Mortal Shell is an elegant and class-based successor to Dark Souls

From the revered software Dark souls The series succeeded through a rather different cocktail of dark mysteries, gothic horror, hard-earned knowledge, and a brutal challenge to survive through thick and thin. Since then, several games have tried to make it work, but many of them have paled in comparison to their inspiration. Deadly Shell It is not one of those games. For the first time since Lordran stepped on, it feels like someone understands the key principles that make him a great Soul and how to evolve them into something new.

At first sight, Deadly Shell pulls a ton of established conventions like Souls. Forget worry about balance or build stats for characters like its protagonist, Foundling, instead inhabiting the bodies of four different, long-dead warriors like shells. They are predefined archetypes, like a warrior and a rogue, and there are only four weapons planned in total for the entire game. What might seem like an oversimplification actually focuses the experience beautifully, tiptoeing carefully between Deadly Shellinspirations and a more streamlined soul-style experience.

Deadly Shell It starts with a quick but comprehensive tutorial, covering all of your basic moves. As expected, there is a fast-draining resistance meter and a fragile health bar to manage, but also a “resolution” meter that gains charge over time. Have enough resolution stored and can unleash a special attack that depletes your health enemies, with the counterweight that every time you use a healing item, it depletes your resolution. Each shell has different levels of resolution, with the weakest rogue character having only two charges, while the knight can win up to six.

Mortal Shell Preview Cold Symmetry Playstack Dark Souls successor

Another welcome wrinkle is the tightening system. At any time, you can cover yourself with stone and freeze in the middle of the movement, even during attacks. Hardening yourself grants a free and perfect deflection of an enemy attack, knocking them down and leaving them open for an attack, as well as a few seconds of damage resistance afterwards. The trick is that you have to wait for a recharge timer after each use, leaving you vulnerable unless you can schedule a stop attack with your stealth.

The harden system and stop symbol work together beautifully as a means of tilting the balance in your favor, offering a high-risk / reward strategic option for those who don’t want to just resist through the tank or many dodging reels. Those old and faithful options are still workable, but, especially in a boss fight, it’s worth hardening yourself through an attack that would otherwise be unblockable. It won’t win the battle for you, but I can instantly see that it’s a boon to those who have struggled with time locks and stops in similar games. Also, the ability to charge an attack while it’s frozen means you can get a free hit with precise timing, which can save you a lot of damage when used correctly.

This emphasis on strategic second chances is reinforced by the behavior of projectiles when it comes to death. If you fail to keep your shell intact, and you will be removed from it, your Foundling will be exposed with a pinch of health. If you are skilled enough, you can still fight, retaining your offensive capabilities, but at high risk. Alternatively, you can go through the fray to retrieve your shell. If she inhabits her shell again, know that the next time she is knocked down, it is forever, and she will have to fight to return to her experience in the tradition of souls.

However, if you change course, you will retain everything you have and open a nice and orderly way to spend your experience points. Although how quickly you get to that point will depend on your familiarity with Souls’ likes. They are not only Deadly ShellThe mechanics are designed to be workable for new players and veterans alike, but also its global design. For veterans, an optional boss is available within minutes of exploring the starting area, offering an early test to kick the tires. Deadly ShellThe fight.

For beginners, there is a warm-up encounter with two weak enemies and three different paths to embark on the path to a mysterious oracle that serves as Deadly ShellBonfires. One path involves a multitude of weak enemies, another has a trio of stronger sphinx men, and finally a third route features ranged enemies and a handful of weaker melee attackers. Along the way, you get tar (see: souls) and glimpses (a coin you’ll retain even after you die) and enough knowledge to know what you’ll want to improve for when you can spend them. All types of players fit within the first area of ​​the game, and it grows from there.

By the time you get to the second area, Deadly Shell it is already introducing death pits, more mixed enemy encounters, poison, and a greater emphasis on evading enemy attacks. Every twisted and twisted monstrosity thrown at you in the caves wouldn’t feel out of place in a Clive Barker story, pulling blades out of their chests to impale you, leaping with giant arms. Still, Deadly Shell he rarely ambushes you with them unless you charge head first. As with their spiritual predecessors, patience, mindfulness, and knowledge are far more valuable than perfecting a push with your sword or hammer and spike.

This emphasis on careful experimentation lends a mischievous air to learning the ins and outs of Deadly ShellThe World of Learn more about the ancient lives of each of your projectiles by inverting your tar and taking a look at each of them. More of the world is revealed as you wear items, revealing what a blessing or curse offers you, as well as more esoteric traits and traditions. Deadly ShellThe setting asks him to reconstruct the larger narrative and its many spiraling threads, with each of its shells having a place in that story.

Mortal Shell Preview Cold Symmetry Playstack Dark Souls successor

Developer Cold Symmetry has captured something remarkable in his Souls style. It is not as restrictive as Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, nor does it guarantee easily dominated constructions like The Surge 2 or Outcome. While near-heroic shells and limited weapons may disappoint some, I think it will open the door for other players previously intimidated by the mountain of options in Dark souls appropriate.

I tried two of the game’s four shells and the two weapons available with them, and each combination felt different. You still have agency on how you play; It will certainly be easier for newcomers to find out what works best for them. The absence of online invaders can also make the experience less daunting.

It is surprisingly difficult to say that Deadly Shell It is not an AAA production. It has that terrible but attractive atmosphere like its spiritual predecessors, with a Gothic art direction that perfectly evokes the despair of the medieval Middle Ages. Each enemy has crystal clear time and effortless smooth animations. The voiced characters enjoy wonderful performances, as rich as they are ominous. Every environment I explored dripped with a rock-solid sound design, the music fading like a ghost between crucial moments, leaving you to wander alone in the dark or shiver at the thunder of a boss.

And what wonderful bosses it has, with the first two I found as a rabid, vampiric twist against Tolkien’s Gollum and an ice beast with hooves larger than my shell bodies. However, with each one, I was able to quickly capture their comments and strategies. The first had to do with rushing jumps, so stopping and dodging would be crucial to keeping him away from me. The latter’s charge slides over the patches of ice in his cavern, leaving it open for attacks for a few seconds. Destroying every boss is as much about strategy as it is about patience, in more ways than one.

Mortal Shell Preview Cold Symmetry Playstack Dark Souls successor

You will see, instead of making an equivalent Estus flask, Deadly Shell go for the regeneration of fungi that are cool, but can also be collected around the environment. At the cost of his resolution meter, he can take his time, acquiring a considerable amount of mushrooms, but to do so requires waiting his time, dealing with opponents on his way as he slowly cuts a path, taking quick side businesses to grab more than they.

Mushrooms also heal you over time, rather than all at once, stabilizing your health when you’re poisoned and rewarding defensive behavior when you’re hurt. It takes little time to consume them, but just like with an Estus, you should be careful with their use in a fight. I’m not sure if everyone will agree with this decision, but it seemed like a reasonable alternative.

In addition to the blocked shells and updates, the only aspect I haven’t experienced yet is Deadly ShellThe magic system, which seemed inaccessible in the demo provided to us. Fortunately, you still have an arsenal capable of handling opponents, regardless of whether you trust magic. I especially recommend upgrading your weapons, which, unlike their shells, require unique items that refine them into devastating tools.

All said, Deadly Shell It is a refreshingly complete package, even in this first version. While there is some optimization and polishing to be done, this doesn’t seem like a game that’s still in alpha. If what I played Deadly ShellAny indication, Cold Symmetry has a bump on its hands. Cold Symmetry is giving away closed beta codes for those eager to cut their teeth in the twisted forests of Fallgrim between July 3-10.