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Reviews PlayStation Plus PS4

Mortal Shell PS Plus Review

Mortal Shell is an Action RPG in the vein of the Souls-like genre and is up there as one of the best and it is available this month on PS Plus. I haven’t really heard much of Mortal Shell before it became available to PS Plus members but man this game is underrated. What made this game so mind-blowing was how slick the game functions and how the graphics shine brighter than any indie I have played before.

It had the quality of a Triple-A development team. Even before the game began, I was invested as the mechanics of finding a dead warrior and renting their bodies as a Mortal Shell is a refreshing and original stamp of authority. The game’s presentation with menus, locations, weapons, and enemies was great. All that was left to wonder was whether the game itself could deliver and in short yes it really did. 

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The game introduces your character as a fleshy naked faceless ghoul and it’s not long until you find your first body to rent in the marshy swampland that makes up the central hub rife for exploration. The razor-sharp focus on 4 major weapons that correlate with four shells you can inhabit shows a manageable scale that gives the experience huge depth where less really is more. The warriors themselves are divided into classic RPG classes.

You have Eredrim the strength class, Tiel the endurance class, Harros the defensive class, and Solomon the basic mix of the other 3. Each character has their own unique skill tree to build upon and the ability to switch and interchange who you play with through any playthrough is a plus. Ideally, players will find their preferred character and weapon early on and lock them in for a playthrough but having the ability to test and change is very welcoming.

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From my experience with the Souls series, I went for my personal favorite Eredrim. The difficulty spike in the early game makes for some testy moments but the more you pump into your character it tends to tail off at the end but that isn’t to say it’s without its testing moments. The Dim Gate location is a real test of patience and precision and for this alone it is a massive highlight of the game.

The other two mechanics that sets Mortal Shell apart is the hardening ability where your protagonist can turn himself to rock during combat and the fog mechanic where every enemy morphs into something viler. The hardening ability is a unique show stopper that can turn any bad boss fight into your greatest battles highlight reel. It saved me a handful of times and even the cooldown is manageable once you get comfortable with the timing. As for the fog or mist, it’s tied directly to the main objective of the game.

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Each landscape you must cross contains something called the Knotted Gland. Once you strip an area of its gland the world is consumed by the fog or mist. The benefit is there’s a lot of loot to collect in locked chests around the game that only open once the fog is activated, the bad news is that a gang of monsters are back that want to eat your face. Once you get back to the base of operations you can give these glands to a giant dog that is literally imprisoned inside a wall and he will lift the fog.

Without ruining the plot too much your objective is laid out in retrieving these glands for what purposes you’ll have to find that out for yourself. Every location has been beautifully designed in a varying number of ways. Fallgrim which is home to the tower which is the central hub of the world and connects to all major locations. With Mortal Shell being a brutal action RPG, the real question is how do the combat mechanics function.

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It follows a similar control layout to its direct inspiration which for me is an absolute must. When Nioh presented itself with the square button as a light attack I could never really adjust. Stamina management plays a vital role in combat and the weapons and shells control the power and agility you can attack with but of course, it’s the Hardening ability showstopper that makes the combat function beyond. Parrying done right can feel pretty overpowering but nothing tops Hardening and attacking once an enemy’s guard is down. 

Mortal Shell has a runtime that won’t take up weeks or months of your time and is around 15 hours if you are well versed in the Souls-like genre. The developers have doubled down on the strengths they knew they could implement and made the game function to its maximum potential. If you enjoy any Souls-like games then you should definitely try out Mortal Shell as it adds a few unique concepts to the genre.

Mortal Shell will be available to PlayStation Plus members until Monday, January 3.

Great

Mortal Shell has some strange and beautiful worlds with fascinating places to explore. Combat adds a few unique mechanics like the Hardening ability that makes it stand out from the rest of the genre. The different shells and weapons make for a wide variety of options in an overall fun Souls-like experience.

8.5
Gameplay:
9
Graphics:
8.5
Soundtrack:
8

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