forget the stupid controversies, the game is absolutely grandiose

A PS5 gem

Stellar Blade has the good taste to immerse us in his universe in medias res to highlight eyes full from the first minutes. Rather than falling into the trap of a big introduction, based on long chatty cutscenes, and presenting its universe to us, Shift Up lets the images and the mechanics of the game speak for themselves. And very quickly, we understand the ambition of Stellar Blade.

The objective is to give us a demonstration of technical strength (this is often the case with PS5 exclusives) and we must admit that this is very successful. Visually, Stellar Blade is sublime, Do not be scarred by words. During the first hours of play, we were quickly fascinated by its formal beauty, its technological qualities and the good taste of its artistic direction – which contrasts with Eve’s dress code, but we’ll come back to that.

The landing on Earth has panache

Throughout history, Stellar Blade renews its environments, and always with a great sense of image composition and light, as well as extreme coherence in the presentation of natural elements on screen. Especially, the tangible nature of water or the weather effects are striking.

Unlike many open and semi-open worlds that we tend to explore in recent triple A games (especially those of J-RPG), this one seems absolutely concrete. The only downside being a few invisible walls and obstacles in the scenery that are quite annoying. But beyond that, the PS5 has rarely emulated a post-apocalyptic universe as dynamic and sensory than that of Stellar Blade.

Stellar Blade: photoThe next step: feeling the sun’s rays through the controller

dual sense PS5 success

Speaking of that sensory aspect, using the PS5 controller’s Dual Sense feature is also impressive in its precision. So, the feeling of raindrops hitting the palm of the hand when Eve walks through the drizzle carries away from the first hours of Stellar Blade. An immersion tool a hundred times more subtle than 4DX in a cinema for example, but so much more striking.

And when the subtlety of this technology is put into service heart of the game, that is to say the combat, emotions are heightened. By combining its great technical and sensory precision with its incredible gameplay, Stellar Blade does a flawless action level. Especially since he is inspired by the best.

Stellar Blade: photoStellar Blade: photoEve versus Goliath

Stellar fight

It is easy to list all the models of Shift Up in the development of its triple A (Nier: Automata, Final Fantasy, Sekiro, Devil May Cry, etc). These references are more than assumed, but they never destroy the specific identity of the South Korean game, which aims to be very dense and versatile. Stellar Blade thus offers the player clashes that are demanding (sometimes close to From Software games in terms of difficulty), but which can be approached with various approaches.

Thus, the fights, although arduous, are terribly accessible thanks to gameplay flexible enough to match various styles of play. And each approach remains exhilarating and very well implemented in the mechanics. Not to mention that throughout the campaign, they continue to be renewed and enriched so as not to get tired.

Stellar Blade: photoStellar Blade: photoThe combat animations and pyrotechnic effects of the blows are enjoyable

When it comes to fighting, we have something for everyone. Whether it’s hyper-nervous and pyrotechnic gameplay Devil May Cry or mechanics based on parrying and the player’s sense of rhythm at the same time. Sekiro : everyone will find something to suit their needs. Even for TPS fans, Stellar Blade offers himself some rather cool shooting mechanics, which he also puts to good use in surprising homage sequences to Dead Space.

The enemies all represent a mortal danger that forces the player to adapt. This is where Stellar Blade most resembles a Souls-like, and that’s good since that’s how mastering its gameplay is the most rewarding. We emerge triumphant from any small fight and of course, duels against bosses are moments of grace. Even if we never reach the heights of a Elden Ring on this ground, it is already high level for a first triple A of its kind.

Final Fantasy XVI: photoFinal Fantasy XVI: photoOn the production side, Stellar Blade does not equal FF16 either

The Eve problem of the future

In short, the major issues of Stellar Blade were to shine as an action game heir to Souls and to make a superb technical demo for the Sony console. And in both cases, we are won over. It’s a pure pleasure and if all the triple A’s in the industry shared the same ambition as a Stellar Bladewe would be devilishly happy.

But what about the rest? The storyline, the characters, the side quests… all that. On all these points, we are going to be a bit more measured. Because despite our enthusiasm, it is certain that Stellar Blade is not perfect. Especially when it comes to his writing and his treatment of characters. And besides, I might as well tell you clearly: if you were hoping that the sexualization of Eve would have any reason to exist in the game’s scenario, it’s a big no. It’s completely free.

Stellar Blade: photoStellar Blade: photoEve is not alone in being underwritten

Eve’s physique (she is not even the worst off in the game) is treated as an aesthetic gadget, and is unfortunately a stain in this ravaged world. And the problem is not only there. Eve may be iconized as an impressive and resourceful elite fighter, but she is sorely lacking in personality. She doesn’t have not the charisma of a femme fatale like Bayonetta, which would have somewhat justified her sex appeal, or the strength of character of Lara Croft. Instead, Eve is more a warrior pin-up; sometimes badass, but often hollow.

This feeling of having just made its heroine a showcase for the game, while she has real potential at certain moments, is felt even more by the plethora of alluring outfits that the game allows us to unlock – some of which are really abused, although at least none of this content is paid for, which should be noted. Eve therefore lacks a bit of soul and the emotional impact on the game’s storyline is reduced.

Stellar Blade: photoStellar Blade: photoThis character, and the city that revolves around him, will however remain quite intriguing

the Eve of the future

Anyway, the story of Stellar Blade is quite generic and predictable. It is effective, but it actually serves as a pretext for the epic staging and frenetic action. Shift Up apparently did not want to focus on complex writing, in the style of a Nier: Automatawhich is nevertheless one of its references.

The studio focused on a mechanical experience, which certainly conveys emotion, but less through the scenario than through the game design and an overall atmosphere. Thanks to its pleasant level design, Stellar Blade gives the player the desire to explore your world, even outside of the main plot. Which is not nothing.

Stellar Blade: photoStellar Blade: photoEve: an almost endearing character, but who still lacks a little soul

The side quests are quite numerous and often rewarding (some call on our ingenuity and allow us to elucidate mysteries or deepen areas that we have already explored). The mythology of Stellar Blade permeates the entire body of the game, and its scenario only serves as a column.

And it is in particular music – it is on this positive point that we will conclude – that Stellar Blade owes a very large part of its charm and identity. This exceptional soundtrack brings a sincere and delightful melancholy to Shift Up’s playing, and could become a new obsession to match Shift Up’s music. Persona 5. A tour de force.

Test carried out on PS5. Stellar Blade has been available on PS5 since April 26.

Stellar Blade: photoStellar Blade: photo

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