Do you remember the fable of Pinocchio? Now, the famous fairy tale makes a comeback as a videogame, but you better prepare for a much more complicated journey. As the release date on September 19 draws closer, you may ask if Lies of P has what it takes to be the best souls-like in 2023?
Many people associate Pinocchio with the Disney animation. However, looking back at the original, we realize that the story is pretty dark and more aimed at adults. Choi Ji-Won, Lies of P Game Director, has also chosen the dark side – and used it to the fullest.
The eerie world of Lies of P
This game is the brutal horror version of Pinocchio in a Soulslike format. Lies of P is set in the late 19th Century of the Belle Époque Era in Europe within a fictional city called Krat.
Once a beautiful and prosperous place, the city has morphed into a technological nightmare due to the creation of animated dolls and a deadly plague. Curiously, the old doll maker Geppetto appears to be somehow linked to this catastrophe.
It’s time for Pinocchio to clean up Krat
Since Geppetto’s whereabouts remain a mystery, his masterpiece, Pinocchio, is dispatched to Krat to locate him and unveil the truth shrouded in darkness. Right at the Krat train station, it becomes evident that the metal boy won’t rely solely on lies and diligence to overcome the challenges.
The once-guardian dolls, porters, and actors now roam the streets, attacking any living beings in sight. Fortunately, our puppet mechanoid happens to be a gifted swordsman!
Lies of P is a damn hard Soulsborne
The outstanding feature that sets this game apart from its competitors is undoubtedly the robot enemies. Their movements make them look more sinister than usual zombies or knights you know from other souls-likes and much more brutal to read.
Your enemies are much more unpredictable
While conventional enemies tend to follow foreseeable attack patterns, the sneaky robots here are a completely different story. They strike suddenly, pause randomly, spin with increased speed, or perform quick strikes.
The Parade Master, one of the three demo bosses, is a prime example of these ‘unnatural, unsettling movements.’ Its eerie appearance is only surpassed by the teeth-grinding intensity of the combat it offers. Would you like to know which bosses you must deal with in the demo? We have hidden this info in the video above!
The souls-like goes into a new direction
Lies of P delivers particularly tough but story-driven, original combat that breaks with the Soulslike routine and breathes fresh air into the genre. However, the gameplay is brutal, especially for newcomers.
Nevertheless, the game proves it is carved out of the Soulslike genre. Say hello to mechanics like dodging, blocking and features like dive attacks and backstabs. Tough opponents can also be brought into a ‘groggy’ state with attacks so you can finish them off that way.
Rethinking the weapons in Lies of P
Another original feature shows up in the weaponry. Pinocchio has two essential armaments: the so-called legion arms, with which you can perform attacks like shockwaves or flame blasts, and the actual weapons. And here’s where it gets interesting.
It takes two
In games like Elden Ring or Dark Souls, you were used to finding and upgrading certain weapons. Lies of P divides them into two components: blades and handles, which not only have their own special abilities, but you can freely combine them with each other.
Thus, moveset and damage type can be flexibly determined, which is just as important a component in a Souls-like game as high base damage. However, there are limitations.
To counteract exploits, the game scales down the stats accordingly, for example, should you combine a slow, heavy greatsword blade with a fast saber grip. So, crafting weapons holds the potential for a vast array of combinations, and this potential expands exponentially with each discovery we uncover.
The fights give you plenty of reason to tinker with your weapons because the hit feedback is rich, the enemy placement seems coherent, and the animations are impressive.
What the game still could do better
However, we must criticize the main character’s somewhat stiff movement behavior. Our hero, who doesn’t look like he’s been carved but rather like a 16-year-old top model, sometimes feels like a block of wood when dodging. This makes smooth movement in combat almost impossible. We hope that the developers will do some fine-tuning here. After all, in a Souls-like game, a dodge roll should not be inferior to a sword slash in terms of smoothness. These inconsistent aspects especially hurt during nasty boss fights.
However, this doesn’t change the fact that the game is excellent fun and plays mostly cleanly, embedded in a convincingly gloomy setting.
The city of Krat is as beautiful as it is intimidating and decorated with many details. A particular highlight here is the Hotel Krat, which you can already visit in the released demo. The characters are lovingly designed, and the atmosphere is dense.
The lie system & original story of Pinocchio
Since the story is based on the original tale, Pinocchio and Gepetto are not the only famous characters celebrating their comeback. And, of course, the game also lives up to its title.
Good boys always tell the truth
As Lies of P reimagines Pinocchio’s narrative, it’s unsurprising that an essential component will be the Lie System, which is integral to the overall gameplay. While the precise mechanics of this system are yet to be fully revealed, developer NEOWIZ has hinted that player choices and dialog responses will contribute to it.
For instance, Pinocchio’s response to a question influences the accumulation of Humanity Points, steering the story towards various endings. Moreover, this choice-driven dynamic impacts Pinocchio’s interactions with NPCs, the adversaries he encounters, and potentially more, shaping a richly diverse player experience.
More original characters are coming to Krat
There is also Antonia. As proprietor of the Krat Hotel, she shares a longstanding friendship with Geppetto. Reputedly well-acquainted with all the hidden truths of Krat, following the catastrophe, Antonia generously welcomed all survivors into her hotel, offering it as a protective haven.
Her name obviously draws its inspiration from the Master Antonio character in the original novel. This skilled carpenter stumbled upon a wooden log to be sculpted into a table leg but preferred to give it to Gepetto.
The lovely cricket has also made its way into the game. Referred to as Gemini here, it dangles from our belt like a lantern and often provides commentary on the game world and significant events.
Also, the 4 Black Rabbits, who work for Death and carry a coffin in the original story, reappear here as a group of blood-curdling assassinators.
With its enemies, setting, and weapon-building options, the game manages to stand out from its peers and, regarding the in-game footage, has what it takes to be the best Soulslike of the year.
The release date of Lies of P is close
The new souls-like will hit the market on September 19 for PS4/PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, and PC. Until the release date, you can swing your blades in the Lies of P demo.
Lies of P comes in two editions: Standard and Deluxe Edition. Feel free to pre-purchase the game via the official website, Steam, or, for a discount, via Kinguin (affiliate link). What is the difference between the two editions? Here is a brief overview.
- Base game
- Mischievous Puppet’s Clothes, Parade Hat (Pre-order only)
- Base game
- Early access (72 hours – Pre-order only)
- Mischievous Puppet’s Clothes, Parade Hat (Pre-order only)
- The Great Venigni’s Signature Coat, Glasses
- Mask worn by those preparing for the festival
Do you miss your dungeons and dragons?
You love Soulslikes, but the plagued City of Krat with its robots doesn’t appeal to you? Then, you will find excellent alternatives in our ranking of best Souls-like Games.
Looking for intense combat with mechs? Then, get to know the new title from FromSoftware: Armored Core VI.
What’s your take on Lies of P? Do you think it can be the best souls-like of the year? Let us know in the comments below.