There’s copying your classmate’s homework, and then there’s amalgamating the last decade of their work into your own creation. On first glance, new soulslike Lies of P draws perhaps a bit too much inspiration from Souls series developer FromSoftware’s catalog of hits: There's look and tone of Bloodborne; Sekiro’s prosthetic tools and parry; Dark Souls’ equip-load-dependent dodge speed; Elden Ring’s Weapon Arts; and, of course, a new name for bonfires.
Crucially, though, Lies of P is more than just a copycat. Beneath the suspiciously Yarnham-esque veneer lie plenty of fresh ideas. So if you’re still on the fence about Neowiz’s Pinnochio-inspired action-RPG, here are five new things that Lies of P brings to the soulsborne formula.
5 new things Lies of P brings to the soulsborne formula
1. Reclaimable healing charges
Whether it’s estus, blood vials, or crimson tears, soulsborne healing has one rule: when you’re out, you’re out. Or so we thought, anyway. Lies of P introduces a new healing recharge system. So long as you’ve used all your current healing charges – in Lies of P’s case, Pulse Cells – any successful attacks you land will slowly refill a single charge.
It’s a small change, but one that makes a huge difference to extended battles against tougher foes. When a boss fight in Dark Souls gets off to such a bad start that you blow all your healing early, it’s tempting to just give up and try again on the next run. In Lies of P, you’ve always got something to fight for.
Play carefully enough and, even if you take a few hits, you’ll scrape your way towards another burst of healing – one that might be just enough to see you through the inevitable second phase. It’s such a great incentive that we’d love to see it implemented in FromSoft’s future releases as well.
2. Weapon repair
Weapon degradation is often contentious in video games. In Lies of P’s case, we’re not yet sold on whether its implementation is for the better or worse. Your primary weapon’s durability wears down fairly rapidly as you smack enemies. Reach zero and your weapon breaks, significantly denting both damage and range until you return to a Stargazer checkpoint.
The good news is that your body’s creator – Lies of P’s protagonist is a sentient puppet, in case that wasn’t clear – thought ahead. Your arms come installed with a sharpening tool you can access at any time. It only take a second or two for a full repair, but seconds can feel very long indeed in the right (or perhaps wrong) circumstances.
While presenting little hindrance in general exploration, weapon durability becomes another meter you’ll need to account for during boss fights. Openings that used to be grounds for attacks or a chance to heal now present the option of a quick tune up, too. Or you could take a different approach. Bring two weapons to the fight and, yes, you’ll take a hit to equip load, but you’ll save yourself the need to repair at all.
It’s an interesting concept that, in some manner, offers a meaningful choice of loadout and strategy. But at the same time, it’s yet another thing to keep track of during fights, and potentially an unnecessary frustration if forgotten while navigating the world.
3. Weapon combinations
Another novel concept Lies of P introduces is blade and handle combos. Each weapon is separated into these two parts, either of which can be exchanged with those from other weapons. Blades and handles have their own stats and special moves (called Fable Arts) and can be upgraded independently.
Finding a new weapon in Lies of P therefore doesn’t just beg the question of whether its overall stats and moveset suit you. You’ve got to consider whether either of its two parts (and accompanying powers) would make your combat tool of choice into a greater whole. We didn’t really get time to dig into this system properly in the demo, but it teases tantalizing prospects for the fine-tuning of builds in the full release.
4. Enemies and their animations
Bloodborne pitted us against hordes of harrowing monsters, but Lies of P’s murder-puppets make for a uniquely unsettling enemy type. Their juddering movements, like a twisted mimicry of human actions, instantly mark them as a threat. Their instability also ties perfectly to combat. The delayed strikes of which soulsborne games are so fond translate perfectly as stuttering, awkward movements rather than intentional feints.
There’s such strong theming to the early opponents that the first time you face an actual human in a fight, their motions seem jarring. What remains to be seen is whether Lies of P can conjure up enough variation on the theme to keep its anarchic automatons entertaining throughout.
Our Dark Souls characters may be monsters with a blade in hand, but they’re always honest to a fault. A fault that often sees them fall foul of Patches’ many schemes. Being economical with the truth just isn’t a concept that comes naturally to the next Lord of Cinder.
Pinnochio, however, is different. As a uniquely sentient puppet, Lies of P’s protagonist has the ability to lie at crucial moments. Doing so will reportedly reward you with a resource called “Humanity” which adjusts how other NPCs treat you, changes the enemies you encounter, and even determines which ending of the game you receive. The Soulsborne series has routinely offered multiple endings, but we’re intrigued to see how heavily this new mechanic impacts the story and world or Lies of P across multiple playthroughs.
Bonus: 60 frames per second
We’re sorry to break it to you, but a remaster or remake of Bloodborne isn’t looking likely. Despite years of anguished cries from players, FromSoft’s gothic masterpiece will likely be forever condemned to a sluggish thirty frames per second. But in a new game comes new hope. On the PS5 and Xbox Series X, Lies of P’s performance mode targets a solid 60 frames per second. And the demo definitely delivers.
Sure, you could opt for the flashier quality mode instead. But after eight years spent longing for Victorian streets slick with motion as well as rain? Don’t waste your chance. Treat yourself to the high framerate you’ve been searching for and luxuriate in just how smoothly that giant circus robot’s fist smashes into your character’s face. The frame rates may change, but the beatings stay the same.
Lies of P releases September 19 on PC, PlayStation, and Xbox.