What exactly is a Spectacle Fighter? Along with “Character Action Game”, “Stylish Action”, “Devil May Cry clone” and the spongy “Hack & Slay” it’s the genre name for a certain type of action games that are really only available from Capcom and Platinum Games are made in a big way. The focus is on fast-paced, over-the-top carnage, countless combos, and complex combat systems that go well beyond button-mashing. Elements of this once great subgenre can also be found in JRPGs such as Tales of Arise and Scarlet Nexus or in the enormously popular Souls-likes. But there hasn’t been a real, independent representative for years.
At least until now, because with Soulstice the Italian Reply Game Studios have released a DMC imitator, as it is in the book. As part of an extensive story, you slaughter your way through hordes of demons as a badass warrior and increase the combo counter with various murder tools. Although the game has everything that genre fans want on paper, the revival only partially succeeds. In the test you will find out whether Soulstice lives up to its role models or whether you should perhaps wait for Bayonetta 3.
Note: We’re still hard at work on our Soulstice review video, so be sure to check out our YouTube channel or this article later if you don’t want to miss it!
For the first few hours of gameplay, Soulstice does (buy now €49.99) still a little wrong and leaves a positive impression: the dark fantasy style with its subtle anime touch is reminiscent of classics like Berserk and Claymore and despite their wooden faces, the character designs are also impressive. The ruined city of Ilden, in which you will spend the entire game, is appealingly dark and monumental in design, the graphics are good for an indie title and the story premise makes you want more.
Source: PC Games
You play as the hot-tempered knight Briar, who along with her sister Lute, is sent to the vast fortress city to investigate a dimensional rift from which demonic creatures are pouring. You not only uncover the tragic background story of the protagonists, but also the plans of your shady, religious commanders.
Briar and Lute together form a being called a chimera, i.e. the unity of two souls, with a third, demonic power also dormant in Briar’s body. And although the story isn’t exactly entering uncharted territory and the English soundtrack is a bit bumpy at times, Soulstice’s narrative is convincing thanks to a few twists, mysteries and nicely presented scenes. At least for a hack and slay that is primarily about fighting.
Source: PC Games
Thanks to chic effects and bloody hit feedback, the positive first impression also extends to the battles in which you spend most of your playing time. In addition to your primary weapon, a two-handed sword, you are allowed to equip one of six secondary weapons that you receive over the course of the game. Many of these weapons are assigned a specific purpose: the gauntlet, for example, breaks the armor of thick opponents and the bow deals bonus damage to flying monsters. As with Devil May Cry, the focus is on getting the monsters airborne with uppercuts and laying attacks on them for as long as possible.
You have the greatest playful feature of Soulstice sitting on your shoulder: your ghost sister Lute automatically shoots magic arrows and can block enemy attacks at all distances by pressing a button in time. As a result, your combos are less likely to be interrupted by defensive actions and the combat speed is consistently pleasantly high. Additionally, Lute can create red and blue force fields that allow you to destroy enemies and crystals of the same color.
Let’s continue on page 2!