Bojangles4th's reviews | Backloggd (2024)

"Only humans practice deception so intensely for reasons that are so... unnecessary."

In my previous review I made a rather kneejerk response to merely seeing Lies of P on the store page, I see the word "Soulslike" as an adjective and I instinctively want to frumple up and cringe like I just had a warhead candy. But hey, it's on GamePass, and Iron Pineapple gave a glowing review for it but with a caviat that though not as bluntly put, is very succinctly written by u/psychebomb in their review about two paragraphs down, which I quote, "If you like Dark Souls, you'll probably like this game. If you've made liking Dark Souls into a defining personality trait of yours, you're going to f*cking hate this game."; truer words have never been spoken on this site.

So, I decided to play it, it's practically free to me anyways and I'm just off the credits of the equal parts tranquil and exciting journey of The Last Guardian (review soon maybe) so I'm craving something a little more intense. Intense might be an understatement, right away I can tell I'm less equipped than most Souls games at the beginning, enemies are surprisingly tanky; what gives? Oh, it has the thing like Bloodborne where the enemy goes into a special state after receiving enough damage, then with the finishing blow of a charged heavy attack (or sometimes Fable Arts™, this game's "weapon arts" essentially) they get put into a position to deliver a Fatal Blow™. ...Alright I won't pretend the terminology in this game is a little goofy, but it's not difficult to understand either.
Anyways, the combat is already a lot more close and personal than Souls typically allows, likely due to the near complete rejection of ranged builds (there's only a limited use "gun", consumable throwables, and one weapon with a ranged Fable Art only); to offset this, the game has a parrying system similar to Sekiro where you block on reaction to Perfect Guard™, "but why would I need to do that when I can just circle strafe and block" says the DS1 fan, or "why bother playing the game when I can roll?" says the DS3 fan; the real spice here is this happy marriage of all of the similar mechanics wrapping around to something we saw in Sekrio: Unblockable, unrollable attacks; that can only be avoided by outright outspacing them or Perfect Guarding™ (or in special instances mostly only available to you in the late game). Immediately my Souls poisoned brain clenched, "NO ROLLING?", but the little bit of Sekiro I played clicked in instead, TWANG, I did it! TWANG, TWANG, TWANG, .... grabbed, SLAM SLAM SLAM CRUNCH!!! Oh, and not everything can be blocked either... lol... So I had to get these parts of my brain to agree on something: This isn't Block Souls 1 / 2, or Roll Souls 3, or Rhythmiro, or BloodBoR1ne, but will ask me to juggle all of these things in nearly equal amounts. That is to say, it all amounts to me using all of the knowledge I've accumulated from DeS, DS1, DS2, DS3, ER and Sekiro. To point to any one of these things as the thing it's aping is just plainly incorrect, because playing it like any of those (besides debatably Sekiro) will leave you in for a bad time.

That was a lot of words to basically say "some attacks ignore i-frames" but I cannot stress enough how much they use this to force you to be proficient in a variety of different combat situations. It's not just the bosses too, most enemies in general have an attack like this. You need to decide to space around it or go for the perfect guard. Now how about those enemies and bosses yeah? Overall pretty fantastic, I think the game has a notorious difficulty spike by the 3rd boss, because it immediately asks you to be able to perfect guard and identify when they're going to grab you (it's a subtle cue but you can definitely see it, I ate it like 10 times before finally never being hit by it on reaction). There's one explicit gimmick boss and of course it's probably the worst one in the game, though not nearly as bad as From's worst output (I'd list them but I want to keep those games spoiler free for those who haven't played them yet)
The enemy placement is often difficult in a variety of ways, either in group management, lack of space, or just a strong hitting "elite enemy" as I call em relative to the area you're in; they also love to hide them around corners and behind walls, crates etc. akin to all of the cheekiest moments from Souls and ER, which I absolutely love as it kept me on my toes, and despite that I fell for some obvious traps when I became impatient. The "lack of space" bit was very relevant at a lot of points where I'd switch weapons to a spear or something with a vertical arc to fight in hallways, reminding me of DeS in this regard (good), which leads me to the general level design: Significantly better than DS3, but that's a low bar; probably better than DS2 on average and a hair below DS1 (please stop pretending the game ends at Sen's Fortress, DS1 fans). The constant wrapping around to previous Stargazers (this game's checkpoints) and verticality is very impressive and shows the levels are a lot more deliberately thought out than the likes of DS3 just peppering its straight line with constant bonfires. The one thing the game is significantly weaker on is overall environmental diversity, well, at least compared to DS2 and Elden Ring; it's about on par with Demon's Souls, DS3 and a bit below DS1.

Gone is the habit of the classic Souls "you basically have 3 weapons because if you change you need to completely respec and grind materials", now you can usually buy the ones you need outright without seeking out some random mcguffin in someone's poop shack on the other side of the map to do so; and the weapons are in two parts: you only upgrade the blade, so if you have a good blade already but want to try a different moveset, you can just swap the blade to a new handle. The only downside with this is a lot of weapons are only proficient in either slash or pierce, a good number are fine at both though and if you want to spend the least resources I'd upgrade those. I ended up using probably 8-10 different weapons through my playthrough before settling on this heavy, oversized cleaver looking thing on a "dancer's blade" handle lol. I remember people saying "heavy builds are unviable in this" but I think the opposite, I think they're favored if anything at least for a casual playthrough; lightweight, fast weapons require a lot of Fable Art usage and timing to close the gap which while an extremely active and rewarding playstyle is incredibly demanding in a game that already demands a lot from the player execution-wise.
One thing that can be a little confusing, and again taking the wrong notes from Souls here, is that some upgrades and such can be kind of unclear about how good they are. All you gotta know is that in the skill tree, Dodge Link is a must.

Aesthetically I think the game has a really nice look for the most part, though I'm not as hot on the swamp and castle. People like to go "it's just BloodBorne" but it really isn't, there's been discussion about how both are rarely the architecture described (bcus people genuinely can't identify architecture 99% of the time and just repeat verbatim an architectural word they heard in front of an image they now associate with it with no further study) The weapons in particular are awesome and the ability to have a costume separate from defense items makes it a lot easier to create a look while optimizing stats and not looking like a clown. Tangentially related but the game runs like a dream for me on my 3700x and RTX 3080 at 4k "Best" settings (using DLSS Quality I maintain in the range of like 90-120FPS), all while stuttering less than DS3 ever did on the same system. Also, kind of unreal playing a game like this above 60FPS... It feels so good.
The music is serviceable, some boss themes are better, I just wish the game leaned into the clockpunk styling more and had a more industrial, mechanical, percussion-heavy soundtrack; seeing clockpunk boss with roaring choir orchestral music is serviceable but would've benefited atmospherically from this.

The character writing in this is okay, it's definitely weak at the beginning but a lot of them expand towards the back half as you get to know each other better. I think the story conceptually is pretty neat too, I've been a fan of the whole "what makes a


person?" philosophical conundrum for as long as I could read, and I think the way Lies of P handles it does a serviceable job in this regard, but I won't be reminiscing on it the same way I would DS2 (y'all sleep on that game's narrative too much). This isn't exactly glowing praise, but make no mistake that in this subgenre Lies of P has one of my favorite NPCs and a couple honorable mentions on top of that. One of them kept me engrossed in conversation for almost 10 minutes straight, which I can't say any other has really done. (personal favs are Stockpile Thomas, Ed, Andre, Seigmeyer, Saulden, Vendrick, Seigward, Hewg, Alexander, Rya, Blaidd, Ranni)
I'd decided on a score of 8 a third through or so, but it kind of only got better especially as the rather flexible weapon system kept things interesting for me.

I was quick to judge, and was happily wrong. Lies of P is the big surprise of 2023 imo that easily punches alongside FromSoft's greats, weaker in some areas but stronger in others. I'd place this firmly just above DS2 in my list of "Them wacky soulsemup things", all while having a team that gets completely dwarfed in comparison. Your enjoyment will highly depend on whether or not you're the kind of person who goes "Pac Land did it first" whenever people talk about 2D platformers.

In a word: Riddles.

Bojangles4th's reviews | Backloggd (2024)


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