Big news for mortal shell today as the souls-like action RPG comes to Steam and GOG on PC after year-long exclusivity on the Epic Game Store. On top of that, the game also comes to Steam with some fanfare coming with The Virtuous Cycle DLC which includes a new shell and weapon as well as a new game mode.
Mortal Shell The Virtuous Cycle DLC Hands-On Gameplay Impressions and Overview
In this article I want to talk about my hands-on impressions with The Virtuous Cycle so far and kind of give you guys a rough overview of what it is.
What is The Virtuous Cycle DLC?
The Virtuous Cycle is sort of a game mode that operates in a different space than the regular game it uses the same level design as the game but what it does, is adds these sort of pillars around the map and chests that give you Instincts that buff your character. The game plays a little bit like Hades when you’re playing Mortal Shell. It’s kind of a mashup here where you get one life and you have to run all the way through the game without dying. But as you hit these different pillars, defeating mini bosses and find chests, you get buffs.
You get to select from three buffs that appear similar to Hades where you get options when you find one of the gods. In this case maybe it’s an Axatana pillar that you pick up, you get to choose from one of the three Axatana buffs. Ultimately you build your character as you go, from the best of the things that you find.
These are of course randomized with their distribution and placing on the map, so they’re not the same every time. Though they don’t seem to have a huge variety of distribution I’d say maybe each can spawn in about three or four places, from my rough testing so far. It doesn’t quite have the same variety as Hades, but there are so many buffs and stuff that you get the idea of how it plays.
Just to give you a rough idea some of these passes that you can gain will reduce the cost of say stamina for dodging or increase the damage you do with certain weapon types. Or they’ll make it so that you freeze enemies when you dodge, set them on fire, or do extra damage when you finish with a heavy attack. You’re sort of going to make your build around what’s best for your play style and the way you like to play.
How to Begin The Virtuous Cycle
When you first load into The Virtuous Cycle you not only get to pick the Shell that you want and the Weapon that you want and this includes the new shell and weapon once you’ve unlocked them. You can try the run with different shells, different weapons and it makes for a different experience than just having no shell or only one weapon type.
Packed Full with Enemies
Another thing I want to note is that the enemy clusters seem to have a lot more Enemies and they seem to be in a lot bigger groups. Obviously, there are different enemies packed in there so it’s not like exactly the same enemy placement as the original game, but there are a lot more in terms of different enemies. It’s extremely challenging when you first start out let me tell you. It could just be that I’m rusty but man I was absolutely getting destroyed on my first couple runs, they didn’t even last like five minutes.
Overall Thoughts & Impressions
I’ve done somewhere around eight or nine runs so far in this game mode and I got to say so far it is a lot of fun. It not only mixes up the gameplay but gives you something to look forward to. It’s a little bit different than just adding a shell and a weapon now you get to try out this new game mode and see these different buffs that you’ve never seen before. You kind of get a little smidgen of Hades in there which is a fantastic game.
I would like to mention though that there were quite a few bugs that I ran into, I had difficulty getting it to work, I had difficulty getting the shell or sometimes dodge would stop working. There were a few other minor bugs so I don’t know if they got all the bugs worked out. I am playing or have played before the actual release of it so it’s possible to get patched out. Cold Symmetry is very good about this, I am in direct communication with the developers and publisher of the game, so obviously I’m passing on all my bug feedback. So that’s not something I expect to be a problem but there were a few bugs and that’s something I do want to mention.
Download the DLC for free to Keep (Limited time only)
However one thing that’s really really cool that they’re doing is this DLC is actually free for the first five days and yours to keep when you redeem it during this time. If you own Mortal Shell and you haven’t played in a while, I suggest getting the DLC and checking it out. It costs you nothing for the next five days, so there’s really no reason not to do it. I think it’ll be something like seven or eight bucks (MSRP of $7.99 / €6.99 / £6.99.) I can’t remember the exact price but it’s right around there, after that five day period. Even if you miss that window it’s not a lot of money and I feel like the developers are giving you great value here, it’s definitely worth a try.
New Shell Hadern and New Weapon Axatana
I absolutely love the new shell Hadern and the new weapon the Axatana is absolutely outstanding. The damage and stagger power of the weapon are hands down the best out of all the weapons in the game, so it makes you feel a little bit OP. As you’re getting so schlafted so hard in this new game mode, it feels nice to have it.
The Hadern shell is actually kind of the best of all shells, as you get to pick one ability from all four shells to put into it. You can kind of make your ultimate shell which is awesome and you’re going to need it to get through this, so that’s pretty cool.
I’ll tell you from playing The Virtuous Cycle I haven’t played Mortal Shell in many many months as we know it came out a year ago at this point, I forgot how good this game is, it’s such a great game. There’s a little bit of jank in it because it’s made by you know a handful of people, but honestly it’s just so much fun and I highly recommend checking out the DLC if you have a minute.
We are busy adding all this information to the official Mortal Shell wiki of the game so if you have further questions about it make sure you head by there and get them answered.
If you want to check out our original review of the game be sure to read next Mortal Shell Review: Fortes Fortuna Adiuvat. You can also check out our Mortal Shell Guides including the latest with Mortal Shell Build Guide: Harros, The Vassal.