It’s been interesting to follow the discussion about soulslikes and the inevitable comparisons between Lies of P (which is getting DLC and is developed/published by Neowiz Games and Round8 Studio) and Lords of the Fallen (CI Games/HexWork, and which I have stopped playing). It’s interesting to me because the level of the discourse is one I cannot reach. I cannot ‘git gud’ at the games because it’s beyond my ability. I’m not being dow on myself; I’m being honest. I know that I have issues with my abilities in several areas.
I know this is the nature of having disabilities (or being a minority in any way), by the way. People without them simply cannot understand how far from the norm I am. This is why I wish there was a soulslike that was made for people with bad reflexes, no depth perception or periphery, and just no innate sense of (non-dancing) rhythm.
I have to say that if you can parry, you’ll probably love Lies of P. If you can’t parry, then you’re going to be SOL. There were people in the RKG Discord who waltzed through the game because they could parry. If you can’t, then you’re going to spend hours on each boss.
Speaking of bosses, by the way, in Lies of P, from the fourth boss on, every boss had two phases. Whether it was half a health bar each or an actual whole health bar each, you knew that when you got to a boss, it was going to be grueling–unnecessarily so. I included a video below by Elbethium that compares the two games. I don’t necessarily agree with all his points, but he does bring up unnecessary difficulty (which he had in terms of the Lies of P bosses before as well, I think).
Oh, the reason he brings it up in this video is because the devs of Lords of the Fallen made the baffling choice to only have one vestige seed in NG+. Vestiges are the bonfires and vestige seeds are portable ones (you can plant them in seed beds dotted across the map). A great idea that was less than great in execution. The baffling decision to make NG+ and beyond diffiicult by only having one seed for the whole game is, well, baffling. The devs quickly realized that (from all the negative feedback) and changed it so that they were taking away vestiges in chunks (for each additional NG+) rather than making it one vestige seed from the start.
I think I’m done with Lords of the Fallen (HexWorks, CI Games). You’ll notice I did not say I had finished the game because I haven’t. I don’t think I’m even halfway done. It’s just that when I think about playing the game, I become lethargic and unhappy. Like, I ‘should’ play the game, but I…just don’t want to. At all.
I watched a video from a guy doing a deep dive into the game (which I have included below), and he hit on many of my frustrations wit hthe game. And the fact that it at least tries to be something different. I believe he even mentions that in contrast to Lies of P, this game stretches itself. It swung for the bleachers and while it whiffed, it at least tried.
It’s interesting. While I was playing Lies of P, I was bemoaning to myself how slavish it was to the FromSoft formula. For each section and boss, I could point out a similar or exact same thing in a From game. Most people call Lies of P the Puppet Bloodborne, but to me, it’s more Puppet Sekiro. You can only play the game one way, really. You need to have your deflects on point or you’re in for a really bad time.
As I have said many times, I do not have good reflexes. I never had. They have only gotten worse since my medical crisis. I want to tell people who are good at these games to imagine if they pressed the button and then their character reacted a full second later. That’s basically my reflexes. I literally cannot ‘git gud’ no matter how hard I try. Let me put it this way. I could not finish Straybecause of the QTEs. Stray! It’s a cozy little game about a stray cat by BlueTwelve Studio. It was highly anticipated and highly praised. I believe it even won indie game of the year last year.
It’s a great game about being a cat and trynig to get back to your cat friends. There are elements of a dystopian world, and it’s just amazing. And they ruined it by having these sections when you have to escape the zerg rush. No, that’s not what it’s called, but it’s close enough. Zurks. They are zurks. And they rush in groups. As they attack you, you have to click whatever button it is rapidly to shake them off. I literally could not click the button fast enough. I failed the QTEs several times each, which was really frustratitng. The game was not supposed to be hard in the sense of challenging gameplay.
I legit beat Lies of P (Neowiz Games/Round8 Studio yesterday. Before this, I had beaten the purported last boss, but then had to make a choice. With one choice, I would have ended the game. That involved giving something to Geppetto, and no way in hell I was doing that. Geppetto was a big ol’ jerk and the reason the whole world went to ruins. Just because he wanted to bring his son back to life. That’s not a spoiler, by the way. That’s the main gist of Pinocchio. It’s funny because when RKG did the demo of the game, Gav was explaining the story of Pinocchio. Geppetto’s s son died and he wishes so hard for him to come back to life. He’s a puppet maker and makes a boy puppet. A blue fairy brings the puppet to life and tells him that if he does good things, he can be a real boy.
I commented on the stream that the blue fairy was kind of a jerk, and Gav laughingly read it out loud. I stand by it, though. It’s cruel to bring the puppet to life and then make it go through all these trials before maknig it a real boy. If she could have just made him a real boy in the first place (which he apparently could), then why make him jump through all these hoops to become one?
I know the answer. There would be no book is the real reason. I get it, but it’s still a flimsy basis for a book. Then again, most premises are.
Back to the game! I was not going to give something to Geppetto. I hated him and was convinced he was the true last boss. Which he was not, but he might as well have been. No, the optional last boss is called The Nameless Puppet. And he fucking comes out of nowhere. Well, he comes out of a box that Geppetto is carrying and there are magical strings controlling him.
My theory was that he was actually Pinocchio or at least the one that Geppetto wants to make into his son. That was kind of shot down in the end cutscene, but I still can make it work.
Anyway. I tried so many of the cheese strats to beat this guy back when I was playing the game on the daily. The biggest cheese was to use Aegis as your Legion Arm. The first time it gets hit, it explodes and does damage. Then, someone found out that if you hold it down while tapping LB (block), that’s supposed to do the perfect block without actually having to do the perfect block. Or something. I watched someone do it, but you still have to be able to time it and have good stamina. I had neither.
I tried it and kept running out of arm juice (as Rory called it). I asked in the Discord, and people said you can’t do it the entire first phase. That’s when people were doing it. Then, doing the throwables in the second phase. Which, by the way, was the way I did all the bosses in the sceond phase from the fourth chapter on.
Before I start, I want to say that the whole post will be spoilers. So.
I beat the final boss of Lies of P (Neowiz Games/Round8 Studio). Kind of. I beat the game. Kind of. I’m done with it. Maybe?
Does this all sound cryptic? Well, it should. It’s as cryptic as the game’s systems and their refusal to explain them.
I was in the RKG Discord (we have a thread for this game) and more than one person absolutely loves the game. More than one person bounced hard off it. And there were a few like me who didn’t know what they felt about it. One guy said he loved some parts of it, but then was so frustrated by other parts. I said I felt the same. I have so many issues with it, and yet, I couldn’t stop playing.
Starting with Chapter IV, I was done with it. Especially the boss fights. That was the first two-phaser, but it certainly wasn’t the last. There are eleven chapters in total, so that was in the first third of the game.
Right around Chapter VIII, I started to feel numb as I played the game. I was grim as I went about it, not really enjoying–well, any aspect of it. I hated how haphazard the enemies were and how out of place so many seemed. They basically used the same enemies over and over again, barely bothering to switch up the design for other areas. They also did the mini-boss as a common enemy trope thing–actually, she was a real boss because you had to beat her to get to the next area. She was like Margo the Wet Nurse, but not nearly as interesting.
Also, basic enemies that can kill you in two hits in the last chapter of the game is bullshit. And one thing this game loooooooves is to put an enemy in a corner or somewhere so you can’t see them and then as you go to attack another enemy, the hidden enemy jumps out at you. In some cases, I literally could not pan the camera to where the hidden enemy was.
I really was hating the game from the eighth area on. That’s the Blighttown of this game, though that’s not saying much because almost every area starting with the eighth have some kind of status effect strewn all over. In this case, it’s corruption which…oh I don’t remmeber. Corrodes your weapon? Not sure. As I said in a past post (and here’s the last post I wrote about the game) , I gave up trying to remember which status effect did what. There was decay, corruption, disruption, overheat, shock, electric shock, and break. The only thing I knew for sure was that if the disruption meter filled completely, it was an insta-death. And guess which boss did disruption damage?
The one I fought today. By the way, he was nerfed in the patch. I cannot imagine fighting him before the patch bceause I barely beat him after the patch. They nerfed his health pool (both of them I think) and the damage certain attacks did. Which, my god. If that’s the case, I really hate to think what he was like before the patch.
I’m in the very end game of Lies of P (Neowiz Games/Round8 Studio), and I want to talk about how a good boss fight goes. And why the boss fight I just fought is ultimately, not a good one. Here is my last post about this game. As usual:
First off, this area was the culmination of the direction in which this game was going. As is very obvious, this game wears its FromSoft inspiration on its sleeves. It’s laughable that they said they didn’t think about the From games as they created this one (the devs, I mean), because there is a one-to-one comparison for nearly everything in the game.
And, the one thing this game has gotten consistently wrong is that the difficulty of From games*is not the main point, but a side effect of several other things. In this game, the difficluty is at the forefront all the fucking time. You can’t cross a single rafter without facing HOW HARD THIS GAME IS.
In the area I’m in as I mentioned before, there are artillery shooting ballistae at you as you’re facing the enemies. There are gaps you can fall into as you try to run by said enemies. Ther eare corners you can get stuck in that once you’re there, you cannot get out at all. And there is an enemy that has basically a bowling ball on each hand, and it can bend in any direction to hit you–and it tracks you and can stretch to hit you, and it has no poise. It can literally keep on hitting you five or six times in a row. And take about a quarter of your health per hit. So while it’s not a hard enemy, it’s frustrating as fuck especially if there are two of them attacking you at the same time.
The thing about From games in general is that they are tough but fair. Really. That’s what everyone says about them, so it must be true. I’m being tongue-in-cheek because it’s mostly true–until it’s not. In general, the combat is tough, but fair. There are windows when you can attack, and you have to know when and where they are. Poise is a thing, and you can break it.
In Lies of P, poise does not exist. It just does not. The game likes to tout a mechanic in which you get an enemy (or a boss) into a groggy state (their health bar is outlined in white). You hold down RT (charged heavy attack) and hit the enemy. It stuns them and then you follow up with an RB for massive damage.
Which sounds great except the enemy (boss) can keep attacking while its health bar is white. Which means that if you try the charged RT at the wrong time, you get creamed. And since the enemies have no poise or stamina, they can keep attacking you. So while the charged RT/RB combo sounds good, well, I rarely bothered trying to do it in practice. If I happened to get the white bar, I would look for my opening (with a boss, it’s an orange spot on the ground after the charged RT), but otherwise, I’d jkst ignore it and continue.
This is a common complaint about the game, by the way. The fact that there’s no pause in the enemies attack pattern after it reaches stagger/the groggy state. And that if you parry, you don’t get anything, either. In fact, with a boss, you get pushed back when you parry, so why bother? The idea I think is that it adds to the combo in order to get to the groggy state, which as I said, I end up ignoring more often than not because the enemy/boss is still attacking.
So I’m in the homestretch of Lies of P (Neowiz Games/Round8 Studio). I’m in chapter 11 and it’s massive. It’s also bullshit. And it encapsulates all my gripes about this game. Needless to say:
You first arrive in a shark submarine on a deserted beach. It’s ethereal, and you go from figures to figures to get snippets of the story. Which I liked! And you get consumable souls, er, ergo, which, ok? I don’t know why, but I’ll always take crushable souls. Sophia, the level-up lady (blue fairy/firekeeper/etc.) is there and she tells you she’s from there. Her father was the head of alchemists, I think, but something something Simon something something righthand man. He split up her soul and something something something. This is the way to explain how she can be in several different places at once.
By the way. The nonsense in the game started, well, right from the beginning, but it was chapter four when it got ridiculous. So, yes, very early on. That’s when it first got up its own ass and wanted to out-Dark Souls FromSoft. This is one of my biggest issues with soulslikes. They don’t know when to stop. They take elements of From games and mash them together in a way that is untenable.
In this case, every area reminded me of three or four areas in a From game blended into one, and it’s not great. There’s a section in the…ah…seventh chapter I think that is in the rafters (again) with shielded robots (what I think of as mini-mini-bosses, but more like black knights–just extra-hard enemies) and these whirly robots/puppets who throw bombs at you. Somone in the RKG Discord said he expected me to say something about it. I said, honestly, at that point, I was just done with it. Yes, it’s like the rafters in Dark Souls III ramped up to a hundo. The way I dealt with it was to bait the two-shields asshole to one side and then run by him and the whirly robots to the shortcut.
That’s right. I did not fight that asshole in the rafters. Why? One, I had fought them before. I had no need to fight them again. Two, I just couldn’t be fucked. That’s really it, mostly. Starting in the seventh or so chapter, I just started running by enemies I didn’t want to fight. I haven’t leveled up much at all in the last three or four chapters, preferring to use my souls for throwables. My one saving grace in the game.
Which is another reason I’m hating the end game so much. At a certain point, you cannot use the Stargazers. And you have to defeat a boss in order to get back to Hotel Krat. The corrupted version of the puppet master, er, parade master, who was the first boss I fought. And up until the end boss of chapter four, the hardest boss in the game.
And you cannot summon your specter. So to recap. You have to fight a souped-up version of one of the hardest bosses in the game by yourself without any throwables except what you have on hand. Which wasn’t much. I had some because I always overbuy when I can, but I didn’t have much.
I’m into Chapter VII of Lies of P (which I always want to call Lies of Pi, by the way) (Neowiz Games/Round8 Studio) and the most recent patch says they nerfed the last boss I fought. Too late for me! They nerfed one in the future, too (at least I don’t recognize the name), so I’m happy about that. Someone in the RKG Dsicord said they were not waiting for the patch as they fight the Chapter VI boss because they are stubborn like that. I joked that I wished I had waited until after the patch to fight that boss!
Here’s the thing. I have said in the past that soulslike take the wrong lessons from From games. They focus on the games being HARD without really absorbing what makes them enjoyable. Again, this is a me-thing because this game was highly-reviewed when it came out. People were gushing about how it was Bloodborne 2, which, I mean, uh, no. It’s not that. It’s not even close.
The dodging is sluggish. The parry is impossisble for me to figure out for all but the most scrubbish of enemies. Blocking is what I do and desperately hope I get lucky to block enough or get the parry by accident. Then, once the boss (and let’s face it–it’s the bosses that are the problem) is staggered, hope that the specter detracts the boss enough so I can get the RT in. That’s not strategy–that’s just luck. Here’s my last post on the game.
The last boss I fought was the King of Puppets/Romeo. The first phase is the King of Puppets and then once you get rid of his entire health bar, Romeo comes out. He’s a fast fucker, and I had no chance of doing anything with him. I could avoid his attacks, barely, but I could not actually hit him. I was using the exploding pickaxe at this point with the police baton handle, and I had it upgraded to +6.
Here’s the problem, though. I only had 6 heals at this point, and I would be down to 1 or 2 by the second phase. And my specter barely survived into the second phase–the phase when I needed them the most. The King of Puppets could cover the entier arena with a swing of his arms. I have decent stamina in this game, but one combo from him would wipe me out. That’s my issue with the bosses in general. Dodging is shit. I can’t parry. Blocking takes up so much stamina. In other words, there’s nothing I can do to mitigate getting hit.
Here’s the thing. In the Souls games, I felt as if I could actually fight the bosses after learning their patterns. I have not felt that way in this game for the most part. I did learn the first boss’s patterns, somewhat, but he was the only one. Second boss, I got lucky and demolished him on the second try with the specter still alive. Third boss, I got SUPER lucky and demolished him on the first try with the specter lasting until the last few slivers of the boss’s health.
Lies of P (Neowiz Games/Round8 Studio). The game I can’t quit, even though I’d rather be playing a From game. Why? I don’t even know, honestly. I think it’s partly because other people in the Discord are playing it. It’s also because I’m playing along with Rory in Elden Ring (to a certain extent), which means only playing a little bit at a time. Yes, I can play with my other characters, but I’m just not doing that at this time. In addition, this game is adequate enough to keep me pushing on, but it’s not great. If I was to grade the fourth chapter on its own, it would get a failing grade.
My biggest issues with this game are the following. One, there is no poise. Even when you get the enemies into the stagger state, they still attack you. Someone in the Discord mentioned there are I-frames (invincibility frames) after a dodge, but not nearly as many as in the From games. You can upgrade it, but I’m not going to waste my precious quartz on that when I can get more heals. The dodge is useless in this game. I don’t care that they said they improved it. Itt’s not worth a lickle of spit. This is not a real phrase, but I don’t care. I like the way it sounds.
You cannot expect the enemy/boss to get stunned. Ever. Which means that the groggy state is useless for someone like me who has bad reflexes. Yes, it’s a good idea in theory. Hit the boss enough to get them into the groggy state as indicated by the white border around their health bar, then do a charged RT to get them stunned, and then follow up by RB, so long as you’re in the right place. With the boss I was talking about yesterday, that’s an orange circle on the ground by his face. So if you’re whaling on his butt as I was because the specter was dealing with his front end, I had to run around and find the orange circle in time because the specter couldn’t be bothered to get the visceral.
Lies of P (Neowiz Games/Round8 Studio). Let’s talk more about it. People love it; I hate it. Who’s right? Ha! That’s just my cold opening. It’s not right–well, the first part is, but the second part is more complicated than that. Yesterday, I gave my impressions of the game past the demo, and now I want to talk in-depth about the fourth chapter boss and the beginning of the fifth chapter.
Before I get there, though. I could tell that my interest in this game was waning when I opneed a huge shortcut right before the boss–and I didn’t care. I was like, “Oh, nice”, shrugged my shoulders, and moved on. I didn’t even care because I was numb from the horrors of that area. Which, by the way, several others in the RKG Discord have agreed was unfair. So I’m not the only one who hated this area. I don’t need the validation, but it’s nice to know I’m not the only one.
When I went into the boss, I was worn down. I was deeply unhappy about the area, and I was not ready to fight a boss. I summoned NPC specter and went through the mist door. Or whatever it’s called in this game. It was this huge, bloated version of the archbishop, and I took him down pretty handily on my second try. I felt cocky right up until the point where the cutscene came up and the second phase started. Sigh. Of course there’s a second phase. I should have known because there was a creature that dropped down a a hole at the beginning of the level, and I said to myself, “That’s clearly the boss” and then promptly forgot it.
The butt of the archbishop opened up and a snaky angel slithers out. This is basically Ornstein and Smough in one. The archbishop is the Smough of the couple whereas the snaky angel was the Ornstein. And the boss fight was utter bullshit. Here’s the issue. I never learned the moves of the archbishop. He has this tongue sweep that applies decay (which, as I mentioned in the last post, and that’s always followed up by another tongue action. And he has a two hand sweep thing that I could never learn to deflect. He has other moves as well, but those are the two that people said you should try to bait out.
I could never get the deflect. Or even a good block. Because even if I managed to block the first attack, I could not get hte second and/or third. My health bar was decent, but I was still getting decimated. One of my least-favorite things about this game is that the boss gets health back if it attacks you (and the attacks land) while a section of its health bar is light red. You have this, too, but it doesn’t really matter as much because it’s so easy for you to die.
There is just too much shit in this game. As Zoe said in the video I posted yesterday, they love their systems. They really, really, really love their systems, and they want you to love them as well. Less is more sometimes, which is something they don’t understand.
I think I might be done with Lies of P (Neowiz Games/Round8 Studio). I made it through the third chapter and beat the end boss in my first try. Talking to people in the RKG Discord, this was very lucky on my part. One guy said maybe I was just that good? Nope. That was definietly not the case.
Here’s the thing. I can’t parry. I have made it through all the From games without doing it. Not the parry in the Souls games (or Elden Ring). Not the riposte/visceral in Bloodborne. Certainly not the deflect in Sekiro. People compare this game to BB, but I feel like the combat is more Sekiro-lite. The game wants you to deflect all day long, but the window is still an anathema to me. I know it’s different for each enemy type, which is fine. The issue is on the bosses.
I will be talking about the bosses and the areas is the first five chapters. I know there are at least 10, so we’re talking early-to-mid game. I gave my quick impressions in my last post about the game, and I will go more in-depth now. I mentioned in that post that I breezed through the first three chapter. The first chapter was the best, lookswise and just in terms of–well, everything. Because it was fresh and new. By the time I got to the fourth chapter, I was already weary of the game. Mob enemies that can’t always be separated–and that fall from places you can’t see.
Side note: This is something that the Niohs do all the time. Enemies you can’t see. FromSoft, for all their love of mobs, very rarely throw unseen enemies at you. When they do, it’s just one, and it’s not surrounded by a mob. Except in the second game. They had some unfair placement of enemies in that game.
I think the fact that I was able to skate through the first three chapters without parrying reliably made me get a swelled head. The first boss was hard as hell, but after that I breezed through until the chapter four boss. Before we get to that boss, though, let’s talk about the area.
It’s a chapel, which is remeniscent of Anor Londo. But the initial area is a broke-down village, much like the Forbidden Woods of Bloodborne. But, not quite. There is one type of enemy that I can’t stand–it’s the one who has a long weapon and just thrusts it into you repeatedly. There’s a chimney sweep in the second chapter who does it and villagers with pitchforks who do it as well. If they catch you with the first poke, they will skewer you and take half your health. Or push you off a ledge.
I am so bored of the enemies already, and I am not even halfway done with the game. This was something else Zoe mentioned in her review–the enemies are so uninspired. You know how I have taken care of mini-bosses? By throwing things at them. A lot of things. The throwables are so powerful–and at least they are as good for me as they are for the enemies. I will get to this more later on.
In the middle of the fourth chapter, I hit the cathedral. And the game got so. much. worse. I have mentioned that they wear their FromSoft influences on their sleeves (and it’s laughable that they said they weren’t thinking of the From games as they developed this one), and it’s out in full force for this area. You have to go up in the rafters and traverse them. That’s not bad in and of itself, but there are enemies blocking your way. That also isn’t too terrible except there are these special enemies who reach into their gut, pull out decay, and throw it at you. Decay erodes your weapon and has a meter. If it maxes out, then your weapon degrades to almost broken. If you don’t fix it within a few seconds, it’ll break and be nearly useless.
So, if you’re following along, you have to go across these rafters while one enemy is attacking you and another is throwing decay at you. Oh, and one more thing. There are windmill blades that you have to avoid as you hop from one rafter to another. And they can knock you down. Into a pit of decay. And you can’t turn your camera to see exactly where the blades end because they’re too close to the ceiling.
Do you understand why someone with no depth-perception, terrible reflexes, and no sense of space might have difficulties with this? I died to this area roughly twenty times. Ok, that’s probably a bit of an exaggeration. Well, no. I don’t think it actually is. You see, if you fall down to the decay, it’s basically an insta-death. At least with the health I had. I really thought about quitting, but I grimly pushed on. And finally got through. Only to be confronted with sigh boulders running down the corridor and into a chute. Which, by the way, is like Sen’s Fortress–the area before Anor Londo.
So in this bit alone, we have the decay pit and windmills of Earthen Peak in Dark Souls II. In that game, it was poison, but same difference. And you could use fire to burn the rot, which is the same here. We have the boulders of Sen’s Fortress in the OG game, and the rafters of Anor Londo from the same game.
Then, after much agitation…by the way, the mini-bosses are boring as fuck. They don’t add anything to the game and as Zoe said in the video I included above, it feels as if they were added just to pad out the areas. They have a lot of health and very few attacks. Doesn’t mean I can block them, though.
I have two ways of dealing with the mini-bosses. Neither are cricket, but I don’t care. One is to get them to their leash limit and then as they go back from whence they came, whack them once in the booty I have done this more times than I care to admit because I can’t be assed to fight them over and over and over again. The other is to throw everything I can throw at them. Then get in the lat one or two hits. Both are boring as fuck, basically cheating, and I have no guilt about it.
There are interesting NPCs. I will give the game that. And you have to decide if you want to help them or not, and if you want to tell them about Hotel Krat (the hub area, and the only safe place) or not. Geppetto made it quite clear that if you tell the wrong person about the Hotel, it could be the end to everyone there. He’s upstairs next to his P-Organ (yes, really) machine.
Another tihng Zoe mentioned that I really agree with is that there are just too many systems in this game. I know that From loves all their systems, too, but they don’t chuck twenty of them in the same game. In addition, I think FromSoft goes overboard with it as well. You don’t need five stats of various strength AND five different upgrade paths AND human/hollow states, AND day/night difefrences, and, and, and.
In Lies of P, you have the regular leveling up using Ergo (souls) (that you can only do at Hotel Krat). leveling up of your P-Organs (that’s just enhancing different skills using quartz), upgrading weapons (with different mats for different levels and diffreent category of weapons), boss souls make weapons/talismen–er, rings, er…ah…um…amulets. They have amulets. There are all the status effects, so there are ampules for each. You can change the handles on the weapons, and you can use cranks to up the strength, dex, or magic of said handle. That’s not the names in this game, but I can’t be assed to remember them.
I was going to talk about the fourth chapter boss and the first part of chapter five, but I’ve gone on as always. I’ll end this here and pick it back up tomorrow.