Lies Of P Review: Get ready to lie
You will come across many reviews claiming that Lies of P is almost the same game as Bloodborne, and indeed it is; it possesses a similar Victorian ae...
You will come across many reviews claiming that Lies of P is almost the same game as Bloodborne, and indeed it is; it possesses a similar Victorian aesthetic, a focus on parrying and evasive maneuvers instead of taking hard hits, and a narrative that delves into the metaphysical and eldritch. The weapons are large, unwieldy, incredibly versatile, and relentlessly impressive, while the bosses are imposing and the NPCs all exist within shades of mistrustful horror. It is Bloodborne, that cannot be denied.
However, Lies of P is more of a refinement of Bloodborne rather than a simple copy. It distills that special quality of the Soulsborne games by removing and reworking some of the more frustrating design clichés, resulting in one of the most captivating and skillfully crafted contributions to this genre. In doing so, it is on par with the influences from FromSoftware, which it proudly displays on its playful steampunk sleeve. Not necessarily better than Bloodborne, but more elegant.
Lies of P is a dark interpretation of Pinocchio, set in the baroque marvel city of Krat, where android dolls care for its citizens while they go about their daily affairs. However, something goes awry one day. As you awaken in an abandoned train carriage, it becomes clear that things have gone off the rails, and the dolls have risen against their human creators. By hacking, striking, evading, and parrying your way through a constantly evolving mix of robots, mutants, and villains known as Stalkers (this time not hunters), you must uncover the secrets behind the Doll Fever and put an end to the malevolent forces that are driving Krat towards ruin.
The puppet designs are fantastic. From the lowliest butler to the tiniest detail, they exude a menacing aura of uncanniness. Krat is a darkly beautiful world, overflowing with meticulous attention to detail in its world design. From the rundown Malum District to the glittering Rosa Isabelle Street, each map is an interconnected labyrinth full of shortcuts to discover, hidden rooms to find, side missions to complete, and, of course, convenient places to fall into an ambush. It may not be the largest or most expansive world ever created, but it trades scale for depth, much like one of the coiled feathers hidden within P's Legion Arm.
That being said, the first two-thirds of Lies of P are by far the strongest. As the game progresses, things become increasingly corrupted, with the dolls giving way to more biological enemies in the form of tentacles and growths, and the environments shifting from Krat to an abundance of toxic sewers and poisonous swamps. I told you it's like Bloodborne. It loses its sense of identity, even though the underlying game design remains impeccable.
Mechanically speaking, Lies of P is nearly identical to Bloodborne. It is faster-paced than Elden Ring or Lords of the Fallen, and your positioning is just as important as your equipment. Each encounter revolves around carefully managing your stamina, health, and the weight you carry, while learning attack patterns and hoping to master perfect blocks to disorient your enemies and deal massive damage. Once you get the rhythm down, the fights become intricate rhythm games, where every parry leads to a mechanical carnage that explodes across the arena.
However, being a Soulsborne game, behind every perfect block likely lies an hour of practice and dying. It is still a brutal game, full of surprising ways to fail, and the enemies can be relentless even towards the end of the game when you are fully equipped. Fortunately, Lies of P employs its difficulty much more intelligently, rather than simply leaning back and reveling in killing you in nonsensical ways for the umpteenth time.
It manages to address one of my biggest frustrations in Soulsborne games by reducing the amount of backtracking you have to do after dying. Death still sets you back, and you still run the risk of losing your Ergot (Lies of P's version of souls or runes), but the time between checkpoints is shorter than in a typical Souls game, and shortcuts to skip entire areas are more frequent, reducing the time you spend repeatedly plunging into the same segment. Once you've proven that you can conquer each section, the game will rarely ask you to do it again (let alone a hundred more times) just to return to the boss you're stuck on. Ergot even remains outside of boss arenas if you fail to defeat them, meaning hard-earned resources aren't lost when you suddenly hit a wall.
As a result, Lies of P feels like Soulsborne for people who have never warmed up to the genre. It maintains its sense of discovery and brutality, but it never veers too far into the sadistic side just for the sake of sadism. You can feel the intense combat encounters, profound world design, and a challenge without feeling frustrated.
However, when all is said and done, it is by no means a bad thing to draw strong inspiration from what is widely regarded as one of the greatest games of all time. When Lies of P shines, it even surpasses FromSoftware itself in its nuanced execution. When it refers to what came before, it does so with a confidence and understanding of the genre that makes it stand out.