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Stellar Blade made its global debut during a PlayStation showcase livestream event in September 2021, alongside heavy hitters like Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 and God of War Ragnarök. Amidst these major attractions, Shift Up’s single-player action-adventure game emerged as a standout title worth close attention.

Stellar Blade Review | TheEffect.NetJump to late March this year, and Shift Up dropped a substantial demo on the PlayStation store. If you enjoyed the demo, rest assured, the full game promises an even greater experience. Stellar Blade not only impresses but also injects a breath of fresh air into a year with fewer standout releases. Here’s a deeper dive into why it deserves your consideration.

Story

Stellar Blade delves into the aftermath of a brutal world invasion by the formidable Naytiba creatures. With Earth devastated and deserted, survivors seek refuge in an outer space colony. Leading the charge to reclaim Earth is the 7th Airborne squad, spearheaded by protagonist Eve. Her mission involves aiding the needy, uncovering secrets, and confronting colossal adversaries.

Stellar Blade Review | TheEffect.NetFrom a narrative perspective, Stellar Blade echoes themes reminiscent of Nier: Automata. It immerses players in a post-apocalyptic realm where tragedy reigns, casting Eve as Earth’s guardian angel. Player choices influence the story’s outcome, offering multiple endings. Completing the game and its myriad side missions took me roughly 30 hours, prompting a desire for another playthrough to explore alternate endings.

A standout aspect of Stellar Blade is its gripping narrative, leaving a lasting impression with its characters, exhilarating boss battles, and pivotal moments. Characters like Eve, Adam, and Lily inject personality and charm, ensuring Stellar Blade’s place as a memorable and undoubtedly successful title for Shift Up.

Gameplay

Those familiar with the Stellar Blade demo will appreciate its extensive and gratifying combat mechanics, which deepen as the story progresses and skills evolve. With five distinct skill trees to explore and a training module for honing abilities, combat mastery becomes essential, especially against formidable bosses. While challenging, the game’s difficulty is more approachable than infamously difficult titles such as Elden Ring, offering a rewarding sense of achievement post-victory.

Beyond combat, exploration is a key component of Stellar Blade. Traversing diverse landscapes, solving (surprisingly unique) puzzles, and assisting NPCs enriches the whole experience. Campsites offer respite, allowing for item purchase, repairs, and fast travel. Completing side quests not only fosters relationships and enhances equipment but also adds depth to the game world.

Visuals

When it comes to the game’s visuals. Stellar Blade definitely delivers, with its visually stunning artwork, featuring intricately detailed character models and imaginative environments that align seamlessly with the narrative.

Cinematic cutscenes and fluid character animations further enhance immersion. With three graphics modes to choose from, the balanced mode provides optimal performance, though occasional frame drops may occur during more intense battles.

Conclusion

Stellar Blade emerges as Sony’s surprise hit of the year, marking a resounding success for Shift Up. With its compelling narrative, addictive gameplay, and memorable characters, players are guaranteed a satisfying experience. Shift Up’s future looks promising.

Stellar Blade Review | TheEffect.NetStellar Blade Pricing & Availability

Stellar Blade is available exclusively on PlayStation 5 on Friday, April 26th, starting at €79.99.

REVIEW: Stellar Blade
  • Story
  • Gameplay
  • Visuals
4.5

Summary

With its compelling narrative, addictive gameplay, and memorable characters, players are guaranteed a satisfying experience. Shift Up’s future looks promising.

John Reilly

John is Founder and Editor-in-Chief of TheEffect.Net. His favourite gaming series is Uncharted and his favourite film is Interstellar. He is also known to quote 'Father Ted' and Keith Lemon more than is normal. John@theeffect.net