Steelrising – Review
Follow Genre: Action RPG
Developer: Spiders
Publisher: NACON
Platform: PC, PS5, Xbox Series X/S
Tested on: PS5

Steelrising – Review

Site Score
7.5
Good: Concept, Accessible, Some fun boss designs
Bad: Limited enemy variety, Lots of small bugs
User Score
9.7
(3 votes)
Click to vote
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 9.7/10 (3 votes cast)

Ever since Dark Souls took over the world by storm, many other developers tried their hand at recreating the so-called Soulslike experience. We have seen creepy entries in the genre such as Mortal Shell, but we’ve also seen very original 2D entries such as Salt and Sacrifice. Now, however, we’re taking a look at Steelrising, which is developed by Spiders and published by NACON. We were immediately drawn to the game thanks to its original concept: killer automatons during the French Revolution. We quite enjoyed destroying these rampaging murderous automatons, even if the game felt a bit unpolished at times.

Story

The game will play itself out during the French Revolution and you’ll be submitted to the madness of King Louis XVI. You’ll be playing as Aegis, a sentient automaton that is currently Queen Marie-Antoinette’s bodyguard. The queen is held hostage due to all of the automatons circling her current whereabouts, and you are being sent out to investigate the situation and get help from the outside world.

Overall, the plot in the game is paper thin, and more than often you’ll find yourself not truly paying attention to most of the game’s dialogues. The different dialogues only felt like a very rudimentary plot device, but it did work to a certain extent. We loved a few of the directions the story took, but we never truly cared about any of the game’s characters.

Graphics

Graphically the game left us with mixed feelings. At times we were blown away by the design of the bosses, but at other times we were disappointed by the fact that the developers reskin a lot of the normal enemies in the game. You’ll encounter basically every ‘basic’ enemy, albeit with a different element type. This felt like a missed opportunity, as the enemy variety is extremely limited in the game. The environments looked okay, but we were never under the impression that this was truly a next-gen title, especially considering that the game is only released on next-gen consoles and PC. The characters during cutscenes look extremely basic and their lip-syncing is extremely poorly done.

Sound

The sound design of the game is not too shabby. The cinematic music is truly the highlight in the sound department, and we sometimes just kept the game on in the background to enjoy the very atmospheric soundtrack. The sound effects are fairly standard fare for the genre, but they are decent and complement the action onscreen. The voice acting, however, was a bit cringeworthy at times. While the cast members all had pleasant voices to listen to, the weird English voice acting with random French words thrown in the mix ended up becoming very annoying. We would have then preferred if the voice acting was simply done in French.

Gameplay

Steelrising is an Action RPG much in the same vein as the Dark Souls series. Outside of the game’s original concept, we’d even go as far as state that this is basically what you’d get when ordering Dark Souls from Aliexpress. While this may sound like an insult, we actually don’t mean it as such. The game is very much like the series it’s inspired by, albeit with very limited enemy variety, a fairly low difficulty level, and filled to the brim with tiny bugs. The difficulty is even lowered by the fact you can easily ‘cheese’ your enemies by using underhanded tactics. More than often, we killed tough enemies by simply luring them to a static object, hiding behind it, and then whacking them when they showed themselves. After each hit, we’d just circle the static object, and repeat the process. Of course, this didn’t work in more open areas, but it did help us defeat some stronger opponents.

Other than that, the game offers pretty much the same experience as any other Soulslike title. You’ll collect enemies’ Anima Essence by killing them, and this essence you can use to level up your character’s base stats, buy new items, upgrade weapons, and so on. If you perish before you’re able to return to a Vestal (safe point), you’ll lose all the essence you had on you. You can of course retrieve your fallen body, but all enemies will be respawned when doing so. The Vestals also work the same way as they do in Dark Souls, as they’ll replenish your health and recharge your healing items, but they’ll also respawn all enemies on the map.

The combat in the game was actually quite smooth, as Aegis can dodge enemy attacks quite easily (most of the time). As you progress, you’ll unlock new mobility skills, which can also be used in combat. However, these skills mainly serve to unlock new areas in levels you’ve already been to, allowing you to further explore the environment. There are different weapon types, and you’ll often pick the ones that correspond more with the starting class of your choice. The starter classes basically offer different base stats and a different starting skill. We did encounter a few battles in such small areas where it was almost impossible to dodge incoming enemy attacks.

While we loved playing through the game’s different environments of France, we did also encounter a truckload of bugs. The game has many small graphical bugs, such as dead enemies standing upright and still moving, picked-up items not disappearing, and just some janky overall movements from time to time. Other than that, some hidden enemies you cannot counter or hit before they perform their action, you might find yourself guessing an enemy’s HP as the HP bar doesn’t show up, and so on. While most of these small bugs caused only small annoyances, it showed that the game could use an extra layer of polish.

Conclusion

Steelrising is a very likable and fun rough-around-the-edges Soulslike experience. We very much enjoyed battling 18th-century automaton enemies with Aegis, and we do believe that with a bit more polish this title could be a great new addition to the genre. Even though we will end the review with overall positive feelings, we feel that some mechanics could be improved upon, some graphical updates could be made, and a few more enemies should have been thrown into the mix. That being said, if you’re looking for an accessible Soulslike experience, Steelrising might be it.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 9.7/10 (3 votes cast)
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Steelrising - Review, 9.7 out of 10 based on 3 ratings
Ibuki


Aspiring ninja.

1 Comment

  1. […] Which king stars as the antagonist in Steelrising? (Answer can be found by clicking here.) […]

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