We’re determined to win
Our journey into Fallgrimm with the body of a soft white. To survive the harsh world, we snatch the slain remains of our past heroes – referred to as shells. They are the center of fun to Mortal Shell and the vital element that makes it appear new and unique compared to its incredibly obvious counterparts in From Software.
The four shells you find in the forest from the very starting point of playing are, in essence, four distinct classes ideal for different styles of play and scenarios. For example, the remnants from Minion Harris can be used as an all-rounder with moderate stamina and life energy. It is an excellent choice for players who are just beginning. Later in the game, we meet the rogue Tiel, who has plenty of stamina but little life energy, and King Eredrim, who is also a tank and is full of life energy but very little stamina. Then, we meet the scholar Solomon who displays an extraordinary determination.
The secret in Mortal Shell can be found in the fact that you can change these shells at any moment and make them adapt to the current situation or if you want to. In theory, Mortal Shell can be played with no covers. However, we can only take one hit, but we also do not get the range of Souls-likes. Therefore, finding the bodies of heroes from the past is worthwhile and changing them regularly so that you are ready for each enemy and boss each one.
If we fall by the game, we’re thrown out of our shells and reverted to our fragile, white form. When we’ve done that, we get the chance to recover our body and fight on with other life quickly. This can be used to make an appropriate comparison to Sekiro, but it also allows for thrilling fights with a knife’s edge. If we’re stuck in the body before taking the shell back, the game ends, and we return the start of the level.
Throughout playing, the creatures can acquire up to ten distinct capabilities. To do this, we earn the game’s currency called Tar and Insights, which are similar in value to Humanity that we have collected from Dark Souls. Then we take them to the NPC Lady Sweater Genessa to exchange new abilities, and she is also a sort of beacon within the various regions. In other words, Mortal Shell hardly gives us any elements for role-playing and, as such, is confined to its shell’s playability.
The shells perform very differently with the abilities that aren’t locked at their disposal. However, this can cause issues in the equilibrium of heroes. For instance, in Tiel the Rogue, Tiel heals himself using poison instead of dying like the other shells. But, since the game world is swarming with poisonous spores, Tiel is constantly healing himself and thus appears to be ahead of his peers. Rogues are also superior to other classes in gameplay, given that their stamina is among the highest value. Since Mortal Shell relies on a stamina-based system of combat, like Dark Souls, the amount of energy is often the deciding factor in a battle. The more stamina you have, the better in this instance. Because of this, Tiel is usually our first choice in Fallgrimm.
Hard, harder, hardened!
Mortal Shell also stands out from other Souls characters in a refreshing manner with its combat system. Although Dark Souls inspire it, it makes one crucial change: In Mortal Shell, we don’t block. However, we instead harden our armor into impenetrable stone for a brief period. This means that enemies’ attacks bounce off the rock, and there is no injury. After a short time of recharge and then we’re allowed to re-harden.
The main benefit of this technique is that we can employ it at any time during the fight, even during the middle of an attack, like we were slowing time. Within a brief period, it opens the door to not just defensive but also exciting offensive possibilities. Because it’s so efficient, the joy of a child can be felt when you have mastered the art of hardening right when you are in the middle of an attack. It’s because the move does more than just spectacularly bounce off the attack of your opponent off your skin that has been petrified and continues to strike with a powerful punch even after a brief interruption in petrification. This brilliant concept of the style provides an entirely new level in Soulslike fight in Mortal Shell.
In actual fact, finding the best timing to execute the maneuvers does not appear to be simple. Even though the moves of the diverse enemies are typically easy to master, there are times when the game is impacted by soft hitboxes or obstacles which cause us to get stuck due to an unknown reason. The foes appear to fail now and then, but they still strike us.
What is who’s boss?
In terms of bosses – the parade-style discipline in all Souls games, for instance, the game Cold Symmetry has unfortunately failed to impress players with its impressive accents. Most of the time, it is just a matter of learning the patterns of attack based on stabbing and slashing, with the creatures having other exciting or unique capabilities. This means that the fights are still challenging. However, they can become monotonous, especially when the bosses aren’t poor regarding health points.
Therefore, the bosses are unnoticed, as they are also lacking a unique visual selling point. Memorable moments, like Dark Souls, where we combat Manus by using his massive claw, or remember Artorias, who takes over our lives through the graceful dance of death, aren’t present in Mortal Shell. This is a shame since the diverse areas – Ice caves, towers that rise to the sky, a fire temple, and the dark forest- merit a better conclusion with more advanced bosses. It’s evident in the final boss in the game, but the team has compensated for it.
Lordran is you?
Contrary to the other bosses, Mortal Shell’s tale is more memorable. In the first part of the adventure, a massive prisoner in a plague mask is sent to locate the sacred Glandula’s body parts. Then, through descriptions of items and conversations with NPC people, players slowly discover the causes that have destroyed the world and the best way to save it. Unfortunately, the narrative style is screaming Dark Souls so loudly that sometimes we needed to consider whether we’d loaded the wrong game.
Mortal Shell lets us play with the consumables multiple times before they show their actual results to extract all the crucial information from the loot objects. Although this is a good idea, it gives the items more significance and is sometimes a little distracting later. For example, we are already somewhat irritating if we must first poison ourselves ten times before a mushroom can reveal its real purpose. This makes the Souls-like game much more challenging to master, particularly in the beginning. Interestingly, this mushroom enhances our resistance to poison in the following days after we pay our tenfold apprentice fee resonates like a snarky remark.
Good, regardless which shell you use.
Last, we must mention a few things regarding The Enhanced Edition. Its version of Mortal Shell we have on the PS5 is visually superior to the previous generation consoles, that’s certain. However, compared to the exclusive Epic PC version, there aren’t any significant variations. The game runs smoothly through Unreal Engine 4, and it didn’t even fumble once during our testing time.
However, remember to remember it is that Enhanced Edition – which is free for those who own the previous version and is also available for purchase on the web, was crafted by only four people. Rarely can you get an extensive indie game for such a small amount of (tiny!) money. Of course, this game has no new-gen feel, not even the new rumble function in the DualSense controller on the PS5. With the remaster, in the shape of an Enhanced Edition, Cold Symmetry showcases impressively how to optimize the already great game for the next-gen consoles.