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Few games get into their rhythm as quickly as Lies of P – a ten-second cutscene and then you’re off. I hadn’t realized quite how tired I was of drawn-out openings from every corner of modern gaming. It put this demo off to a good start as I picked up my sword and sliced through my first few enemies. Then I sliced through some more, then some more, and then even more, at which point the momentum started flagging.

Combat in Lies of P feels good – that much is for sure. There’s proper weight in the swings and the sound effects make every hit feel meaningful, but there’s still a buttery smoothness to it all that lets each strike flow into the next. The problem is that there aren’t many enemies that make it feel worthwhile.

Lies of P statue

With soulslike games, every enemy encounter should be a potential threat until you’re high-leveled and even higher skilled. In Dark Souls, even when you’re running through an area for the tenth time, you still need to stop and pay each encounter the proper heed, or you’ll unnecessarily lose valuable health. Lies of P isn’t so good at this.

The basic enemies that litter your path are dispatched with ease. Even when they’re arranged in a clever way, taking them out is no trouble at all, which is pretty dull. It means that, until you face a bigger enemy, there’s no challenge and it isn’t properly training you for the big encounters. You’re left with a binary system where each fight is either trivial or impenetrable.

This demo is only the opening areas though, and there are signs that things get better as you move on, with intelligent boss design that makes for challenging yet satisfying victories – a vital feeling for a soulslike.

Lies of P Boss

The world is worth experiencing too. It has a more gothic take on the tale of Pinocchio, where the enemies of the world are all puppets out to kill anything in their path. It makes for fun enemy design and allows the game to invoke the gothic horror stylings of Bloodborne and take it in a different direction.

If you’re a soulslike fan then Lies of P is worth having on your radar. This demo shows off a very stylish and enjoyable early game, but there are some bad habits that it’ll need to drop to be a truly great entry in the genre.

Lies of P is set for release on PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S in September 2023.