Preview Steelrising: An action game on the French Revolution worthy of Dark Souls and Elden Ring?
After Greedfall and its fantastic Victorian era, Spiders is interested in a central period in the History of France… The French Revolution in an automaton version. The Parisian studios, specialized in Action-RPG, hope to trigger an uchronic insurrection of the genre, but are they able to achieve it?
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A technical insurrection?
Without ever standing out from the competition, Steelrising has nothing to be ashamed of when it comes to graphics. The artistic direction that we could qualify as historical-Gothic-uchronic succeeds most of the time in masking the few visual clumsiness. From a purely technical point of view, the game from Spiders studios provides the essentials, namely fluidity and stability during combat, without which the experience would definitely not be the same. Steelrising aims for current standards and succeeds, which is to its credit. The experience is in 4K at 30 frames per second or in HD (1920*1080) at 60 frames per second on PC and home consoles (PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S).
However, this Action-RPG suffers at times from the comparison with the masters of the genre. Steelrising is, according to the production criteria in force, a double A. This is felt in particular in the (too) minimalist cutscenes and which above all lack intensity. The titles of Spiders have suffered in the past from a certain lack of finishing. Their new project seems to be following a different, more virtuous path, without fully discarding their heritage. Beyond the few bugs encountered and which will surely be corrected by a release scheduled for the fall, this action role-playing game plays the card of solidity and to do this does not allow itself the slightest technical prowess.
A free and vertical exploration
Spiders applies with rigor, not without an ounce of fantasy, the From Software recipe, as evidenced by the progression system and the exploration that results from it. Far from the open world lands of an Elden Ring which dusted off the Souls formula last February, Steelrising is structured around a series of semi-open areas conducive to a change of scenery. Inspired in particular by Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, this Action-RPG invites you to visit the highlights of Paris, and to come back to them several times in order to discover all their mysteries.
Obtaining several mechanical devices – the grappling hook, the dash and the battering ram – allows access to new places in the style of a Metroidvania and to progress in the adventure. The grappling hook alone adds a certain verticality in the different levels controlled by the formidable mechanized armies of the Watchmaker King aka Louis XVI. Once nestled on the rooftops, the automaton heroine Aegis approaches the different districts of the French capital differently and (re)discovers Les Invalides, Les Tuileries and Le Grand Châtelet. The visit of Paris is thus intended to be free and vertical, but necessarily marked out.
Steelrising is openly inspired by From Software productions to design an experience described as demanding and precise, like the cogs of a clock, from the creators of Spiders. If fans of Japanese studios necessarily think of the Souls saga and Elden Ring, it is ultimately Bloodborne which turns out to be the main source of inspiration for the game. Regulars of this sub-genre (Souls-like) will quickly find their marks. The fights thus take the form of a slender and lethal dance made up of dodges and rhythmic strikes. Timing and stamina management are the key to success against a varied and devious bestiary of automatons of all kinds.
This Action-RPG of course relies on hand-to-hand combat, but also gives pride of place to ranged attacks and items in order to force the automatons that we are to alternate between calculated risk-taking and relative safety. Additionally, “Campfires” here take the form of Vestals, statues used to purchase consumables and equipment, upgrade heroine, and save. Word of advice…save even if it means respawning all enemies in that area. We are in the presence of an heir to the Souls. Humility, prudence and perseverance make all the difference in the streets of Paris between survival and death.
As demanding as Steelrising is, Spiders has thought of less seasoned players. Indeed, the Parisian studios offer an “Assistance” mode activated (or not) on the fly. This feature allows you to adjust the difficulty according to several parameters. By moving the various sliders – damage reduction, stamina regeneration or skill refresh – each player is able to create a personalized experience. This allows to live an adventure on the wire, neither easy nor difficult, but on the contrary perfectly balanced and in tune with his playful skills.
An optional RPG dimension?
Steelrising is an action role-playing game. This involves intense confrontations as well as a whole series of mechanics designed to modify and improve the main character throughout the adventure. The automaton dancer Aegis, as perfected as she is, must increase in power to hope to survive, and the RPG dimension imagined by the developers is nothing incidental. On the contrary, it turns out to be essential and at first glance generous in customization options which also have a concrete and direct impact on the gameplay.
Once your automaton has been created at the start of the game via various aesthetic parameters, the heroine begins with a specialization among the four available (Bodyguard, Soldier, Dancer, Alchemist) with the aim of obtaining statistics as well as specific weapons. The discretion is left to the players to continue in the chosen path or to take a new one. The weapons (flail, fan, warhammer, rapier, etc.), the equipment as well as the modules thus set a course that should be readjusted as desired and determine the way of approaching the fights. One thing is sure, the combinations to assemble the Aegis automaton are numerous and greatly influence its epic.
Steelrising could well be the good “made in France” surprise of this fall. This Action-RPG inspired by the masters of the genre offers a demanding and flexible experience, at the heart of an uchronic French Revolution with undeniable qualities, but technically perfectible. Equaling its sources of inspiration, namely Bloodborne and Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order would already be a great feat for Spiders studios. Answer on September 8, 2022.
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