Stellar Blade – A Soulslike From Korea With Love

REVIEW – The latest gem from the Korean game industry is following on from Lies of P. Pinocchio, sees you slashing at various twisted monsters with a sexy bombshell domino in a post-apocalyptic world. Although Stellar Blade can’t be accused of being overly original and its brain-sexualised female protagonist and the artificial controversy generated around her on social media is a bit of a redneck blindness, this new Korean action game knows what makes the flies go dead… or rather, all the mindless monsters in the game…



After press previews and a demo of the game, Stellar Blade suddenly became extremely popular. Not that we didn’t expect it, but so far the focus has been on the sexualised appearance of EVE’s character rather than the game’s story, universe or gameplay. However, soon after the game’s demo, it dawned on everyone in Korea that Stellar Blade was about much more than the main character’s fantastic female idol, and that South Korea, which had previously been known mostly for its simple mobile games, was now entering the AAA games market as a serious player. As the perfect blend of Bayonetta, Nier Automata, Sekiro and a chippy Devil May Cry, will the new PS5-exclusive game make it into the top action games of 2024? In this article, we join forces to find out.


A Stellar Blade-főszereplő EVE és színésznője külsejének reklámként való felhasználásából a fejlesztők, úgy tűnik, nem csinálnak titkot.


The game that came from the East


South Korea and China, which have a common goal: to catch up in the video games industry. So far, both countries have mainly churned out thousands of easy-to-play but forgettable mobile games – although a few gems like Lies of P. This was a logical approach, considering that Asia as a whole, with the exception of Japan, has never had a deep attachment to a more sophisticated gamer culture, especially as until the early 2020s these countries were mostly subservient to the big American, Japanese and even French studios. Their job was often to perform the least exciting tasks in video game production: coding or mass-producing assets that were then incorporated into big-name AAA titles. But those days are now a thing of the past, and several studios in South Korea and China have decided it’s time to show that they have something to say in video games, and plenty of talent to do it.

Shift Up, the studio that made Stellar Blade, is led by Kim Hyung-tae, who is involved in this project not only as game director but also in several important roles. Kim Hyung-tae has previously worked as art director on games such as Magna Carta and Blade & Souls, but is now on his own. Stellar Blade is not only a major project for the studio, but also for him personally, as he is the company’s CEO, the game’s director, art director and scriptwriter.


A játék rendezője tagadja a cenzúrát, és azt állítja, hogy a szóban forgó skin-változtatás a fejlesztők műve. Ám ez nem akadályozott meg több mint 42 000 Stellar Blade-játékost abban, hogy aláírjanak egy petíciót a a változtatás visszafordítása érdekében...


Sexy clothes FTW?


The story that Kim Hyung-tae has envisioned for Stellar Blade draws heavily on South Korea’s peculiarities, not so much in the post-apocalyptic vein, but rather in the vast, jumbled cityscape of Seoul that inspired the city of Xion, humanity’s last ray of hope, which has been almost completely cleansed of human beings by aliens who are now forced to live in orbit around the Earth. But that’s just the main story, as we discover throughout the adventure that other factors played a role in the disappearance of humanity. These details are for you to discover, we don’t want to spoil your experience with spoilers. In any case, as you progress through the game, it becomes increasingly clear that Stellar Blade has drawn inspiration from many places, sometimes so much so that it’s almost bewildering how much is happening at once.

You’ll find everything from Ghost in the Shell to Resident Evil, through the diversity of Nier Automata to Bayonetta and Sekiro, with a hint of Devil May Cry and even an obvious reference to Uncharted 2. Whether it’s art elements, storytelling, game design choices or the gameplay itself, Stellar Blade pulls together everything that has been considered the best in the beat’em up and Souls-like genres for the past five years. This in itself isn’t necessarily a drawback, but this abundance does hinder the game from fully realising its potential and finding its unique identity.

The same can be said of the protagonist character Eve, whose defiant appearance and exaggerated proportions give the impression of an artificial doll rather than a strong, complex female character who has more to offer than just her spectacular form. Far be it from us to ‘gloat’ over this as others have over this overblown scandal, especially when we know that other female characters such as Bayonetta and Nier’s Automata 2B have not received similar attacks on their debut. It’s a shame that Kim Hyung-tae didn’t take advantage of this approach to story-wise support the protagonist Eve’s appearance in the game. Moreover, besides the bombshell looks, the hot outfits are just for looks: there are no special abilities for the various sexy outfits you can unlock during the adventure, as is typical of other action RPGs. Only the almost naked “skin”, or second skin costume, presents a real challenge, as it is the only outfit where Eve is extremely vulnerable to attacks from the Neytibas.



Not just a sexy tech demo


Fortunately, Stellar Blade is much more than an empty tech demo starring a hot chick, which is a rip-off of Bayonetta or Nier Automata, because the Korean developers have also managed to show off their gameplay. Here too, Shift Up draws on the ideas of others, but the execution is precise and sophisticated in every detail. The first and perhaps most striking feature you notice when you pick up the game is the unparalleled and balanced combat system, which is clearly reminiscent of Sekiro. Simply put, if you execute perfect dodges and blocks, you can lower your enemies’ balance points, allowing you to perform a move similar to a finish move, here called a punish, which not only deals significant damage but also triggers a spectacular series of attacks.

Stellar Blade’s gameplay is often mostly based around blocking enemy attacks just in time, or rolling away from them and hitting monsters with precise and deadly blows. And in true Asian fashion, the game is brutal: there’s no room for error or a bad sense of rhythm. As with any Souls-like game made by FromSoftware, Stellar Blade demands commitment from the player. Even the most seemingly insignificant creature will be able to take you out with a few punches. Needless to say, you’ll almost certainly sweat it out against the main enemies, especially the biggest ones, because even Bayonetta-style button-mashing doesn’t work here. While Stellar Blade isn’t as fast as PlatinumGames’ game, it does demand a lot more from you in some ways. Don’t like being “ripped apart”? If you feel the difficulty is too much, you can always set it lower by switching to story mode.

Like all Dark Souls games of the past few years, and especially FromSoftware’s titles, Stellar Blade rewards players by constantly getting stronger. The more time and energy you put into it, the more spectacular and especially effective combos you’ll be able to perform. Attack, defend and dodge – the number of options is huge, and you only need to take a look at the various skill trees to see how much the game has to offer and to tie you down throughout the adventure.

Even after hours of gameplay, Stellar Blade still manages to surprise you, for example by introducing firearms into the combat system (in case you didn’t think there would be any at the beginning). This is a well thought-out and integrated part of the game, like the drone that accompanies Eve from the beginning and through which we can be in constant contact with the guy called Adam. Sometimes they can push through some pretty tedious dialogue while communicating via the drone, however after a while this floating little robot transforms into a weapon that can also be upgraded based on the XP points you collect. So you won’t get bored, and in this regard you should know that it takes around 20-25 hours to complete the game, but you’ll need even more time if you want to earn a platinum trophy, as Stellar Blade also offers a number of side missions that can be found all over the open-world locations.



You can save cats too!


Stellar Blade strikes a clever balance between tightly controlled corridor-like sections and more freely explorable areas reminiscent of classic open-world games. Here you can interact with all the NPCs, who usually have something to say and sometimes ask for help. In addition to the usual tasks, you can find people, help others and complete various quests. These open areas give you a chance to breathe a little between battles, and they’re also where the game’s story expands.

If you want to quickly develop your skills and access Eve’s unique clothing, you’ll need to take some time to explore, which will replace the intense pace of the game.

The complexity of the combat system is matched by excellent visuals. I’ve already mentioned the next-gen experience this game offers in the trailer, and this graphical quality is maintained throughout the game, whether it’s indoors or outdoors. Not only does Stellar Blade offer rich textures, but it also provides a richly detailed playing field, and the lighting and lighting management is first class. A few textures occasionally stand out, but this is minor compared to the impressive art direction the game offers, especially in the design creativity that manifests itself in the design of the various creatures and monsters.

All enemies must be taken seriously, otherwise you’ll be met with the ‘Game Over’ screen and will have to restart the game from the last save point. It’s important to note that Stellar Blade offers three display modes – Graphic, Balanced and Performance – and Balanced mode offers the best compromise.



Git good


It can therefore be said that the positive impressions gained during the previews were confirmed in the final game. There’s no doubt that the South Korean studio has done a great job in making their first AAA game, which, while drawing heavily on ideas from the competition (and Shift Up makes no secret of this), has done so with skill and honesty.

And if you’re familiar with Souls games, it’s no surprise that Stellar Blade isn’t lenient either. It’s easy for newcomers to get distracted in the first serious encounter, and they will continue to do so if they don’t put in the effort to learn the game’s chemistry. But once you get the hang of the rhythm, blocking and dodging, you can explode into combos that not only look good, but feel engaging.

Stellar Blade is well worth the effort because as you progress, new opportunities open up and your character’s power grows. The game is especially rewarding for those who want to get the most out of it, in a well-developed world reminiscent of professional Japanese animation. Now we’re just waiting for Eve, with her perfect form behind her, to hold her own as a real character for years to come.

-Gergely Herpai (BadSector)-

The review code was provided by Sony Hungary on the 29th. of April


+ Spectacular, beautiful, stylish graphics
+ Hard but easy to learn combat and enjoyable gameplay
+ An interesting universe that you gradually discover during the story


– Annoying jumping platform parts
– The different costumes are only cosmetic
– Eve’s character is a bit empty beyond the sexy appearance

Publisher: Capcom

Developer: Capcom

Style: action-adventure game

Release: April 26, 2024.

Stellar Blade

Gameplay - 8.4
Graphics - 8.2
Story - 7.6
Music/Audio - 8.2
Ambience - 8.2



Stellar Blade is a remarkable new entry in the genre, elegantly combining Eastern and Western game design philosophies while offering a unique and bold story deeply rooted in Korean culture. Kim Hyung-tae and his team have shown that they can bring something new and exciting to the games market while still combining elements of the genre's classics. Although the creators have gone heavy on Eve's hot looks and the main character has become a bit empty, thankfully the game as a whole is not disappointing at all.

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BadSector is a seasoned journalist for more than twenty years. He communicates in English, Hungarian and French. He worked for several gaming magazines - including the Hungarian GameStar, where he worked 8 years as editor. (For our office address, email and phone number check out our impressum)

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