Our Score: 8/10
In Soulstice, you may experience a coming-of-age dark fantasy adventure with fast-paced action, fierce foes, and magnificent boss fights while exploring a dark world packed with hidden mysteries, mastering a diversified fighting system, and inhabiting the dual forces of two sisters.
The Soulstice Endures
A destroyed city. a grey and darkened sky. A town that was once bursting with colour and bright youth has lost all life. Only the dead’s bodies are now left to decompose. A female warrior wearing armour who has a warrior’s eye comes from the shadows. Despite how alone she may seem, she is actually joined by a spirit, a sister-in-arms. Briar and Lute are these two light-wielding warriors. The two, who were once humans, made a great sacrifice to transform into Chimera, magically endowed beings designed to be the best warriors. Even Lute had sacrificed herself to exploit her superhuman abilities. To look into a terrible disruption that may lead to the end of the living world, the two travel to one of Ilden’s mythical towns.
The souls of the surviving are converted into chaotic creatures called Wraiths, who are hungry for living things. The hideous Wraiths are attracted to Briar and Lute because they are alive, generally uncorrupted beings, just like moths are to a flame. It’s a world that hurts, relishing the horrifying revelation that combines crazy and tragedy. However, I wouldn’t describe Soulstice as a gloomy or dismal game. Soulstice is a story of hope and humanity. And although it is obvious that a great calamity has occurred and there is gloomy ruin everywhere, there remains hope with Briar and Lute. If I were to compare this to something, I’d say it’s a bit like Berserk in that regard.
The Black Swordswoman
That’s not where the Berserk inspiration ends though. Clearly inspired yet very much her own fighter, Briar is a hardened warrior. Briar quickly conveys the sense that Guts, the renowned swordsman from the vintage anime and manga Berserk, was an inspiration. From the angular shape of her armour to the eye that is missing and the massive sword Briar is carrying on her back, this inspiration is obvious. She is a warrior who doubts the sacrifices she has had to make in this world of misery as well as her morals. She inspires the strength to keep battling despite the world’s seeming futility. Briar is competent with a variety of weapons, including long blades and gauntlets, and she undoubtedly possesses the power, dexterity, and ferocity necessary to overpower foes. But she needs Lute if she wants to completely beat her alien adversaries.
Lute is a Shade, a phantom soul that is bound to Briar forever. Lute may now see phenomena that appear in our world from another realm as a result of her self-sacrificing act. The stranger the incident, the closer the two are to The Tear. This may enable you to discover mysteries like crystals containing red shards for skill levelling. Lute’s skill is also essential since she can skillfully deflect oncoming blows. Later in Soulstice, Shade can use her ethereal abilities to enter Rapture mode, briefly changing Briar and providing the two of them a significant tactical advantage.
The foundation of the gameplay is the time-tested idea of easy to learn yet difficult to master. Moving Briar is easy to learn and familiar, and so is the fight. There is a weapon swap mechanism, a button for light attacks, a button for power strikes, and gems for healing.
In rejoicing in its chaotic supernatural universe and designing a fighting system that feels both comfortable and novel, Soulstice succeeds enormously. These are chaotic foes from a world beyond our own, and they strike swiftly, violently, and without mercy. They evolve and become stronger, and some of them have numerous tiers.
Combat is quick, well-executed, meticulous, and incredibly fulfilling. Each slash made by a sword into flesh has a heavy weight and sharp force. One can clearly feel the power and metal of Briar crushing bone and sinew while using heavier weapons, such as the silver gauntlet. The targeting mechanism also aids in maintaining focus and lock-on for the more hazardous foes. Hacking and slicing feature stunning closeups of devastating assaults as well as slow-motion scenes after the last adversary has been eliminated. Particularly during Rapture Mode, when neon-colored purple echoes and flares, punishing the darkness, there is a strong sensation of flare and substance even visually.
Soulstice is an incredibly fun hack and slash game with a very inspired world and story that delivers a satisfying experience. As someone who loves Berserk, the inspiration here was obvious and made me enjoy the game just that much more. The combat is fun, the story is intriguing and the world is dreary and dark.