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PS3Blog.net | April 12, 2024

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[PlayStation 5] Lies of P Review

[PlayStation 5] Lies of P Review
Ajescent

Soulsborne Lies of P from NEOWIZ and Round8 Studio is an interesting take on the story of Pinnochio. Check our Lies of P review!

 

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I really like that meme. You know the one.

“Mum, can we have X?”

“No, we have X at home.”

And, when revealed, the X at home is almost always inferior to the thing that was originally asked for. I think of this meme when I think of Lies of P. For years, fans have been crying for a sequel to Bloodborne, the Borne in the genre-defining Soulsborne – not to be confused with a Soulslike – for a very long time. Whilst it is unlikely to come around any time soon, we do indeed have NEOWIZ trying to tide us over until then. Now, it should be noted that Lies of P is not as good as Bloodborne by any means, but don’t let that put you off because, standing on its own two feet, Lies of P is an exceptional game. Looking at NEOWIZ’s catalog, you will see quite an eclectic mix of games, from the London 2012 Olympics to an action platformer named Skul. So, for them to attempt a Soulsborne game out of nowhere and have it be this good is a head-scratcher. Developer Round8 Studio did a stellar job with this one.

But what exactly is Lies of P? Well, the P in Lies of P stands for Pinocchio. Yes, that same Pinocchio from Carlo Collodi’s children’s story about the puppet who hopes to become a real boy. In this story, Geppetto is a great inventor who helped create puppets, essentially robots that do all of humanity’s menial tasks, but when an unknown event causes the puppets to turn on their owners and creators, the city of Krat suddenly turns to a blood bath, and it is down to Pinocchio to save the city and solve the mystery of what is happening to the city.

Lies of P Review - 1

Straight off the bat, Lies of P gets bonus points for having a very legible story. Soulslike and Soulsborne games have been known for being a little too abstract and vague in their storytelling. Quite often, details of the stories are sparse and require a lot of digging for you to even have a clue what is going on. But Lies of P is very open and often liberal with its story beats, and we are thankful for this decision. Lies of P’s main plot is a solid one and does a great job of drawing you into the world and adding context to everything you are doing and why you are doing it. It follows the Soulsborne formula of storytelling.

You go through the starting area that acts as a tutorial before coming across a boss. You defeat the boss before earning access to a hub area where you meet a magical woman who has the ability to level you up, but not before giving you some vague mumbo jumbo that acts as the catalyst for why you are doing anything. If you are a frequenter of Soulsborne games, then this should be old hat to you; whilst there is nothing new here in terms of a story that will change the game, it is just the fact that the story is captivating enough that it encourages you to keep playing and that is not even considering the gameplay.

 

The world is rich. The world is dark, beautiful, and feels lived in. So much so that it is easy to imagine what life could have been like the day before the world ended. The different environments are diverse enough that half the time, I found myself sightseeing more than I was hunting for enemies and items. Visually speaking, the game is fine. I played the PlayStation 4 version on PS4, played the PS4 version on PlayStation 5, and also the PS5 version on a PlayStation 5 console, and whilst the game would be undeserving if it won awards for its graphics, you soon forget all of that when you find yourself buried neck deep in its atmosphere. If there is one thing this game gets right, it is its atmosphere. It is not perfect by any means, but when it strikes home, it does it wonderfully. It should be noted that the graphics are solid. Lies of P is pretty. Not spectacular, but pretty nevertheless.

The visuals, though, should be noted, are solid. Graphically speaking, Lies of P is pretty. Whilst the lighting and the mise en scene are expertly crafted, the PlayStation 4 version of the game tends to struggle in terms of visual fidelity. It’s easy to see how the PlayStation 5 version of the game is more pleasing to the eyes. You never feel that this will be remembered as a contender for the game of the generation. But that shouldn’t take away from the achievements of Lifes of P, of which there are spades.

Lies of P Review - 2

Lies of P is a Soulsborne almost to a fault. Those familiar with the combat will feel very much at home here. P is a melee fighter, so your primary weapons will be swords, but P can branch out to club-like weapons for slow bludgeon damage, rapiers, and the like for rapid and nifty dexterous attacks, or try to find a balance between the two. The types may have a different name here (motivity/technique), but the archetypes are still the same. You are still focusing more on the aggressive style of fighting. Just like Bloodborne, Lies of P rewards you with lost HP if you counterattack within a short amount of time; Lies of P also has the backstab mechanic, the stagger mechanic, and all the other staples of a Soulslike/Soulsborne game. That isn’t to say Lies of P doesn’t have anything new to say.

In Bloodborne, you were able to arm yourself with a pistol to use as a disrupter to enemy attacks. P has a prosthetic arm that can be changed and upgraded. There are eight in total, and each has its own properties players can adopt and add to their play style. For example, the Left Arm of Steel is the one you start the game with. and just adds a powerful punch. But as the game progresses, you can gain access to the Puppet String, which allows you to do an impression of Scorpion from Mortal Kombat, or the Deus Ex Machina, which allows you to plant minefields on the floor. Needless to say, the arms are diverse, and there is a lot of strategy trying to mix and match the arms to the main weapons.

 

Strategy also comes in the guise of being able to mix and match different weapons with different handles. This may seem silly at first, but doing so allows you to adjust weapons to feel more comfortable to P in terms of weight and also allows you access to certain abilities that either a handle or the main weapon itself holds. That’s right, weapons and handles also have their own abilities. Composing your perfect playstyle is a complex matter in Lies of P. Going through the systems is a struggle in and of itself. You need a weapon that feels right in terms of basic day-to-day fighting. You need a weapon with the right combination of blade and hilt not just for feel but also for abilities, and of course, it needs to be just the right weight. You need a setup that does have the right arm attachment and upgrades for said arm because, of course, that’s a thing.

That’s right, your arms can be upgraded to give them different functions and additional abilities. For example, the Puppet String has an upgrade that allows you to fly to your enemy instead of them flying to you. As silly as they sound, they do have their uses in combat, and the right setup can make your journey through this game so much more comfortable. Things would be fine there, but then you also need to consider your P-organs.

Lies of P Review - 3

Yeah, you can also upgrade your insides to grant you additional bonuses that do… stuff. It’s best not to worry about it too much because the point here is that Lies of P is so fixated on differentiating itself from other games that there are just too many ideas and just too many moving parts – pun not intended – that it ends up getting bogged down. This is without even mentioning Gold Coin Fruits and the need to sharpen your blades.

Actually, let’s mention that. Weapon durability rears its ugly head here. Regular usage of your weapon causes it to lose its durability. Even weapons with high durability have them dropping at a rapid pace. There is room to argue it adds tension as you need to make sure your weapons are properly maintained mid-fight or otherwise lose all attack power, but doing so takes you out of the action when it happens so frequently that it ends up becoming more of a chore than a joy, not to mention the disconnect of sharpening a weapon that is meant to be blunt by design!

 

My favored weapon through most of my playthrough was an overly large wrench, which I used to bludgeon enemies, but the game still insisted I grind the wrench to sharpen it up. Needless to say, it took me out of the action more than it engaged me. I think that is my main problem with Lies of P. It has so many ideas. A lot of them are great, but it ends up feeling as if you are juggling way too many pieces for any of them to truly hit home.

I think that is Lies of P in a nutshell. The game wants to keep you wowed and to keep you moving, never forcing you to be bogged down. If one style isn’t working for this fight or for you in general, don’t worry. There are about a dozen more you could be using simply because more problems can be solved by changing into something else. But is that boss fight still causing you problems? Well, have you tried the specter system? During some boss battles, you are able to summon a ghost companion in boss fights. Whilst this method is often used in these kinds of games to make certain fights easier, here they are made into a cakewalk sometimes that almost feels like a cheat code.

Lies of P Review - 4

Yes, the parts are plentiful with regard to combat, but it is not without its merits. As your choices and abilities are varied, so are your enemies. Your main fodder will be puppets for sure, but at a certain point, the game mixes it by adding new enemy types, from humans to monstrosities, and the game does a good job of keeping each type fresh and challenging without any of them getting stale. The enemies and their abilities are superb. The environments add to finely crafted combat set pieces and just general design. In these types of games, the boss battles are always the most memorable parts, and Lies of P does not disappoint. With that said, Lies of P also brings its A game for regular fights. Quite a few times, I found myself applauding the game for its set pieces, design choices, and general setup. The game’s world is wonderful. The design is wonderful.

I am reminded of one part during the mid game where upon following a certain quest line, for the longest time I could not put my finger on where I was in the world only to recognize a pillar and a bust next to it. There was nothing special about either of those items but when the reveal finally fell into place… needless to say, it blew my mind and made me applaud the developers for a well thought out experience.

That is what Lies of P is a lot of the time. A well-thought-out and executed experience. These folks definitely did their homework when it came to Soulsborne; they studied everything right down to the nuances, and their implementation is just as good as any other experience in the genre. They have the visuals down, they have the combat down, they have the aesthetics down, and they also have the sound down to a pat. A good Soulslike/Soulsborne lives and dies on its atmosphere, and Lies of P is no exception.

The sound design here is magnificent, from the oppressive rainfall of some of the stages to the isolating silence of other parts where the only thing for company you have are your footfalls. The soundtrack is magnificent for sure, and I dare say that Feel by Seo Jayeong should be a contender for original music of the year – if such a category exists for the game awards. Lies of P is available as a Cross-Buy title with a $55.99 asking price, so your purchase will allow you to download both the PS4 and PS5 versions of the game at no extra cost.

Disclaimer
This Lies of P review is based on a PlayStation 5 copy provided by NEOWIZ.

Review Overview

A solid Soulsborne take on the story of Pinocchio
9
9

Rating