Steelrising is a promising Souls-like game that could use a little more work – hands-on impressions

Many Souls-like games have graced the genre over the years, trying to take on 2009’s Demon’s Souls, which is considered by many to be the forerunner of the genre. Steelrising, from development studio Spiders, is another one of those games that’s coming out with a bang in hopes of bringing down at least a few slots with it.

Steelrising takes place during the French Revolution in an alternate history where King Louis XVI has used powerful robots (the automatons mentioned above) to rule hell in Paris. You play as Aegis, an elegant puppet-style robot-turned-warrior, and face off against Louis XVI’s army of mechanized monsters. While Steelrising hits the mark in some areas, it drastically misses the mark in others. Given that the developers have little experience creating Souls-like games, that’s to be expected.

A Twisted French Revolution

The main aspect of Steelrising that sets it apart from other games in the genre is the unique 18th-century French setting. Roaming the streets of Paris battling automatons reminiscent of clockwork machines of the time is a strange but exhilarating experience. Each of the enemies, while similar in style, range from chainball-wielding Iron Maid robots to automatons with cannons as weapons and great aim. While I’m a veteran of Souls-like games, I wasn’t prepared for some of the enemies I encountered. They’ve cost me my money, but never felt so challenging that I couldn’t beat them with well-timed attacks and a little planning.

Gamepur screenshot

Aegis is more than a robot – it’s a fighting machine, and its style requires it to be equipped with weapons and armor that suit your playstyle. I started the game with steel fans, which hit fast but felt awkward. After about 5-6 hours of play, I upgraded my arsenal to include a pistol that dealt Frost damage and a ball and chain that could explode in a flaming radius. While I’ve decided to mainly stick with these weapons, there were many more that I found and tested that felt unique and had amazing abilities that are worth investigating for a second run.

Basic but not bad

I could easily describe Steelrising as a decent Souls-like game with a few issues, but doing that is like describing every single Souls-like game from Lords of the Fallen to Thymesia. Steelrising has something in common with the other Souls-like games, which is that it doesn’t do enough to stand out from the rest. The game has a unique style and setting, but there aren’t any mechanics or story elements that set it apart from the next game on the list.

Gamepur screenshot

The character creator has few options, which is disappointing if you’re used to long lists of options or built-in sliders that let you distort the face to your own specifications. The maps, while extensive, are very linear and don’t give you enough space to explore. For someone who likes to look at every nook and cranny of an area, I felt like I could easily run through places without looking back too much, except when I hit a destructible wall. While combat is exciting, it never deviates from the basic Souls formula with a slight fickleness. Every movement of Aegis seems to lag or twitch, and combat doesn’t feel as smooth when you’re trying to dodge or punch an opponent.

Almost soulful

Gamepur screenshot

Steelrising is definitely a game worth checking out if you’re a fan of the Souls games or want a new action RPG. While I haven’t worked my way through the full game yet, I plan to explore it further in the coming weeks. In its current state, Steelrising sits above other Souls-like games on the list, but falls short when compared to the kings of the genre. Despite its flaws, Steelrising is a great start for developers who don’t have much experience in the soulful genre. Steelrising is a promising Souls-like game that could use a little more work – hands-on impressions

Curtis Crabtree

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