Steelrising Hands-On Review.
Developer spiders is best known as something of a bioware tribute studio its most successful game greed fall is the latest in a modest line of rpgs that draw heavily upon the likes of mass effect and dragon age but spider's next game steel rising is nothing like a bioware game at all instead it's an ode to from software
Specifically it is bloodborne set in the french revolution with yharnam's beasts swapped out for parisian clockwork robots as a pitch it sounds a little derivative at least mechanically but despite seemingly minimal innovations playing steel rising reveals something that has genuine promised.
Steelrising Hands-On First impration.
At a recent hands-on event i was able to play around three hours of steel rising which covered the opening locations and the first major boss playing as aegis a clockwork automaton ballerina turned bodyguard i explored a small variety of twisty rural village and parisian city locations that knotted themselves together with shortcut routes as i tore apart robotic enemies with blades and bullets
I collected anima essence a resource that i could use to upgrade my stats and improve my weapons provided i didn't lose it upon death upgrades were conducted at vestal checkpoints which also refilled my health restoring oil buret with a fresh supply if it's not already clear steel rising plays exactly like a from.
Steelrising Hands-On System.
Software game it's easy to be cynical about this where exactly is spyder's original work here but look at from software's own library and it can often be difficult to see the difference between demon souls and elder ring the souls-like formula seems fated to remain as pure as possible and so it's in the details that
we find each new game's differences with steel rising those differences appear to vary in significance as well as quality like bloodborne steel rising is an action rpg that promotes aggression with only a few weapons that offer the ability to block or counter this is a combat system in which you dodge and jump your way through incoming blows in an enjoyably mobile manner while it's governed by the genre staple stamina system when your endurance is exhausted you can rapidly cool your robot's internal mechanisms with an active reload like button press
which instantly tops your stamina up and throws you back into the fight this is particularly helpful in mastering steel rising staggering mechanic give an enemy no reprieve and a diamond-shaped gauge will build to breaking point allowing you to land a high damage critical attack these are minor tweaks rather than big changes to bloodborne's core so consider this an alternate recipe to an already great meal rather than a different dish entirely across my three hours.
Steelrising Hands-On First Playstyle.
I discovered this combat core can be expanded upon with a range of weapons that influence small variations in playstyle a pair of metal corrugated fans can be used to slice apart brass baddies but slam them together and they become a shield for a more defensive approach a better offense can be found in the dual-wielded falcion and sabre which sends aegis pirouetting through the air like a deadly tornado for longer range engagements a pistol can fire a volley of freezing alchemical bullets that disable enemies and open them up for a brutal melee while i eventually settled on the falcion and sabre for the final half of my demo i was eager to experiment with each and every weapon.
I found and discovered something to like in all of them the fun of them helps overcome what i foresee will be steel rising's main combat problem rhythm it is notably choppier than its apparent inspiration with your actions never quite flowing together with the same fluidity as the best souls likes more than anything this highlights steel rising significantly lower budget and holds it back from being a true pair of from software's catalogue and yet this never bothered me across my hours of play enjoyably.
Steelrising Hands-On Enemy Designs.
Enemy designs with well-drawn attacks from fire-breathing metal snakes to walking electrified battering rams keep combat consistently fun if not smooth the fiction also helps to do a lot of lifting since the enemies are all robots their jerky movements frequent pauses and stiff exaggerated wind-ups feel in keeping with their nature aegis is thankfully a much faster automaton and while her animation transitions could flow better her speed and ability to swiftly dodge around enemies ensured that her mechanical movement never felt to my detriment the combination of a fast protagonist and jerky easily.
Read enemies meant steel rising at least in these opening hours felt a touch easier than the usual souls-like offerings but for anyone who does struggle assist mode offers a significant advancement in the ongoing difficulty debate around souls likes rather than being a straight up easy mode assist allows you to manually adjust various factors to tailor the challenge you can reduce enemy damage in percentage increments opt to keep your anima essence on death and adjust how quickly your stamina replenishes if nothing else i hope steel rising is influential.
Steelrising Hands-On System.
In aiding other developers find new and innovative ways to help people enjoy souls likes it seems that spiders is doing plenty right with its tribute to from software then but my play session also highlighted a number of things the studio is struggling with the demo opened on a plodding conversation between historical figures marie antoinette and her favourite gabrielle de polonak which suggested that while steel rising will have a more cinematic approach to storytelling than dark souls that may not be in its favor its environmental storytelling may fair no better while.
AT Last But not Least:
I enjoyed that the world displayed the hallmark souls-like design where all roads eventually lead back to a central checkpoint, I found little to be truly fascinated by on my travels aside from some notes left by long dead npcs the few areas, I explored felt more like maze routes than an actual country in the midst of a political upheaval and yet despite these flaws steel rising remained really engaging at least in those opening hours that satisfying combat with its oddly mechanical rhythm is accompanied by a beautiful intricate clock punk art style which sees the grandeur of assassin's creed unity blended with the ticking metal monsters of doctor who's 2006 episode the girl in the fireplace.
Bring down this mechanical menace it's the combination of meshed combat systems and absurd alt history fiction that makes steel rising endearing to me despite its struggles i doubt it'll give eldon ring a run for even its small change but i'm nonetheless fascinated to see what other wild enemies and weapons remain to be found in the burning streets of paris when steel rising releases this september.