The Dark Souls-like Mortal Shell may have managed to steal the show during the first day of IGN’s Summer Gaming Festival.
“Awakening as an empty vessel, you will enter into a shattered and twisted world where the remains of humanity wither and rot,” reads the description for this upcoming Action-RPG. “Implored to do the bidding of the mysterious ‘Dark Father,’ you must traverse this tattered landscape and track down hidden sanctums of devout followers. There, in Mortal Shell’s most hallowed grounds, you must overcome formidable foes and harvest the sacred glands.”
We’re going to let that “sacred glands” business slide a bit in order to focus on some other elements of this project. Namely, developer Cold Symmetry’s unabashed love of the Souls series and how it influenced this game. The studio has not tried to disguise the fact that this is very much an entry into the Souls-like genre, which owes a particular debt of gratitude to the original Dark Souls.
This influence manifests itself in some interesting ways. For instance, you won’t initially be able to fast travel between environments and will instead need to utilize a more Metroidvania style of navigation. Said environments also benefit from a more muted form of medieval Gothic inspiration which will immediately bring to mind the darkest (yet most beautiful) corners of From Software’s revolutionary title.
More importantly, it seems that Mortal Shell will employ a much more deliberate form of action gameplay in which your character moves slower and weapon attacks are much more impactful. You’ll still have the agility needed to roll out of danger, but you really can feel the weight of a heavily-armored protagonist in this game.
Mortal Shell isn’t all about its nods to the past, though. It innovates through the use of a deep upgrade system based around your ability to inhabit the remains of fallen warriors. Each of those warriors utilizes a different kind of playstyle and combat specialties, so you’ll need to learn to balance their inherent strengths and additional customization options in order to find the methods that work best for you.
There’s no shortage of great Souls-like games on the market, but Mortal Shell‘s (relatively) old-school sensibilities and visual design will undoubtedly appeal to genre fans.
Check out the action-packed gameplay trailer below:
Mortal Shell is scheduled to release for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC sometime in the third quarter of 2020. You’ll also have the chance to play it early via a one-week beta run that is set to begin on July 3.