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Presenting Gameffine’s Stellar Blade review

Stellar Blade has been enveloped in a whirlwind of controversy, acclaim, and criticism since its announcement two years ago. The internet remains fixated on the protagonist Eve’s bodysuit and her striking figure. Yoko Taro, the esteemed producer behind the Drakenguard and Nier series, has recently lauded Stellar Blade as surpassing Nier: Automata, a level of commendation that is a rarity in the gaming world. This makes us ponder — is Stellar Blade merely a showcase of aesthetics over substance, or is it genuinely a masterpiece, so much so that even Yoko Taro can’t help but be captivated by it? Indeed, there is an answer to this intriguing question. Cue the drumroll, here’s me presenting Gameffine’s Stellar Blade review.

Stellar Blade review

An Angel’s Last Hope

Set in a dystopian future, Stellar Blade unfolds a narrative where humanity has been expelled from Earth and is engaged in a desperate struggle against monstrous beings known as Naytibas. You assume the role of Eve, an ‘Angel’ from the ‘Colony’. In a bid to recapture their former home, Eve and her team are dispatched from the Colony to fight the Naytibas and reclaim Earth. Along the way, Eve encounters a survivor named Adam, who guides her to Xion, the last bastion of humanity on Earth. There, Eve connects with the elder Orcal and forges bonds with Xion’s inhabitants, all while advancing her quest to rescue humanity and reclaim Earth.

The narrative is intricate, with elaborately crafted worlds to explore, and daunting adversaries to conquer, and offers multiple endings requiring multiple playthroughs. Dull moments rarely come by, considering the variety of challenges it presents. Additionally, it boasts a vast selection of outfit designs that might compete with the allure of New York Fashion Week. Is it superior to Nier: Automata? Not quite. However, it is a decent tale, though it sometimes becomes overly complicated. Nonetheless, I would strongly suggest playing with the Korean voice acting, as it seems more authentic.

Where Blades Meet Bullets

The concept of Stellar Blade, with its striking protagonist donning form-fitting attire and engaging in souls-like combat sans death penalties, may seem like a significant moment of fan service. However, it transcends that. Whether you seek fan service, an immersive post-apocalyptic world, or challenging boss battles, Stellar Blade delivers on all fronts.

Much of the game’s appeal lies in its combat mechanics. At first, parrying and dodging might seem stiff and cumbersome. But as you pour more Skill points into new abilities, the gameplay transforms dramatically. Upgrades refine parrying to become almost instinctive, and the fluidity of chaining dodges makes the combat feel like second nature. Additionally, the game offers a rich array of combo moves, clearly influenced by the renowned Devil May Cry series.

The game skillfully dodges being too simplistic; combat experience only nets you additional skill points, not direct upgrades to melee or health. To level those up, you’ve got to take down bosses and track down body cores for Eve. Thankfully, she’s also kitted out with ranged weapons, ranging from basic bullets to homing missiles. Plus, she’s got a pod tagging along that serves as her trusty guide. Last but not least, you can also buy revival pumps that will give you a second chance at redemption.

What really makes the combat in Stellar Blade stand out are the Beta and Burst-type skills. Eve has separate meters for these, just like health and shield, which let her pull off some awesome moves like an overhead strike or a spinning slash that hits enemies all around her. Plus, if you nail the timing and parry your enemies just right, you can break through their defenses and deal some serious damage. This comes in super handy during those tough boss fights that really test your skills.

Overall, the combat system presents a challenging learning curve, yet it remains fair and conquerable. Although the normal difficulty level offers a substantial challenge for casual play, the only penalty upon death is the loss of consumables used. To facilitate a smoother experience, the game provides an easy mode and a broad selection of attachments to aid in combat. Additionally, there is a berserk mode that players can unlock, but discussing it further would reveal significant spoilers.

A Place Frozen in Time

Stellar Blade shines with its diverse array of enemies and distinctive boss fights, yet it occasionally falters with lackluster platforming and level design. Although the maps are visually stunning, they lack rewarding exploration, and are hindered by cumbersome platforming puzzles that intermittently disrupt the flow of the journey. The platforming segments have been the cause of numerous deaths during my playthrough.

This is particularly true for linear maps like Eidos 7, as opposed to the vast landscapes such as the Wasteland and the Great Desert surrounding the city of Xion. Navigating these open-world maps provides an exhilarating adventure filled with a variety of engaging side-quests and activities. Players have the opportunity to gather cans, participate in fishing, and help numerous NPCs in distress. The fishing mechanics and some characters Eve encounters are notably delightful. The Robot from the scrapyard warrants special recognition. Moreover, players can challenge optional bosses, ranging from Elite to Alpha Nayitbas. Furthermore, each region boasts a distinct enemy design with unique move-sets that keep the gameplay fresh even after many hours.

Although I enjoyed the open-world areas, they are largely barren deserts with occasional attractions such as the Oasis and the Solar Tower. In contrast, linear areas like Eidos 7, despite their limited exploratory freedom, boast unique and visually stunning terrains. These areas also offer their share of surprises. Personally, the stylish outfits for Eve were a highlight, prompting me to meticulously explore every corner of these maps.

My final gripe is with the repetitive NPC side quests and the ‘point of no return’ that blocks you from finishing some quests if you progress past a certain story point. While many tasks feel like a grind, there are a few gems that are worth the effort. It’s a relief that the game lets you teleport back to the client after completing a quest. Just a tip: remember to save your game at supply camps and fast travel points, since autosave is only for main campaign events.

A Stellar Presentation

Considering the numerous performance and visual quality issues plaguing every AAA title released this year, Stellar Blade stands out as a remarkable success. Rise of the Ronin suffered from unstable frame rates, FF VII Rebirth was marred by a blurry performance mode, and the console and PC ports of Dragon’s Dogma 2 were a disaster. In stark contrast, Stellar Blade is free from such issues, delivering impressive visuals at 1440p and a steady 60 FPS experience with occasional drops in its balanced mode. Additionally, it is quite storage-friendly, requiring only 30 GB of space on the PS5’s SSD.

Lastly, the cast’s performances especially in Korean VA, and the game soundtracks deserve a noteworthy mention. Several times during my playthrough I tried switching between English and Korean VA to see which one fares better, and eventually it was Korean VA that won me over. While English VA is good, it lacks the emotional depth of its Korean counterpart.

Real Talk

Stellar Blade is not just a great hack-and-slash game, it’s a culmination of a great fashion designer’s wardrobe and a ‘souls-like’ veteran’s wildest fantasies. Thanks to its satisfying combat, varied enemy designs, and stellar presentation, it really lives up to its name despite some occasional hiccups involving lackluster platforming and repetitive side requests.


Stellar Blade

Stellar Blade
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Stellar Blade is an upcoming action-adventure game developed by Shift Up and published by Sony Interactive Entertainment. The game is scheduled to be released for the PlayStation 5 on April 26, 2024.
Stellar Blade is an upcoming action-adventure game developed by Shift Up and published by Sony Interactive Entertainment. The game is scheduled to be released for the PlayStation 5 on April 26, 2024.
Total Score

The Good

  • Stellar Visuals and Performance
  • Great Combat Mechanics and Animations
  • Diverse Enemy Design
  • Great Sountrack

The Bad

  • Clunky Platforming
  • Repetitive and Buggy Side Quests
  • Map Design
Stellar Blade

Presenting Gameffine's Stellar Blade review. Join Eve on an epic adventure to save humankind in this post-apocalyptic hack & slash adventure

Product Brand: Shift Up Corporation

Product Currency: USD

Product Price: $69.99

Product In-Stock: InStock

Editor's Rating:
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