As I delved into the dark, gothic, and enigmatic world of “Lies of P,” masterfully developed by the South Korean studio Round8 using Unreal Engine 4, I couldn’t help but be drawn to its fresh and imaginative take on the classic Pinocchio story. Growing up in Italy, the tale of Pinocchio had always been an integral part of my cultural heritage, making this game’s announcement in 2021 all the more captivating. This title stands as a shining example of the soulslike genre, earning its place among the likes of FromSoftware’s renowned titles, such as “Dark Souls” and “Bloodborne,” even if it feels like they copied their homework. The parallels to “Bloodborne” are particularly striking, from the gothic aesthetics to the challenging gameplay, emphasis on challenging.
Inspired of course by Carlo Collodi’s novel “The Adventures of Pinocchio,” “Lies of P” is a departure from the familiar Disney adaptation. While it retains the fundamental essence of the story, it reimagines it in a stunningly stylized gothic setting. In this dark and twisted narrative, we follow the journey of Pinocchio, a humanoid puppet, awakening in the chaotic and maddening city of Krat within the confines of an abandoned train station. His quest is clear: find his creator, the elusive Geppetto, and unravel the calamity that has befallen the city, all while striving to become a real human. Familiar faces from the beloved story, including Gemini Cricket and the ethereal Sophia, who embodies the essence of the blue fairy, make appearances, really turning this classic story into its own.
The game introduces Pinocchio’s prosthetic arm called the Legion, which can be customized over time with various tools, including helpful things during combat such as a shield. What intrigued me was the weapon assembly mechanic, allowing for the detachment and reconfiguration of weapon blades and handles to create unique combinations in my arsenal. Each handle came with specific skill points, encouraging me to tailor my weapon to complement my chosen playstyle. While running around the maps and finding loot you do discover a good number of weapons to add to your collection, every few hours I felt like I had new toys I could reconfigure to make an even more badass weapon. The game also features the P Organ (sounds funny just saying it), it’s basically a skill tree that unlocks passive abilities using quartz. While quartz can be scarce, often earned after defeating formidable foes or progressing in the story, they offer as the currency to unlock a diverse range of abilities, enriching the customization aspect of gameplay and better to help with your personal playstyle.
The third-person action combat in “Lies of P” more than met my expectations, while the gameplay can be demanding, as is customary in the soulslike genre, I appreciated the game’s somewhat forgiving approach compared to FromSoftware titles. That being said, the game is still incredibly difficult, but may still function as a more approachable gateway into the genre before tackling what punishment FromSoftware titles have in store for you. The durability system for weapons adds an element of strategy and potential frustration, as neglecting to sharpen your blade could result in their breakage during combat. The boss fights, on the other hand, were nothing short of exceptional, some bordering on the absolutely insane. Each victory left me questioning my own skill and marveling at my accomplishments, the level of imagination in them only reinforced how inventive this whole world really is.
One of the game’s core themes revolves around the complexity of human choices. As Pinocchio, I was expected to adhere to honesty, but as we know. Geppetto has crafted you differently and lying tends to happen. Throughout my journey, I encountered other characters grappling with their own life issues, and the game presented me with the option to either tell the truth or lie during conversations. These choices weren’t always straightforward, as sometimes a lie felt more human and compassionate than a harsh truth. The consequences of my choices extended beyond mere dialogue, affecting outcomes and they can even lead to different endings.
In “Lies of P,” Round8 Studio and Neowiz have crafted a captivating narrative in a gorgeous dark world that while often infuriating me with its difficulty, made me feel like a stronger gamer coming out the other end. The game’s fusion of gothic aesthetics, intricate combat, and thought-provoking choices created an unforgettable experience that resonated with this Italian game review rather deeply. I don’t see many players who try this game out to successfully finish it, which is a bit of a problem, but this seemingly carbon copy of a FromSoftware game knows the secret sauce of what makes this genre so addicting to a certain facet of gamers is in its high difficulty. While the game isn’t perfect in some personal and superficial areas, my journey with “Lies of P” reminded me that my childhood favorite classic tale like Pinocchio could be reimagined into something truly extraordinary.
Related: Reviews by Nick Navarro