Published on April 26th, 2023 | by Tory Favro

Stray Blade PS5 Review

Stray Blade PS5 Review Tory Favro

Summary: A game with promise but in its current form just fails to hit the mark



Stray Blade is a new game for the PlayStation 5 by developer, Point Blank Games. It aims to tell the story of the legend of Acrea The Lost Valley, and attempt to thrust itself into the realm of either a souls-like storyline, or a Metroidvania kind of game. Sadly, it fails on both accounts.

Initially, this game will strike you with its visuals. They are striking and appealing. It reminded me a lot of Immortals Fenix Rising,  a game that I enjoyed greatly, and do strongly suggest that you try out. It is a weird mix of graphics, blending normal textures with a cartoony yet appealing cell shading type of affair, that ultimately is a little too cutesy for its own good.

Imbued with a strange stone that smashes into your chest and brings you back to life, the aim of the game is for you to make your way through the Lost Valley, a wild and overgrown place and fight the good fight against increasingly difficult foes. As you play, the story unravels and is truly interesting, interesting enough for you to at least want to find out what goes on. You can choose the role of both female or male player, they look so similar it is almost hard to tell them apart.

Combat wise, this is a hack and/affair, but with the nuances of dodging countering and making sure that you time everything correctly to get the best result. Now this is where I think the game need some serious, looking at; the responses were simply not quick enough at least in my opinion for a game that relies on reflex action.

Audio in the game is good, as is the soundtrack, but a lot more work needs to take place to make. This is good as it should be. It also struggles terribly with frame issues on the PlayStation five and the targeting system feels off to be honest. I never really felt that I had full control of this game which is critical to a souls like experience. Not only that, but your character Farren simply is not very interesting. As terrible as it sounds, there is really no impetus to find out more about the actual character you are playing as.

Down the track Farren will meet Boji a non-player character that accompanies Farren. Annoyingly, Boji talks non-stop, yet apparently cannot talk whilst moving, which means the game slows to a halt as you have to stand still to listen to the content and some of the time you simply cannot be bothered. Impatient gamers will be hitting skip just to get back into it. I’m sorry Boji but your quips just ain’t worth it. 

The game requires you to parry and get the timing right as you will get your energy restored throughout the game by doing just that. There is a skill wheel that does expand with points achieved Though this simply helps you level up to a point you can take on what is currently in front of you. You have stamina which regenerates similar to other games of this variety, and need to be paying attention that you don’t run out of strength to swing your sword or be overtaken by the enemy

Weaponry is available throughout the game to be levelled up. It’s frustrating because some of these weapons are not fun to use, but the skill tree applies the point to the weapons not to Farren themselves. Special attributes need to be unlocked by actually handling the weapon, and you only get those weapons by levelling up and using blueprints to craft them. There are items around the world to help you achieve this a little bit faster, and you also require a currency called bone dust so eventually you will be waiting to level up but can’t do it properly because you also need other little bits and pieces to achieve this.

There are checkpoints in the game called Acrean Trees of Life. They won’t heal you. They simply act as checkpoints that you have to manually activate and there is a lot of backtracking if you do not locate them. Having said that there are not a lot of them in the first place so make sure you try and find them. They’re not hidden; they’re simply not plentiful.

Final Thoughts?

Overall, I honestly believe that Stray Blade could’ve been something a lot greater than what it ended up being. Having said that there is room for the developers to fix these little niggling issues and make this into a game worthy of your money. At the moment this title is a souls like for beginners, but even then would not prepare you to put on your big boy pants and play a game that is harder. There are too many technical issues regarding input delay and general timing to ever make you better than what this game will allow you to be right here and now.

I hope the developers stick with the title, because there is definitely meat on the bones, and with a little tweaking, could most certainly be a game that you were playing for sometime. As it is, at the moment, you were looking at roughly 15 hours of gameplay if you take your time.

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