Over at Tokyo Game Show 2022, we got to try out a preview of developer’s Reply Game Studios’ action RPG title Soulstice and here are our thoughts on it.
Coming straight out the window, admittedly it’s hard to see Soulstice without seeing its inspirations. Reply Game Studios has been very open that they’re fans of the late Kentaro Miura’s dark fantasy title – Berserk, and it shows. You’re able to see a lot of inspirations with Soulstice and Berserk, most notably with the character design of the main heroine – Briar.
From the features like having only one good eye, the black heavy suit of armour, the greatsword. But being a fan of Berserk myself, it’s always such a pleasure to see how big of an influence that Berserk is able to reach. With that being said, I absolutely love the character design for Briar.
One of the advantages of being able to actually play Soulstice here at TGS 2022 is the chance to see it for more of what it truly is, and that is a pretty stellar action RPG title, even far outclassing some of the more robust-of-wallet titles out there.
As I played through the game’s very first level, there were a few obstacles that had been standing in my way, one of which was the fact that the game’s demo text were all in Japanese. Despite being a huge weeb, I unfortunately still don’t understand a lick of Japanese. The other obstacle was the complications of being at a loud event as well as not being able to hear and let alone understand my demo attendant. As a result, there are some systems where I can’t answer to what they actually do.
From my observations playing through the preview for Soulstice, I was able to give myself a blue aura that seems to float my character up higher a little, though that might have been just a placebo on my end. Meanwhile there was also a red aura too but the effects of that still remains a mystery to me.
Although, what I was familiar with would be the sword combat that Briar mains. She comes with a pretty robust moveset the features both light and heavy attacks as well as a mechanic where you can cancel your light attack into a heavy attack.
Unlike many action games, it looks like Reply Game Studios have really put in the thought and care into the combat mechanics to make it more than just your average 3 hit combo. Going more into Briar having a robust moveset, she has a launcher, air juggle, a stinger as well as a jump cancel which all makes for a combat system that makes you want to show off and not just to get to the end of the level.
It’s here that Soulstice really shines, from the preview, while none of its ideas are inherently new, it’s made sure to base its identity on good source materials. While the inputs are pretty similar to Devil May Cry, it’s fine because Devil May Cry is also one of the greatest action games that’s ever been made. Soulstice lifted the mechanics with enough care that the homage feels genuine and more importantly, feel fun for the player.
It’s worth noting that the clear emphasis here that Reply Game Studios chose something good, not popular. Games often tend to cannibalize each other all the time: one of the examples being the amount of Genshin and Breath of the Wild clones have shown up for your proof. Despite the Devil May Cry franchise being a financial success for Capcom, its lack of imitators is simply because the complexity is its identity – and Soulstice having the audacity to not only pay homage to that but to do it well is a great sign that Reply Games Studio knows their stuff.
You’re able to feel it in the first few swings of Briar’s sword, you get more hints of it when it suspiciously glimmers at the end of certain strings. Once you start doing launchers into air combos, you begin to suspect and once you jump off of enemies in the air to keep the juggle going, you fully realise: this game has the sauce.
Soulstice releases on 20th September for PC , Xbox Series X and Series S, PlayStation 5 and I for one cannot wait to play this game and sink my teeth into it.
Article text by: Wan Amirul – GamerBraves resident character action nutter and editing by Lucas Chung.