Stellar Blade: Hands-On Preview

Stellar Blade: Hands-On Preview

In a few days, the world will have the opportunity to go hands-on (without access being removed from your console by PlayStation) to the Stellar Blade demo, but thanks to PlayStation I’ve had the opportunity to go hands-on with this brand new IP from Korean studio Shift-Up. My initial impression from all prior marketing was that we were looking at a Devil May Cry and Bayonetta inspired title, however in reality, while the comparisons to the aforementioned character action games are still valid, Stellar Blade shares more in common with a modern FromSoftware game than anything else; and despite largely being resistant to Soulsborne games – I’m finding myself weirdly engaged by Shift-Up’s work. 

Stellar Blade tells the story of Eve, moments after she crash-lands out of her drop pod and is immediately cast into the middle of a raging conflict. She is of course ready, and along with partner and mentor Tachy, she cuts a swathe through many of the attacking Naytiba. The game opens in epic cinematic fashion with debris tumbling down from the sky, falling skyscrapers, and more, while Eve and Tachy cut down several enemies as they drive forward. Not a lot of context is provided immediately, but following a deadly encounter with an Alpha Naytiba, Tachy’s death, and Eve’s subsequent rescue, we come to learn more about Eve, what happened to her, other peripheral characters around her such as Adam (yes, Adam and Eve), and more about the Naytiba’s intentions. 

Humanity is losing this war as Eve goes on to explore devastated regions of Earth in her fight back against the Naytiba. The once bustling streets have become overgrown, and now completely overrun by the size of their force, and Eve must cut them down while otu on mission. Combat itself will at face value look like something from a character action title like Bayonetta or DmC but, in reality, leans more heavily upon Soulslike combat traits. From slower-paced combat than trailers would lead you to think, combat that, while fair, is uncompromising, to recovery points that respawn fallen enemies, the moment-to-moment of Stellar Blade will feel somewhat familiar to those versed in the ways of Elden Ring, Nioh, or even Star Wars Jedi: Survivor. 

Patience is required in combat as players look to capitalise on parrying opportunities, necessary moments to evade incoming attacks, or to strike at the opportune moment. Like a character action game though Eve can unlock a range of abilities fairly rapidly, or even enhance the effectiveness of those that she has at her disposal already. None of these, across the several hours that I experimented with the game, necessarily broke the more considered focus of the combat, not at least, unless players have opted to play in Story Mode. Like a growing number of non-FromSoftware developed titles, Stellar Blade features difficult modes; at least according to the demo build, it will include a Normal and a Story mode, allowing players of all difficulties to tailor the experience their way a bit. The off-path exploration can be a bit rough at times, with it at times being bit unclear as to which path is the appropriate one – the positive is however that you can find power-ups or collect more of your own currency to add to your wallet which can be spent on further upgrades. 

The world of Eve’s Earth is strikingly realised in Stellar Blade. While there are certainly some rough edges in the game and world design, Stellar Blade looks as stylish as its character-action peers, while sound design is far more subdued, with some further audio-mixing between OST and the game’s sound-effects being needed. Character and monster designs do not pull any punches, from Eve and her not-overly-subtle design to the enemies and their horrific looks.

From my few hours playing Stellar Blade I found myself impressed by its design. The game adheres to some Soulslike conventions but is also respectful of the fact that not all players will have the time, patience, or ability to play by those rules as well. As April 28th approaches, it’s shaping up as though PS5 owners will, once again, have themselves an exciting new exclusive to enjoy. 

Time Until Launch (April 26, 2024)

Amazon Logo

You might see some links on this page that take you to Amazon. We are an Amazon Associate which means we earn a commission from qualifying purchases. These help to keep the lights on here at Player 2 and keep us sending the gaming goodness your way. 

Have you seen our Merch Store?

Check out our Most Recent Video

Find us on Metacritic

Check out our Most Recent Posts