Lies of P’s gameplay reveal at last year’s gamescom made fans of the Souls series sit up and take notice; despite the unexpected focus on Carlo Collodi’s Pinocchio, aspects of this upcoming action-RPG evoke the likes of Bloodborne and Dark Souls in very meaningful ways. Now you can try it out yourself, courtesy of Lies of P’s new summer demo (download it here)! It’s a meaty serving – this will take you at least a few hours, even if you speed through it – enough for players to get a feel for the combat, story, and flow of the game ahead of its September 19 release.
After spending five hours playing through every available corner of the city of Krat, slashing through the demo’s three major bosses and handful of mini-bosses, and hitting level 30 along the way, I’ve now got a good feel for what Lies of P is shaping up to become. As a Souls vet, elements of its design language are immediately familiar: Stargazers are bonfire-esque save/regen points, XP and currency are one and the same, challenge abounds from massive bosses down to basic mobs. But enough notable things differ that it’s worth taking note: these are 8 things that Lies of P changes up from the Souls you’re used to.
Armed and Ready: in every clip released so far, it’s clear that P’s left arm isn’t just weaponized, it’s interchangeable. This Lies of P demo gives you a taste of three of these Legion Arms: players start off with Left Arm of Steel, which can throw a powerful haymaker when you pull LT. Use of the Legion Arms are limited; you get about 8 punches out of this one before needing to recharge at a Stargazer or with a consumable. I found it best saved for key moments when I knew I would not miss; hammering the Left Arm of Steel doled out significant damage to the Parade Master as it shifted phases.
Arriving at Hotel Krat you’ll receive your next Legion Arm, the Puppet String. As its name implies, an accurate shot allows you to drag a puppet enemy towards you for a bashing – use the lock on! This can be used to good effect when pulling a puppet from a pack to prevent you from getting overwhelmed, a not-uncommon occurrence. The Puppet String can also be used to safely land a solid blow from outside of the swiping range of some bosses, and played a key role for me in tougher battles, where every hit counts.
The demo’s final boss drops an item allowing creation of an electrified Legion Arm called the Fulminus, which discharges a short-
A Word on Weapons – All that metal-on-metal clanging can’t be good for a finely honed blade, and indeed, you’ll watch your weapons durability drop after several encounters. Fortunately, that won’t send you scurrying back to a merchant for repairs
–– unlike the Souls games you may have played before, you can restore your weapon’s strength at pretty much any time by swapping to the grinder and giving your blade a good sharpening. Just be sure the coast is clear! Throughout the demo you can also find or purchase special grinders which will imbue your weapon with an element for a short time. Try picking up a Electric Grinder and adding Shock to your blade right before challenging the Parade Master, if you find you need an extra spark to win.
Get a handle on Handles: Lies of P’s weapons are measured by more than just the business end of a blade. Each weapon allows P to execute two special Fable Arts attacks once a special meter is charged. The Blade Fable Art, activated by pressing Y, is governed by the head of the sword, club, etc., while Handle Fable Arts (press Y while guarding) is determined by the handle.
Once you receive the Enigma Assembly Tool, you can remove the handle from your weapon and attach it to another, allowing you to mix and match your preferred Fable Art attacks.
A Different Sort of Stealth: As a Souls player that prefers a sneakier approach, I had to get accustomed to the fact that there is no crouch walk-enabling “stealth button.” But that doesn’t mean you can’t play stealthily. Many of Lies of P’s puppets aren’t the most observant sort, and creeping up behind them at a slight canter will put you in position for a killing flurry. When you see red slash marks on their back, tap RB and you’ll unleash a combo that takes out most mobs in one flourish. This tactic also works on the demo’s second major boss, and is key to making short work of them.
As empowering as that storm of swords is, all that blade-on-bucket of bolts action creates a racket likely to send others scrabbling your way. Considering the fact that your enemies are metallic monstrosities, many of them are surprisingly soft of step; I got caught off guard on several encounters. You’ll soon learn to be wary as you take on an opponent, swinging the camera around to ensure that this is, indeed, a solo encounter. With many enemy puppets lying dormant on the street, the coast is rarely as clear as it first appears.
Be the Boss: Boss battles in Lies of P are events of heightened tension and awareness, and Souls fans will rightfully be on the lookout for patterns and hints to project what’s coming next. But spare the occasional glance at an important tell from the game’s UI: when you see a white frame appear around the boss’ health bar, they’re vulnerable to a stagger. A charged attack (hold RT) sets them up and then a tap of RB knocks ‘em down with a critical hit that makes P seem as deadly as any boss.
No health, no problem: No matter how many health flasks you have (you’ll finish the Lies of P demo with four rejuvenating Pulse Cells), in a boss battle, it can sometimes feel like you need just one more. Fortunately, in Lies of P zero is not zero. If you continue to attack once you’ve drained your last Cell, it will gradually charge that 0 back into a 1, making risky behavior on low health a more viable strategy than pure risk aversion. On the demo’s final boss, I recharged the final Pulse Cell twice, and it was absolutely the difference maker.
You Live, Ergo, You Will Die: All that said, death is a part of life in Lies of P, but it doesn’t need to be intimidating. When P dies, he’ll drop Ergo (the combination currency + experience resource) on the spot as “Death Ergo,” tracked in the upper right corner of the screen. Fortunately, if you die against a boss (and you will!) the Death Ergo will drop
*outside * of the arena, allowing you to recover it if you unexpectedly find yourself in over your head with a load of unspent XP. As in Souls games, there’s a risk of dying before you reclaim that Death Ergo, but it’s not as punishing – if you are killed before you can retrieve it, the amount you recover merely decreases, rather than resets to zero.
Lie, or Die: What do we know about the story of Pinocchio? He lies, and the results are plain as the nose on his face. We knew fibbing would play a role; the game is called Lies of P after all. Your game doesn’t have a “load” screen, it’s “Now Lying,” with the progress bar growing as P’s comically extended schnozz. After dispatching the demo’s first real test, the Parade Master boss, you encounter the Lying mechanic for the first time – it’s the simplest way to get into your destination, the Hotel Krat. Per the game’s lore, a puppet cannot lie… but you’re no ordinary puppet. I chose to lie a couple more times in the demo at key points, noting P’s nose remained unchanged. It will be interesting to see how these actions play out across the game’s full release.
Those tips should help you through Lies of P’s demo, likely in fewer hours than it took me. The demo is available now, so enjoy your first taste of the world of Lies of P and hope it holds you over ’til September 19, when the full title comes to Game Pass for console and PC. Pre-orders and pre-installs are live today, learn more about pre-order bonuses, including 72 hours of early access here.
Lies of P Demo