I don’t remember a souls gaming being more “feast or famine” than Lies of P is. That is the best way I can express my experience in it in a single sentence.
When you get the perfect block and you slide in with a dodge for a charged attack, you feel like a god. But miss the block timing and get hit? Get ready to be humiliated and potentially fail the boss without scoring a hit in.
Right now, the window to perfect block is so tiny that it makes Sekiro feel like an easy game. Add to that the fact that there is no poise in this game – making slow weapons and their charged attacks incredibly hard to land – and you have a recipe for frustration. On the other hand, folks using fast weapons are eating good in this, you have an easy way to full-stagger enemies on demand and you can build up elemental damage really nicely.
So with that, pure strength (motivity) builds are quite gimped right now. The one saving grace for them is the boss weapons. There, most boss weapons are motivity/technique scaling and they are very powerful even with just 2 or 3 upgrades. For example, my +8 greatsword is not as good as my +3 boss weapon, so there is a ray of light there for strength users.
Regardless of your build though, you are basically required to land perfect blocks on a regular basis. Alternatively, the dodge has I-frames and can be used effectively to sidestep attacks but is very situational. And sometimes there are “red” attacks which cannot be dodged at all and can only be perfect blocked. However, I have to say that dodges are a fantastic thing to mix into your toolkit, since some attacks will knock you back outside of attack range even if perfect blocked. The only way to stay in range dealing damage after some of those attacks is to dodge through them.
Once you get the hang of using the dodge like that you will realise it’s way more useful than you thought, allowing you to completely avoid the annoying knock-ups of some big swing attacks. Remember that it’s a small window of I-frames for the dodge, so usually you want to dodge into the direction of the attack. For example, if an attack is coming from the right, then dodging directly into the right is your best bet – while dodging left or back in that case might still have the hit connect.
Even with all those small difficulties, frustrations, and tough lessons this game keeps me coming back time and time again. The setting is phenomenal, and the weapons and progression systems are truly awesome. The fact that you can combine any weapon handle with a weapon head to create something unique is a genius idea.
The way the combining works for weapons, is that the handle determines the scaling stats of the weapon, and the top retains the upgrades to the blade you’ve done so far as. The move set is mostly determined by the handle as well, so you can turn a poking weapon into a sweeping arc attack style instead for example. The fact that the upgrades to handle and head are kept even if you recombine them is great. Really allows you to play with weapons to get what you need – for some bosses I changed the handle for a longer reach and poke attacks, while in other cases I opted for a wide horizontal sweep attack for crowds.
And there are other frustrations to do with environments and mobs, like getting kicked off platforms by projectile attacks (the OG dark souls experience). But those pale in comparison to the feeling of truly understanding a boss and being able to easily conquer it after many attempts. It’s so clear when your skill has reached a new level, along with your understanding of boss attacks. And these bosses are no joke man. The Puppet King boss took me more attempts than any souls boss in any souls game… ever. That is no exaggeration and I’m not ashamed to admit just how much it took to beat that boss. Because once I did, I had full domain over what he was going to do, and I had good answers to all moves. It’s a big problem-solving riddle at times: how can I approach that move while still being able to dish damage out?
Regarding difficulty, this is a hard game – there’s no way around it. I’m sure some people will flex and say it was easy for them but honestly there are some huge difficulty spikes here. You can summon a ghost to help you in battle, allowing you to share the aggro and give you some breathing room. It also seems it doesn’t change the boss health to summon. Sadly, you need a consumable to call the summon, and I suspect some people are going to have to farm those which is really annoying. I really question the decision to make that reliant on a consumable item.
So with all that said, I’ll try to answer the question I keep getting: do I recommend Lies of P?
VERY hard call. Honestly depending on your disposition for games playing Lies of P may be a disaster or truly amazing. If you can stick through some of the hard times, take a break and return with a fresh head this might be an incredible experience for you. If you get mad, angry, and frustrated at games and you hate having to attempt stuff many times… this may not be the game for you. I do not think this will change your mind if you haven’t liked souls games thus far, but if you are a fan of these games this is a safe bet for you. And best of all, you can play it for the price of gamepass which is a damn fine price if you ask me.
Good luck out there hunter.