Stellar Blade Demo First Impressions: An Amazing Action Experience Awaits

I love RPG games to death. Having said that, it has been a long time since I experienced a great action RPG. While Lies of P did impress me last year, there was a specific itch that still hadn’t been scratched. Fearing nothing good would come in 2024, I had lost all hope. However, then I remembered Stellar Blade. A PS5 exclusive made by a South Korean studio, Stellar Blade is an upcoming APRG set to compete with the likes of Bayonetta and Nier: Automata.

After waiting patiently for so long, the game’s two hour demo has finally dropped. Well, I went through Stellar Blade’s devastated Earth as EVE and I have a few thoughts about it. What are they? Let’s talk about that.

Exhilarating Combat System That Leaves You Craving for More

The combat of Stellar Blade featuring Eve in sword and guns.
Captured In-Game on PS5

Without a doubt, the heart of Stellar Blade lies in its robust combat system, which is extremely satisfying and exhilarating. In Stellar Blade, timing is everything. A majority of the experience emphasizes a strong combination of parrying and dodging.

The combat in the game is well-balanced, with plenty of offensive and defensive skills to focus on. As such, you don’t have to remain passive. However, since the game draws a lot of inspiration from Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice (the game that made the parry and dodge mechanic popular), those are also your keys to success in Stellar Blade.

Captured In-Game on PS5

Besides the skills, the game also comes with many combo moves you can pull off to obliterate your enemies. There are also numerous definitive skill trees with many skills that redefine how you take them all on.

While the game doesn’t inherently come with different combat styles, this versatility ensures players find their specific playstyle. Besides all the things above, a key thing I really appreciated is that mastering combat in Stellar Blade actually feels rewarding and not a chore. For all those reasons and more, I am hooked on this game and really excited to try out the entire system when it drops.

A Glimpse into Amazing Game Design

Captured In-Game on PS5

Stellar Blade features a semi-open world with a linear level design primarily inspired by Souls-like games. The game has regular camps spread out throughout your journey that act as a checkpoint to replenish your health and upgrade your skills.

It also has a dedicated music system, so you can jam to fantastic soundtracks while you rest. Superior supply camps are available, where you can work on everything, such as weapon upgrades, unlocking skills, buying from the item shop, crafting new suits, and more.

The game’s general design is quite straightforward. As EVE, you meet new enemies on your way and a final boss at the end of the mission. However, the game also encourages you to explore easily findable hidden paths with frequent detours and can help you find new rewards such as upgrade materials, extra cash, etc.

Based on the demo, this game has two difficulty modes: Story and Normal modes. I played the demo in Normal mode, which featured a challenging but not an unforgiving experience. So, don’t think of it as a souls-like difficulty game, as only some features have been inherited. Thankfully, there are plenty of accessibility features that can tone the difficulty down for gamers who like to have an easy journey as well.

A Storyline with Lots of Potential

Captured In-Game on PS5

Earth being occupied by aliens or monsters is a plot we have seen time and time again. Well, Stellar Blade follows the same storyline.

For those unware, Earth in Stellar Blade is ruled by a set of horrific creatures infamously known as the Naytiba. You are EVE, a member of the 7th Airborne Squad sent to the planet with one mission: reclaim our home

While I did find the overall plot a bit generic, it felt decent and satisfactory enough with a set of intriguing characters. However, I am looking forward to being proven wrong once I get to finish the full game. If the story shapes up nicely, we could see an extremely unpredictable yet adventurous ride.

Stunning World-Building with Impressive Character and Enemy Design

Image Courtesy: Stellar Blade by Shift Up and Sony (X/@StellarBlade)

As we discussed above, the game takes place in a post-apocalyptic world. As one would expect, Stellar Blade features eerily beautiful futuristic environments filled with blood-curdling enemies.

Inside this world, we meet with a few remaining survivors of this realm who will help us on our journey. From the anime-esque characters to disgustingly gory monsters, the character designs look impressive and fascinating to the core.

Although the game has only a few human characters, the data bank section revealed that there are over 50 different enemies we will encounter. Thus, I hope the battles won’t get tedious and repetitive over time, as there are a variety of fearsome monsters and machines to look out for.

I was surprised and delighted to discover that the devs used 3D scanning technology to design character models. While a part of the Internet is raging towards its purported fan service, it certainly didn’t get in the way of my gameplay.

Stellar Blade Demo: A Bright Beginning for a Blazing Action-Adventure

Captured In-Game on PS5

When I initially found about Stellar Blade in PS State of Play, I was equal parts excited and skeptical. However, after spending a little less than two hours in the demo, that skepticism has faded away. It’s clear that this game has been inspired by numerous legendary games that give ARPGs their well deserved fame. However, the creators have added their spin to it to make it an action-packed thrilling adventure for EVE to save the world.

The combat in the game is fast-paced, perfectly balanced, extremely addictive, and goes well beyond simply mashing buttons. More importantly, the game runs silky-smooth in all three modes (Performance, Balanced, and Fidelity). So, fret not about the optimization and performance of the game on your console.

It seems like the developers have put their heart and love into giving ARPG fans a delightful treat that they will hopefully hold on to for ages to come. In a nutshell, Stellar Blade has all the quality and potential to become the Best Action Game of 2024.

Stellar Blade is scheduled to release on April 26, 2024, and will be available for $69.99 (Standard Edition) and $79.99 (Deluxe Edition).

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