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Soulstice Hands-on Preview – Fast-Paced Action Meets Souls-Like

Soulstice Hands-on Preview A Sisterhood of Gripping Action

Soulstice Hands-on Preview – Fast-Paced Action Meets Souls-Like

Sisters in war.

With the glut of gaming options available to gamers nowadays, it can be hard to stand out from the crowd, that is, unless you have both the style and substance. For Italian studio Modus Games, their latest project, Soulstice, the main attraction lies in not just its stylistic visuals but also a combat system that combines the powers of its twin protagonists, sisters Briar and Lute.

The pair is known as a Chimera, hybrid warriors born of the union of two souls, and each takes up a different burden when it comes to facing down the enemies known as the Wraiths. These feral creatures have invaded from the other side of the Veil, and unless our heroines do their job, the living stands no chance.

Soulstice gameplay

While our hands-on time with Soulstice doesn’t necessarily dive too deep into the story details, there are enough tantalizing bits to hook one’s interest. The mystery of the Veil and the invading Wraiths need to be investigated, there are events that can only be discovered using Lute’s powers that can replicate echoes, and it is likely we will get a deeper look at what price has to be paid for becoming a Chimera in this world.

The game also features some light platforming, enhanced by the need to hunt down resources that come in two different forms. Red crystals dropped from the environment and enemies can be used to upgrade Briar’s skills, while ethereal blue crystals can be exchanged at the mysterious Observer Layton for even more powerful abilities. Both types of crystals may also require Lute’s otherworldly control of the color-coded Evocation or Banishment fields to interact with them.

For all the secrets and environmental exploration, all of that fades into the background when the combat of Soulstice steps into the spotlight, or perhaps, just for this preview.

Soulstice combat

Unlike the more measured approach taken by Soulslike games such as Elden Ring or Thymesia, Soulstice features the same foreboding atmosphere but trades the slower combat for extreme velocity. Combat is fast and visceral, with Briar handling the enemies with extreme prejudice using a sword, whip, or heavier hammer, each serving a different purpose, such as breaking armor, while Lute supports with blasts and useful blocks and counters.

It is best compared to the Devil May Cry games, where chaining stylish combos together and avoiding getting hit is the name of the game, as swarms of enemies descend upon the pair and players do their best to navigate the chaos. Do well enough, and you will start building Unity, and when that gauge fills up, Briar and Lute can unleash more powerful Synergy attacks that bring a host of other benefits, such as stopping enemies temporarily or adding even more ranged attacks to the mix. It is a refreshing take on things, and, while not groundbreaking, it does allow the player to have more leeway for survival while maintaining a certain level of challenge in combat.

While the cannon fodder is usually dispatched easily, the boss fights in Soulstice are likely to require a little more strategy. Facing the Possessed Arrowhead in our preview, this was a multi-stage battle that throws all sorts of obstacles into my path and kept me thinking on my feet the whole time.

Soulstice arrowhead

Aside from having allies in tow, the battle requires the deft switching between the aforementioned two fields under Lute’s control in order to eliminate certain foes, with Arrowhead only getting damaged when in a Banishment field. Just when you thought an agile enemy couldn’t get harder, it starts using echoes to bash AoE attacks across the battlefield or use an arena-wide AoE explosive attack to pin the pair in a corner.

The combat never truly lets up in Soulstice, especially when facing the more dangerous enemies, and it is likely that such gameplay design will resonate strongly with players who seek games with high-skill ceilings, and the thrill of mastering a combat system that is dynamic and engaging.

For all the time we have spent trying to take down the Wraiths, the combat of Soulstice already has me hooked, and the setup is promising enough to warrant an invested interest in a game coming out on Sept. 20, 2022. If the team at Modus Studios can deliver a strong enough story, and continue to deliver high-impact action with the stylized visuals, Soulstice could very well be one of the breakout hits of this year.

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