Abandoned hospitals are creepy places. It's an immutable fact of life. That's why they make for such great settings in horror media; the myriad stories they have to tell, of suffering patients and sinister experiments, are great foundations for both exploration and combat. With that in mind, I'm not sure the real-life Hôpital Saint Louis has any dark secrets hiding in its nooks and crannies, but that isn't stopping the new Steelrising DLC Cagliostro's Secrets from basing itself in this venerable institution. Of course, there are roughly 100% more robots in this version.
Cagliostro's Secrets brings an all-new level to Steelrising, as well as several new weapons with which to get to grips. You'll also find new types of automata stalking the corridors of Saint Louis, and in true Steelrising style, there's a boss waiting for you at the end of it all as well. The original Steelrising was a rock-solid, if somewhat unadventurous, Soulslike, so will the DLC find a way to innovate on the formula, or is this just more of the same?
Steelrising: Cagliostro's Secrets Doesn't Break the Mold
It likely won't shock you to learn that there aren't any big surprises waiting for you in Cagliostro's Secrets. This is very much business as usual; the Hôpital Saint Louis brings more of Steelrising's intricate (if overly linear) level design and three-dimensional exploration, complete with plenty of awkward platforming sections and chances to use Aegis' tools.
The whole thing takes around two to three hours, perhaps a little more if you intend to fully explore.
Luckily, this is one of Spiders' better efforts when it comes to Steelrising's levels. Saint Louis is a relatively straightforward location; it's harder to get lost thanks to its wider variety of locations. Gone are the dark, dingy, and repetitive streets of Paris, replaced by verdant courtyards, cavernous sickrooms, and deep caverns. The whole thing takes around two to three hours, perhaps a little more if you intend to fully explore, and I don't recall getting lost once.
Although Cagliostro's Secrets offers a stronger level than much of the base game, it also displays some of Steelrising's weaknesses in its design. There's a little too much reliance on "press button to move forward" tools like the grappling hook and the wall-breaking kick, neither of which feel particularly satisfying to use. It's also not a particularly surprising level; there aren't any creative left turns into unexpected territory. That might be partly because of Steelrising's relatively sober historical setting (bonkers clockwork robots notwithstanding), but it's still a bit of a shame when the DLC comes to an end and you've had exactly the experience you expected.
The New Automata in Cagliostro's Secrets Feel Familiar
The familiarity of Cagliostro's Secrets extends to its enemy design as well. Steelrising's army of clockwork automata quickly got stale; although there was variety on display in terms of move sets and strategies, every enemy was effectively just a clockwork robot with an oversized weapon. That philosophy continues into Cagliostro's Secrets. Despite the potential in a hospital setting (might as well stop being coy and ask where my robo-human hybrids are), this DLC's new enemies are mostly constrained to a few big robots with large weapons once again.
There are one or two sparks of inspiration, though. The boss of the DLC has an attack that covers your screen in ink like a Mario Kart Blooper, forcing you to deal with its speedy attacks while your vision is impaired. There's also a new enemy that's about as close to a necromancer as you can get in a game about robots; it resurrects nearby enemies you've slain and recovers its health the first time you kill it. Encountering one of these forces a change in strategy, and it's one of the few times Steelrising: Cagliostro's Secrets really switches up its approach.
If you're hoping for an Old Hunters-style excursion into intriguing new territory, you won't find it here.
Unfortunately, there's also a bit of an overreliance on "same enemy, but now on fire" or "same enemy, but now with lightning". The strategy for killing these enemies hasn't changed since the base game, and since you'll need to have finished most of that to get to Cagliostro's Secrets, a lot of the encounters in this DLC will feel like a case of second verse, same as the first. If you loved Steelrising and couldn't get enough of it, this won't be a problem for you, but if you're hoping for an Old Hunters-style excursion into intriguing new territory, you won't find it here.
Steelrising: Cagliostro's Secrets DLC | Final Thoughts
It's as simple as this: if you like Steelrising enough to want more of it, that's exactly what Cagliostro's Secrets offers. Its new weapons are fine, but they're mostly variations on a theme, and its new characters are fairly forgettable. There's enough fun combat and exploration here to keep you ticking over if you enjoyed the base game. If, however, you want Cagliostro's Secrets to reinvent the giant wheel you can use to beat your enemies up (seriously, that's a real weapon), then you're better off waiting for the real Louis XVI to invent an automaton army.
TechRaptor reviewed Steelrising: Cagliostro's Secrets on PlayStation 5 with a copy provided by the publisher. It is also available on Xbox Series X|S and PC.
- Solid Level Design
- Fun Boss Encounter
- More Of The Same
- Lackluster New Enemies
- Repetition Sets In Quickly
- More Of The Same