Lies of P is the dark, steampunk reimagining of Pinocchio that you never knew you needed. Developed by South Korean studio Neowiz Games, this action RPG transports Carlo Collodi’s classic tale to the fictional city of Krat – a Belle Époque metropolis now overrun by murderous puppets.
As the enigmatic P, you awaken in the midst of the carnage with no memory of how you got there. Armed with an arsenal of unique transforming weapons, you’ll hack, slash, and rip your way through hordes of possessed marionettes to uncover the truth behind the so-called “Puppet Frenzy.”
While the premise wears its Bloodborne inspiration on its sleeve, Lies of P injects enough originality to be more than just a pale imitation. The Victorian-gothic architecture and steampunk contraptions that fill Krat’s cobblestone streets are a marvel to behold. P’s arsenal of modular weapons, meanwhile, provides limitless possibilities for dismembering foes.
If spilling gallons of oil instead of blood sounds like your idea of a good time, then Lies of P should be on your radar when it launches on PC, PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S later this year. While its Soulsborne roots are undeniable, this grim fairy tale hack-and-slash seemingly has enough tricks up its sleeves – or rather, crammed inside its creepy marionette arms – to stand apart from the crowd.
Just don’t expect Disney’s singing, dancing Pinocchio here. This puppet protagonist is more interested in ripping out the gears and cogs of his former friends. It’s a wooden boy’s blood-soaked quest for vengeance, and we can’t wait to pull the strings.
A Grim Fairytale of Puppets and Lies
Lies of P may lift its name from Pinocchio, but this is far from the cheery Disney adaptation. Neowiz Games has crafted a grim dystopian tale set in the fictional city of Krat – a once-thriving puppetmaking hub now torn apart by chaos.
You fill the handcrafted shoes of P, a nutcracker-esque antihero awakening in the midst of civil war. P is no ordinary puppet, however. Imbued with free will and a mysterious past, he sets out to uncover the truth behind the “Puppet Frenzy” ravaging Krat.
This narrative premise oozes potential, yet Lies of P struggles to fully capitalize on its fascinating foundations in the early hours. The story remains steeped in ambiguity, doling out morsels of lore through obtuse NPC encounters and item descriptions. It’s not until the closing acts that broader motivations come into focus, when players finally pit P against the nefarious forces seeking to pull his strings.
While the pacing could use some work, Lies of P nonetheless spins an absorbing tale once the ball gets rolling. The cast of characters includes plenty of enigmatic weirdos to dissect, from your occultist mentor Alidoro to the narcissistic aristocrat Venigni. The accompanying codex also harbors reams of tragic backstories and political intrigue for committed lore-hounds to unpack.
Beyond the narrative, Krat itself emerges as the real star of the show. Lies of P’s art direction is simply sublime, conjuring a city brimming with macabre beauty. Derelict puppet workshops and police precincts display an exquisite eye for detail. Flickering gas lamps illuminate winding cobblestone passages shrouded in fog. The haunted melodies of Bal-musette pipe organs echo through abandoned subway terminals.
This masterful gothic aesthetic meshes seamlessly with the 19th-century Belle Époque stylings prominent throughout. While comparisons to Bloodborne’s setting of Yharnam are inevitable, Krat retains a strong sense of identity. Lies of P may not blaze new territory visually, but its execution remains unmatched in capturing dark fairy tale melancholy.
P’s journey through this dilapidated metropolis also underlines Neowiz’s expertise in environmental storytelling. Every new area overflows with poetry in its precise placement of vignettes. Makeshift shrines decorated with discarded puppets, still clutching faded flowers. An overturned pram strewn with tattered children’s toys. Endless rows of unfinished marionettes in workshops, frozen in various states of completion.
Moments like these infuse Lies of P with a haunting ambience that lingers long after the credits roll. Krat feels like a real place with storied history, even if that history is shrouded in foggy allegory. While the direct narrative leaves something to be desired, the spaces in between speak volumes.
This deft use of setting also feeds into Lies of P’s attempts at a morality system, albeit one that’s currently underbaked. At certain junctures, players can decide whether P tells the truth or opts for deception. These binary choices lack nuance, but do illustrate P slowly embracing his humanity in a city where puppets are regarded with scorn. It’s a subsystem overflowing with potential should Neowiz expand its scope through future updates.
For all its narrative fumbles, Lies of P succeeds in crafting an enthralling backdrop that leaves you yearning to lift the curtain on its secrets. Krat is the sort of place that lingers in your dreams long after departure; a city of contradictions straddling splendor and squalor. When paired with P’s uncompromising quest for the truth, this shattered fairy tale realm makes for one of the most absorbing game worlds in recent memory.
A Puppet’s Dance of Death
Lies of P proudly wears its Soulsborne inspirations on its ruffled sleeves, retaining the addictive loop of tense combat and calculated progression those games perfected. Yet while its roots run deep, Lies of P introduces enough new ideas to avoid being branded a soulless imitation.
At its core, this is a stamina-focused action RPG where combat revolves around timing and aggression. P’s moveset allows for light and heavy attacks that can be chained into combos, while well-timed dodges and parries help turn the tide against overwhelming odds. It’s a demanding but rewarding system that incentivizes learning enemy patterns.
Veterans will immediately feel at home with these fundamentals, though Lies of P isn’t just reheating leftovers. Most notably, its approach to health recovery stands apart from its peers. Where Bloodborne emphasizes regain through continued offense, Lies of P instead lets you recoup damage sustained while blocking by quickly counter-attacking. This small twist gives players more flexibility in their strategies. Will you take the risky dodge-focused path of a virtuoso, or leverage P’s sturdiness to weather the storm while waiting for an opening?
Combat depth expands further through the addition of modular weapons and P’s eponymous “Legion Arm.” Lies of P implements a brilliantly flexible crafting system allowing you to pair various hilt and blade components. This significantly affects attack capabilities, stat scaling, and special abilities unique to each part. Meanwhile, P’s customizable arm can equip different tools mirroring Sekiro’s Shinobi Prosthetic. Attaching the Fulmenis module lets you pressure enemies with ranged electrical attacks, for example, while the Puppet String pulls them within melee range.
Mastering the synergy between P’s arsenal and aggressive playstyles proves endlessly rewarding. Felling towering horrors by carefully managing stamina and understanding their movesets captures that classic Soulsborne euphoria. Lies of P may recycle familiar rhythms, but adds enough new steps to keep you on your toes.
That satisfying combat loop intertwines beautifully with progression mechanics cribbed from its predecessors. Defeating enemies earns you Ergo for purchasing items and upgrading stats related to health, stamina, strength, defense and more. Resting at Stargazers also provides opportunities to augment weapons or swap Legion Arm modules. If you’ve ever enjoyed meticulously crafting your ideal Soulsborne build, Lies of P scratches a similar itch.
While not the most radical departure from the norm, Lies of P understands how integral these systems are in incentivizing progression. It’s difficult to put down because everything you do feels purposeful.
Some may take issue with its relatively linear world design in contrast to Soul’s famous interconnected maps. It’s true that Lies of P favors tighter, focused levels connected by a central hub. Yet open exploration eventually gives way to convenient shortcuts that loop back to earlier sections, providing those triumphant “aha!” moments. So while not as labyrinthine as its contemporaries, Lies of P remains rewarding to uncover every nook and cranny of.
For extracurricular activities, players can partake in side quests revolving around Lies of P’s vibrant cast of characters. These rarely venture beyond simple fetch tasks, but provide welcome diversions between intense encounters. Collecting music records to play at the hub area’s jukebox also delivers comforting respites, while giving you an excuse to revisit previous environments.
Lies of P probably won’t dethrone the titans it takes inspiration from. However, for a first attempt, Neowiz nails the essentials and expands on them through clever new mechanics. Few games make you feel the exhilaration of hard-fought progress and skill mastery like a finely tuned Souls-like. In this regard, Lies of P stands among the genre’s best as a grim fairy tale that’s a blast to play.
The Triumph of Lies of P’s Audiovisual Experience
While Lies of P stumbles occasionally in its storytelling, it remains an absolute triumph when it comes to presentation. This shattered cityscape is a marvel to behold thanks to phenomenal art direction and an obsessive attention to detail.
Arguably Lies of P’s biggest strength lies in its breathtaking environmental design. Krat fuses 19th century Belle Époque architecture with gothic and steampunk sensibilities to create a setting brimming with tragic beauty. Derelict puppet workshops give way to oppressive factories, which open into maze-like slums. Flickering candles illuminate the shadows behind wrought iron fences, hinting at unseen horrors. Even mundane spaces like pubs and libraries harbor storytelling triumphs through meticulous placement of furniture and props.
This eye for detail extends to the disturbing menagerie of foes out for P’s stuffing. While ordinary puppets behave with predictable rigidity, later encounters introduce shocking creations seemingly torn from the pages of a Tim Burton nightmare. A personal favorite includes a four-armed puppet fused with a baby grand piano, its keys clacking a discordant battle theme as it hurls pillars of sound. Lies of P understands how vital memorable enemy design is to a game focused on repeated conflict.
Visually, Lies of P channels the color palette and aesthetic of Bloodborne, drenching Krat in gloomy shades of black, grey and red. Yet the comparison ends there. Lies of P retains its own identity through the intricate Baroque stylings woven into each environment. Make no mistake, this is one of the most striking settings I’ve explored in a game.
Aurally, Lies of P also delights with its score and ambient sound design. The haunting melodies echoing through Krat’s empty plazas evoke the mournful romanticism of 19th century compositions. These themes crescendo into bombastic orchestrations during white-knuckle boss encounters. The clanking and whirring of deranged puppets proves unnerving, amplifying the tension of any encounter. Even P’s own footsteps feel weighted and imposing.
Rarely do visuals and audio come together this flawlessly to bring a setting to life. Lies of P understands that audiovisual design should inspire emotion and wonder. Every new environment begs you to uncover its hidden stories. Each malformed puppet elicits unease at what unknown forces could create such a monstrosity.
While Lies of P stumbles in some aspects, its artistry remains beyond reproach. Krat is a stunning achievement in plunging players into a dark fairy tale made real. More than just eye candy, Lies of P’s world-building turns up to 11. This alone makes the journey through its bleak streets worthwhile.
A Worthy Contender Despite Its Flaws
While Lies of P stumbles on occasion, its successes shine brightly enough to cast those missteps in shadow. For all my nitpicks, Neowiz has crafted an enormously fun and addictive Souls-like that left me thirsty for more.
Most notably, Lies of P absolutely nails the demanding combat and satisfying gameplay loop that defines the genre. The calculated dance of dodges, parries, combos and powerful counterattacks retains that patented FromSoftware polish. Lies of P understands what makes these systems so compelling, then adds its own twists through the health regain mechanics and P’s customizable arsenal.
Speaking of which, the weapon and build variety here is extraordinary. Being able to mix and match hilt and blade upgrades makes discovering new weapons exhilarating. I loved experimenting with wild combinations to find one that synced with my reckless playstyle. The fact that every part alters appearance, stats, movesets AND abilities means no two players will wield the same instruments of destruction.
This wealth of options coupled with the gleefully gory puppet dismemberment meant I was constantly driven forward in search of new gear. Lies of P’s gameplay loop of defeating enemies, gathering upgrade materials, improving skills and tackling tougher challenges sank its hooks in deep. I was obsessed with honing my perfect build.
That satisfying progression ties seamlessly into boss encounters that demand mastery yet feel fair. These gargantuan puppet abominations pushed my skills to their limit through multi-phase engagements spanning several minutes. The euphoria of finally toppling one cannot be overstated. Lies of P understands how vital these skill-checks are in incentivizing you to improve.
Of course, one cannot discount how much environment and art design aid player immersion. Lies of P’s gothic Victorian puppetopia is dripping with ambience and intrigue. I often found myself wandering off the main path just to soak in the tragic vignettes and imaginative architecture. This is world-building done right.
Add in a haunting soundtrack and unnerving audio design, and Lies of P fires on all sensory cylinders. Presentation matters, especially in a dark fairy tale.
Even smaller refinements like smoothing out Soulsborne’s obtuse storytelling, providing build respecs and letting you recover lost upgrade materials after boss deaths make the experience more welcoming. Lies of P respects your time while retaining the series’ coveted challenge.
Make no mistake, Lies of P deserves commendation for what it gets right. Satisfying combat, enthralling environments, strategic character building and terrifying enemies coalesce into a Souls-like that stands tall among giants. Minor flaws fail to diminish Lies of P’s accomplishments.
Growing Pains of a Promising Debut
While clearly demonstrating talent, Lies of P is not without its stumbles, suffering from a mix of minor quibbles and larger oversights. Yet these issues seem surmountable, and do little to diminish a confident first effort.
Regarding storytelling, Lies of P gets off to a slow start, taking too long to shift into high gear. The initial hours lack any driving force, relying on vague environmental clues and cryptic NPCs. While this improves later on, the narrative would benefit from establishing tangible stakes earlier.
I’m also unconvinced the morality system around P’s lies adds much. The choices seemed superficial, with no tangible impact on the story that I could discern. This feels like wasted potential given the premise. Expanding the consequences of deception could make subsequent playthroughs more dynamic.
In terms of gameplay, Lies of P sticks rigidly to a linear level design philosophy despite its interconnected inspirations. While backtracking does eventually unlock shortcuts, the world lacks a true sense of exploration. Branching paths and optional sectors would improve replayability.
On occasion, difficulty also scales erratically, plunging from mundane mob skirmishes to overwhelmingly punishing bosses without warning. I don’t mind a challenge, but these spikes disrupt rhythm and flow. Some additional playtesting could smooth the ride.
Several smaller issues nagged as well. Lies of P oddly lacks any multiplayer or co-op features, a strange omission for the genre. The plethora of weapons and upgrades border on excessive, with few feeling truly essential. Finally, controls occasionally felt sluggish and stiff, making reactive dodging frustratingly tricky.
However, the most persistent criticism lobbed against Lies of P is its slavish devotion to established Soulsborne tropes. Aside from minor quality of life tweaks, Lies of P hews very close to its predecessors. Some may argue this derivativeness hinders it from forging a unique identity.
Yet even if Lies of P wears its influences proudly, I believe it succeeds at executing on those concepts. Provided Neowiz irons out the technical and balancing inconsistencies, this debut hints at an exciting new franchise in the making rather than just a pretender clinging to greatness. Lies of P should be judged on where it goes next rather than beginnings that, while imperfect, get far more right than wrong.
A New Fable Worth Adding to the Lore
Despite a few weak threads, Lies of P weaves an enchanting dark fairy tale that stands out in the crowded pantheon of Souls-likes. It retains enough familiarity to appease genre veterans, while adding its own twists and tricks to avoid feeling derivative.
At its core, Lies of P delivers responsive melee combat and rewarding progression that form the backbone of these games. Defeating monstrous marionettes through carefully timed dodges, parries and strikes instills a profound sense of mastery once you find your rhythm. Meanwhile, gathering upgrade materials and boosting stats pushes you to keep seeking new challenges.
This addictive loop is complemented by one of the most striking settings I’ve explored in years. The haunted beauty of Krat’s decaying Belle Époque architecture and steampunk technology is breathtaking to behold. Lies of P understands how vital a realized world is in giving context to the action.
Smart quality of life improvements help smooth out Soulsborne’s notoriously opaque and punishing designs. Lies of P respects players’ time while retaining the coveted difficulty. I appreciate little touches like letting you recover upgrade materials after boss deaths.
That said, Lies of P deserves criticism for its sluggish opening hours and underdeveloped morality system. The story takes too long to gain momentum, while the consequences of deception lack impact. Addressing these flaws would elevate an already strong narrative.
However, Lies of P’s strengths far outweigh its weaknesses. For a freshman attempt at adapting such a renowned formula, Neowiz has achieved something special here. Lies of P laid an intriguing foundation I hope the studio continues building upon. The potential outweighs the pitfalls.
So if you’ve got an itch for challenging combat against nightmarish marionettes, I cannot recommend Lies of P enough. Despite some uneven stuffing, it remains one of the most polished and entertaining Souls-likes in years. I’d gladly dance with these devilish puppets again in a heartbeat.
Lies of P
Lies of P is a dark and enchanting take on the Souls-like genre, blending a grim fairytale narrative with responsive combat, rich world-building, and stunning art design. While it stumbles in some areas, its successes far outweigh its flaws, making it a worthy addition to the crowded Souls-like pantheon. Neowiz Games' debut effort lays a strong foundation for what could become an exciting new franchise in the genre.
- Engaging and satisfying combat.
- Unique health recovery mechanic.
- Customizable weapons and Legion Arm.
- Stunning and immersive world design.
- Addictive gameplay loop.
- Slow start to the narrative.
- Underdeveloped morality system.
- Linear level design.
- Erratic difficulty spikes.
- Lack of multiplayer/co-op features.