Before PAX West, I got an email that described a game as “a Souls-like ARPG that embraces the Italian flavour.” Despite my last name, I’m not as in touch with my Italian roots, but I had to preview Enotria: The Last Song and find out what that meant.
Jyamma Games, the studio behind Enotria, is based in Milan, Italy, which explains the Italian flavor you’ll find in the game. After playing it for about 20 minutes, it’s clear that this is a Soulsborne game that looks unlike any other.
My biggest takeaway is the sheer beauty of the landscapes here. Lots of games in this genre rely on dark, gritty, grim fantasy tropes. Castle walls and dark caves are a dime a dozen, but they also make something like the Erdtree stand out in its starkly different beauty.
Enotria: The Last Song basks in that beauty. It hits you with brightly lit coastlines during sunset, with the sunlight gleaming off clear blue waters. The demo greeted me with sunflower fields, and reaching a cliffside rewarded me with a serene view of the sky and sea meeting at the horizon.
Further into the demo, I came across an Italian village that was bursting with romantic charm. There were no friendly NPCs in town, but it was during a festival. Live music was playing, and everyone there was dancing.
It created this old-world, delightful atmosphere that I wanted to revel in more. It’s not something you see in a lot of Soulslikes, but of course, Enotria still lives up to its genre. When I approached a dancing NPC, they immediately became hostile.
Unfortunately, the combat isn’t quite as impressive as the art direction here, but this is also an early alpha build. It’s not bad or anything, but it does feel a little floaty. When you land an attack, some enemies don’t quite sell that they’ve been hit.
What Enotria’s combat does have going for it, however, is its mask system. The game allows you to equip up to three loadouts, and you can swap between them at any time. It adds some versatility on the fly, so you could have access to a heavy maul and a quick rapier in one go.
The switch takes a few seconds, so you have to commit to the change if you’re mid-fight. I can imagine it being useful once you’ve gotten a few weapons that work for different scenarios. For example, one build can be great for crowd control, while another is perfect for single-target boss fights.
Sure, there are lots of games out there with breathtaking vistas waiting to be discovered, but Enotria: The Last Song’s use of color and atmosphere felt fresh and vibrant. While the combat didn’t quite grip me as much as Lords of the Fallen, I only played an alpha build, and I hope to see more from it in the future.
I previewed Enotria: The Last Song during PAX West 2023, playing a demo build for roughly 20 minutes.