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Review | Stellar Blade

"If you’re up for a daily dose of NieR meets Souls title, the wait is over! Stellar Blade steals the best mechanics from a wide pallet of games and incorporates it into a delightful experience with naked asses all over the place. Sweet!"

by Foggy, 27-05-2024, Edited by: No one (yet!)

Dark Stellar Automata

I really love NieR Automata, it’s one of my favourite games of all time. When I first saw Stellar Blade trailer (Project Eve at the time), I was interested, but I had no idea how the final product will turn out. Luckly, one of the trailers featured music just like in NieR – which is funny because the soundtrack was composed by Keiichi Okabe, composer of Nier's music. I was immediately hooked, even though some of the trailers looked a bit generic.

Stellar Blade is a 2024 action-adventure video game developed by Shift Up and published by Sony Interactive Entertainment. You may know this Korean developer by their Magna Carta series.

Stellar Blade is exclusive to PS5, with the release date on April 26, 2024. It comes with 3 modes:

  • Performance: Targets a 1440p (2K) resolution, with a 60 frames per second target.
  • Balanced: Upscales image to 4K (2160p), with a 60 frames per second target.
  • Resolution: Targets a 4K resolution (2160p), with a 30 frames per second target.

All 3 modes are excellent. They work as advertised. The best choice for all of you out there is the balanced mode – the fps dips are not really that noticeable, so what you get in the counterpart of enhanced graphics beats the fps reduction (which, like said, isn’t noticeable). With TV’s that support VRR this will be the winning formula. You can also turn of Motion Blur if you want.

With that being said – let’s start! I love NieR 3 (which this game aims so directly to be).

I'm honestly surprised how I've beat the game in the first place. Eve is so beautiful, especially while she's opening chests (wink wink). Welcome, this is new NieR (wannabe, but not a copy!)

What is it about androids and robots that makes similar games so good?

After Lies of P from the other Korean developer, I must admit, I have high hopes for upcoming Korean games. Chinese Sword and Fairy was also a fine game, so we are getting more and more perspective game developers.

I know this review is a bit late when compared to other big sites, but I like to take my time and do the things my way (plus, I was fully involved in Eiyuden Chronicle for the past few weeks). I don’t know about lower grades (lower than 8’s and 7’s) though – that seems a bit too aggressive. In my opinion, this is one of the best games you can play in this year, with heavy emphasis on the atmosphere and ass! Yeah, Eve (our protagonist) enters and suddenly game becomes 18+ alongside with gore elements. Lovely, just lovely! Oh, and I propose playing the game with Korean voice over, it feels natural and great. English threw me a bit of, so I just went with Korean.

Stellar Blade is a game about humanity, monsters and breeds of both worlds. Humans are on the brink of extinction, lead there by invasion of Naytibas – monstrous creatures you will slay throughout the whole game. Eve (the protagonist) is part of Colony’s Airborne Squad, sent from outside of Earth to eradicate the monsters. Of course, the bad turn of events will shape the story you are about to witness, with Eve being a sole survivor of her squad. Most of the events takes turn in Xion, the only town with survivors where you’ll meet their leader and come up with a plan to fully restore the humanity and eradicate the source of evil. There is so much more than just the description of the setting, I really enjoyed the story and the journey that forms alongside Adam and Lilly (your allies you meet early in the game). I do think that the game has certain flaws when it comes to characterization, especially with Eve. Adam is also not the best when it comes to emotions and deeper connection you feel in some games (like in NieR). Still, it’s not so bad, it’s actually awesome when you unlock certain questlines and read the lore you come across. Maybe the way to describe the story is that it doesn't have "weight" like some titles have.

Story comes with couple of twists, but nothing more. The thing I love the most is revealing what is really happening, bit by bit. Getting it all together is where I had the most fun (and the quests help to bring you that satisfaction). It can certanly be improved in the sequel if we ever get any.

I can't remember if there were any boring moments. Usually, it's either fun gameplay, fun exploration, fun lore or something to keep your eyes on. I loved everthing about this game.

Never a dull moment of exploration. Never a moment of bad outfit

When it comes to level design, you can think of this game as a Souls title, but with some open areas in between “chapters”. There are linear dungeons where you can teleport using the phone boots (which serves as teleports), no map, just the classic Souls exploration type of design; and there are 2 large open areas with multiple secrets to unfold.

I think the level design is a bit generic for some parts, but they’ve dosed it perfectly – just when I was fed with the open area, the linear one was next. So, until the end of the game I was constantly having fun with exploring everything, trying to find the most I can in pacing I consider to be exactly it should’ve been. Even the backtracking is done decently – when you need to return to some areas, usually it’s the open ones and they provide new pathways and dungeon parts, so it’s well worth your time.

Why everything works is because the game challenge you heavily on every step. No, it’s not about the difficulty, it’s about not holding your hand along the way. You can scan the surrounding area, but you still need to look carefully to find everything. There is a lot of hidden stuff. That just gives plus to the exploration and the game in whole.

The only way to experience the game fully is to find all memory sticks of fallen soldiers, plus, you know there are dozens of outfits? Remember that 18+ tag? Eve is a product of great physics in a game where nudity is not a problem. Running around in skirts and swimsuits can be distracting and sexist, but hey, I didn’t make the game! For sure, collecting 34 outfits on your first playthrough will keep you interested.

Well, you can only imagine the difficulties of keeping your focus together. I know, I know, it's not about naked Eve, but it kinda is! Nakedness aside - Stellar Blade offers variety of challenges and engaging exploration. Do not just run through the game.

Finally, a fun side-content

Another great think about the level design and the game design in general is the side content. Fishing is awesome, and revealing stories of certain characters can be interesting. Especially the singer from the town. There are “main” side quests and bulletin board chores – the ladder being a bit generic, but still fun in their own way. They can be “fetchy”, although it’s not that level of fetch quests when you just want it to be over.

I enjoyed the side content, the optional fights and everything that you can explore in this game. The only minus is the optional ending area that occurs during certain conditions, but overall, I have little complaints in this department. Maybe I wanted greener, nature-looking areas instead of deserts and metal though. Finding as much as you can reward you with more healing slots/takeouts, gear slots, or weapon damage. So, it’s well worth exploring and diving into the side content.

The only real minus is the fast traveling – when you start backtracking to find what you’ve missed, you will be angry with this system. I don’t know why you must reach your ship to reach some areas, why can’t you just teleport using a phone booth to teleport to any area you want? I lost so much time by traveling across locations, it makes no sense at all. Oh well, I guess that they can still patch this up in the future. One thing they will probably never patch is the platforming – jumping and aiming where you land is atrocious (plus, trying to aim towards the ropes in direction after swinging is sometimes nearly impossible, thus really frustrating). Platforming is not the best; you will need to get used to it.

Do you know that the longest quests gives you the most-revealing outfits? Play the side content and open all chests! You will not be dissapointed with the reward system.

It’s no wonder why more and more games “borrow” Souls combat

Combat. Yes, the combat. The best part of the game, alongside with the exploration. Think of it as a breed between DMC, Souls, and similar titles. The progression is well paced – in the start you only have basic combos, and by the end you will have to dodge, parry and combine all you unlock to win. It’s not that hard, it just takes time to learn the mechanics. Once you do – it’s enjoyment time. The effects are top-notch. It’s really fluid and fun, for the most part.

Enemy and boss design is great. I had so much fun beating everything and learning the patterns. Still, near the end of the game (maybe the last 5-10 hours) I knew how everything works. That made the journey a bit easy, especially when you max out your skills due to extensive side content completion which gives you a lot of skill points.

You can combine 2 exospines and 4 slots of gear enhancements to boost certain playstyle – but that never proved to be important. This segment of the game is a bit lacking if you ask me – there is so much to equip, and just these 6 slots. Plus, they don’t really enhance much.

What they did with 2 sections where you can only use your gun (the droid that follows you can be used as a ranged weapon) is also great – I loved the change of gameplay by using only your guns in mentioned sections. Although the gun will probably not be your primary weapon of choice, the gunplay is good and saucy.

To sum things up – awesome, fun combat, cool enemies/boss design, a lot of gore and nudity as you fight in a bunny suit = 40 hours of pure action joy.

A almost perfect pacing of the exploration, story-driven dungeons, open dungeons and activities. In the end, the only downside of this game is that it's over. I'm depressed and sad now, because I know nothing like this will come out soon.

Dress up Eve, we are nearly done

The last thing that binds everything is the music. I loved every track. Open areas maybe lack variety, but the recorded songs are simply beautiful. When the writing feels a bit of, and the characters don’t show the needed emotion, there is music to fix things up. It’s one of the best soundtracks I’ve heard and experienced, simply worth every praise.

If you loved NieR games, you love the challenge and chunks of Souls games – Stellar Blade takes from each game and it’s not a wannabe, it’s a real deal with its own identity packed in a form of nudity where you can find yourself hammering the edge of the area simply because your eyes and the camera points to certain angle. 40-50h of your time, plus NG+ with some new skills to unlock and 3 different endings, in a product that is bug-free and polished like rare titles… Man, I wish there were more games like this one. I think the game is worth its price I had so much fun, I forgot to sleep for almost 2 days. I hope there will be a sequel one day.

"A mashup of everything we’ve already played, combined almost perfectly in a package that feels like NieR, lacks a bit in story department, but plays better; Stellar Blade is hot, and its content is even hotter. Do not miss out on it."
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