I assumed that the Pinocchio gimmick was all Lies of P would have to offer, but after just a few hours it's already my favorite non-From Souls-like!
- Title: Lies of P
- Release Date: September 19, 2023
- Price: $59.99
- Suggested Audience Age: Rated M for Mature by the ESRB
- Availability: Xbox (Reviewed), PlayStation, Steam
- Recommended for fans of: Souls Games, Italian Literature, and Donkey Masks
Geek to Geek Media was provided with a review copy of this title.
I’m embarrassed to admit that I never took The Lies of P very seriously. I did a double take when I heard “Pinocchio Souls-Like”, but that idea sounded so much like a joke that I didn’t put any stock into the game itself. I’ve dabbled with a few not-from-From Souls games, and while there is fun to be had in plenty of them, they all had a feeling of knowing they were aiming for more than they could achieve. There was always a feeling of knowing they weren’t going to stand up to the real thing and hope that whatever gimmick they employed might overcome that.
With all that in mind, I assumed Lies of P would be just another B-Tier game with a very on-the-nose gimmick.
I was wrong.
Let’s get the Pinocchio of it all out of the way. Yes, this is a game where you play as Pinocchio. You are a puppet created by Geppeto who can pass as a real boy, and you are guided on your journey by a guiding voice named Jiminy. Of course, Jiminy’s name is spelled Gemini, and also in this world puppets are autonomous robots who have risen up to overtake the world, but other than that it's totally Pinocchio, I swear!
Just kidding. Lies of P is a game based on Pinocchio in the same way that 10 Things I Hate About You is based on Shakespeare. What I thought was going to be an annoying gimmick is barely relevant most of the time, and thin references and a rough framework the rest. Like the games it’s based on, Lies of P clearly has a story that it cares very deeply about while also not giving an ass’s ass if the player cares about it at all.
On the plus side, when you do interact with the weird NPCs of the world, they don’t utilize that long, drawn-out speech pattern that every From character uses. Where Blasphemous 2 saw a challenge to make conversations take as long as possible, characters in Lies of P talk fast enough that I only skip about half of each line of voice acting because I’ve already read ahead.
On the gameplay side of things, Bloodbourne is the aptest point of comparison for Lies of P. You start the game by choosing from one of three opening builds (favoring strength, speed, or a balance), and then work your way to a hub area where you can buy new gear or level up using the
souls blood echoes runes ergo that you harvest from fallen enemies. The game feels like it’s set in a similar era to Steel Rising, complete with clockwork creations to battle against. The level design, however, feels extremely Bloodborne or even OG Dark Souls, with lots of interconnected areas with locked doors or droppable ladders to unlock shortcuts back to checkpoints.
From what I’ve seen so far, the combat in Lies of P is fantastic. Like most games of this sort, you’ve got a basic and alternate attack that varies in animation and effectiveness based both on your equipped weapon and your stats. Pretty early in you get the ability to mix and match the grip and blade of your weapons, which opens up lots of customization options.
You can also dodge, block, and use a similar-to-but-legally-distinct-from estus flask to heal. From what I’ve played, dodging and playing aggressively feels better than blocking. However, when you do learn an enemy's animation well enough to hit perfectly timed blocks you can quickly put them into a vulnerable state to unleash massive damage and it feels exceptional.
The other exciting combat hook is your character's robotic arm. At first, this just seemed to be a bludgeoning tool, but after the intro, you get a harpoon-like attachment. I didn’t know that I wanted to yell “Get over here” while playing a Souls game, but now that I’ve done so I can’t imagine dealing with crowd control without it.
I want to be clear: this is not a full review of Lies of P. I haven’t played enough of the game to give it a full review and score. Instead, this is a massive recommendation that any fan of Dark Souls, Bloodborne, or Elden Ring go download Lies of P and play it right now.
I’m still early, but this is already the From-inspired game that feels most like it could have been developed by From themselves. There are places where the storytelling and mechanics are unique, but the core gameplay feels perfect in a way that most other Souls-likes never hit.