We've played PC version and tested our skills as the Belle Époque Pinocchio.
When someone sees Lies of P for the first time, they usually ask this question: How could a title which mixes the tale of Pinocchio (that everyone relates to the pleasant little hatted-puppet from the 40s Disney classic) with the gloomy, dull and spooky atmosphere of Bloodborne, work? Well, by taking the universal story of the wooden boy (which is rather a steampunk-like automaton here) and twisting it until he is a being able to face the neo-gothic horrors of the fictional city of Karat, of course.
There is no need in beating around the bush when comparing Round 8 Studio's work (specifically the team led by Choi Ji-Won, all from NEOWIZ) with FromSoftware's work. You'll also find many elements here (scenery design, combat, HUD, difficulty and even the hook they added to Sekiro). But, as you'll see in the gameplay below, there are certain details going one step further.
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Considering the aesthetics, although the first impression is that we're back in Yharnam, the truth is that Karat city is closer to the Belle Époque than to the Victorian Age. There are electric lights, streetlights that dimly light the path as we fearfully turn corners, lighted signs announcing night performances in theatres, lights inside houses... all as a result of the industrial revolution that progressed at full speed.
In some way we don't know yet, this industrialization loses control and transforms into a nightmare in which automatons take the streets and kill everyone they find. We can observe it when walking around the streets. Here, I must note that the number of corpses seem to be a bit scarce, since it seems like they're always the same two or three with some colour variations in their clothing.
Likewise, for an unknown reason, we find Pinocchio, an automaton that didn't lose control, in search of his creator, Geppetto, and eliminating any obstacle he finds in his path. We could choose between three different "Combat Memories" in the demo (balance, agility or tenacity/strength). When choosing agility, we get a rapier and a hook for our mechanical arm. The movement is rather fluid despite what can be seen in the video. The controller response is perfect and immediate, which is reassuring here: any action game of this style should have well-polished controls or it will be condemned before its release. First hurdle overcome.
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The enemies we've been facing seemed to be the basic type in the game: with few health-points and a limited, although strong, set of movements (we'll die several times), but immediately identifiable and, therefore, predictable. Add to this some powerful enemies, and, of course, the damned "dogs" (which are also automatons) that every action-RPG must have. After a couple of glitches and restarts from the Stargazer (we'll talk about this soon), we have this section mastered.
We'll be activating some Stargazers, functioning just like Souls-like (bonfires) checkpoints. There, we'll be able to upgrade our skills, equip different sets of weapons, use them as fast travel and also as an item inventory. Besides upgrading them using certain items, we can also add some modifiers depending on the slots they have. Unfortunately, we weren't able to see more on this aspect, but it seems very interesting and we think it will be a similar concept as the Ashes of War in Elden Ring.
The truth is that we used the basic attack for a lot of the demo, but in Lies of P there is a charged attack system with some skills that can have devastating effects even on the hardest enemies, there is a bar under their health, which is divided into three sections (Fable Slots) that recharges when attacking, and every ability will consume a different number of sections. The life recovery system is truly inherited from Bloodborne, since we'll recover Pinocchio's life by using vials (not blood this time) that we'll get by beating enemies.
We couldn't see much more by playing the demo: we were hoping to know more about the arsenal of weapons, the ability upgrades, and more exploration in the urban world, which seems to be full of secrets at different levels. The feeling is very positive. Innovating at key points, Lies of P could be a major standout next year (and no, our nose don't grow when saying this). If its quality so far is maintained and you're interested in a new challenge, this may be the game for you.
Lies of P is set to arrive before summer 2023 on PC, Xbox (play day one with Game Pass) and PlayStation.