Honorable Mention #3: Mortal Shell
I’m not the biggest Soulsborne fan. I enjoy the games – especially Demon’s Souls & Bloodborne, but overall, I’ve never really been a massive fan.
That said, since there likely won’t be anymore for some time – From Software-made, at least – someone has to fill that gap for players.
Enter Cold Symmetry.
Mortal Shell is a Souls-like that doesn’t really try to reinvent the wheel the way some others have (Like Deck 13 and The Surge). This is very much a game that is meant to fill the Soulsborne void.
Maybe to a fault. It’s a very vague game plot-wise. It’s there, but you have to work to find it. Even more than you do in a Souls game.
It also has a few design choices that just seem a little…weird. Things like needing to use items multiple times to unlock their true potential.
This works on paper – but a lot of players, when they use an item and it has a negative effect, they tend not to use it again. In Mortal Shell, using that item again not only removes the negative effect from it – but also grants an even better positive one.
Weird design choices aside – and somewhat bland level design (Which I talk about in the review) – Mortal Shell is an enjoyable, unique take on the Souls-like. Especially in the combat, which is much more deliberate than you might expect.
There is no “blocking” per se. Instead, you need to “Harden”, which turns your body to stone to deflect incoming damage. You can do this at anytime – even mid-attack or mid-jump/dodge.
You can also parry using your seal, which can lead to a riposte if you have Resolve (Check out my review for more on that).
My favorite part of the game, though, was that it didn’t have a ton of samey weapons. There aren’t 20 longswords that all have the same movesets with the exception of one of two specific attacks.
All 4 weapons are extremely unique and varied from each other.
I also enjoyed not having to micro-manage a bunch of different little numbers to make my weapon of choice hit harder while locking myself out of another weapon.
All-in-all, Mortal Shell isn’t the best Souls-like out there, but it’s up there and worth playing for anyone looking to fill that void right now.