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Lies of P Review

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I am – as regular readers will know – a bit of a sucker for a Soulslike game. I will play them all, if I have a chance, and so when Lies of P from NEOWIZ came around, you’d best believe I was right there. 

Now, I have never knowingly played a Soulslike game from a South Korean developer before, so I was excited to see what the developers could do with the genre. Being based loosely on the story of Pinocchio, but not the Disney version I hasten to add, I was very excited to dive straight on in. 

So, come with me to a world of rogue puppets and more fighting than is good for your controller!

lies of p review 1
Welcome to Krat

Looking at the story here first and, as mentioned, Lies of P is very much based on Carlo Collodi’s novel, The Adventures of Pinocchio. Albeit this one comes with some changes as I don’t remember quite so much sword fighting in the original text!

We are Pinocchio, a very special puppet, and as we awaken at the start of the game, something has gone wrong with every other puppet in the city of Krat. Well, saying something has gone wrong may be a bit of an understatement, as the puppets have risen up against the humans, and killed a lot of people. We are told to go to the Hotel Krat, a place which will become a base of operations for us. The thing is, as the streets are crawling with homicidal puppets, this won’t be a walk in the park. 

After this, we are given a variety of missions to go and achieve, or more likely die trying. From there, Lies of P just keeps getting bigger. Obviously I’m not going to spoil the plot here, but it is pretty good. 

Presentation is next to cast my beady eye over, and here the news is equally positive. The presentation of the game will be familiar to anyone who has ever played something of this type, with the camera, in a third person perspective, showing an over the shoulder view of our character. The design of Pinocchio is very good indeed, with costumes and masks able to be equipped when found. Further, the Legion Arm, an artificial arm that he can equip on his left, changes depending on what we choose to use. 

The enemies we come across are a mixed bunch as well, ranging from butler type robots all the way up to hulking fire spewing monstrosities. They all show a great deal of imagination. The bosses in particular are very interesting, with a current (pun intended) favourite being a giant electric police puppet. The thing I liked most was the animation – as we are a special puppet, we move fluidly, like a human, but the enemies are much more jerky; more mechanical in their animation. This means we can usually see them building up to an attack in plenty of time to either block or get out of the way. This in turn really helps the combat. The setting of the ruined city of Krat is very evocative, as the glories of its Belle Epoque architecture are in jarring contrast to the destruction, fires and scattered corpses on the streets.  There is a real apocalyptic feel to Lies of P, that heightens the sense of trying to save the world. 

The sound is a big part of the game as well, with fully voiced conversations to have with various NPCs and each puppet making its own sound. There are big fiery enemies when you reach the factory, and the stomping sound as they run after you is guaranteed to cause nightmares. You can even hear sneaky foes trying to get behind you, and this helps a lot with the immersion. 

lies of p review 3
A shocking fight

Now to the meat and drink of any good Soulslike – the fighting, the collecting of souls (or Ergo, in this case) and the spending of the same to make us stronger. 

So, if we look at the fighting side of things first, the basics are all exactly as you will be used to from other games. We have a fast attack (RB) and a heavy attack that can be charged (RT). There is also a dodge move (B) and a block move, that if timed right can become a parry (LB). The block system is interesting, as pushing back an attack doesn’t stop all of the damage, but if you then immediately go on the offensive and land hits, the damage you take is refunded back. Needless to say, that is very useful. 

The standard lock on function is here and works well, allowing us to dodge to the side and strafe bigger foes in hope of avoiding attacks. Obviously, being in a position where we can hit but not be hit is the dream. Yet Lies of P has many levels, so it is possible to get some cheap hits in by plunging into foes. Don’t fall too far though!

We have more up our sleeve. Literally. Each Legion Arm that we equip has a different function – ranging from a grappling hook that drags small enemies to us, right up to fire spewing and electric shock giving arms. Enemies can be shocked or set on fire, taking damage over time, which is helpful in the bigger boss battles. But we can be afflicted with a range of bad statuses too, and with the same result. There is an item that can clear negative status effects, and keeping a few on hand is a good idea. I’m not going to tell you which item though! 

There’s also the chance to accumulate Fable energy; when the bars under our stamina bar are full, the Y button can unleash a special attack. Or, if used in conjunction with the block button, it performs a super block, which is nice. Add in the usual range of throwing items and consumables, and you are – pretty much – a walking arsenal. So much so, in fact, that the utility belt (it’s not called that, but it should be) has two sections, upper and lower, which are accessed by pressing either up or down on the D-pad. When an item is selected, press X to use it. You’ll want to keep your healing flask on the X button for most of the game, believe me!

Oh, and don’t forget the extra bag, which is accessed by holding the A button, as this gives access to even more stuff. 

lies of p review 4
Combat is brilliant

As we explore the world of Lies of P, there are all of the usual tricks that should be expected from these Soulslike games. There are shortcuts to open, that make it easier to get back to where we (inevitably) die. There are Stargazers (Lies of P’s bonfires), and resting at one will heal you, restore healing charges, and respawning all the smaller enemies that you have previously killed. This isn’t always a bad thing, as it is possible to set up fairly efficient Ergo farming routes pretty easily. Not that I would recommend grinding to make the game easier, you understand…

After we reach the Hotel Krat, this serves as a hub area. It is here that we need to come to spend our Ergo on levelling up with Sophia, a lovely blue haired lady who awakened us in the beginning. Ergo can be spent to level up various areas, giving more health, stamina, carrying capacity and attack power. Choosing where to spend the points is very important. You can make your character whatever you want them to be – a healthy tank with a lot of stamina, or pour all your points into attack and hope you can finish a fight before it has chance to get started – It’s down to you.

It’s not just your level that you can level up, oh deary me no. The weapons you find can also be levelled at the Hotel, almost like finding a blacksmith in that other franchise. We need Moonstones to level up those weapons, and these are dropped by enemies or hidden in the world. Always, always explore the levels in hope to find what is hidden is a top tip. 

The weapons themselves are interesting. They are made up of a blade and a handle, can be split apart and reassembled into various different forms. Marrying the blade of one weapon with the handle of another can yeild interesting results, especially as the handles can also be modified by finding cranks in the world. Mix this amount of weapon crafting with the ability to craft various Legion arm configurations and your ideal warrior is never far away. 

Oh yeah, and you can also upgrade Pinocchio himself with Quartz, which unlocks new abilities when it is implanted in your P-Organ (no sniggering at the back). 

lies of p review 2
Lies of P – a great setting

I have loved the majority of Lies of P. But what are the downsides? Well, there are only a couple really. Number one is the camera – if an enemy (or most likely a boss) manages to corner you, you first of all can’t get out, but worse, you can’t see what is happening; the camera freaks out and shows you an extreme close up of the enemy who is killing you. Stay away from the corners is the take away here. 

The second is more of a personal dislike, as the control to jump is mapped to a click of the left stick – the same stick that you are using to try and aim where you are jumping to. While running towards an edge, clicking a stick to jump just feels awkward. Even FromSoftware moved away from that system in Elden Ring, and it felt a lot better. You can get used to it, but it makes every jump a gamble, which when you have wodges of Ergo in your pocket, you don’t really want to take. 

Other than these small issues, Lies of P is an extremely enjoyable game to play through. The feel of the world, the setting, and the combat all seem to have real impact; frankly, these elements are great. The camera and jumping are not quite so good, but in all, Lies of P is an absolute pleasure to take in. 

If you like a Soulslike, you will like Lies of P. And that pretty much sells it. 

SUMMARY

Pros:
  • Great setting and presentation
  • Deep customisation
  • Great combat - challenging but not too hard
Cons:
  • Camera can panic if you are cornered
  • Jumping controls are fiddly
Info:
  • Massive thanks for the free copy of the game, NEOWIZ
  • Formats - Xbox Series X|S (review), Xbox One, PS4, PS5, PC
  • Release date and price - 15 September 2023 | £49.99
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<b>Pros:</b> <ul> <li>Great setting and presentation</li> <li>Deep customisation</li> <li>Great combat - challenging but not too hard</li> </ul> <b>Cons:</b> <ul> <li>Camera can panic if you are cornered</li> <li>Jumping controls are fiddly</li> </ul> <b>Info:</b> <ul> <li>Massive thanks for the free copy of the game, NEOWIZ</li> <li>Formats - Xbox Series X|S (review), Xbox One, PS4, PS5, PC <li>Release date and price - 15 September 2023 | £49.99</li> </ul>Lies of P Review
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