Soulstice Review: A Rich & Brutal World You Never Want To Leave


If someone were to take the tone and aesthetic of Berserk and combine it with the fluid combat system of Devil May Cry, the result would be Soulstice. Despite standing on the shoulders of two giants, Soulstice manages to create its own identity thanks to its deep understanding and successful implementation of the elements that make those properties so beloved. It’s not without its flaws, but the story, gameplay, power scaling, and aesthetic of the Holy Kingdom of Keidas is wholly engrossing and keeps players hooked from beginning to end.

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Soulstice follows Briar and Lute, two sisters who are on a mission to join their comrades and close the tear in the Veil that’s allowing Wraiths and other monstrosities to enter the Holy Kingdom of Keidas. Briar and Lute are a Chimera, an entity that is created by forging two souls that result in two halves: an enhanced physical body, Briar, and the spirit-like Shade, Lute. As the two reach a ruined kingdom comparable to Bloodborne‘s Yharnam, they realize that they’re in over their heads. Despite the destruction, overwhelming odds, and a mysterious inner power that threatens both of their lives, the sisters press forward into the shattered and unrelenting kingdom.

Related: Steelrising Review: A Fast & Fluid Soulslike

When it comes to combat and exploration, Soulstice plays exactly like Devil May Cry. Combat is focused on utilizing weapons for specific purposes, maintaining combos to build up special abilities, and receiving an overall score at the end of every combat encounter and level. Exploration is focused on light platforming, finding items that provide currency and health, and each area uses a fixed camera perspective that cuts whenever players move somewhere new. Despite these similarities, Soulstice still feels like its own game and that is thanks to Lute. Like God of War‘s Atreus, she is unplayable but acts as an independent entity that will fire bolts at enemies and alert players to attacks she can parry.

Lute’s most important ability is her control over the Evocation and Banishment Fields. These fields are crucial because certain enemies and objects can only be interacted with when inside their corresponding fields. Players must work quickly though because the field will shatter if used for too long and Lute will be inaccessible for a few seconds while she recovers. While players can eventually upgrade the fields and unlock abilities that cause it to damage enemies when broken, it can still be frustrating to lose Lute’s abilities in the middle of a hectic battle when players are also trying to keep track of various enemies and perform creative combos to build up Unity, which is necessary to perform special Synergy attacks.

Combat scenarios like this highlight the weaker parts of Soulstice, such as the camera and access to certain abilities. The preset camera angles make it difficult to judge distance and can prevent players from seeing counter prompts if an enemy is offscreen, which usually results in hits that feel like they came out of nowhere. While players can adjust the camera, it moves slowly and since Briar and Lute’s attacks are primarily close-range and single-enemy focused for most of the game, trying to adjust and fight makes it really difficult to maintain combos and awareness. All of this can make the early-game feel frustrating at times and could have been avoided by giving players access to later weapons like Briar’s bow or by implementing AoE attacks like Elden Ring‘s Meteorite of Astel; either one would have made a world of difference.

Thankfully, abilities and weapons like these become accessible in the mid-game and make later combat encounters much more manageable. Even then, Soulstice manages to maintain a good balance overall and while some hits may feel unfair, no fight ever ends that way. They all feel satisfying and exciting in a way that motivates the player to continue towards the next one. The moments of exploration between fights also encourages players to take in the stunning art design of the world and Briar’s armor and weaponry, which look like they’re lifted straight from the pages of Berserk; but this only scratches the surface of Soulstice. This is a challenging, beautiful, and engrossing game with a ton to offer and shouldn’t be passed over.

Soulstice is available September 20 for PC, PlayStation 5, and Xbox Series X/S. Screen Rant was provided with a PlayStation 5 digital download for the purpose of this review.



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