So here we are, at a new year, welcome to 2024. And what better way to start off a new year than with a new game? Enter Lies of P.
What is Lies of P?
Lies of P is a Souls-like game released in November 2023 from studio Neowiz out of South Korea and it has all of the polish and poise that South Korean media has become known for over the last few years. The first things that come to mind are 2021’s “Squid Game” and 2019’s “Parasite”. While the two aforementioned titles are movies, they both share a similar quality to Lies of P in that all three products were from lesser-known studios that all managed to rival the big players in their respective industries.
I decided to try the game after ignoring all of the hype around the Soulsborne games made by FromSoft, mainly due to a fear of these games being too challenging for someone such as myself. I will come right out of the gate and say that yes, while the game was insanely challenging and probably the most difficult game I’ve played so far, the entire game from start to finish felt extremely thought out and rewarding. I’ve been sold and converted to the dark side of gaming known as Souls-like games, all thanks to Lies of P.
The game puts a spin on the story of Pinocchio and the concepts of lying as it relates to ones humanity. Sounds a bit deep for a puppet-game but Neowiz rewrites Carlo Collodi’s classic tale and turns it on its head. Told mainly through dialogue as well as scraps of journals, diaries, news clippings, etc, the world of P is immersive in a way that very few will find themselves immune to. The voice acting and music and SFX are top tier and complement the visuals of the game excellently.
The combat of the souls-like genre is what drew me towards those types of games and with Lies of P being on Xbox Gamepass right now, I figured I’d be able to try for free and find out for myself whether or not the difficulty was something I was currently and though I died a few times to the first mini-boss (beat to death with a police baton, sad times), I found myself addicted. Each enemy encounter became its own game where the possibility of death and a long corpse run were never off of the table. This made for very exciting exploration as well as myself personally started noticing and avoiding what I called “bait loot”. Bait loot was just like it sounds, loot just sitting seemingly in the open, “unguarded”. Nope! Fool me once…twice…five times, sure. But that’s it!
More about the combat: in addition to a vast array of weapons to choose from, many of which have handles and blades that can be mixed and matched, players are also presented with a variety of defensive options to choose from. Black and attack, parry, dodge or full on run. One of my major praises for this game is how, by the time you reach the final boss, you will have successfully used all of the defensive options at least once. I think this design decision was top notch by the developers.
The environment in Lies of P is also breathtaking. Huge hotels, castles and cathedrals and Opera houses with multiple floors and sprawling hallways with rooms lining each side. Neowiz somehow created what I consider the perfect amount of linearity. Where a person can get lost but the “correct” path is generally easy to figure out with very few exceptions.
I know I already talked about combat but I’d be remiss if I failed to mention the focal point of any Souls-like game: The bosses. Since beating the game myself I’ve gone online to see what people have to say about Lies of P and the biggest point of contention is the difficulty of some of the bosses. Like I said in the beginning, the game is HARD. Very very difficult. But I also stated in the beginning that this was my first Souls-like game and therefore I had zero expectations regarding what exactly made the Souls games themselves so difficult. And after reading and watching positive and negative reviews I can easily say that anyone who finds themselves not enjoying the combat in this game might want to reassess exactly how they’re playing. Me personally, I made it to the 3rd to final boss by parrying as my defense mechanism. Well, when I got to the end the game started asking more of me and I finally ran into a boss where I had to dodge and run away. And I didn’t think to even try dodging until I had already been on the boss for over an hour.
But that was the beauty of P for me. Grinding out each boss fight, learning each move while still relying on a crumb of luck to get you through and on to the next one.
Overall, P was fantastic and I can definitely see myself playing this game again at least once just to see what New Game+ is all about.