In the gaming industry, imitation is the sincerest form of foolery.
Name any game with record-breaking revenue or mainstream appeal, and you will find a dozen cheap imitations following in its footsteps that are desperate for a piece of the pie.
Souls-like games are no exception.
Whether it's the blistering difficulty, the labyrinthine level design, or the cryptic storytelling, several studios have borrowed or remixed FromSoftware's critically acclaimed Souls-like formula to varying degrees of success. But, few Souls-like imitations have ever matched the quality and grace of the genre's originator.
But, Lies of P is the exception.
Though not without shortcomings, Lies of P is an engrossing re-imagination of a familiar tale with an exceptional grasp of the Souls formula.
One of the most surprising aspects of Lies of P is its enigmatic rendition of Pinnochio, as the game recontextualizes the characters, lore, and world with impressive detail and an eerie atmosphere that should wash away most concerns about this creative decision.
Additionally, the dialogue in Lies of P is more direct and easy to follow than FromSoftware's storytelling style. However, the game's plot progression still feels somewhat flat and dry in many instances – culminating in a tale that falls slightly short of leaving a long-lasting impression.
Whether it's the player movement, weapon variety, skill tree, or combat, Lies of P's core gameplay is unequivocally one of the best in the genre. Plus, the game's roster of enemies and bosses provide a near-perfect challenge that encourages players to conquer each of the game's mechanics and systems.
Unfortunately, Lies of P suffers from occasional camera issues, clunky platforming sections, and an unreliable sneak attack system – resulting in a gameplay experience that's just a few missteps away from mastery.
Lies of P boasts a unique Victorian industrial aesthetic that gives each location a great sense of atmosphere. Everything from Hotel Krat to its surrounding streets, swamplands, and factories are filled with nice details and contextual storytelling. Lies of P also features excellent HDR and vignette implementations that add extra layers of visual polish.
As for character design, each familiar face from the timeless Pinnochio tale has been remixed to fit the haunting aesthetic of the game. However, the lack of proper lip-synching during non-cinematic moments might be a turn-off to some who want to see each character more up close and personal.
One of the best signs of good sound design is when you forget it's even there because of how well it suits the scene. In that regard, Lies of P does a fine job of balancing ambient sound, musical notes, and the clangs of combat in a way that makes every moment sound exactly as it should.
The same goes for Lies of P's voice acting, which should be more than sufficient for most players. However, the somewhat detached, ghostly delivery of spoken dialogue may wear thin to players expecting more dynamism and personality from the cast.
When it comes to Souls-like games, polish is everything. Thankfully, Lies of P feels remarkably polished and sturdy. The game's framerate, user interface, visual consistency, and technical stability result in a reliable experience with almost no game-breaking bugs, glitches, or crashes.
At the time of this review, however, Lies of P seems to suffer from a VRR compatibility issue that causes noticeable screen flickering with VRR functionality enabled on their consoles. Otherwise, Lies of P is fairly airtight in terms of polish.
Lies of P introduces plenty of unique characters, locations, and boss battles to keep players coming back for more. But, in terms of leaving a lasting impression, Lies of P falls somewhat short of providing enough memorable moments that are unique to the game – beyond the tried-and-true "I remember when I finally beat that boss" watercooler tales that are customary in Souls-like games.
Fortunately, what Lies of P lacks in raw memorability, it makes up for with its fascinating depiction of Pinnochio. That said, hindsight should bode well for Lies of P's expertly reimagined characters and lore, even if some of the game's dialogue and story beats may fade from memory.
While Lies of P doesn't stray too far from its FromSoftware inspiration, most players with an affinity for Souls-like games should feel right at home with this game. Between its addicting gameplay and enigmatic presentation, Lies of P is surprisingly hard to put down.
Most importantly, Lies of P is rarely an outright frustrating experience. So, although its mechanics and difficulty curve will take some getting used to, Lies of P prevails as a fun and engaging experience that offers plenty of depth and nuance to anyone seeking a unique new Souls-like game to sink their teeth into.
Final Score: 8.2
At a time when the quality of Souls-like ripoffs are still a mixed bag, Lies of P is a breath of fresh air. The game's enchanting world, gripping gameplay, and fine-tuned difficulty curve combine to form one of the best pound-for-pound Souls-like games not made by FromSoftware. No lie.