Stray Blade is a stylized action RPG that is a refreshing take on a crowded nihilistic genre. Even though it is clearly inspired by the Dark Souls games, the art direction is something much more light-hearted. Developer Point Blank Games has been working on this title for a while and it’s scheduled to be released sometime next year. A trailer was recently dropped and it gave players a good indication of how this game functions. Players will control a customized adventurer that is trekking through a mystical place called the “Valley of Acrea.” Tagging along on this journey is a wolf-like creature that goes by the name of “Boji.” Together they must find three key metals that will bring back peace within an era of war and turmoil.
From what was seen in the trailer, the combat of Stray Blade will have the same sense of weight and timing as the Souls’ games. Players will need to dodge, parry and block with each encounter in order to remain triumphant. This game will be a semi-open world in the sense that it will have a Metroidvania layout to it. This world is full of color and charm that will entice players to explore every facet of it. However, this isn’t to say that this game is going to be a walk in the park. The same sense of challenge and dread that oozes throughout the Souls games is very much present here. Stray Blade may have an innocent demeanor, but it is anything but. What is interesting about this world, is that it almost has a medieval “Steampunk” look to it. Everything from mechanical beasts to lumbering ghouls populates the lands of Acrea and players must best all of them.
Stray Thy Hand, Fair Prince
The swordplay in Stray Blade is a surgical and intense process. Players will really need to hone their skills to truly master their craft. The combat system will be a truly intimate affair in which players will need to make split-second decisions while on the fly. The tools of blocking and parrying will, of course, be a prominent part of the fighting. Additionally, there will be finishing moves that come with a range of animations. Everything from epic swords to war-hammers will be up for grabs in this game. Even though there will be a slew of knights and other dark warriors to smite, there will also be grandiose boss battles to win. Players will be tasked with killing the God-Kings that corrupt the world of Acrea. They want to keep the world in a perpetual state of madness and war. Therefore, in order to restore balance, players must slay these tyrants. Doing so will grant the player new powers in which will help progress the story and unlock new areas.
As mentioned before, Stray Blade will be more of a Metroidvania adventure than a full-fledged open-world RPG. Therefore, it will kind of have a God of War format, than anything else. Special keys and abilities will be required to bypass certain pathways and open new doors. Boji will act as a traveling ironsmith to where his job is to craft items and possibly upgrade weapons. By discovering new lore throughout this adventure, he will gain XP that expands his skill tree. From what was seen in the trailer, he will be by the side of the adventurer throughout his entire journey. Kind of like Ellie and Joel from The Last of Us, or Atreus and Kratos in God of War. This world is vast and it is teeming with new things to find and story extraposition to unravel. Of course, it doesn’t know the fact that players will be accompanied with a witty hairy-creature that will lay out the story in a humorous fashion. This alone makes this title stand out among it peers within the gaming industry.
A Story of Friends and Fiends
Of course, the adventurer that the players will be controlling will be gaining XP strictly through battle. He will come with his own skill tree to unlock. The land of Acrea ranges from frozen landscapes, gnarled canyons, twisting woods, and magical ruins. There will be a myriad of collectibles to find. Much like in classic RPG fashion, players will be encouraged to explore and obtain treasures. They will come in such guises as top-tier weapons, recipes, rare materials, and pieces of lore. This game was constructed to be slowly digested through time. Cryptic story points will be given to the player and it will be up to them to discover more of Acrea’s history. There will also be secret places to find that are tucked away throughout the map.
Stray Blade will also come with a changing ecosystem. Depending on how the playthrough unfolds, a player’s actions will affect the world. After clearing out an area, players can revisit it and experience how things are different. Naturally, this won’t always be on a positive note. Sometimes, things will be more dangerous by the way players left it. So, it’s won’t be a good idea for players to let their guard down after completing a segment. Time will constantly move forward, especially after players die in battle. The environment won’t be static to where players will know what to expect each run-through. Most likely, patrolling enemies will change positions and will leave players constantly guessing what’s around the corner.
Forged By Magic and Fire
Something happened in Acrea that once turned it into a place of peace and prosperity into a realm of darkness. It is up to the player to find out what happened and how to rectify it. The art design is similar to Kingdoms of Amalur that’s accompanied by gameplay mechanics of Demon’s Soul’s and its ilk. Therefore, it looks like Stray Blade could good be a winner within a niche demographic of gamers. Point Blank Games are wrapping up development for this title and it’s slated to be released sometime in 2022 for the PlayStation, Xbox, and PC.