The Stellar Blade demo is a fun and delicious game with stylish action

all of you, Star blade The demo is finally live On PS5. It’s a short, little vertical slice of developer Shift Up’s action game, so while we still need to see more before we come to any conclusions, I can at least say the demo has pushed me toward the full release. Why? Also like Previews from earlier this week he Said, Star blade a little BayonettaLittle devil may cryLittle yokeand a little Cicero. In short, based on this short two-hour experiment, I think Shift Up has a great chance.

Read more: Everything we know about the stylish action game Star blade

The demo begins with protagonist Eve’s battalion, Airborne Squad 7, landing on a subsection of Earth called Area 3. The plan is to intercept an invasion of alien monsters known as Naytibas, but, as usual, everything goes wrong. . Transport ships of the 7th Airborne Division are blown out of orbit. Eve and the rest of the team penetrate the atmosphere in capsules, only for most of them to be destroyed during landing. Hell, Eve barely makes it out alive because the pod’s hatch won’t open due to catastrophic damage to the outer door, though a fellow survivor named Tachy rescues her. All seems lost as the buildings around the duo erupt in flames as the Knightba continues its merciless attack. It’s a cinematic opening that brings to mind set pieces from games like Crystal Dynamics Tomb rider Franchise and Naughty Dog’s unknown series.

But even though the opening moments were quite cinematic, Star blade He has no problem immediately thrusting you into a fight. During these first ten minutes or so, you’ll experience the basics of gameplay: attacks, dribbles, blocks, specials, and the like. You’ll fight some basic enemies, like the slug-looking, bipedal Naytibas, as well as a few tougher enemies, like the humanoid Naytibas, before facing the tutorial boss: a bloated brute with two wrecking balls for hands. Despite its size, it’s still an easy fight and culminates in some elegant finishing attacks not unlike those we saw in 2013. DMC: Devil May Cry. Surprisingly, Star blade Kinda feels like it DMCalso.

Astral souls may cry twice

I know this is a strange comparison, Star blade to DMC: Devil May CryBut hear me out. Capcom reimagined it devil may cry Series in partnership with The Epic of Sinua Developed by Ninja Theory for over a decade. The game had all the hallmarks of a traditional game devil may cry Entry but DMC It requires less button pressing and more thoughtful play when it comes to attacks and positioning. Star blade It does something similar. It’s not that fast Bayonetta 3 or devil may cry 5. However, it is not as slow as something like this Evil spirits or P lies, also. The game strikes a nice balance between these extremes, allowing you to find a rhythm in combat to perform some button mashing while still expecting you to be aware enough to know where best to position yourself for your next attack.

Screenshot: Sony/ShiftUp/Kotaku

Nowhere is this balance more evident than in attack cancellation. Interrupting your strikes to perform another move, whether it’s a block or a dodge, is something you often see in fast-paced action games. Soulslikes don’t often let you cancel your maneuvers, limiting you in your animations for better or worse. Star bladeHowever, it is, which means you can get away with launching an attack at the same time as your opponent and immediately pressing the block or dodge button to stop your attack in order to avoid, guard, or dodge your enemy’s strike. In this way, the game has more in common with A devil may cry from Al-Din ring. It also feels more mechanical devil may cry from Al-Din ring, since Eve has a variety of combos at her disposal, specials that charge up by blocking or dodging, and skills that she unlocks through EXP she earns during combat. It looks good too, with crunchy effects and stunning animations when attacks find their mark.

A short but sweet appetizer

Although short, the demo includes a fair amount of exploration and platforming. After the opening cutscene, you’ll wander around Eidos 7, a lost city destroyed by Naytiba and overrun by foliage. Your goal is to search the Hall of Records to uncover information about Alpha and Elder Naytibas who are behind the alien invasion. There are crumbling buildings, destroyed bars and hospitals, entire cars, and enough corpses to fill a morgue. It’s all gorgeous and achingly depressing, with enough collectibles and upgrade items to keep you turning over every stone.

Unfortunately, despite her petite frame, Eve feels like she’s gaining pounds of muscle. Her jump, although relatively high, is unreliable, especially since you can’t adjust your trajectory much when she’s in the air. Likewise, the dodge, while great for escaping certain doom, only travels a short distance, meaning you’re bound to get hit if you don’t escape accordingly (especially since it doesn’t have Invincible frames). I’m also not a huge fan of the swimming or swinging parts, which feel stiff and floaty, respectively. However, the movement feels good when you’re not on a platform, and I imagine it will only get better as you unlock additional abilities like double jumping.

A Stellar Blade enemy wearing a mask screams at something off-screen.

Screenshot: Sony/ShiftUp/Kotaku

And it all culminates with what I assume is the game’s first real boss: a dual-looking, dual-sword-wielding Naytiba named Abaddon. This enemy will test everything you’ve learned, requiring you to dodge and counter more than you normally would. He has a large health bar, hits hard, pulls off a bunch of unexpected combos, and even electrifies his blades during the second phase.

But surprisingly, Abaddon is not that difficult despite its terrifying design. I beat the boss within 5 or 10 minutes on my first try, and that was on “Normal Mode,” the game’s default difficulty setting for “players who enjoy combat.” I enjoy fighting, but Abaddon felt like a complete idiot. Even after getting a few good licks here and there, Abaddon couldn’t do anything when she backed him into a corner. It’s laughably easy, as was the rest of the nearly two-hour tutorial. However, don’t think this is a walk in the park, as when you defeat Abaddon, a ‘Boss Challenge’ unlocks so you can take on the tougher, dog-like monsters known as the Stalker. I beat this boss on my first try as well, but it sure made me sweat and spend every resource I had in my arsenal. If this is the fun of enemy encounters in the game, I can’t wait for the full cycle when Star blade divorce.

Read more: Star blade He has some absolutely wild clothes

So, yeah, I feel pretty good Star blade now. Combat is excellent, full of flashy combos and elegant executions to deliver DMC A run for her money. The story feels very compelling, with some interesting characters and plenty of world-building through environmental details like abandoned camps and deleted notes. And the rest of the package, from the graphics to the soundtrack, all create a captivating world that I can’t wait to explore. Star blade It will be released on PS5 on April 26, and if you play through the beta, your save data will be transferred to the full version.

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