Here’s the TL;DR for this review
- FANTASTIC art design. Steampunk/Clockwork French Revolution, in all it’s sumptuous detail.
- Stellar music
- Satisfying combat, a very beginner friendly Souls-like which was entertaining for a veteran like me
- Enjoyable animations
- Great voice acting in a dialogue focused game
- Face animations are bad. In the case of the protagonist- who is a robot- the robotic face animations work well. In the case of the human characters, it really doesn’t.
- Zone design isn’t good. It tried to make a metroidvania replayable world map, where you come back to a zone with new abilities, to explore it better. However, with the slightly-clunky movements of a souls-like protagonist, it just felt clunky.
- Also, there wasn’t enough variation in zone design. I got lost a lot because one area looks identical to another.
- Not great variety of enemies. However, what enemies there were possessed a broad variety of abilities
- Bugs, and poor optimization
- The story was interesting for me, because I’m passionate about the French Revolution. However, if you’re not interested in alt-history French Revolution, you might not be as interested in this story.
- The game is long, with lots of side missions. If you want a lot of game to play, this has it. I beat it at 26 hours. By and large I liked the missions. However, they involved a lot of backtracking. Eventually I got bored of the backtracking and wanted a fast travel system of some sort. That 26 could have been 22 or 23 easily, if it cut out all the backtracking.
This is a Soulslike game by the French studio Spiders. The story takes place in an Alternate History French Revolution during the Terror, except that instead of the Republic killing people the King is killing people. The King and his minions have built an army of haunted clockwork robots, which are powered by stolen souls. The protagonist is a ballet dancing robot, which has been reprogrammed into being Marie-Antonnette’s bodyguard, and is sent out on missions for the Queen.
This is a AA game. AAA games are games with large budgets and huge development teams- think Fortnight or WoW or LoL. AA games are a step below that. AA games are produced by experienced development studios, but they don’t have the money or the immense teams to create an absolutely premium product.
I enjoyed this. It does a good job of implementing the Souls-like formula, but you can tell that it is held back by it’s AA budget. I had fun playing it, but it’s got flaws. The combat is good, and the most approachable of all Souls-like games I’ve ever played. If I were to introduce someone to the genre, I’d suggest they try this game out, due to how approachable it is. I had fun playing it, and I’ll probably play it again someday.
This game’s best feature is how beautiful it is. The protagonist and enemies are all beautiful, creating/recreating a steampunk French Revolution era. Everything, from the protagonist’s outfits to her weapons, to the clockwork automata badguys, to the environments, were all gorgeous. Additionally the music was magnificent. I hope Spiders takes the lessons learned here to future games.
This is a good game, but not a great one. For me, it’s biggest problem is it’s zone design and forcing players to go back to earlier levels. Traditional Souls-Like games have an open world of interlinking corridors and branching paths. The player would progress down the different branches, trying to find checkpoints and hidden paths. In this game, around half of Steelrising takes place on the streets Paris. Unfortunately, all the street sections were nearly identical, making navigating the city very difficult. It needed a map, I think. Additionally, the fact that doing the side quests for this game required so much going back to previous levels and exploring it, was just tiresome. It needed a warping system of some sort.
The combat is good. It’s very forgiving. The enemies aren’t very aggressive, which is a relief after I beat Elden Ring a few weeks back. I did a parry run through, and I thought the parry timing is good but a bit clunky. You could use the words ‘good but a tiny bit clunky’ to describe the entire game. The most noticable ‘clunk’ was the lack of animation cancelling between attacking and defending, forcing the player to play passively, instead of going full aggro.
The clunk might have made the game difficult to play, however the game provides ample healing potions and extremely over powered grenades. These tools made the game by FAR the easiest souls-like I’ve played. I skipped using the grenades because they made things too easy for my taste, but if this is your first souls-like, feel free to use lots of them.
Another thing: the game is too long. Doing all the side missions, I beat the game at 25 hours. It overstayed it’s welcome in that time, mainly because there weren’t enough enemy types. In this game you only fight evil robots, and there are only ~9 types of enemy robots. Once you memorize the enemy moveset, the game becomes easy to beat. I would have liked to fight human enemies, or ghost enemies as well. 15 to 20 enemies would have been better for this length of game/pricepoint of game.
Also, about this game’s story. You get to relive the events of the French Revolution, which was fun. It was interesting playing this after reading so many books about the revolution. You have all the same characters from the IRL French revolution, but they are playing slightly altered roles. I enjoyed it, but I enjoyed it from an intellectual perspective. I’m in the middle of researching this era of French politics, so I’m inclined to enjoy it. I think that the actual story needed some more work. It felt like it just re-created the French Revolution, but without providing enough new stuff. I dunno, something about the story wasn’t perfect.
This game was a bit buggy, at least on PC. The game crashed to desktop three times over a 15 hour playthrough. I don’t mind because no progress was lost due to the game’s generous autosave feature, but it happened often enough to merit mentioning. This is a AA game, so a certain amount of bugginess is to be expected.
And now for my pettiest complaint. This is a game about the French Revolution, created by a French development studio, staring French characters, with some French voice actors. However, almost all the characters had various British accents. It was weird.
Overall, I had a great time playing this. They’re charging $50 for it, but I think that’s a bit too expensive for it. $30 seems like a better going rate.
Regardless, I’m looking forward to Greedfall 2!