From Korean devs Neowiz & Round8 we’ve got what we consider to potentially be the worst monickered game we’ve ever reviewed. Based on the original 1883 Adventures of Pinocchio novel by Italian novelist Carlo Collodi, Lies of P is set in the city of Krat. Automata run the city, only it has fallen into chaos as the automata have gone haywire and the remaining human survivors have fallen victim to a petrification disease.
Stylistically the structure here is very much a somehow less bleak version of Bloodborne. The city of Krat, while subject to an automata revolt, comes away much less oppressive. We never came away feeling utterly destitute after a play session as we once did cavorting around Yharnam. The feel is very much more like the first Dark Souls. That being fighting between the campfire analogues and trying not to die, usually by your own ineptitude. Most deaths feel like your own fault you see.
Quite a few sections had us flashing back to very similar setups in From’s glorious PS3 2011 release. One in particular reminded us of the path you run along with arrows raining down on you from the adjacent roof. Only in this case your foe was throwing electric bombs at you. These are annoying enough as they disable your gadget (more on them later), but if you’re inept enough to get caught again, you lose heath into the bargain. Pricks.
That’s not to say that you won’t succumb to a stupid death against a minor mob. Because you probably will. And it’ll happen just as often as you remembered when you first played a Hidetaka Miyazaki game, be it Demon, the three Darks or the aforementioned Bloodborne. We’re shit at those too, but in a similar fashion, we felt compelled to carry on playing Lies of P despite our repeated failure.
Etched in our memory already is the run from one particular checkpoint, given how many times we attempted it. If you’ll indulge us, it breaks down like this. Frontal attack minor guy. Backtrack and drop down for a backstab instant kill. Kill the until now dormant companion of our hapless pal. Either go up the ladder avoiding a couple of straightforward mobs or take them out. Or die pointlessly as we often did. Backstab one guy, take out his two companions. Goad the angry pikeman/chimney sweep fella into coming to you. Use your gadget to pull him toward you Scorpion-style, easy kill. Evade the sniper across the way, take him out. Another backstab next being mindful of the electric grenade prick on the rooftop.
Take out another couple of pikemen. Drop attack on an unsuspecting enemy. Pikeman kill. Electric grenadier kill. Another pikeman. Upstairs to kill the first electro grenade prick. Except he’s covered by a mate. If you don’t die here, drop down on to another poor sap and end him. Then you see another miniboss just before the next checkpoint. You’ll have done well to get here. If he doesn’t kill you, you might fall off the roof to your death instead. We learned from our mistakes here as we only died this way the once.
So yes, we’ve committed that to memory. There’s many more sequences like this that you’ll run through pretty frequently if you’re as inept as we are. Though we finally managed it after a couple of glasses of rose wine and a pizza. The miniboss was guarding a chest with an extra health amulet, so well worth persevering with. Though cheesing it and running past is also a valid option. But this will just lead to your supply lines being longer than those of the Wehrmacht in 1942. Not to mention the fact that you’ll still have enemies to face while being chased by a boss too. Not the best plan.
As you can no doubt tell, we’re sorta into Lies of P. Despite the fact we’re not very good at it, particularly the bosses, there’s something there. The gameplay hook is solid and it’s embellished by a weapon crafting system not dissimilar to that found in Elden Ring. This is gated until you’re a little into the game admittedly, but it’s still useful. There’s a decent block and parry system here too, but we tend to just feint, attack and evade as we never quite manage to time parries quite right. As we said, we’re generally quite blaverage at Lies of P.
There’s weapon durability to factor in as well, though you can sharpen your weapon if it dulls. In addition, you can swap out your left arm gadget from the default you have at the outset to a useful grapple after you’ve faced the first boss proper. He’s a bit of a git, but probably easy to beat for seasoned players as opposed to our twenty plus attempts anyway. There’s other gadgets too, but we’ll leave it to you to discover them.
Just like a Souls game, once you’ve been somewhere, you can open gates to avoid needing to retread lengthy sequences between save points. And similarly, if you take too much of a battering you can go back to the save point and replenish your health pots as well as your health at the cost of respawning all the enemies. We’ve encountered the merchant a few times, he’s not quite as characterful as, say, the guy from Resident Evil 4 but we welcomed the opportunity to offload what we thought was loads of spare items. Not realising that each time we died, we didn’t retain the items we’d grabbed from fallen enemies.
In conclusion then, Lies of P is shamelessly derivative but pretty well executed. The core gameplay loop is compulsive enough to hook even the most inept player into believing that they can persevere. We don’t feel like we’ve scratched the surface when it comes to the block and parry system here, so every day’s a school day where we’re concerned.
+ Replicates that classic Dark Souls feel a treat
+ Most deaths feel like you just need to get good
- Some enemies are just horrible
- That title though