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Mortal Shell – Review

Mortal Shell is about an empty vessel who….yeah, you know what? I’m just going to be honest and say that I have no idea what the plot is because it makes no sense whatsoever.

Pros

Graphics

First off, it must be said that the game is incredibly pretty! When I first started the game, it looked great. The sounds, the way your character handles a weapon, the enemy’s reactions – it all looked almost human! I also loved that every area had a very unique look. No copy-pasting.

Gear

So, with equipment, well, things are a bit different, seeing as how you’re a vessel (I think). You need to take control of dead knights by awakening these Mortal Shells and occupying their bodies (I think) so you can use their stats, abilities, and buffs. That said, there are only a few in the game that you have to get compared to other similar games where you are limited as to what new gear you can wear.

Weapons

In Mortal Shell, there are only a few weapons you can pick up. Each will help you get through various places, many of which are quite difficult without the right weapon. I like to see them as tools rather than weapons because there are enemies that you need to use specific weapons in order to defeat. Simply using the same weapon on every enemy is not a viable strategy. The same applies to gear.

Leveling up

In order to level up, you collect Tar and Glimpses (much like Dark Souls where you collect souls) to obtain bonus stuff for what you are wearing. Each is different from the other and yes, it’s more of a pain in the butt to get so if you feel like grinding, the best time is to do it is now.

Compared to campfires, you’ll need to find a sister. But good luck getting there because from when I played they were spaced very far apart. If you die, you get a chance to get your stuff back, but if you run out of luck that’s it.

The enemies, as I said, are challenging and unique in their own way. They all have some very interesting attack stances, so if you’re looking to get past or beat them there are generally only two ways you can do it. The first one is to run like the coward that you are and not pick up that sweet, sweet tar. The second is to carefully study their every attack so you can beat them. Sun Tzu, Art of War, style.

Bosses

When it comes to bosses, they don’t mess around as the combat is a lot slower and you’re quite vulnerable to being attacked. Timing is important in this game, especially when taking on the bosses. I should also note that I felt like the bosses actually learned from my movements and attacks. Spamming the same moves over and over again actually failed for me. These bosses are in the MLG of bosses.

Overall, I feel that this game is a lot harder than Dark Souls and more “ballsy” when it comes to the gameplay, however, with all that said there are some bad sides to this game.

Cons

The controls are clunky. As an example, when I run and attack with left-click, I instantly just stand and attack rather than run. So, the only thing I can do then is to use the heavy attack which really sucks because 40% of the time that attack ripostes. If it misses by a literal inch you will get clapped. Furthermore, with enemy tracking being rather weird, that leads to my second problem – enemy movement. While the animation is cool, getting attacked from a 180 degree turn is very annoying, especially when you come across bosses and mini-bosses. They will do that no matter what.

Another thing with the enemies’ movement is that if you see a sitting enemy, half of the time they just instantly attack with no animation of them standing up. Make sure you’re ready to be attacked without warning!

In regards to the story, I’m not a huge fan of overly crazy storylines, but after seeing the sister I was lost on where to go. Literally, my only lead was the visions of weapons and gear. With Dark Souls, you were told to go to hit the tower bells and from there you would know where to go next. There didn’t seem to be anything like that here.

The quickslot

The main thing that makes me want to quit the game was quick-slotting my equipment. The quick-slotting system is very confusing at times, especially since there is little to no indication as to where your items are and how to use the system correctly. I was there for 15 mins. trying to figure out how and I kept accidentally using up all the stuff I needed, making me want to quit the damn game.

Draw distance

The draw distance can be quite frustrating. Some enemies will just randomly pop up in front of you and that sucks. One minute you’re just chilling out, and the next you have three angry enemies directly in front of you that came out of LITERALLY NOWHERE.

Parrying and blocking

Blocking and parrying are more of a must-use rather than a backup or a safeguard because in order to heal yourself quickly, you need to parry at the right time. After that, you need to wait until it gives you the ready-up to do it again. There is food that you can find around the world, but they don’t charge you right back up. The only block is your body stone. I felt that was a little lazy on their part as they could have made it a block with a weapon, but either way, if you turn yourself into stone, then you’ll have to wait 10 seconds to recharge.

Summary

Overall, the game is seriously HARDCORE. The music, sounds, visuals, and gameplay are very eye-catching with exciting places to see, but there are a lot of issues that really do need attention. I feel that they could have spent more time fixing these issues rather than trying to release it so soon.

There’s also not a lot of equipment or weapons in the game which feels really restrictive. The silver lining is that there are a number of skill upgrades, so that definitely helps.

On Steam, it’s getting a mixed review (approximately 70% thumbs up), which I think is a fair rating considering its faults. As for the price tag, I’m glad they made it relatively cheap because if this was a full AAA price tag, I’d probably wait until it was on special.

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