Lies of P

Review: Lies Of P

Did anyone expect The Adventures of Pinocchio to be the perfect vehicle for a Soulslike? In hindsight, the makings are there, and to this day, some elements feel right at home in the novel and even the Disney adaptation. However, the initial reveal did not prepare me for the first game that feels like it could be a successor to Bloodborne, the PlayStation exclusive that people are still discussing. As more and more details came to light, the comparisons were hard to ignore, and now, after playing Lies of P, it truly feels like something FromSoftware developed.

Fans of Soulslikes will feel instantly familiar with Lies of P, as the game has the same features as its contemporaries. Stargazers act as bonfires, you collect upgrade resources called Ergo from slain enemies, there’s a badass boss fight to jump into towards the end of each area, and the city of Krat is full of secrets to find and shortcuts to unlock. These elements operate precisely like any game from FromSoftware, donning a fresh coat of paint and showcasing similar mechanics.

The Lies You Told

Instead, Lies of P focuses on the core of the Soulslike experience, frankly nails it spectacularly. Each location is designed cleverly, with real thought put into various enemies and their placement. You’re constantly returning to open up shortcuts, which are much more common than in a typical Souls game. However, this makes the exploration feel much more rewarding and allows the people at Neowiz Games to throw in some tricky encounters. If you encounter an enemy that overpowers you and uses up your healing items, a shortcut may allow you to bypass them altogether. Newly invigorated, you can tackle said enemy directly and not feel unfairly stabbed in the back. But don’t worry. Just because it makes certain aspects more enjoyable, the game does not make it easy for you.eG2rrPA

Lies of P doesn’t leave the Soulslike series’s comfort zone but has a certain air of originality. When you die and lose your Ergo, the pile you leave behind becomes smaller depending on how many times you get hit trying to retrieve it. Similarly, your weapon wears out relatively quickly, causing you to do less damage as its condition deteriorates. However, Pinocchio has a mini belt grinder that allows you to repair your weapon instantly and even in combat. If you successfully fend off enemies and their attacks, restoring your sword to full is satisfyingly engaging. This can even add nice buffs to your weapon later on, like a poison embellishment. Pinocchio has a respectable arsenal and can customize some of it.

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One thing that immediately caught my attention was the ingenious adoption of Bloodborne’s weapon system. Your right hand wields your melee weapon, while your left is reserved for utility and ranged capabilities, turning your robotic arm into a tool of destruction. This twist on the familiar mechanic is a stroke of brilliance.

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You can choose from various tools for your left arm, each with its strategic value. Whether it’s the swift and effective Puppet String, allowing you to tether a grappling hook to your enemies, or the formidable Falcon Eyes, transforming your arm into a cannon for long-range puppet annihilation, the options are plenty. My personal favourite? The Aegis shield, not only for its defensive capabilities but also for the fiery explosion it triggers upon impact. The best part? These tools are upgradable, offering unique enhancements to keep combat fresh and exciting.

Puppet Armada and the Joy of Crafting

And then there’s the pièce de résistance: the weapon-crafting system. Picture this: disassembling any weapon in your arsenal and concocting bizarre, Frankenstein-esque creations. Have you ever imagined attaching a giant saw blade to a sword’s hilt, turning it into a fencing nightmare? Well, in Lies of P, you can. The freedom to mix and match hilts and blades is both whimsical and surprisingly practical, offering countless possibilities for creative combat. However, it’s worth noting that the most potent weapons are legendary and can’t be disassembled, which might deter some from fully embracing the crafting system.

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Your weapon, for example, always consists of a hilt and blade, except for special boss weapons. These come equipped with respective skills and offer scaling with your stats. What’s cool is that you can combine these two elements in any way you like, making very fancy new attacks possible. A short sword grip with a massive spanner at the other end is no problem. Unfortunately, skills always use up something called Fable, but thankfully, it can be replenished by attacks and successful blocking. However, I suggest using it somewhat sparingly, as it takes time to recharge.

Fortunately, there is also a kind of Estus flask that is constantly refilled. What’s new here is that when they all deplete, you recharge a bottle by attacking and counterattacking. You’re rewarded for dodging and attacking by having a bit of health restored to you. In addition, there is a big focus on perfectly timed blocking. If you manage to do this, you don’t suffer any damage, but if you miss the moment a bit, you still have the chance to get your life back by attacking immediately afterwards. The entire focus in Lies of P is on being offensive and staying limber by dodging — a very helpful command you’ll come to love.

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A Skill Tree of Mechanical Wonders

The game’s skill tree is another standout feature. Upgrading your puppet’s mechanical innards provides many benefits, from adding amulet slots to expanding your healing capabilities. These upgrades add depth to your character progression, making each choice a calculated step toward becoming a real boy. I spent more time than I’d like to admit agonizing over which upgrades to choose, but that’s a testament to the game’s thoughtful design.

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Lies of P is set in late 19th and early 20th century Belle Époque in Krat. The city was once beautiful, but a deadly plague turned Krat into a living hell filled with unspeakable horrors. Krat is a gloomy city where numerous Automatons roam the streets, rooftops, alleys, and buildings. At the beginning of your adventure, you take on the role of the puppet Pinocchio, who wakes up in an abandoned train station, not knowing where he comes from or what his purpose is. As you may know, Geppetto carved a wooden puppet called Pinocchio and was visited by the Blue Fairy, granting Geppetto’s wish by transforming the puppet into a living boy, which inevitably leads Pinocchio to achieve his goal of becoming a real boy.

In Lies of P, Pinocchio does not know who Geppetto is, but he knows he must find Geppetto, and on his journey, he will learn to understand his identity, abilities, and destiny. But it is up to you how you will guide Pinocchio because there are always decisions to make, where you decide whether to lie or tell the truth. Each lie can lead to various outcomes that, from what I experienced, affect the story, so it’s wise to experiment with multiple playthroughs to see where your choices take you. This adds an excellent level of mystery to the whole game, and coupled with the very dark yet fresh atmosphere, I enjoyed learning more about Gepetto, the dolls, and other horrors.wVaWNrD

But let’s stay in the hotel for a moment. This is your nexus, so to speak, in which you can level up with Sophia and collect all kinds of fellow fighters and companions. Be it the quirky Venigni, who also helps you upgrade your Legion arm or a new merchant who conjures up new weapons from boss items. In Gepetto’s room, collected quartz can be invested in new P-Organs (your heart, you freaks), which offer you more healing potions or a second dodge roll and a roll after a knockdown.

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While Lies of P excels in its single-player experience, it leaves a void regarding multiplayer modes. Understandably, co-op could upset the game’s balance, but the absence of PvP feels like a missed opportunity. The game’s fast-paced, reflex-driven combat could shine in competitive duels. You can always summon help for the bosses beforehand, provided you have enough items. The cool thing is that you can even strengthen these helpers for the boss fights with items.

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Of course, no Soulslike would be complete without offering a challenge. Lies of P takes a somewhat mixed approach in this regard. While most encounters with standard enemies and bosses lean toward the manageable side, occasional spikes in difficulty can catch you off guard. Some boss fights can feel frustratingly challenging, with repeated deaths leaving you questioning your level or strategy. These difficulty spikes can be jarring, especially when the preceding exploration sections have been relatively easy. The inconsistency in difficulty becomes even more pronounced depending on your character build.

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Verdict

Lies of P might not be Bloodborne 2, but it is an excellent and engaging experience inspired by some of the best games in the industry. With gameplay, Neowiz plays it safe to the chest, but small things like Ergo and how you spend currency are smartly implemented. In the deluge of Soulslike games in recent years, Lies of P is the one game that stands toe to toe with FromSoftware’s patented designs. I’m content with my experience, and while many games have been tried, Neowiz understands the formula better than most developers.

Recommended

[The publisher provided a copy of the game for review purposes.]

Reviewed on: PlayStation 5

Lies of P
Summary
Summary
Lies of P might not be Bloodborne 2, but it is an excellent and engaging experience inspired by some of the best games in the industry.
Liked
Excellent visuals and world design
Fair but difficult gameplay
Wonderful use of the source material
Didn't Like
There are some difficulty spikes