Review of “Lies of P”: A Gothic Masterpiece That Reimagines Pinocchio in the Soulslike Universe

This banner captures the dark, gothic atmosphere of the game, featuring the main character 'P' set against the plague-ridden cityscape of Krat

In the pantheon of Soulslike games—a genre notorious for its punishing difficulty and intricate lore—the 2023 release of Lies of P stands out not just as a worthy entry but as a significant evolution. Developed by Neowiz Games and Round8 Studio, Lies of P merges the dark, gothic aesthetics with a reimagined tale of Pinocchio, crafting a hauntingly beautiful world that challenges and rewards in equal measure.

Gameplay: A Dance of Steel and Strategy

The core of Lies of P is its combat system, which adheres to the unforgiving mechanics typical of a Soulslike. Players take on the role of P, a puppet in search of his creator in the plague-ridden city of Krat. The gameplay mechanics are robust, featuring a mix of blocks, light and heavy attacks, dodges, and special moves called Fable Arts. Each element requires strategic thinking and precise timing, especially the game’s signature perfect guard, which allows players to negate damage and eventually break an opponent’s weapon.

The game doesn’t shy away from its inspirations—its visual and mechanical homage to Bloodborne is apparent. Yet, it differentiates itself with gameplay more reminiscent of Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, focusing heavily on defense and counterattacks.

Character Deep Dive: The Enigmatic “P”

At the heart of Lies of P is the protagonist, known simply as P, a puppet with a mysterious past and an even more intriguing future. As P, players navigate through the plague-ridden city in search of their creator, Geppetto, unraveling secrets and facing moral dilemmas along the way. P’s design is visually striking, blending human-like features with mechanical complexities that reflect the game’s steampunk influences. This character design not only serves the aesthetic but also deeply integrates into the gameplay and story, making P a compelling figure to guide through this dark and twisted journey.

Strengths and Weaknesses: A Balanced View

Strengths

  • Engaging Storyline: Unlike many Soulslike games, Lies of P provides a coherent and engaging storyline that is easy to follow but rich with depth, appealing to both hardcore fans and newcomers.
  • Stunning Visuals and Sound: The game’s graphics are a high point, with detailed environments and atmospheric audio that truly immerse players in its world.
  • Complex Combat System: The game shines in its combat mechanics, offering a robust and rewarding system that feels fresh within the genre.

Weaknesses

  • Steep Learning Curve: For some, the difficulty might be off-putting, as the game demands significant investment to master its combat.
  • Repetitive Environments: Some players might find the repeated use of certain settings, like cathedrals, to detract from the game’s otherwise rich world-building.
  • Animation Delays: The long animation times for certain actions can lead to frustrating gameplay moments, especially during intense battles.

Narrative: Unraveling the Strings

Unlike many of its predecessors in the genre, Lies of P provides a more straightforward narrative. The story is easier to follow, with clear objectives and more direct storytelling. Cutscenes and NPC interactions within the Hotel Krat hub area offer exposition that helps to piece together the chaotic world of Krat. The narrative does well to blend the mysterious with the explicit, allowing for an engaging story that players can follow without needing to dig through cryptic item descriptions—unless they want to.

Visual and Audio Design: A Bleak Beauty

Visually, Lies of P is nothing short of breathtaking. Set in a Belle Époque-era France, the game features beautifully detailed environments, from cobblestone streets and grand cathedrals to dilapidated villages and underground chasms. The steampunk elements interwoven with gothic architecture provide a backdrop that feels both alive and apocalyptic. The sound design complements this with a haunting score that amplifies the tension and dread inherent in the gameplay.

Boss Battles: The Ultimate Test

The bosses of Lies of P are a diverse and formidable bunch. Each boss presents unique challenges that test different aspects of the player’s skills, from timing and strategy to sheer perseverance. The King of Puppets, a particularly memorable mid-game boss, exemplifies the game’s knack for frustrating yet rewarding encounters. These battles are the epitome of the Soulslike experience—punishing but profoundly satisfying upon victory.

World Design: Interconnected and Immersive

The game’s world is meticulously crafted, with interconnected levels that encourage exploration and re-exploration. The level design follows a more linear path compared to open-world games like Elden Ring, yet it offers enough complexity to feel expansive. The attention to detail in each location not only enhances the atmosphere but also enriches the overall gameplay experience.

Conclusion

Lies of P is a testament to how a well-executed blend of familiar mechanics and innovative storytelling can breathe new life into a saturated genre. It does not simply mimic the Soulslike formula but iterates on it in meaningful ways, offering a fresh yet familiar experience that respects its roots while forging its own identity.

The game’s ability to balance brutal combat with a compelling story and stunning visuals makes it a standout title in 2023 and a must-play for fans of the genre. Whether you are drawn to the challenge of its gameplay or the dark charm of its narrative, Lies of P promises a journey worth undertaking—a beautifully harrowing adventure that will linger in your thoughts long after the credits roll.

More from linagamer:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *