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Steelrising test, the best Soulslike of the year?


Question of timing, the Soulslike of Spiders could not go unnoticed this year. For good reasons? The answer in this Steelrising test.

What if, during the French Revolution, we had mastered the art of artificial intelligence? Did Louis XVI create an army of animated automatons in order to suppress the people’s desire for uprising? In any case, this is the starting postulate of Steelrisingthe latest game from the Spiders studio, which transports us to the time of the revolution, but not as we discovered it in the history books.

With the release ofElden Ring which occurred earlier in the year, the ambition to impose itself with a Soulslike in 2022 is all the more audacious as it is relevant. However the question arises, does Nacon’s RPG manage to stand out? The answer in this test of Steelrising.

steelrising test (1)
Credits Nacon

Universe

If only one aspect of Steelrising could have convinced us, it is his visual and narrative universe. Choosing to deal with the French revolutionary period is inevitably attractive, especially when one tackles such an important rewriting work. Right in the heart of the popular conflict, Aegis is an automaton sent by Marie-Antoinette herself whose goal will be to oppose the king’s repression, alone against everyone.

Throughout our adventure, we therefore travel through emblematic places in Parisian history, in particular the Saint Cloud estate, the Tuileries or the Invalides. So many places that have immersive settings in store for us, plunging us into the atmosphere after just a few seconds. Due to its storytelling and emphasis on beautiful game environments, Steelrising gives us the impression of being more of an adventure game rather than a Soulslike solely centered on the requirement of the gameplay. It is a pleasure to discover the different places and to understand the level design so well built.

Obviously, we also find in the title a gripping soundtrack which does not fail to have its small effect especially during the more narrative phases or during the cutscenes… which are not as present as we would have hoped. In general, the visual aspect of the non-player characters could have been worked on more, but we absolutely do not sulk the overall aspect of the game which is already very pleasing to the eye.

steelrising test (2)
Credits: Nacon

RPG battles

Of course, all of this is nothing without the core gameplay of Steelrising : the fights. Like any self-respecting Soulslike, the title of Spiders has a well-oiled confrontation system, which has made us suffer for many hours. Although we are not particularly attracted by this kind of gameplay (as evidenced by our test from Elden Ring) we must admit that Steelrising got the better of us both in terms of grip and in the long term.

Like a classic RPG, you have to level up your character to unlock more skills, combat techniques and increase your stats in many very specific areas. At the start of your game, you can choose between 4 different classes, which will guide your starting statistics but also your combat style and your default weapon.

If this basic functionality is commendable, it turns out to be rather superficial after a few hours of play, especially when you take into account the clear advantage of one of the classes compared to the others (we won’t tell you anything, we’ll let you discover the meta by yourself). No matter what you choose, all of the skills, elemental powers, and weapons are at your fingertips, and we have to say we love that versatility.

In combat, each option allows you to find your own style of attack and these are quite dynamic. In terms of gameplay, they require the requirement consistent with this type of game, but in terms of the execution of animations, there are still far too many approximations, even though precision should be legion. Far too often we have experienced “missed” hits, optimization issues, display bugs, or hitbox issues that seem almost random.

Nothing that can’t be improved via future corrective patches, but it’s still a shame to venture into Soulslike territory without fully mastering the basics. Everything is clearly not to be thrown away, and some errors serve us more than they harm us (hello, the boss zones from which we can exit without our opponent regaining his life) but this kind of concern is to be avoided as well for immersion only for the pleasure of play.

An accessible Soulslike?

As Soulslike, Steelrising therefore succeeds in leaving an original mark, a few months after the release of the already revolutionary Elden Ring. It goes back to the basics of the genre with an architecture based on small open areas, punctuated by a mini-boss, unlike the last title from From Software which relied on a huge open world.

Already described as much more accessible because of this original aspect for a Soulslike, we will tend to think the opposite. Steelrising’s rather linear perspective is, in our opinion, more intuitive for approaching enemies and having a constant sense of progression. We know what our goal is, and we can approach it in several ways (farm, perseverance, etc.) but we will all end up at the same point at some point.

The lack of freedom is necessarily felt, but it is not necessarily negative if it allows us to focus more on our true objective. But since tastes and colors are not discussed, it will be up to you to determine which style of gameplay will ultimately suit you best.



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