Impressions from Gamescom: I couldn’t tear myself away from the wonderful Lies of P

The South Korean company Neowiz probably didn’t tell you much until recently, after all, it doesn’t have anything on its account that would arouse any kind of response in our parts. Perhaps that’s why the offer to try her brand new game at Gamescom was presented with such humility and generosity. And this despite the fact that Lies of P already caught the attention of many when it was unveiled last year, including me.

The mail from Neowiz contained a timid message that the game is headed to Cologne and those interested in trying it out should not hesitate to reserve two half-hour slots at once so that they can enjoy the gameplay to their heart’s content. Of course, I did immediately, and in retrospect it became clear what a shrewd move it was on my part.

Neowiz apparently did not expect any great fanfare, so the stand in the press section of the exhibition had only four computers. But as the game’s reputation, bolstered by its Opening Night Live preview, began to spread, so did the waiting lines. The situation got to the stage where the very nice hostess timidly asked me if I could shorten my one-hour slot, because there were more interested parties than expected. And although I’m normally extremely accommodating, I slapped one word into her disbelieving face: No!

You can’t break away

I added a little color to the end of the previous paragraph for dramatic effect, my answer was a bit longer, although it was really dismissive, but the fact is that after the mentioned request I played for another 20 minutes and it was hard for me to leave Lies of P. Without much exaggeration, this project became my game of the exhibition, which I also enthusiastically told the little Korean girl on my way out. It would probably make her happier if I got out a little earlier, but then I wouldn’t be able to share so many pumped-up impressions with you!

If you’ve seen at least one trailer, it must be crystal clear to you that Lies of P is a soulslike RPG like a belt. All the standard genre mechanics are there, from challenging fights with diverse enemy types to a shameful afterlife wandering for lost experience. As part of the playable demo, I was given two levels that, as usual, contain various shortcuts, secret corners and cunningly hidden opponents. And they’re just shaking to slam a massive candlestick or other monstrosity into your head.

If you’ve ever played any Soulsborne title from FromSoftware, or one of the competing knockoffs, the first steps will be as easy as slipping into well-trodden boots. The demo offered ready-made builds that showed the path of strength or dexterity. Swinging a giant gear naturally requires a completely different tactic than a snappy cord. The main character, the famous artificial boy Pinocchio, has, in addition to the main weapon, a secondary second hand on which he can attach a number of different attachments. Thanks to them, for example, you can throw flames or electricity at enemies, or you need to draw them close to each other.

Faster please

The combat system is already fun at this stage of development, but I would add a little more speed and agility to it, because even with a cord, the protagonist is not as nimble as the hunters from Bloodborne, and I had to get used to the slightly slower pace. But as soon as I got it in my hand, there was the old familiar addictive feeling, which can transform even an embarrassing death into an immediate desire to try again immediately and finally succeed this time.

Aside from light and heavy strikes, parries, and backstabs, the game will also feature special attacks, but I found them problematic to activate during hectic, time-limited gameplay. Quite possibly because I didn’t pay enough attention to the tutorials and tried to squeeze as much as possible out of the virtual playground provided. In addition, the game texts have a cutely broken English translation so far, but this will probably undergo several modifications before the release.

One of the biggest assets of the game is the atmosphere and also the technical processing. The authors are inspired by Pinocchio’s story, but not the one Disney once served us, but the much darker one by Carlo Collodi. The story takes us to the city of Krat, from which human beings have practically completely disappeared and only frightened automatons, a combination of puppets and mechanical robots, roam its streets.

Although I’ve read in a variety of media outlets how journalists feel the game’s aesthetic feels like a clear reference to Bloodborne, I have to admit I don’t have much of a clue where that impression comes from (and I’ve been through damned Yharnam seven times). Krat is not a Gothic nightmare, the developers draw from the Belle Époque period, i.e. from the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries. Much more than Bloodborne, the atmosphere of the once beautiful, rich and industrially and technologically advanced city reminded me of BioShock.

Gamescom’s prettiest game?

Beautiful styling is complemented by no less excellent technical processing. Lies of P is one of those games whose trailers don’t lie and what the developers present in the promotional material is actually what you’ll find on your home screen.

The game runs on the fourth generation Unreal Engine and at least the PC version I played looks extremely detailed. The individual mechanical enemies are wonderfully grotesque, their clumsy movements give the game a horror touch, and the city, whose desolate beauty you can admire under the coating of blood and oil, is directly beckoning to explore. As I write these lines, my heart hurts that we will have to wait some more time for the final result.

In addition to the action, the game is also intended to provide a rich (and non-linear) story in which the lies that are inextricably linked to Pinocchio will play a vital role. However, I did not come across this mechanism in the demo, so for now we can only argue about what the developers will come up with.

The unusual subject for the South Korean studio is said to be due to three reasons. On the one hand, the developers wanted to adapt a popular story in order to immediately gain the necessary audience as an unknown studio. No less important for them is the fact that Pinocchio will look at a number of different places in Collodi’s story, so the game can take us through different environments. And last but not least, the important thing is that the original book is very dark and mature, which of course is very suitable for this genre.

Unfortunately, we don’t know when Lies of P will arrive at the moment, but it’s headed for PC and the current generation of consoles. If you’re at least slightly Soulsborne positive, you should be watching this game very closely.

Source: Games by

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