There is nothing quite like romping through France, fighting hordes of robots, while rescuing French historical figures along the way. There is a lot to like about Steelrising, from its variety of enjoyable weapons to the visceral impact you feel when landing a full-charged attack.
But while we most certainly enjoyed our time battling Automats in France, there are a few things we think could take this enjoyable soulslike and turn it into a game that makes people stop and take notice. Steelrising is close to greatness; we think applying these changes would take it the last few steps.
9 Give Us Unlimited Stamina Outside Of Combat
Look, we can appreciate a stamina bar. It forces you to face enemies in a more tactical manner. Suddenly, you need to consider how much gas you have left in the tank before you let an attack rip. That’s great… but why do we have to manage our stamina while just running around the place?
While doing side activities, you will need to do a decent amount of racing around. Unfortunately, running costs stamina. So, even if you have cleared out an entire area, when you sprint around the place you will have to take little breaks in order for your stamina to recover. The game would be better off without that. Have stamina drain when the player is sprinting in combat, but not when they are outside of it.
8th Those Faces Are A Little… Uncanny
The uncanny valley is always going to be a struggle. We get that. And while we applaud Spiders for their ambition, we feel like Steelrising may have been better off stylizing their appearances even further. As is, they are too close to being realistic, while not being realistic enough to look authentic. It all feels like something you would have seen from an early 2000s CG movie not made by Pixar.
Everyone isn’t going to be able to deliver that Naughty Dog level of fidelity, but we think less may have been more here. Hell, we’d even take putting masks on all of them. The French aristocrats loved masks, right?
7 Buff The Shield Special Move
One of the best secondary weapon abilities in the early stages is the shield. It comes out super quickly, and it nullifies nearly all damage. Most importantly, using a shield in the early game feels good! Unfortunately, heavy attacks will drain you of all your stamina, leaving you extremely vulnerable. This is a problem, as you will get to a point where more often than not your enemies will be using heavy attacks.
This means that the shield special move starts to feel pretty pointless later in the game. And we can’t emphasize what a bummer that is, because in the early game shielded weapons are easily some of the most enjoyable to use. Have there be a hefty stamina cost for blocking a heavy attack, but don’t have them take all of your stamina. That’s just not fun.
6 Francais S’il Vous Plait
Look, we’re going to throw this out there: the voice acting in Steelrising is excellent. All the actors did an absolutely fabulous job here. Aegis is especially great. However, there is something off about playing a game that is set in France, and features exclusively French characters, and yet French is only spoken occasionally.
While we wouldn’t want to lose the dub we have, it would have been awesome if they were able to do something similar to Ghost of Tsushima and give us a French dub as well. Having characters speak their native language is always going to provide an extra boost to your immersion. It would have been nice to be able to choose that option.
So, let us get this straight… We can spend three Alchemical Capsules to fire our grappling hook, which does a meager amount of damage and applies a small amount of the freezing effect, or we can use two Alchemical Capsules to use one of the element imbuing weapons to make all our attacks apply the elemental effect for a straight 75 seconds. That is ridiculous!
There is almost no reason to ever use the traversal tools in combat. Not to mention your Shielded Musket, which you get right at the beginning of the game, and applies freezing debuff from a greater distance for two capsules. There is just next to no reason to ever use these tools in combat, and that seems like a wasted opportunity.
4 The Earlier Stages Could Use A Little More Verticality
Once you get those traversal tools, the stages in Steelrising really open up in some pretty fun ways. Suddenly you start to see that folded world style of level design that FromSoftware has become so beloved for. But by the time you obtain all the traversal tools you are halfway through the game. This means that, unfortunately, some of the early stages can feel a little flat.
While we don’t think Les Invalides, or the first part of The Cite, are bath stages, they can feel a little too much like a series of corridors. Zipping up to high places, and air dashing across gaps, feels great. The traversal in this game feels better when you are able to do these things. Maybe if you build a sequel, have the player acquire those abilities earlier.
3 Better Rewards For Side Quests
It’s super cool that Steelrising features side quests. We think they are a great addition to the world of Steelrising! Not enough games in the soulslike genre give us that type of opportunity to interact with the citizenry of the world. But we have to say, going out of our way to fetch things for people, and then backtracking to provide them with the spoils, should provide meaningful rewards.
Give us a chunk of Bismuth (Orichalium may be overkill) to help upgrade our weapons, throw us a Noble Spirit, or hell, give us a Module Key. There are highly valuable items that you could give out. Those are the items we should be receiving, not some crappy grenades.
2 More Enemy Variety
Don’t get us wrong, Steelrising has a pretty solid amount of unique enemies. We don’t think this is a major issue. However, once you hit around the half-way point of the game, you start to notice a trend emerging. When you get to the mid-point of the game, you begin to see basically the same enemies, but with a few visual differences and a new move or two.
The worst example of the enemy variety coming up short is when you start encountering mini-bosses that are repurposed regular enemies with little to no changes made to their moveset. Steelrising, if we have already dismantled dozens of this type of Automat, giving them a larger health bar, and putting them in a boss arena, isn’t going to convince us that they are a scary new we should be intimidated by.
1 Something Needs To Be Done About The Shielded Musket
Why oh why did they give you this gun at the beginning of the game? For those not in the know, the easiest way to beat nearly every boss is to shoot them with the Shielded Musket, then hit them with hard-hitting charged attacks, and then repeat this cycle until they are dead. Absolutely shatters the game’s difficulty.
Now, we aren’t saying remove the gun from the game, but we think it could definitely have been balanced substantially better. Even just making it so that the regular attack doesn’t apply the freezing effect, only the heavy attack does (which has a short range), would be a pretty excellent change. Or, you know, make it so that bosses have a greater degree of resistance to the freezing effect. They need to do SOMETHING to balance this weapon.
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