Lies of P made me wish that I were good at Soulslikes | GAME3A

Lies of P made me wish that I were good at Soulslikes

It's not that I dislike Soulslikes. It's rather that they don't favor me. More specifically, they don't appreciate my complete ineptitude when it come...

Anne Ostler Sept 04, 2023
Lies of P made me wish that I were good at Soulslikes

It's not that I dislike Soulslikes. It's rather that they don't favor me. More specifically, they don't appreciate my complete ineptitude when it comes to relentless combat. My timing is terrible. I can't dodge, I can't parry, and I can't aim well either. In short, I am dreadful at it. If there ever were a Soulslike that I could master, it would be the Lies of P.

Recently, I had the opportunity to explore The Lies of P at Gamescom, and it was immediately evident that the world crafted within the game is one of its most captivating features. Inspired by the fable of Pinocchio, the player assumes the role of Gepetto's marionette and ventures into the city of Krat, which has succumbed to madness.

As I sprinted through the filthy streets, littered with flyers and discarded items, and fended off various bothersome animatronic dolls, the environment felt incredibly rich in detail. I couldn't help but admire the elaborate decor and impressive set designs. I appreciated the ability to rummage around and uncover pieces of the backstory through collectibles, and more than once, I paused to examine something more closely and appreciate it even further. The game has a captivating allure that draws you in.

Lies Of P Made Me Wish I Was Good At Soulslikes

"We have received a lot of feedback that our game reminds players of the Victorian era," director Choi Ji-Won tells me about the elegant setting, which I found so intriguing. "In fact, we based it on the Belle Époque in France and many other European countries. This is a time and era that is not easily found in other games."

With so many Soulslikes following in the success of Demon's Souls, it's hard not to draw comparisons between them. The Lies of P feels less punishing than other games in this genre, but that hasn't stopped fans from making comparisons to Bloodborne, especially due to its gothic setting and similar mechanics.

"We feel very honored to be compared to Bloodborne, which is a fantastic game," Ji-Won says. "We differentiate ourselves from other Soulslike games through our diverse combat system, and we aim to make it more accessible and approachable. Essentially, we designed the game to be somewhat easier, friendlier, and more inviting at the beginning. Then, it gradually builds up and becomes more complex."

It sounds like a Soulslike with training wheels. Things start relatively easy, and then, as you progress and the training wheels come off, the real challenge sets in. This approach could make it an ideal option for newcomers to this genre, myself included. I won't take my failed attempt in the demo as a sign that I will be bad at it, as I was thrown directly into Chapter Three instead of starting at the beginning with all the guidance. I simply attribute my many deaths to this circumstance. It absolutely has nothing to do with my inadequate skill.

Lies Of P Made Me Wish I Was Good At

There was just too much to take in during the short time I played, and I was overwhelmed by the various attacks and the sheer number of options in the menus to tinker with. I'm sure others will absolutely love the weapon crafting system. Since I was already overwhelmed, I had difficulty fully understanding everything, but I can recognize that it will be something that players will adore. The players who can aim, dodge, and actually defeat bosses, of course.

Another way "Lies of P" aims to stand out from the crowd of Soulslikes is through its exciting approach to the Pinocchio narrative. "That's one of the reasons why we wanted to incorporate this phenomenal story of Pinocchio, to appeal to more people with a story that is universally known and familiar," says the team. They wanted to reference the much darker original fable and liked the idea of using lies as an element in the game, while recognizing that Pinocchio's journey to become a real human aligned well with what they wanted to achieve.

These stories are often retold time and again, and they tend to change with each reinterpretation. That's why the originally dark tale of Pinocchio has become increasingly lighthearted in recent years, even though it still retains its eerie essence at its core, even when considering the more innocent versions.

Lies Of P Made Me Wish I Was Good

"We are actually glad that we chose to take up this familiar story for many people and add an additional layer to it. I think it works quite well," says Ji-Won, expressing how much the team enjoyed fans asking about the story before alluding to an interesting ending, hopefully something that refers back to the original story. "We really encourage our players to think about the choices they will make and to play the game until the very end."

One cannot think of Pinocchio without acknowledging how his nose grows when he lies. For "Lies of P," the loading screen was replaced with Pinocchio's nose, which grows during the loading process, accompanied by the words "Now Lying." Ji-Won hinted that there are further elements of Pinocchio's growing nose when he lies in the main game, but he did not want to reveal what they are before the launch.

Soulslike games typically do not make the narrative easily accessible, instead leaving it up to the players to piece together threads of the background story and plot from various interactive objects, NPC conversations, and visual storytelling in specific scenarios. However, in "Lies of P," there is a clear storyline. Ji-Won tells me that it was not a challenge for the team to reconcile traditional storytelling with the Soulslike genre since they themselves are big fans of the genre and therefore have a good understanding of how to best implement it.

Lies Of P Made Me Wish I Was

Lies of P was praised for its smooth demo on the Steam Deck, and Ji-Won tells me that it was important for the team that the game ran well. "Not just for the Steam Deck, but for technology in general. It was really important to us that the game runs well on every platform we offer."

The feedback from fans after the demo helped improve the game, as one aspect that was heavily criticized was the dodge mechanic. This led the team to make changes to the timing and distance to address it, resulting in a much smoother feel. Another aspect the team worked hard on was balancing audio and visual cues to make the game more accessible for players. "One thing we paid attention to was creating a balance between audio and visual elements. If the auditory part is challenging for you, you will have enough visual cues, and vice versa," says Ji-Won.

Lies of P offers an exciting, captivating world that takes a beloved children's tale back to its dark roots to weave a surprising new narrative. With a focus on making the game more accessible at the beginning, this could be the perfect introduction to the Soulslike genre for many newcomers. Now, I just need to see if I can survive long enough to witness if its nose grows.

Lies of P will be released on September 19th for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S, and PC.