Stellar Blade review: Cyborgs, cults and serving… combat

A solid action title, Stellar Blade's adjustable difficulty let's it straddle the line between genres
Stellar Blade
Stellar Blade / Sony Interactive Entertainment

Without playing Stellar Blade, you might be confused as to what it actually is. The combat looks like Bayonetta, the semi-open-world and storytelling are Nier: Automata-like, and the camp, limited health refills, and parry system evoke your soulslike of choice. When you go hands-on, you realize that Stellar Blade can be all of these things thanks to the unique difficulty and balancing choices that are in play. The systems create a dynamic difficulty curve that you control.

On starting up, you can choose between Normal and Story difficulty. Story difficulty isn’t a pushover. While you’ll still have to go through trial and error with bosses, you’ll certainly find yourself dying less between waypoints. Those who want the true soulslike experience can choose Normal difficulty and then modify their armor to make parrying and dodging essential. These skills are needed in every mode, but in Story difficulty, Stellar Blade understands that you’ve not got your timing down, and slows things down for you. You’ll always be able to pause combat, alongside other luxuries some soulslikes don’t come with, but Stellar Blade strikes an interesting middle ground where you can adapt the difficulty to the genre that suits you.

Stellar Blade screenshot
Stellar Blade / Sony Interactive Entertainment

It’s a clever balancing act, and it feeds into the best part of Stellar Blade: the combat. Combat is incredibly stylish with great cinematography, speeding up and slowing down the action to show off the best parts. You have your light and heavy attacks, dodges, and parries, but you also have overpowered beta and burst attacks. Later in the game, you’ll unlock an invulnerable skill that allows you to deal damage without any risk. Perfect parries and dodges not only offer Bayonetta-style’ Witch Time’, but executing them in a row will let you deal big damage in the form of a Retribution attack. There are also two different kinds of counterattack, alongside the numerous builds you can put on Eve that synergize for the upper hand. There’s a lot to deal with, but it means you can pick and choose the play style that best suits you.

Now, let’s address the mammaries in the room. Ever since the trailer was revealed, people have not stopped talking about Eve’s big mommy milkers or her wide birthing hips, whether that’s because they are either giving ‘Awooga’ eyes or they’ve rolled so far back that they are looking at the brain. Much like the Final Fantasy 7 Remake, Stellar Blade posits a world where uggos simply don’t exist, and while the glare from Eve’s perfectly proportioned cheeks was blinding, there are outfits with a matte finish. The main issue is that Eve does very little to beat the doll allegations. You can dress her up in dozens of outfits and hairstyles, but you’ll struggle to get an ounce of personality out of her. She serves in her skintight suits, but her character is just that - skin deep. 

Stellar Blade screenshot
Stellar Blade protagonist Eve offers little depth as a character. / Sony Interactive Entertainment

This issue isn’t confined to Eve. There is a huge cast of characters that you can meet and help, but you would struggle to squeeze enough character out of all of them combined to make a Pikmin. There’s Eve, the sexy soldier who wants to save the world; there’s Adam, the sexy scavenger who wants to save the world from his spaceship; and Lily, a sexy engineer who wants to save the world and build gadgets. Lily has the most personality out of the trio with her child-like optimism, but the only character that was allowed any attitude is an inflatable bag that has gained sentience.

Stellar Blade has an interesting story. It delves into the anatomy of a cult and how it relates to religion. You are taught to take a closer look at what you are being told, and how to figure out the truth from fiction. My issue was that I didn’t really care. It was hard to care about the people of Xion when they didn’t give me a reason to. People have backstories, and things happen to them, but that doesn’t really change them or who they are. There’s no character arc. No satisfaction.

Stellar Blade screenshot
Lilly has the most personality out of Stellar Blade's three main characters. / Sony Interactive Entertainment

You don’t need an interesting story to enjoy the world, and the level design is excellent. Even without side quests I found myself roaming around looking for more to do, and there was something to find in every corner. The innovation in combat cannot be ignored, and the level design for platforming and puzzles always has you questioning what is possible. I wish the collision was more consistent, as I often found I could cheese my way up a slope, but this could be improved in later patches, though the slow-paced box pushing will likely remain.

I often found myself lost for hours in the world of Stellar Blade, but I was also pining for what the game could’ve been. The world-building is excellent, but the dialogue is not up to the same standard, and the story’s illusion of choice funnels you down the same path. There is a lot of promise here, but it fails to convert that into excellence.

Score: 7/10

Version tested: PS5

Published |Modified
Georgina Young


Georgina Young is a Gaming Writer for GLHF. They have been writing about video games for around 10 years and are seen as one of the leading experts on the PlayStation Vita. They are also a part of the Pokémon community, involved in speedrunning, challenge runs, and the competitive scene. Aside from English, they also speak and translate from Japanese, German and French. Their favorite games are Pokémon Heart Gold, Majora’s Mask, Shovel Knight, Virtue’s Last Reward and Streets of Rage. They often write about 2D platformers, JRPGs, visual novels, and Otome. In writing about the PlayStation Vita, they have contributed articles to books about the console including Vita Means Life, and A Handheld History. They have also written for the online publications IGN, TechRadar,, GamesRadar+, NME, Rock Paper Shotgun, GAMINGbible, Pocket Tactics, Metro, and Gayming Magazine. They have written in print for Switch Player Magazine, and PLAY Magazine. Previously a News Writer at GamesRadar, NME and GAMINGbible, they currently write on behalf of GLHF for The Sun, USA Today FTW, and Sports Illustrated. You can find their previous work by visiting Georgina Young’s MuckRack profile. Email: