Steelrising Still Needs Combat Changes To Become The Next Great Soulslike Game

Steelrising screenshot showing combat in a garden

Steelrising’s alternate historical setting is fun, but its combat needs to be beefed up if it’s to be a great Souls-like.

It would be fair to say that some of the best Souls-type titles have not been developed by the progenitors of the FromSoftware subgenre. From Bluepoint’s Demon’s Souls Remake to Team Ninja’s Nioh and its sequel, the roster has expanded from its original creators.

Steelrising, from developer Greedfall spidershe’s the next to try to plant his flag, but a recent hands-on demo had me a little less excited than I had been after watching it behind closed doors last month.

Aegis Hammerhand


Our preview takes place in lush gardens.

That’s not to say that the premise of Steelrising isn’t exciting. The game is set in Paris in 1789, in a reality where King Louis VXI has built an army of robots that roam the streets armed with blades and blunt weapons galore.

Players control Aegis, a mechanical servant who is tasked with cleaning the streets. Steelrising’s Paris is gloomy, dirty, and makes heavy use of shadows to highlight the class divisions within; the palace gardens are overgrown but lush, while the alleys are filled with aggressive automatons.

Aegis is also more mobile than the typical Souls protagonist. He is able to jump, cross considerable distances and open more paths through his verticality: his impressively designed clockwork entrails hum as he moves.

It feels like Souls by way of Tim Burton, and the clock theme lends itself to plenty of little touches throughout: Aegis heal with consumable oil, for example, while upgrade points create pop-up repair stations when activated.

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While the mechanical enemies may not have the same creepy character as their meaty counterparts in other titles, the way the Clockwork King’s army moves here is still a bit unsettling: they lurch and lean to one side and then back. the other. It can make attacks more difficult to predict, at least in the first few hours.

loose bolts

Steelrising screenshot showing combat

The combat feels inconsistent, but there are a few months left until launch.

Aegis mobility is also used in combat. As with the behemoth of the Elden Ring genre, it is possible to dash at an enemy and potentially send them flying. Aegis’s properties as a mechanical being mean that, narratively at least, it makes sense that she’s also upgradable.

Players can attribute mods to customize builds, while allocating points to stats like Power (strength), Agility, and Durability. There are also four archetypes to choose from at the start of the game, each with their own set of moves and weapons. Bodyguards, for example, can take stronger hits and have a better chance of finding loot.

Upgrading those stats comes at the cost of Anima Essence, which, as you’d probably expect, can be obtained by hitting the unliving oozes (or should it be rust?) of your fellow machines, and yes, it’s lost when you die. unless you can get it back. It is here that Steelrising begins to feel like it is struggling under the weight of his ambition.

Combat is made up of light and heavy attacks, as well as special abilities for each class. For example, an Aegis equipped with fan weapons can block incoming attacks, while others will have to quickly dodge them. It’s all stock stuff, but it just lacks the precision and feedback needed to feel as deliberate as it does in Steelrising’s contemporaries.

Steelrising screenshot showing exploration

Aegis can be upgraded with accumulated currency, but is lost by players upon death.

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Dodging feels great, but some animations can break while others don’t. That means that once in a while you’ll smash an enemy with your weapon and knock them out of their attack, while other times you won’t, making it hard to plan your next attack.

Aegis is capable of charging up its heavy attacks, but in my time playing the game, I really struggled to find a place to do it: every time I tried to charge it up, an enemy would attack me a fraction of a section before I unleashed it. Sure, I know, “get gud”, but the timing just needs to be tweaked a bit.

It’s also worth noting, regarding the game’s difficulty, that Steelrising offers an “assist mode” that allows players to tweak a number of options, such as the damage dealt by enemies, to make the game more forgiving. It’s sure to please anyone intrigued by its surroundings, but put off by the number of times I’ve said the word “Souls” in this preview.

final thoughts

Steelrising is shaping up to be an enjoyable action RPG that needs a bit of refinement in the lead up to release. If Spiders can tweak the game’s combat to feel more satisfying, it could be a hit.

For now, though, it’s still worth checking out thanks to its interesting premise and impressively realized setting.

Steelrising launches on August 8, 2022 for PC, Xbox Series X|S, and PlayStation 5.

For more previews of upcoming releases, be sure to check out the following:

Two Point Campus Preview | The Lord of the Rings: Gollum Preview | Saints Row Preview | Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes Preview

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