Soulstice Review (PS5)

Don’t worry sister, we’ll make it.

Released: September 20, 2022
Available on: PS4/PS5/Steam/Xbox Series
Genre: Hack and Slash Action Adventure
Developer: Reply Game Studios
Publisher: Modus Games

When you find a game you love and you get to the end, I think we all look to see if there’s a game similar to it. When I heard about Soulstice, the one thing that sold me on it is that it was said to be similar to Devil May Cry and Bayonetta, which are two games that I love. I faltered a bit when I read other’s thoughts on the gameplay, but I still decided to pick it up. So how did Soulstice turn out?

Soulstice follows two sisters, Briar and Lute, who have been reborn as a Chimera. Chimeras are basically a strong hybrid born when two souls with a strong bond are bonded with a purple crystal. This only seems to take hold when one is on the verge of death as a Chimera is made up of a living half with superhuman strength and a ghost, or Shade, half with mystical powers. You specifically take control of Briar, which you learn is part Corrupted, with her Shade being her sister Lute. While you do get lore to understand the world of Soulstice, basically a Tear has been made in the Veil (where souls go when people pass on) and Wraiths have invaded. Anyone Wraiths injure become monsters called Corrupted and Wraiths can even possess people and twist their form. This Tear was opened above the city of Ilden and Wraiths have wreaked havoc both in the city and towns surrounding it.

Despite being a new Chimera just barely out of training, Briar and Lute was sent to help reclaim Ilden. Some other Chimeras were sent as well, both before and after they arrived, but it seems like the ones that came before them weren’t interested in waiting for the newbie. While you won’t meet a lot of characters, you do meet Donovan the Shadeless who has excelled as a Chimera without calling upon his Shade and Layton the Observer who observes your progress, is someone to talk to about lore and events happening, and will help in upgrading and buying consumables. Throughout Soulstice, you’ll fight your way to the Tear, fight the many enemies you come across, resist transcending, dive into Briar’s memories of what led to them becoming a Chimera (and how they’re made, don’t worry about being confused as it is revealed), why Donovan doesn’t call on his Shade, and finally what the Order’s true intentions.

Soulstice is pretty edgy and honestly, it had me just spacing out in the beginning. I just didn’t care that much for the story when I first started the game. Okay, this doesn’t sound like a great start, but Soulstice happened to do something that is difficult…it made me care. It took a couple chapters, but it did it. I soon found the edginess of the story endearing and I really think the characters help. Briar is a character you would imagine, and see, in other edgy stories, as she’s moody and pessimistic. Luckily, the writers knew that Soulstice can’t ride on just Briar as we also have Lute who is bright, lively, and I wouldn’t say naive but innocent. Lute is the light in the edginess and I’d say she even serves as a straight man (but instead of against humor, it’s against edge) with how well she plays off of all the other characters you encounter. We also get to see other sides of characters anyway, like we get to see the emotional side of Briar, Layton who starts as a total jerk slowly grows on you, and you get to learn why Donovan decided to become “The Shadeless”. Lute is my favorite character in Soulstice, not only because I really like her character, but also that she generally just makes the game better with how well she plays off of everyone.

That said, Soulstice is structured as a game that you really should play until you finish, it’s not one you can put down and pick up after a couple days. The game is segmented into chapters and the story events often connect an end of a chapter to the beginning of the next, especially if the next chapter is a memory.

As you get into a chapter, there are exploration sections and combat encounters. While you of course will be running to where you need to go next and taking in the scenery, you’ll encounter some blockades you’ll have to take care of as well as hidden secrets like crystal motherlobes or challenge levels. The bad thing though, is that this game has fixed camera angles. Some are great, a lot of them are good, but there are some that are just bad that it hampers your platforming since you can’t tell if you’re actually over a platform or slightly off to the side. It also doesn’t help that the beginning of the game has some bad fixed camera angles and it was one of the reasons why I thought about dropping Soulstice. I’m glad I did continue, but keep in mind that the beginning of the game has more bad camera angles than in the rest of the game.

Of course, there is a lot of combat encounters. Combat in Soulstice does seem to take a bit to get used to, but it’s a pretty good system. Briar has her primary greatsword that’s fast and balanced and a secondary weapon that you choose. You start out with a warhammer for your secondary weapon, but you do unlock five more that all have their pros and cons making them more helpful in certain situation. Pulling off combos will help you in defeating enemies as well as raising your score for the encounter and you have to keep in mind when you can cancel to dodge away as you try to not die. Also, a plus is that you can control the camera in most combat encounters. I can’t tell whether enemies still attack off camera, as they still seem to do counter-able attacks though.

Seems like usual hack and slash combat, but don’t forget about Lute! Lute is helpful and she’ll fight alongside you. She will occasionally fire off hits on her own, but you do need to control her counters. Each enemy has attacks that Lute can counter, putting up a button prompt for you to press so she can. This can be tricky to get used to or do when in the heat of combat, but you’ll get used to it. Though I do wish there was some sort of indicator of what counter Lute is using, like if it’ll slow down the enemy or outright cancel or deflect it. Enemies like the Wraiths and Possessed, or enemies that are blue and red, will require you to bring out the corresponding field to even do damage as well. You do have to keep an eye on Lute’s entropy though, as letting it fill up without deactivating or attacking will cause her to disappear for a couple seconds. This doesn’t seem bad, but it is when you’re fighting a Possessed that you have to kill the Wraiths controlling it (or when exploring and you have to wait to destroy a red blockade crystal or get a blue platform to become solid.

There is also Briar and Lute’s Unity to take into account. The more successful attacks, combos, and counters you do, the closer Briar and Lute become until their portraits are combined. Of course, being hit will lose you Unity. Lute not only will attack more as Unity builds up, but you will be able to do Synergy Attacks once it’s high enough. The tutorial isn’t quite clear on how high is high enough, which caused some confusion on my end for half of the game, but when it glows yellow, it’s time to do a long combo to activate a Synergy Attack at the end.

Not only that, but Briar can enter into Rapture mode thanks to being part Corrupted. This only happens at max Unity and entering it will boost Briar’s attack and speed and let her attack without the need for fields. Before Rapture ends, you can also have Lute do a finishing move, which depends on how you upgrade her. However, this has a downside. If Briar is low on health when you activate Rapture, she will instead go Berserk and you’ll have to do a quick minigame so Lute can bring Briar back before she dies.

Layton shows up in most chapters, some on the main path and some where he’s hidden away. You can talk to him about events that happened or to get lore, as well as buy some consumables and upgrade Briar and Lute’s skills. The red and blue crystals you gather during exploring and in battle are used here. Red crystals are used to buy most shop items and to upgrade Briar’s skills with each of her weapons; with blue crystals being used to upgrade Lute’s skills as well as buy the item that will increase Lute’s power. Red crystals are more plentiful and you’ll notice that Briar’s skills get more expensive with each weapon you get, but blue crystals are scarcer so Lute’s skills keep the same price throughout. In addition, you can also refund Lute’s skills to respec her, which helps as the attacks she uses during combat are based on her unlocked skills and her rapture ability depends on what skills she has.

Soulstice is designed where you can’t get every skill on your first playthrough, but you can still complete the game without going back to grind at least on Normal (or Initiate) difficulty. I would at least recommend being more thoughtful on Briar’s upgrades as I myself was a bit overzealous in the beginning and regretted it once I got more weapons.

While I did like the combat, I felt that the game throws too many enemies at you at times, especially during the later half of the game. Aside from the two or three instances that it makes sense, I not only felt there were too many enemies being thrown at you, but enemies that require more attention and maintenance showing up together, making it more annoying and overwhelming than it should be. Like two scorpion Possessed boys showing up alongside other basic Possessed and Corrupted enemies; or two (different) enemies that were used as mini-bosses on the field with Possessed and Wraith enemies. It’s even worse if you happen to be in a more confined space. There were encounters that I actually felt were put together well, but there were more where I went “really?” and there were even encounters where I thought “Yes finally a well structured encounter” only for it to bring in way more enemies.

I could be wrong about this, as I’m going off of how it felt while playing, but it really felt like the developers knew what enemies they wanted to put into each fight (which I have no problem with), but then just set them in a line to march into battle when an enemy dies or an invisible timer sets off for more enemies to spawn. Now I’m not talking about enemies that buff their weaker counterparts, like the Alpha, cause I actually really liked those enemies, but even they come in when there are still too much on the field. I felt this game would have been better if the enemy encounters were structured more like waves than a line of enemies that come in once there’s an empty spot. That way, you could put in encounters that felt good to play through. I haven’t played Devil May Cry in years, so I can’t say how Soulstice’s encounters compares to DMC (though I don’t remember feeling overwhelmed or annoyed), but I did play Bayonetta this year. Bayonetta, I felt, had more thoughtful enemy encounters that employed the enemy wave tactic. It waits for all current enemies to be defeated before bringing in more and if the game calls for some of the tougher or more annoying enemies, it doesn’t throw it all together. You know how more annoying it would have been if Grace and Glory encounters were with a bunch of other enemies (or if you have to battle two sets at the same time)? Or Joy? The thoughtfulness of enemy encounters made Bayonetta feel better and more enjoyable.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that the way enemy encounters are structured is important, and it’s even more so in Soulstice as you need to utilize Lute’s fields to defeat most of the enemies you’ll encounter. That doesn’t mean not putting in the enemies that should spawn in a pack, or putting both Wraiths and Possessed at the same time, but just have encounters structured.

Otherwise, in terms of performance, Soulstice plays well on the PS5. I did have some instances where I felt some slowdown, but that was far and few between (and only on the last non-boss encounter chapter if memory serves me right).

On a last note, I have to say I really liked the art direction Soulstice has. The areas Ilden is made up of are beautiful and the character designs are great. I especially love Lute’s idle animation where she hugs her sister. The enemy designs are great as well, as you know right away what enemy you’re facing up against and if you need to use Lute’s field. I also liked the voice acting. I wasn’t that into Briar’s voice at first, but it grew on me as the game went on. I particularly loved Lute’s voice as it really highlights how Lute is and I loved Layton’s as well.


I’m not going to lie, Soulstice did not have a good start with me. The edginess of the story had me zoning out in the beginning, the fixed camera angles annoyed me, and I was overall meh on the combat and Briar and Lute (I actually didn’t think Briar had a good voice actor, but granted I didn’t know them yet). But somehow, Soulstice managed to hook me and actually got me to really like the game. Yes, there are still some camera angles that are just bad, enemy mobs could be put together better, and there are some other annoying aspects of the game; but the edginess of the game soon became endearing, the characters grew on me, I started caring and snapped back to pay attention to the story, and after I had more battles under my belt, I actually liked the combat. Not to mention how great the boss battles are, especially the last few. As you can probably tell, Soulstice was a bit of a love-hate relationship, but I did feel that the positives outweighed the negatives for me.

I honestly would recommend Soulstice for anyone that thinks they’ll like the combat or fans of the genre. Though, I wouldn’t recommend this as your first game in the genre (I’d more recommend Devil May Cry or Bayonetta as your first hack and slash).

Also, I really hope Soulstice does well cause I need the sequel.


♡ ♡ ♡ A witch that goes for anything that peaks her interest no matter the genre. Currently obsessed with the Persona series and trying to make a dent in my backlog. ♡ ♡ ♡

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