FromSoftware games - especially Bloodborne and the Dark Souls series - are typically hard-as-nails, punishing experiences set amidst Gothic architecture with light horror elements and H.P. Lovecraft-inspired monstrosities for enemies. Non-FromSoft games in the genre often forego everything bar the difficulty, such as the Star Wars Jedi, Nioh, and Remnant series, but Lies of P wears its inspiration on its sleeve much more clearly. Which is to say this could well pass for a Bloodborne mod at first glance - y'know, if Bloodborne supported mods and was on Xbox and PC.

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This is because Lies of P is a much more nimble soulslike than the Dark Souls series. Sure, there's one 'shield' you can unlock, but most of the combat consists of immaculately timed parries and dodges, striking when the opportune moment presents itself. It can be infuriating, as soulslikes often are, when there's one enemy you simply cannot best, but Lies of P offers more alternative options to overcoming tough foes than most other games of this ilk.

You will find a plethora of different weapons throughout Krat, the industrial city where Lies of P takes place. Ranging from a fire-imbued dagger to a fireman's axe to a policeman's baton, each weapon offers a slightly different style of play. You can customise these further however, because after you've beaten the lengthy prologue that acts as a tutorial, you'll have access to a hotel, which is essentially your base of operations, your refuge from the terrors outside. Here is where you'll find a number of different NPCs to chat with, buy things off, and utilise thanks to their talents.

One of these NPCs allows you to assemble new weapons, for most of the ones you'll acquire throughout the game come in two parts: blade and handle. You can swap these around to your heart's content – our most used weapon so far has the blade of our starting weapon, a sabre we’ve upgraded to +5, combined with the handle of the aforementioned fire axe. You can make these as ridiculous as you like, such as a dagger blade attached to the handle of an enormous pipe wrench, but it will have the low attack of the dagger combined with the long animation swing of the pipe wrench… which isn't ideal. Create weapons that play to the strength of your build - motivity, technique, or advance, which are the three stats weapons are weighted towards.

As explained, Lies of P is a difficult game - it comes with the territory, after all. But in the current review build, it's almost too difficult. Some of the boss fights in Lies of P verge on unfair, and it seems to be the common consensus after consulting with some other folks also playing for review. Some bosses will have upwards of six, seven, eight relentless attacks, all with millisecond precision required to block perfectly, then a window of just a second or two to get in one or two hits yourself before it's back to being a punching bag. Not to mention how easy it is to get stuck in a corner, unable to dodge your way out. It's a fine art to balance difficulty with being fair on the player, and Lies of P misses the mark with some - but not all - of its bosses.

When you're not tearing your hair out against some of the toughest bosses in gaming, you have time to take in the stunning city of Krat and digest the much more coherent story than you usually find in a soulslike. You are Pinocchio and you arrive back in Krat at the train station to find almost all of the puppets in the city have gone on a murderous rampage. Since you are Geppetto's special puppet, you are immune to whatever is causing them to go berserk, and you must find your creator before getting to the bottom of this once prosperous city that has turned into a nightmare.

Krat is split up into notable zones, each with different enemy types. You'll start by exploring the streets before reaching the city hall, fighting against countless puppets, and then you'll make your way into Venigni's factory, where puppets are created. After this comes some much more natural environments, complete with zombie-esque humans thanks to some form of infection. This area, complete with wooden shacks and dilapidated buildings to fight the not-zombies in, is reminiscent of the village section in Resident Evil 4. After this comes some tight, twisting alleyways complete with a mixture of human enemies and some you've previously fought, thanks to this being the hideout of one of the warring gangs in Krat.

The atmosphere throughout Krat is eerie, with so many jumpscares from enemies leaping through windows or out from behind corners that the impact of them is lessened slightly. You quickly learn to check every single corner possible. But whether you are traipsing through the rainy streets or ascending the inner workings of a cathedral clock tower, you're constantly on edge from the distant groans and creaks of enemies, knowing there could be one in a few seconds, or you may have some brief respite with no foes at all.

Krat is full of secrets that give it a little extra charm, such as music records you can find and play while you're tinkering with weapons and items in the hotel. A lot of them are absolute bangers too, especially Feel, the first record you'll likely unlock. They have the additional bonus of increasing your humanity, which is a mechanic that solely affects the ending of the game. Of course, this wouldn't be a game based on Pinocchio without some lying involved, and you have the option of lying or telling the truth in various encounters.

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Oftentimes, lying is the 'correct' thing to do. For example, early in the game a weeping woman asks that you find and return her baby. When you do, you have two options; tell the truth or lie. The latter is clearly the response the woman would prefer to hear so as a result, it will net you the aforementioned Feel record, and the woman is content. The more you lie, the more humanity you lose, which in turn can lead to a bad ending. So the moral of the story is music is good for the soul… right?


This dystopian tale of Pinocchio does a lot to stand on its own two feet, but when you strip all the set dressing away, it is simply a terrific love letter to Bloodborne. It is rough around the edges with some balancing issues and environment clipping causing you to get stuck in corners too easily, but with enough persistence (and skill), Lies of P is one of the best non-FromSoftware soulslikes yet.