Stray Blade review for PS5, PC, Xbox Series X

Platform: PS5
Also on: PC, Xbox Series X
Publisher: 505 Games
Developer: Point Blank Games
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: No

Here?s how I know that Stray Blade isn?t that good: I?m half-decent at it.

See, it?s yet another Souls-like game, with all the trappings you?d expect (except for one, which I?ll get to momentarily. As I wrote a few weeks ago about Strayed Lights, that?s far from my favourite genre, in part because I don?t have the patience for timing my dodges and waiting to strike when the opening presents itself. I much prefer games that allow me to go in, hacking and slashing and hoping for the best.

While Stray Blade doesn?t exactly reward that kind of approach, it doesn?t really punish it, either. It merely asks that you occasionally try to dodge or parry in between hacks and slashes, and in return it makes it so that as long as you do that, you can take on plenty of enemies. Couple that with a generous supply of healing berries that are scattered all over the world, and you can see why this isn?t the most challenging Souls-like ? and, what?s more, why I suspect that if someone like me can get decent at it with minimal practice, more seasoned Souls veterans will find themselves bored to tears.

The one way in which Stray Blade strays (pun not intended) from the genre?s usual fare is that it?s not nearly as grim or dark as so many of its contemporaries. It has a much broader colour palette, you?re accompanied by a wisecracking sidekick, and it generally feels less oppressive than many of the games that try to take after Dark Souls and its ilk. While it?s a little weird to see jokes and colours in one of these games, I can?t say I was opposed to it.

But I can say that looking a little different than your usual Souls-like isn?t enough to make Stray Blade worth checking out. Unless you?ve always been keen to explore the genre but aren?t skilled enough to actually play the games ? in which case, I guess, here?s your chance to try one with a much lower difficulty level ? it?s hard to see who?d really enjoy it.

505 Games provided us with a Stray Blade PS5 code for review purposes.

Grade: C