We can all agree that the Souls-like genre is not for everyone. The challenge that players face can turn away players from progressing and discovering new aspects of the late-game systems. What’s significant about these games is the overall lack of a difficulty option, which has been criticized in the past. In the case of the Neowiz-developed Lies of P, I don’t think they care much about this criticism. In fact, I think they only care about putting the player’s skills to the test during each and every encounter across this gothic world.
Lies of P aims to retell the story of Pinocchio as players assume the role of the mechanical boy who dreams of becoming a human. However, this adventure takes a much darker approach to the story as he navigates the world of Belle Epoque in search of Geppetto and answers.
I wasn’t able to experience very much of the story, so I’ll talk about gameplay. Lies of P ifs f**cking hard. I’m no stranger to this genre. I’d say I’m pretty okay at it, but I’ve never been punished like this, and I believe this is all by design. For starters, enemies are almost all mechanical, so they almost blend into the environment, waiting for you to get close so they can make their move.
Other enemies might make themselves known, but as you close in to make the kill, you’re discovered by some other enemy on a roof. While the challenge is manageable by utilizing the various battle options available, Neowiz has no problem throwing you into a room of enemies and having you deal with it.
It’s not random, either. The enemies are all well-placed to make you pay attention to your surroundings. There’s a sense of verticality in the levels I played that took some getting used to, but this game does its best to humble even the most skilled fans of the genre.
Pinocchio can equip two weapons at a time that alter things like attack speed and skills. In addition, there are various paths that players can choose from, including Crickets, Bastards, and Sweepers, which alter the playstyle. Further customization can be found in the P-Organ, where players spend Quartz to upgrade abilities and activate various skills. Strangely, even though the game is so challenging, these menus initiate a pause, so you can take all the time you want when customizing your loadout.
Other aspects of the experience were largely reminiscent of other Souls-like. You can dodge, parry, and counter enemies, which is standard fair for the genre. However, it differs in the general moveset of Pinocchio and the enemies. Given the mechanical nature of this world, the movement reflects this with almost doll-like attacks coming from enemies, which makes reading their movement difficult.
During my time with the demo, I was killed by plenty of enemies, but I was definitely surprised by how many different types there were. I hope this continues to be the case because as soon as I got comfortable with one enemy type, a new one would appear and force me to adapt. Unfortunately, I couldn’t beat the boss. Sorry, I tried.
Lies of P is challenging by design, but that didn’t limit the amount of fun I was having. The game has plenty of systems to dive into to manage that challenge, with a deep customization menu and stat increase options. However, skill will ultimately keep you alive, and these enemies don’t seem to hold back.
I look forward to exploring more of this gothic world and its many nuances.
Lies of P is coming to PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Game Pass Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, and PC in August 2023.
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