Bloodborne was a unique steampunk addition to the gruesome Darksouls universe, being a welcome diversion from the gothic-themed franchise. It ended up being one of the most celebrated games of the 2010s. Its release though was not received well by all gamers for one incredibly make-believe reason. FromSoftware in conjunction with Sony decided that greatness awaits Bloodborne and that it should be made a PS4 exclusive.
So PC gamers, including yours truly, were left yearning for a game that would finally explain what the hype was all about. That is until the folks at Neowiz Games had the idea that Carlo Collodi’s confused puppet would make a great Soulsborne hero and gave us Lies of P. Maybe it was deliberate or just a matter of convenience, but the new Belle Époque-themed steampunk rendition of Pinocchio released almost a month earlier on PC than it did on Sony’s precious console.
Ever since its release, Lies of P has been compared with and recognized as a Bloodborne remake. However, this comparison is unfair for reasons only those who have played the game will understand. This video game iteration of Pinocchio brings elements to the Soulsborne genre that could very well transform the way these games are made.
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How does the combat in Lies of P stack up against Bloodborne?
The term ‘rage-quit’ was specifically coined to describe the situation most gamers go through while playing games that require a lot of button mashing. While Soulsborne games may be a far cry from the likes of Devil May Cry, the difficult combat system is what makes the games so popular. The combat, combined with some elaborate but cryptic lore, gives players a sense of purpose albeit one that ultimately involves endless button mashing.
It is here that Lies of P creates an incredible niche and distinguishes itself. The combat in Lies of P isn’t exactly difficult compared to other Soulslike counterparts but offers some new elements that make up for the lack of soul-crushing challenge. While constrained in terms of build choices, combat in Lies of P is actually quite diverse and therefore engaging.
Boss fights in Soulsborne games can be quite linear requiring repetitive use of the same strategy to attain victory. They also usually contain two phases. Lies of P follows a very similar formula in combat but with room to try out multiple strategies. One such crucial aspect of combat is the use of blocking.
The Guard Mechanic in Lies of P vs Bloodborne
Referred to as ‘guard’ in Lies of P, blocking plays a crucial role in combat that can even be used extensively as your only combat strategy. Guard in Bloodborne is merely a telltale concept put in to give the idea of diverse combat when all you can actually do is dodge and strike. On the other hand, the guard mechanic in Lies of P can be harnessed to take down the toughest of bosses without dodging a single strike.
Blocking is no walk in the park either in Lies of P since the game demands timing. This adherence to timing is made all the more relevant with the mechanic known as the Lies of P Perfect Guard, where you are able to deflect any attack and stagger a boss with an immaculately timed block. This element actually encourages players to master blocking and prefer using it in combat. Blocking, therefore, takes combat in Lies of P to a much higher and satisfactory level than in Bloodborne.
Melee and Ranged Combat
Lies of P is not without its limitations. Where Bloodborne combined ranged and melee combat to create the perfect Soulslike playthrough, Lies of P relies exclusively on melee combat. But, again, Neowiz has found ways to make up for the deficiencies deliberately put in the game by adding ‘counter’ mechanics.
Rather than having to shoot at distant enemies, Pinocchio prefers to draw them closer within the striking range provided he is equipped with the trusty ‘puppet string’. Then, there is the option of throwing almost everything and the kitchen sink at the enemy if it is available in your inventory.
Combat in Lies of P seems to be short yet somewhat savory in a deliberate attempt to motivate the player toward focusing on the story just as much. That is perhaps where the game differs most and announces itself as a worthy counterpart to Bloodborne on PC.
Is The Lies of P Story Really That Good?
Carlo Collodi wrote his magnum opus in 1883, which was 140 years ago. Neowiz, instead of closely sticking to the original story, decided to include the steampunk and Soulsborne theme around it. This approach means that there is plenty of the real Pinocchio in the game to explore. A key element therein is the Lies of P lie system.
Just as you start investing yourself in the game after defeating the first boss, you are given the choice of either lying or resorting to honesty. Either option can have a substantial effect on the gameplay and the way the story ends.
Pinocchio’s ability to lie sets this game apart from Bloodborne or any Souls game for that matter. With an emphasis on lying and serious consequences for doing so, Lies of P diverges steeply from the core Soulsborne hack-and-slash theme. Instead, it becomes a more meaningful RPG where you uncover bits and pieces of the story as you progress and put them together to create something of your own.
The Bloodborne Legacy and How Lies of P Carves Its Own Space
Very few developers dare admit it, but being labelled Soulslike or a Soulsborne isn’t always in the best interests of a game’s future. Being compared to something always means people will view it as a copy, and debates are always centered on this subject. In fact, this article was prompted by the same reason which like in many facets of life leads to only one conclusion.
For almost a decade, the gaming industry has been showering praises on FromSoftware’s steampunk iteration of Dark Souls. For just as long, any game that even remotely resembled the formula was dubbed a Soulsborne. It is easy to categorize Lies of P the same way, and yes, it ably fills the Bloodborne void on PC. But such comparisons only tend to understate what Neowiz Games have created in their new RPG.
While previous Soulsborne games used the story merely to put your relentless monster-slaying into perspective, Lies of P actually tells its own tale.