Lies of P ReviewNovember 4, 2023
It’s Belle Epoque apocalypse brought upon by puppets running amok. The dark streets festered with eldritch horror ready to pounce at you. End this nightmare as P. Now, the stage is set for Lies of P.
The Inevitable Comparison
It’s easy to see how Lies of P is quite reminiscent of FROMSOFTWARE’s Bloodborne. It’s clear that this is where it draws its very inspiration from. For those familiar, the streets of Krat invoke the setting of Yharnam. Its dark secrets are the foundations of its plot, and we are instructed to end it. I can see where others might see it as a blatant ripoff of Bloodborne from the atmosphere straight up to the UI elements and presentation, but it’s one done with attention to detail and respect.
I know, I know. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but a lot of people would have such disdain for imitations that they’ll tend to steer clear of anything unoriginal just because of its attempt at the recreation, but again, Lies of P builds upon the tried and tested soulslike formula for the better.
Lies of P presents some very useful tools to help you in eliminating mobs and bosses here. Trivializing isn’t the right word here since there’s still some skill involved in using your resources. But for the most part, fighting bosses is a war of attrition. Bosses have a boatload of HP, so expect a long battle after you’re done with the hordes of enemies.
Another fancy tool at your disposal are Legion Arms. These are upgradable tools that you can switch up, and it adds some variety to your playstyle. You can fight ranged, but you’ll suffer from long firing times with Falcon Eyes, which is essentially a cannon. Or, if you prefer going head to head against enemies, there’s the puppet string that can either pull enemies close to you or pull you in close to enemies. For a more defensive stance and you’re unsure of your parrying abilities since timings can be tricky, there’s the Aegis that functions as a shield. The variety it adds to your playstyle, and the option to reset the upgrades can help you determine which one is suitable for specific bosses.
Now, if you’re one to experiment further on playstyles, Lies of P lets you switch blades and handles that you can test out on. Damage output depends on the blade you choose, while the moveset will be based on the handle you’re using. I, for one, prefer equipping a faster weapon as it gives me more mobility and more room for error if I overextend attacking. It’s not exactly as important if you feel comfortable with your weapon, but the added variety to the playstyle can be fun to experiment with.
The P-Organ, the upgrade skill tree in Lies of P, is one of my favorite mechanics in the game. You’ll be surprised how it increases the fluidity of the gameplay, as well as how much it adds to healing and movement. So don’t miss out on this if you’re having difficulties with the road ahead.
As true in soulslike fashion, parrying is a key mechanic no matter what enemy you’re facing. And again, if you’re not sure about the rhythm of attacks or how they’re telegraphed, you can play defensively or utilize dodging until you get the hang of it. Parrying does open a lot of windows for attacks, so knowing which ones to dodge and parry will certainly help with bosses. What makes parrying so satisfying is how you can break enemy’s weapon, including bosses.
I mean, sure, it’s a soulslike through and through. And considering how Lies of P presents itself and where you’re likely coming from, it’s hard not to draw comparisons. But as you move forward through the game, it can deliver a unique experience from a gameplay perspective aside from the methodical battle system in soulslikes.
As much as I hate going through with the comparisons from Bloodborne, those still living in its legacy will feel that Lies of P’s visuals are on par with it. Actually, no. I thought the same at first but it seems that was nostalgia working. Lies of P’s graphics are quite modern, from the design elements in the sceneries, costumes, characters, to the grotesqueries and nightmarish landscapes seen from above. What’s more, you’re not locked in to 30fps, not 60fps, but you can go way above if your hardware’s capable.
A Strong World Building and a Stronger Narrative
Most soulslike games follow the core of Souls storytelling by building its world and telling the story through item descriptions, field designs and scarce conversations with NPCs. While Lies of P still does offer plenty of it, it comes with plenty of cutscenes and dialogues chock full of dialogue to bring its story to life. There are still things you need to piece together to get the entirety of plot and connections of characters to keep you hunting for every nook and cranny of every location.
If it’s not obvious yet with all the puppets and Geppetto central to the plot of Lies of P, you’re playing as Pinnochio. And NEOWIZ and Round8 Studio took “Lying” as a core system in the game. It adds some human interaction in your conversations with an NPC, and it’s sometimes hard to decide if you want to tell a lie or the truth, especially when you start caring about the characters you converse with. To make your decisions even harder to make, it can also dictate minor and major events of the game. It’s not a question of truth and lies however, because it’s a test on humanity. Puppets can’t tell lies, but P is special.
Lies of P’s dark and twisted telling of the fabled tale of Pinocchio brings a punishingly difficult yet satisfying title for soulslike fans or anyone looking to conquer challenges. It builds on the foundation built by its key inspiration, and makes it a game worth playing multiple times, just as how a soulslike game should.