Stellar Blade: EVE’s Resilience – Forged in the Cosmic Crucible

Stellar Blade
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Producer of Stellar Blade

Stellar Blade is the first game console developed by Shift Up studio, which previously focused on mobile games. The result is a surprisingly engaging game.

First introduced in 2019 as Project EVE, Stellar Blade from studio Shift Up didn’t attract much attention until its demo release on the PlayStation Store at the end of March. In the month before its official release When released, the demo attracted countless downloads and most users highly appreciated the graphics, sound, and gameplay after playing the demo. So, now that the game has officially launched, does Stellar Blade live up to its expectations as one of the best PS5 exclusive games this year?

Scene -After the end of the Earth

Stellar Blade is set in a post-apocalyptic Earth, a desolate wasteland in the not-so-distant future. Earth was once an advanced and bustling civilization. But now it lies in ruins after being invaded by extraterrestrial forces (known as the Naytiba). Most of humanity has fled Earth, living in colonies scattered throughout the cosmos.  In Stellar Blade, you play as EVE 07, a soldier in the elite Eve Defense Force. Her mission? To reclaim Earth from the clutches of the Naytiba.

Stellar Blade presents a rich sci-fi world where survivors honor the Mother Sphere amid the ruins of civilization. It is sustained by the vital Body Cells. Shift Up has successfully crafted an intriguing world for players to explore, filled with clues about Earth’s history and humanity. The game also weaves a narrative that raises questions about the meaning of being human.

Stellar Blade game play
The game has a post-apocalyptic setting

The setting is well thought out

clearly inspired by NieR: Automata, while still leaving plenty of room to build content around Naytiba’s invasion, the origin of the Mother Sphere, and Naytiba’s ultimate goal. What. To clear things up, in addition to the main plot, you also need to collect items scattered throughout the game.

In terms of plot, Stellar Blade is not groundbreaking but not bad either. In Stellar Blade, characters extend the story and guide players through the world and quests. However, their lack of depth can make them feel somewhat “mechanical,” especially during moral choices. Additionally, some in-game dialogue feels out of place and disrupts the natural flow of conversation. Not sure if it’s due to translation issues from Korean to English.

Stellar Blade crafts a captivating world, but its characters lack depth. Regardless, the story is good enough to serve the game’s context, so this is still an enjoyable experience.

Attractive action role-playing gameplay

Stellar Blade draws its gameplay inspiration from various modern blockbusters, featuring a semi-open world reminiscent of God of War, stylish combat akin to Bayonetta, focused slashing mechanics similar to Sekiro, and an atmosphere comparable to NieR: Automata.

What is not good in the plot has been compensated for by the gameplay. Combat is the main focus of the game, featuring a simple yet stylish combat system. The core of the game is the skill tree system, which acts as the main process for developing character strength.

You start the game with all 8 basic combos unlocked in the skill tree

which can be overwhelming at first as there are no clear instructions for them. However, Stellar Blade lets players easily browse and practice skills.

game play
Players can quickly practice a skill right in the upgrade section

Once you get used to parrying, you will use these combos as a way to increase your strategy in battle. In Stellar Blade, mastering combos and strategic openings enhances the battle experience. As you progress, enemies’ moves become more challenging, requiring specific skills to counter.

In Stellar Blade, there’s a slight delay of approximately 0.5 seconds between pressing a button and the skill displaying on the screen. While it may take time to adjust to the combat rhythm, the director acknowledges that this lag is necessary to maintain smooth animations. He added that if many gamers respond negatively to this, the studio may make changes in the future.

Stellar Blade game play
Combat in Stellar Blade is fast-paced

Bosses in Stellar Blade

The RPG aspect comes from the various gear and Exospine components you equip Eve with. They have many uses such as supplementing combo attacks, critical strike rate, and exchanging defense for damage,… You can find Weapon Cores to upgrade weapons, and Tumbler Expansion Modules to upgrade blood.

Overall, the RPG aspect is straightforward, making it accessible to a wide audience and well-suited for the game’s action-focused gameplay.

The game has about 50 types of Naytiba that you can face in regular combat, each with its unique attack style. However, the real standout moments are the boss battles. In Stellar Blade, encounters showcase gameplay at its best. The resounding sounds of parrying attacks, followed by stylish abilities, truly shine during boss battles, allowing you to demonstrate your fighting prowess. You can completely control the battle as long as you have the skills.

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Stellar Blade – The Quests

Dive into the content of Stellar Blade. Stellar Blade encourages exploration with side quests in Zion and the Wasteland, enriching the experience beyond the main quest.

In the linear areas, Shift Up designs the level quite well, including many hidden areas with rewards. However, when performing the main quest, sometimes you have to focus on participating in puzzle sections or stages where you cannot use Eve’s main weapon.

The open-world areas are quite small when compared to pure open-world games, but in exchange, the map doesn’t feel too empty and there is a fair amount of content to explore. Most of these are simply items, but there’s also a surprisingly detailed fishing mini-game and some puzzles around the map.

Stellar Blade quest
The game has many areas for you to freely explore

Costumes are also one of the main highlights of Stellar Blade, with more than 30 options for outfits, and jewelry such as earrings, eyeglasses, and hairstyles. Players enjoy a surprising amount of freedom for customization, and it’s worth noting that there are quite a few bold costumes. Some costumes were even censored after release, though it remains unclear whether this was due to requests from Sony or not.

In short, Stellar Blade’s gameplay relies heavily on an extremely well-crafted combat system and a reasonable, though not overly complex, power progression that keeps things fresh. You encounter a lot of enemies and the boss battles are unforgettable.

Design, Visuals, and Sound

In terms of design, visuals, and sound, Stellar Blade is one of the games that does it best this year. Starting from the battle, the combos go smoothly with the blocking phases having very beautiful effects.

The game’s images are sharp and detailed, and the Naytiba design is impressive. The environments are also well constructed, presenting a wonderful image of a destroyed human civilization, engulfed by greenery and overrun by Naytiba.

The sound in the game is also impressive with the background music being praised right from the demo. Moving around with the accompanying soundtrack reminds you of NieR: Automata and there’s even some heavy metal music for the boss.

gameplay
Boss battles are the highlight of the game

However, the voice acting is mediocre and many of the voices don’t match the characters in the English dub at all. During cutscenes, characters have unnatural head movements.

In the context of a series of blockbuster games released without optimization, Stellar Blade excels in providing stable performance. The game offers 3 image modes, performance mode almost always maintains 60fps, quality mode provides higher resolution, and more detail but has a 30fps frame, and there is an additional balance mode somewhere between the two, but if you have a TV that supports VRR then this mode is worth checking out as it will deliver close to 60fps.

One of the candidates for Game of the Year?

Stellar Blade is a game of moderate length, players can complete the story in less than 20 hours of play, if you follow the school of people who like to collect everything, the playing time can be up to more than 30 hours. The game has a New Game+ mode to increase replay value.

Stellar Blade

Stellar Blade isn’t a perfect game, but the great music, stunning visuals, and epic boss fights overshadow all of those weaknesses, while also delivering one of the best combat mechanics around. Currently.

If you like Sekiro, Lies of P, DMC 5, or NieR: Automata, you will appreciate Stellar Blade. In this genre, gameplay takes center stage, and Stellar Blade delivers an exciting experience that you simply cannot afford to miss.

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Stellar Blade (PlayStation 5)

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Stellar Blade

Stellar Blade

PlayStation 5 –

The future of humanity is balanced on the edge of a blade. Ravaged by strange, powerful creatures, Earth has been abandoned, and what is left of the decimated human race has fled to a Colony in outer space.

After travelling from the Colony, EVE arrives on the desolate remains of our planet with a clear-cut mission: to save humankind by reclaiming Earth from the Naytiba… the malevolent force that has devastated it. But as EVE tackles the Naytiba one-by-one, piecing together the mysteries of the past in the ruins of human civilization, she realizes that her mission is far from straightforward. In fact, almost nothing is as it seems…


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