Thank you to Cold Symmetry and Playstack for providing an early access copy.
Mortal Shell is a new souls-like title that recently just released this past week on the 18th of August. Unfortunately due to technical issues out of my control (issues not caused by the game of discussion), I haven’t been able to play much of it at all. Because of this and in the interest of fairness, I won’t be penning a full review, more so my initial impressions of what the game has on offer. However, the short period of time I’ve spent with Mortal Shell can be accurately summarized with two words: grossly incandescent.
Mortal Shell, in my opinion, shines greater and brighter than all the previous Souls-like games I’ve played that haven’t been directly developed by FromSoftware themselves. I believe this is because of the clear love for Demon’s Souls and Dark Souls that the developers have proudly expressed, along with it being blatantly apparent inside the game itself. The dark and dreary atmosphere, the cryptic lore dished out through incredibly well-acted NPC’s and item descriptions, the heavy and weighted combat; everything, even down to the minutest detail such as loading screens, screams “Souls!”. Imitation in this manner is not to be frowned upon, since when done with this level of respect for the source material it is the most sincere form of flattery. However, Mortal Shell is very much its own game with unique concepts not present in Soulsborne. The main aspect of the game which separates it from the rest of the pack would have to be the shell and harden systems. Instead of wearing and swapping armor sets, your character possesses the shells of long-deceased warriors that they stumble across during their journey. These different shells have distinct characteristics that allow for multiple styles of play, along with altering the player’s appearance. With all of these shells, however, you are granted the ability to harden. When activated, this will negate the damage of the next attack you are struck with as long as you maintain the stationary stance. Although, if timed properly, this can also stagger an enemy and open them up for a good ol’ stab. Managing this mechanic and using it to your advantage in combat is fun and often rewarding, catapulting Mortal Shell into a category above prior Souls-likes who failed to innovate in a similar fashion.
While I haven’t spent much time with Mortal Shell, that won’t stop me whatsoever from recommending it. For $30, you get a visually stunning game for the price along with gameplay that has effectively set the new standard for future Souls-like titles. I can’t wait to jump back into my PC playthrough, and I am anxiously anticipating the physical release for the title as well on October 2nd to being my platinum trophy journey. But, until then, stick around TGP for everything Soulsborne and Souls-like alike.