Since 2015, there’s been a noticeable clamor for any new content related to Bloodborne, and most fans have been left to only imagine what a sequel could look or feel like. From Software has continued on to make Dark Souls 3, Sekiro, and the 2022 smash hit Elden Ring, but nothing could quite satiate the "Bloodborne 2" thirst – except the upcoming Lies of P.
Lies of P made a memorable mark during this summer’s slew of announcements, including its anticipated day-one launch of Xbox Game Pass. Many have favorably compared it to Bloodborne, and for good reason. However, after getting our hands on it at PAX West, Round8 & Neowiz’s Lies of P proves it has its own quirks that make it stand out for the better.
Lies of P Could Be Your Next Soulslike Obsession
The Lies of P preview demo build gave us three loadout options for Pinocchio: a balanced blade, a quick rapier, and a heavy saw on a pole. Each came with their own preset stats that looked similar to the options you get at the start of most modern From Software titles, hinting at the many different ways you could play.
The controls function as you might expect; you have a light and heavy attack, a dodge step, and a longer-range dodge roll. If you hold down heavy, you’ll unleash an attack unique to the weapon. And finally, each weapon has its own Fable Art, which you can activate after building up the resource with normal attacks.
Where Lies of P strays away from the typical Souls formula is in how it treats some of its larger enemies. When hit enough times, their health bars will flash white, which signals that you should hit them with a charged heavy attack. This puts them in a "groggy" state, which guarantees a fatal blow. It’s a showy reward that feels a little more like something out of a hack and slash as opposed to a Soulslike, but the game definitely forces you to earn it.
If that isn’t flashy enough for you though, you can change out your left arm for other utility options, much like Sekiro. They provide options that complement different play styles, and each feel like they serve a good purpose to shake things up.
The grapple hook pulls you toward enemies, and holding it down lets you jump off them and do a slick dive attack. On the other hand, the flamethrower shoots out a continuous stream of flames, while the electric hand delivers a devastating close-range shock. Certain enemies felt more vulnerable to flames or shock, opening the door for certain strategies when a tricky enemy keeps giving you trouble.
Unlike lesser Soulslike imitators, Lies of P absolutely nails one key aspect: combat tempo. Enemies are punishing, but you’re equally deadly to them. Your average enemies go down fast, but one false move can put you in the same boat. Sub bosses and larger enemies can soak up quite a bit of damage, but they didn’t feel spongey and dull to fight.
As a result of this tempo, the demo felt like the now-cliché line many people attribute to Souls games: It felt tough but fair. It’s absolutely not for the faint of heart, but those who have honed their skills with Hidetaka Miyazaki’s macabre craft will feel right at home.
And "macabre" absolutely describes Lies of P’s wonderfully weird, wooden world of nightmares. Just a few years ago, no one would have expected a game starring Pinocchio to be quite so dark and grim. Automatons can already feel like nightmare fuel -- just look at Five Nights at Freddy’s -- and Lies of P notches it up further with an oppressive, spooky atmosphere.
Every cobblestone street felt haunted, and each perilous rooftop gave you a reason to take corners slowly. Each enemy moved eerily, with actions that looked simultaneously familiar and otherworldly. Each item description leaves you curious but also afraid to learn more.
So far, Lies of P easily lives up to the hype as a “totally not Bloodborne” spiritual successor. The combat feels engagingly meaty, the world feels strikingly haunting, and the overall package has me ever more curious about Round8’s upcoming action RPG.
TechRaptor's Lies of P preview was conducted on a PC demo booth at PAX West 2022.