Preview Steelrising – A Souls-esque not revolutionary, but well oiled

We know the studio Spiders for his experience in RPGs, with a GreedVal demonstrating the team’s mastery of the genre, despite the gameplay still leaving plenty of room for customization. So when we see Spiders venturing into the Souls-esque Action-RPG where gameplay precision dominates, we imagine the studio is up for a huge challenge. And for now the challenge seems to have passed Steel Risingif we are to believe our first hours in the company of the game.

Preview conditions: We were able to play Steelrising for two hours during a session organized by Nacon. We were able to see the first levels of the title, with a boss fight and different areas to visit. The game ran on PC in an unfinished version.

The revolution changes face

From our first contact with Steel Risingimpossible to ignore his influences, sometimes borrow from bloodborne in all its nocturnal atmosphere and its architecture, sometimes sekirowith gameplay pushed to the offensive† We find statues that act as a campfire, “souls” to recover at the place of our death, an architecture composed of shortcuts to unlock, potions in limited quantities that are recharged at rest… The formula is known, but is nested here in a fairly new framework.

It must be said that the universe of the title is conducive to this mixture, since here we are dealing with an uchronic Paris, in the twilight of the French Revolution, disturbed by a tyrannical King Louis XVI who decided to stop the revolt thanks to his army of vending machines.

We then embody Aegis (which we can personalize very briefly), Marie-Antoinette’s personal automaton, who must do everything in his power to preserve history as we know it by putting an end to the king’s actions. Being the most advanced automaton out there, Aegis has a slew of weapons that we encounter as we progress through the game.

A very surprising starting field, which allows Spiders to do beautiful things in his reproduction of Paris, represented almost essentially at night, and which offers an attractive playground with a decent graphical result and nice animations. We may be in an AA production with its budget limits, Steel Rising knows how to highlight the most emblematic neighborhoods and monuments of the city† But we’re not here for tourism (which is a shame), we’re here to support the revolution, which means flames and blood ravage the city, streets littered with bodies and devoid of life, save for the prowling vending machines.

From what we’ve seen, Spiders seems to offer us a fairly successful level design, with some welcome verticality thanks to the addition of a grappling hook† This can only target specific points and seems less essential than in a sekirobut it can also be used as a ranged weapon to surprise opponents.

The Queen’s Shield

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Then we get to the heart of the game, the battles. Steel Rising presents itself as a Souls-esque heir, with an RPG portion that allows the protagonist to evolve† This is where the influence of sekiroof gameplay that encourages attacking and mobility, rather than waiting

Steel Rising doesn’t advocate aggressiveness at all costs, but it’s been forcing us to clear Aegis’ endurance bar ever sincea cooling system (remember, we are a machine) comes to cool down our heroine’s mechanical muscles so she can regain some of her strength† However, this system is intelligently limited, as it requires pressing a button with good timing to activate it, which isn’t necessarily easy in the heart of the action. Mainly because as the cooldown increases, Aegis can be frozen for a few seconds, leaving you at the mercy of enemies.

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Also read:

Steelrising: Our interview with Jehanne Rousseau (inspirations, accessibility, Greedfall 2…)

The presence of elemental states such as frost, fire or lightning also adds some depth to the clashes† Aegis weapons can be infused with elements to inflict debuffs on opposing automata, and their proper use seems to be essential in more advanced levels of the game.

In our demonstration in particular, we were able to take control of an ice-soaked firearm, which could freeze an enemy completely after a few bullets fired† Which makes certain battles a little less stressful, and prevents you from being cornered by too many opponents, even if this mechanism seemed a bit too powerful at the moment (we imagine the balancing isn’t quite done yet).

You are free to use them or not, because: Steel Rising retains RPG elements, and it’s up to you to customize Aegis’ skills as you see fit† With six different attributes to expand, you can make her the queen of the elements, just like the naughtiest vending machine in Paris. You can also associate it with modules that meet different needs, such as extra life or agility, but with a very limited number (maximum 4).

The choice of your weapons will also be very important as they completely change the gameplay. You can then equip yourself with two weapons at the same time, which you can then switch with the simple push of a button to have a balanced build under all circumstances. There are nine types of weapons, many of which we were able to test in the demo, where each family has its own special moves: the fans can be used as a shield, the club can be used as a cannon, etc. All this does not allow to the depth and replayability potential of a souls (whose games offer more exotic and quirky builds), but it’s effective.

Demanding, but open to everyone

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And that the allergic to the genre or the most anxious are reassured: Steel Rising makes every effort to be reachable† This is due to the presence ofan accessibility mode in the menus, which you can activate at any time without interrupting your gameand then you can adjust the difficulty to your liking using various sliders.

Do you think the enemies do too much damage? Set the damage slider to 75%. Is the cooling system too difficult to activate? An option makes the timing less tight. Everything is done to close the door to no one. In the eternal debate over difficulty in Souls-like, Spiders has chosen his camp and offers a difficulty à la carte, which does not want to frustrate those who only want to reduce the damage a little bit, or even people with disabilities who have difficulty performing manoeuvres. There is still a long way to go here (for the whole industry), but this first step is very commendable.

This accessibility is also reflected in terms of understanding the lore and story, with a title that aims to be less cryptic than other games of the genre, thanks in particular to the presence of a compass that indicates the objectives, but also through more embodied characters and cutscenes that accentuate the adventure. It’s still hard to know how much of this will be in the game as our experience is limited to two hours of gameplay, but we can see that the studio wanted to use the experience gained for more narrative titles to give more body to the game. this adventure. We will even be entitled to a system of choice of dialogueswhich will affect the end of the game.

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