In this Lies of P Review, we will share our impressions of the game after playing a complete playthrough. This soulslike has been highly anticipated by the souls community and managed to get the spotlight in Gamescom 2022, winning the “Most Wanted Sony PS Game” award. Does it live up to the intense hype? Read on to find out!
Lies of P Review – Pinoccio Souls
Developed by: NEOWIZ Games, Round8 Studio
Published by: NEOWIZ Games
Release date: September 19th, 2023
Platforms: PC (Reviewed), Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PlayStation®5, and PlayStation®4
Price at time of review: $59.99
Lies of P Review – Story & Setting
In Lies of P, you play the role of the puppet “P” in the Belle Époque-inspired city of Krat; a once prosperous capital that has collapsed into ruin as a result of the Puppet Frenzy, leaving Krat with bloodsoaked streets, murderous puppets and a mysterious plague. In this dark and bloody re-imagining of the 1883 children’s tale, P must fight through in order to find his creator and become human.
In order for you to fully understand the world that you play in and the characters that you meet throughout your journey, you will have to seek and read letters, notes, newspapers, posters and books scattered throughout the game. Similar to the Dark Souls Series, item descriptions and dialogue with NPCs will give more exposition behind the lore of the land. However, unlike the Souls Series, the story can be experienced and understood without having to put in the effort of reading into every description that you find.
Krat perfectly depicts a once prosperous city that has fallen into ruin with its beautiful architecture and complete chaos layering the exterior. Debris coats every surface on the city, empty carriages and corpses litter the streets, and all kinds of bloodthirsty puppets roam around, using anything from Candelabras to Rapiers as weapons. Locations that you visit outside of Krat are not quite as memorable as the time you spend there, but all areas are connected by a sense of isolation and a desolate atmosphere, making every encounter with an NPC feel special.
Overall, the story of Lies of P successfully engages players with a fresh take on a classic theme, but it unfortunately does not deliver completely and stumbles over the finish line, so it’s not the strongest point of the game.
Lies of P Review: Gameplay
As expected from a souls-like, Lies of P excels in its gameplay, meshing the now-familiar mechanics with different combat systems that give the gameplay further depth. But does it differ from other Souls-Likes enough to be interesting?
Lies of P is divided into different areas with multiple checkpoints. You finish the area by killing a boss, then go back to Hotel Krat, and continue on to the next area. There are no instances where you go back to an area you already completed after unlocking something in the main quest, so the game is quite linear in this regard. However there are many times when the player will be able to choose between multiple paths. Some optional paths will lead to Items or NPCs, and other times it leads to unlocking a shortcut. I was never lost in this game, and always had a clear direction of where to go or what to do. There is also a surprising amount of verticality in this game, which is paired with Dark Souls levels of fall damage, meaning gravity will yet again be the nemesis of most players.
The basic gameplay loop inside of an area is what you would expect from any Souls-Like. You find a Stargazer checkpoint, go through the area killing Enemies and using Pulse Cells (healing potions), unlock a shortcut/find another Stargazer, go rest to get back pulse cells and repeat. Once you get to a boss, you unlock a shortcut or a Stargazer and can spam attempts as long as you like.
Combat is meant to be aggressive and agile, with iframes on dodge, perfect parry mechanics, magic spells that enhance your attacks or actions, and health recovery from offensive actions. Your dodges are tied to your character carry weight, so you can expect to manage your equipment to avoid “fat rolling”. The controls are responsive and I felt like I had a good handle on the character, and whenever I died I felt I had made a mistake rather than it feeling cheap.
The game features Weapon swapping, but it felt somewhat clunky as it was a slow swap that didn’t make much sense during combat, and each weapon added to your total weight so it made more sense to just equip one.
In terms of enemies, there is a decent range of enemies for you to discover and learn as you play the game, but it will sometimes feel like you face the same 3-4 “easy” enemies when you aren’t fighting minibosses or bosses. Enemies do have unique movesets and weaknesses so you can test your skills versus different kinds of foes that will attack you in different ways.
A sore point for some hardcore fans may be the encouragement of utilising Spectres in the game, which are AI that help in a Boss fight. You are never forced to use them, but 1 boss fight in particular feels impossible to beat without it.
Overall, the combat of this game goes past what is expected of the standard souls-like formula, and gives players a huge amount of freedom to build whatever they want.
Lies of P has made excellent use of multiple combat systems to add spice to the soulslike combat formula. You start the game off by choosing one of three combat styles between Balanced, Strength and Dexterity, then go on to R1 spam a bit, level a bit and make the weapon stronger. This is where Lies of P applies its own twist. Not only are there 30+ weapons in the game, but most of them have “Blade” and “Handle” components, and each has a unique Fable Art (special ability) bound to them. You can disassemble these 2 parts and assemble different weapon parts together to create any weapon you want.
The weapon’s Blade will determine its overall damage and will be upgradable, and the Handle will influence the combat pattern and stat scaling. You can make any kind of ridiculous combination, like a giant Hacksaw Blade on a tiny Rapier Handle or a Chef’s Knife on a massive Pipe Wrench. I found myself spending hours testing all different kinds of combinations to find the perfect weapon for my playstyle, which I was able to carry over for my entire playthrough. This mix-and match system is truly a lot of fun, and opens up an abundance of possibilities for builds that may feel overwhelming at first, but you will open up once you begin to understand the things you want in your weapon.
Another important but not as successful system that adds to the combat is Legion Arms. This is like Sekiro‘s prosthetic arm and it allows you to swap your arm out and gain specific combat abilities. I was honestly a bit disappointed with the options of Legion Arms, and never really found myself relying on them for anything. I tried every single one but the one that felt the most powerful ended up being the beginning arm, Puppet String, which felt anticlimactic. However, I can definitely see some players being able to master this system and utilise it much more efficiently than I did.
Lastly, build customization is wrapped up with the P-Organ System. The build depth when you combine this feature with the weapon assembling feature is amazing. The amount of upgrades P can get to his combat through this system makes you feel in full control of what kind of playstyle you want to have. You will genuinely feel a sense of progression and empowerment as you progress through the story and this system.
Design, Visual & Audio
Graphically, Lies of P delivers a polished product with solid visual fidelity, and that is pleasing to the eye. The game runs on UE4 and it had good performance on my 3090 (AMD Ryzen 9 5950X) with a solid 200 FPS at 1440P on the “Best” quality setting, that never dropped below about 150 FPS. I did have a few crashes here and there during important boss fights or cutscenes (around 5 times in the 35 hour playthrough). I also encountered no bugs.
The game’s art style is satisfying, and the design of enemies felt well-suited for the world and atmosphere. Weapons have a wide range of interesting attack patterns and animations, and the Perfect Guard mechanic feels amazing to pull off. There’s also good environmental variety and the levels take you to different biomes including, of course, a poison swamp.
The voice acting is mostly good. I really very much enjoyed most of the cast, but there was one NPC that got on my nerves and it felt off-putting. Thankfully that character has a limited a role and it won’t be disruptive to your experience.
One point I did not expect this game to excel at was music. There are some points in the game where I caught myself stopping near music sources to hear it out. Records are also available as collectibles which can change the lobby music of Hotel Krat, which was already memorable and fantastic.
Replayability & Pricepoint
In my playthrough, I combed through almost every single waypoint in the game to try and find everything, but I still managed to miss some stuff simply from the choices that you make in the game. This took about 35 hours of skilled gameplay, and I certainly can see things I have yet to discover, so of course your mileage may vary.
There is a heavy emphasis on the importance of your actions and I could definitely see myself trying out new options I hadn’t tried before in a new playthrough, but maybe only 1 or 2 more times before I exhausted all the possibilities.
The real replayability would come from the innumerable amount of builds you can make and the fun weapons you can try out. I could easily see myself sinking maybe 50 more hours into this game before I exhaust the most interesting possibilities in the story and the builds.
Given these numbers I would debate that the price point of 60 dollars is fair, but not exactly incredible value like for Elden Ring or Monster Hunter given the amount of hours the average player will play for.
It is unfortunate that the first impression that most people will have of this game may be tinted by the perception that it’s simply a “Dark Souls Copycat” due to its heavily inspired UI and gameplay. As a result, many will gloss over this game as just another Souls Like, when in reality Lies of P takes that inspiration and adds many layers of unique aspects that deliver a fresh and unique experience.
I thoroughly enjoyed my time running around the intriguing setting, fighting different puppet monsters and unveiling the mystery behind all the events that lead to this point. Exploring to find interesting things was great, and the surprisingly catchy music was a treat. NPCs were likeable and I formed some attachments to them, Bosses gave a huge adrenaline rush whenever I got close to beating them, and there were some hard choices to make in the game that pushed my brain to the limits.
Overall, the experience is extremely solid and not just “another soulslike”, with some real passion put into it by Neowiz which makes me excited for what we will see from them in the future.
Lies of P is a phenomenal reimagining of a classic tale that manages to engage the audience with its unique setting, while keeping them on the edge of their seat with its innovative twists to solid Souls-like combat. With minor shortcomings and perhaps an over-reliance on its inspiration, it is regardless an IP Souls fans won’t want to miss out on, and is arguably one of the best Souls-likes titles to date.