From the first time we set foot on Boletaria, in the now cult game Demon’s Souls, FromSoftware’s formula used in games like Bloodborne, Dark Souls has caught on. Now it is more and more common, among the players, to ask themselves, what is their favorite ‘soulslike’ among the many that are currently on the market. 2023 is special as it features a lot of ‘soulslike’. Among these 2023 releases are games like Lies of P and other games that are already on the market and have elements of this subgenre such as Star Wars Jedi: Survivor. So in our Stary Blade review, we’ll find out if Point Blank Games has managed to understand the subgenre dominated by FromSoftware.
Stray Blade is also available on PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X|S.
A simple story to understand
Stray Blade’s story begins in the Acrea Valley. Our character —male or female according to our preference, called Farren West— travels to this place in search of adventure and riches. However, upon reaching the Valley of Acrea he finds himself in a hostile environment. As a result of his first contact, he ends up perishing, only to come back to life, with a strange rock embedded in his chest. This new element, in the body of our hero, makes him tied to this mysterious place. For this reason, our destination will be to explore the Acrea Valley to find out how to get out of the situation that afflicts it.
Boji will make us laugh a few times on our adventure.
During our journey we are accompanied by a curious character named Boji, who will take us by the hand through Acrea and will assist us by reviving us and telling us all the details that cover the world of Stray Blade. So to achieve our goal we will have to face the golden army, which sows the land throughout the Valley of Acrea. This premise is straightforward and works to keep players engaged in the events of Farren and Boji’s adventure through to its conclusion. The game is fully subtitled in Spanish and has a highly polished sound and dubbing section.
‘Parrys’ and colors, the fundamentals of Stray Blade combat
In the forge we can create the necessary equipment to face the golden army.
In a ‘soulslike’, combat is the main axis of the gameplay and in this aspect Stary Blade has a simple proposal, but inclement if we make a mistake or have to duel with more than one enemy at the same time. This is because the fighting system responds to two main actions: the parry to hit back and dodge at the right time. Additionally, before attacking, each enemy lights up in a specific color —red to dodge and blue to execute the parry— which will help us know how we should respond to the enemy’s onslaught. By executing each of these actions properly, players will be rewarded with a slight increase in blood and of course with some experience.
Some enemies will require more than brute force to defeat them.
Additionally, in battles we can use spells, abilities and we can even count on Boji’s help to defeat enemies either by ending his life or draining the resistance bar to attack and do more damage to enemies. Unfortunately, the variety of enemies —and Farren’s movements— is quite limited. Thanks to this, when we’re not facing a boss, the fights become repetitive and monotonous. Added to this, the game has several performance problems and ‘stuttering’, which makes the reaction to the enemy’s blows fail —especially when we face several enemies at the same time.
An interesting artistic proposal, but soulless
Stray Blade has a decent musical section, which stands out in boss battles. Additionally, the game’s art direction is eye-catching —despite the lifelessness of its world— and its graphics resemble those seen in games like darksiders either dauntless. We have previously discussed some stuttering issues during combat, as this also occurs in some of the non-fighting areas of the game. During the time we took to review Stray Blade, we experienced a couple of ‘bugs’. Although these were not so aggressive as to interrupt our session, they did manage to surprise us. Since, the game —despite being exclusive for the current generation of consoles and PC— does not stand out for having polished graphics.
Stray Blade In Summary
Stray Blade is a game with a fun and simple combat system that is balanced with the large amount of year that the enemies do. Its settings have a nice artistic direction, but they are wasted. Since, despite having large areas, the rewards are not and the repetitiveness of their combats force us to go directly for the main objective so as not to fall into boredom. If you’re a fan of the genre, you’ll manage to get hooked on Stray Blade, if you can’t weigh it twice. Fortunately, the price of the game in Colombia, in the Steam store, is attractive enough to have it on the wish list if one day we want to die and relive a good time in the valleys of Acrea.