
For those in need of some extra support, there’s an option to summon a specter, although I have to say, their AI leaves a lot to be desired. These spectral sidekicks tend to charge recklessly at bosses and end up taking a beating more often than not. So, in Lies of P, think of them more as temporary distractions during boss fights rather than reliable allies. Not that they were any better in any of the other FromSoft titles, aside from maybe the Mimic Tears in Elden Ring that could create a copy of your character.
Now, companions are already quite robust and can dish out a fair amount of damage independently, but you can also enhance their capabilities by attaching Wishstone crystals to them, which serves as an extra healing item. This not only benefits your specter but also gives you a boost.
For instance, using the Indomitable Wishstone can prevent your specter from biting the dust once, offering a safety net. Alternatively, you can temporarily amp up their damage or restore their HP with the Frenzy and Friendship Wishstones, respectively.
Tweaking these buffs for your spectral buddy can really work wonders for your overall performance.
Lies Of P Succeeds In Standing Out Among The Souls-Like Crowd
Lies of P, for the most part, takes established mechanics and concepts and weaves its own narrative and style into them. While this might seem like a familiar approach, it excels in delivering the quintessential Souls-like experience. Its various elements seamlessly come together to craft an exhilarating action game that’s both challenging and rich in atmosphere for fans of the Souls-Like genre.
Sure, it’s tempting to simplify things when a game wears its influences as boldly as Lies of P does. However, many other games have attempted and failed to capture the same magic. It’s a tough feat, and while Lies of P doesn’t revolutionize the genre or introduce groundbreaking innovations, it still stands as one of the most accomplished and enjoyable entries in the Souls-like category.
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