Soullikes needs an easy mode and proves it

Steelfting's protagonist raises a flag in the name of the revolution.

Picture: Spider-Man / Nacon

The opening moments of Steelmaking feels doable and surprisingly fun for a soulful game genre, one that often begins with tough challenges and a “find it” vibe. But when I got to the second map, I ran into an enemy that made me reach for the throttle.mine is “Support Mode”. You might think that turning on “Easy Mode” lets me skim through the rest of the game, mindlessly. But it didn’t. Far away from it. The game is still hard, but there is more room to learn at a more patient pace. With this mode enabled, the game intermittently sends me back to the spawn area, draining all of my experience points due to the screen load time. The mode offers different difficulty options, so I can scale to where the game wants to be. Steelmaking does not dethrone the masters of the genre. But it sure as hell is showing at least one way they can improve, and with a pretty cool aesthetic at that.

Steelmaking is the latest game from French developer Spiders. It’s like soul when you play as Aegis, a watch “automator” who must battle other similar creations in a fascinating alternate history twist on the French revolution. Studio known for narrative-focused RPGs like 2016 Technomancer and in 2019 Greed.

The previous games of Spider-Man, though perhaps often similar to a game like Block effect, often marching to the beat of their own drums. With steel generation, At first, I didn’t enjoy seeing the studio pursue another game’s model so closely, just to be able to anticipate the incredibly strong standard that FromSoftware has set in the genre for so many years. past year.

If you are a diehard Miyazaki fan who has no time to imitate, Steelmaking inability to attract your attention. Despite an imaginative premise and some great character designs with easy-to-digest RPG mechanics, there’s still something missing here. For me, it also struggled to sustain 60fps on PC, which made the experience rougher than usual. However, all tiles are checked: enemies are tough, you need to level up to meet their health and attack power, when you die you reduce XP and go back to the last spawn point Along with all the refreshed enemies, there’s the quest to restore your don’t-call-’em-soul. You’ll continue to unlock new shortcuts and ways to navigate through the winding maps as you move forward. Ya received the picture.

But “Support Mode” is where it deserves attention and conversation.

GIF: Spider / Nacon / Kotaku

This mode is a set of options that allow you to change many of the game’s functions. You can adjust the damage taken, reducing it to 0% if you want (you’ll still take damage when falling though). You can also choose to keep XP on death, adjust the rate at which stamina regenerates, and affect the “cooling” timer you get from doing too many actions in a row. If there are any souls should consider adding difficulty options, Steelmaking is a clear model of how to do this.

People stressed with the concept ease difficulties Soul-like people may worry that the core experience is in danger of being diluted or lost, or simply missing the point of the genre. Many people might worry that it’s the virtual equivalent of removing a gun from a shooter or jumping from a platformer. But Steelfting’s Support Mode doesn’t pull you away from the core gameplay. Instead, it allows you to take a different look at it so you can really really improve on your core skills of attack and dodge, and potentially learning how to level up can vary. those motivations.

The option I see most use in is to reduce the damage to 0%. This means that the first enemy that really gave me some trouble, a car that automatically threw giant steel balls around a chain connected to its arm, could teach me its moves instead of just beating me and forcing me to restart every time I fail. It went from being an asshole to being a lover.

It still knocks on my butt every time. But I can stand up and say “okay, when it’s moving like this, I have to get out of the way.” I already know where the loopholes are, how fast I should be in attack. I was able to muscle into my response to this type of enemy, and I didn’t need to go back to the damn spawn point and face all that there was no chance to learn that. I would love to have a “fake health bar” so I can understand how much damage they do to know “well, I am dead at this point”. Support Mode has helped me understand the language of the game and has prepared me when I’m ready to get off that training wheel, take out these enemies, and feel I’ve done better in the way I’ve become. should be better.

In the game options for Steelfting show various features of Support Mode.

Screenshots: Spider / Nacon / Kotaku

Other difficulty options can also tailor this type of game. Having XP stay with you means death plays a different role in the game. The ability to restore stamina can make the match go a little faster. Granted, when you enable any of these features, there are certain achievements you can’t unlock. But that’s okay! In fact, it actually preserves the crushing difficulty that the developers were aiming for. It makes playing the game the way it’s designed as something you can aspire to, without being punished often for not meeting its requirements.

I like challenges and hard experiences in video games and other places. I like to see my own progress in things that interest me. But soul lovers, too often, are too punishing a teacher for me. And as someone who struggles with my mental health and has to fend off enough real demons when something is upsetting me, soullikes is still something that feels too bad for me. I’m just less likely to interact with them. I wanted to experience the thrill of beating these games, feeling like mastering something. I just prioritize my personal cooldown timer for the things in life that will never have a difficulty slider. Steelmaking Prove that a game can do this while still being pretty tough.

“Assist mode” is not simply about making the game easier. It was a helping hand that refrained from acting frantic saying, “hey, you really can do this. And here’s how. The game needs more of this.

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