Raw and yet not too impressive, but ambitious as souls.

In April, the studio Cold symmetry introduced Deadly shell: surprisingly elegant soulslike action (at least per trailer). It all looked fun anyway, but the studio staff also added fuel to the fire: the staff had a helping hand Starcraft 2 and Tushusha ghost. In addition, the team consists of only 15 people – is it possible to do something worthy with such modest forces?

Probably possible, but judging by the Mortal Shell beta, before the games Fromsoftware she like Dranglik in heaven on earth.

Deadly void

As with the series Dark souls, the plot and the ENT are presented very poorly, through clues, but it is not difficult to paint a rough picture. We play as a creature that can inhabit corpses – those same shells (but not in any, but only in strictly defined ones); and the setting itself is similar to something like the otherworld, where the souls of fallen warriors and other less human creatures live.

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The main value of such coins is “juice”, a substance that not only performs the function of money, but also allows you to restore the memory of the earthly essence of our shells. Also in the plot, a certain Sister Genessa is directly involved, who claims that she is the bodyguard. That’s all for the moment.

It’s at Genesis that we pump the character – however, every trip to her home brings all the enemies in the area to life.

The gameplay is not far from the soulsborne formula, with one exception: Mortal Shell does not have an open world, the game is clearly divided into levels. The rest is the same. We explore locations, fight enemies, collect artifacts, and desperately try not to die. And for the killings, we get the same “juice” to spend it on buying items or on pumping.

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Already, the preview shows that Mortal Shell has two big problems. First, the gaming world is still dead. Not only literally, but figuratively too: moldy landscapes and narrow linear hallways without a hint of Dark Souls variability. For the entire passage, we only encountered one atmospheric scene – a couple of warriors resting by the fire, playing the lute.

By the way, you can play the instrument yourself. We don’t yet know what it is for, but the more the character plays, the more beautiful the melodies become.

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The second problem is the visual design. The monsters are pleasantly animated, but on the outside they are, to say the least, not very original: we’ve seen all of this in hundreds of fantastic games. Maybe in the future enemies, like the game world as a whole, will be more interesting. At least the boss at the end of the first slot (which, by the way, is called Enslaved Grisha) looks slightly like the Guardian of The evil inside and at least looks impressive.

I have the juice

But the role-playing system so far has not aroused any interest. There are no builds or stats as such – you just spend juice on certain abilities. For example, the ability to be treated with poisons (useful in dungeons with inedible mushrooms).

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A guy with blades instead of hands might just sound like a mini boss – it’s pretty hard to fight him, but the payoff is well worth it

The battle, which in theory should drag the whole game into itself, leaves a double impression. On the one hand, it clearly pays homage to Dark Souls. The weight of the weapon and the force of the blows are felt, you need to carefully watch the stamina, and opponents, even in individual battles, can cause a lot of trouble.

On the other hand, the battles are much slower. During the first few hours it’s hard to get used to the awkwardness of the initial shell – here it actually plays the role of armor that can be changed in strictly defined places. At first, if it appears to be not the body of a noble warrior, but a decrepit grandfather for whom lifting a sword is an event at the level of the grand opening of a bench in Krasnodar. In addition, the schedules in Mortal Shell, like in other souls, are extremely important. If you can’t find the right time to attack, then failure can be fatal: as long as you just swing, enemies will easily chase your mind.

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There is no room for maneuver in the catacombs: either fight or shamefully retreat

With death, too, it’s not that simple. When you lose all health, the game “kicks” you out of the shell; soulless, he turns into a stone statue. There are two options: either fight offenders this way, at the risk of dying all at once, or try to return to the body to fight at full strength again. Lose all your life again – bye, go back to the start of the level. The old body and all the accumulated juice will remain at the place of death.

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First impressions of Mortal Shell.  Very dark souls

The art of not dulling (sword) in combat

All of this plays out… in an ambiguous way. The chips that should set Mortal Shell apart from its counterparts hardly work. Let’s say you have a blockage: the hero puts a hand with a conditional shield for a second, reflects the blow and at the same time disorients the enemy. However, reception does not work for everyone: especially powerful creatures easily penetrate such protection. And, more importantly, the restore animation is so long that the error leaves you helpless: As the hero removes the artifact, his face will be bitten multiple times.

We will also write here the “100% block”: you can petrify for a moment, and even the most powerful opponent will be shaken by such protection. But the effect only lasts a few frames, and getting to the exact moment of impact is almost impossible. Both mechanics therefore seem rather useless – why take the risk and replace if it’s much more efficient to just bounce to the side.

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Alone, certain enemies, in principle, do not challenge each other: he approaches, draws his sword, walks away. But they can ruin your life – for example, throw your poisoned head in the end

In Mortal Shell, everything is tied to the action schedules. It seems to be a plus: you remember the duration each type of attack and learn to control the character from and to. And after the nth death toll, you also remember the habits of all enemies: how long it takes to attack, where it is headed, what radius of destruction it has, and after which hits it is worth fighting retreating so as not to change… But at some point you understand that more or less all fights can be completed using the same tactics: “hit + hit + rebound”. Repeat a hundred, two hundred, a thousand times.

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First impressions of Mortal Shell.  Very dark souls

Well, on the shell. From my observations, the first of them, the clumsy vassal knight, clearly loses to the nimble and agile psalm reader. Both have about equal health, both are equally good at using two available weapons (a sword and a set of axes with a dagger), but the second has more stamina and moves faster, this which is extremely important in slow combat conditions. What is the advantage of the first over the second is not clear. Again, maybe in the final version everything will be different, but why demonstrate two “classes” if one is completely useless compared to the other?

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First impressions of Mortal Shell.  Very dark souls

In general, the impressions are controversial. Everything is very strange, monotonous and heavy. Hardcore hardcore, but in its current form, Mortal Shell is more loathsome than alluring. Let’s see what will happen at the end when the developers present the final version. We hope that many problems will not bury the unequivocal benefits that already exist.

Source : Game Informer