Eldest Souls Xbox Series X Review

With every advantage given to the boss, Eldest Souls is about facing an uphill battle where you must take every advantage if you hope to succeed.

By Grayshadow, Posted 09 Jan 2022

Eldest Souls is not a leisurely game and at times it can feel downright unfair. With players taking on the Old Gods in a boss gauntlet with each fight being more challenging than the next. It's an unforgiving type of challenge as you try and try again to memorize the pattern and try to triumph but it doesn't always work out that way. With every advantage given to the boss, Eldest Souls is about facing an uphill battle where you must take every advantage if you hope to succeed.

Eldest Souls, NoobFeed, RPG, Xbox Series X, Review, Gameplay, Screenshots

Eldest Souls is all about defeating Old Gods, with 9 in total. As the lone warrior, you're charged with killing these deities as the NPCs provide some insight into the world you're in. Eksyll, an ancient god, was imprisoned in a Citadel but the peace didn't last as Eksyll escaped his confinement and started experimenting on the other gods resulting in the near-extinction of humanity. You must kill all the gods within the Citadel and sort out humanity's fate afterward. 

Eldest Souls focuses on aggressive melee combat as the player is encouraged to strike quickly and dodge efficiently. There's no blocking and countering is limited, instead, the player must use their stamina wisely to fade through attacks and recharge stamina since it recharges at a slow rate. Successful dodges instantly recharge your stamina allowing you to chain together dodging. If you happen to miss a dodge and drain your stamina it usually means instant death.

You can specialize into 3 categories that include Windslide for speed, Berserk for damage, and Counter for defensive boost. Shards earned from bosses add additional bonuses and buffs such as grappling, leaving AOE damage circles, or healing. You can respec your hero at any time so you're not limited to 1 style of fighting. There's a training in the second Everforest area but for some reason, you can take damage here so if you do train you to need to die before heading into a boss fight. If you do die restarts are quick but the developers decided not to charge you Active Shard ability during a reset so you have to wait about 10 seconds before the meter is full. It's a huge inconvenience. 

Eldest Souls, NoobFeed, RPG, Xbox Series X, Review, Gameplay, Screenshots

That being said the hero is not strong, he can be taken down in a few hits but the Gods are walking tanks. This can make fights feel one-sided as about 2 good strikes will put you down whereas the damage output of your hero is very low. Despite wielding a greatsword it feels like nothing more than a paperweight due to lack of feedback and the amount of damage you deal. The game encourages you to maximize damage using Bloodlust, a powerful strike that charges with charged attacks. This meter instantly starts draining once charge so you're encouraged to use it immediately but since there's no melee cancelation you have to gauge the risk. With such a critical focus on movement, you would think an action cancelation with dodging would be available but no. 

The Gods are incredibly designed but walk a fine line between challenging and unfair. For example, if Ezikel, God of Light happens to be on the lower part of the screen you cannot see where his AOE light attack is going to hit. Since this attack can cover the entire left or right screen you cannot dodge it since you can't see where it's going to hit, so it's a free hit from the boss. In a game where a single hit can lead to death, all attacks must be telegraph effectively. 

The developers also decided not to place timers on specific attacks. EOS, God of Unity can cover the field in hot spots that do constant damage and the only way to cool the area is for its water counterpart to use its attack. But if the Fire portion decides to spam this attack and covers 90% of the field in unremovable flares the player is left with no way to avoid it and just has to deal with much of the field being unusable. This happens a lot more than you might think and since the player cannot do anything unless the boss does something specific you'll be left feeling cheated.

Eldest Souls, NoobFeed, RPG, Xbox Series X, Review, Gameplay, Screenshots

This doesn't mean that Eldest Souls is completely one-sided. Fights can be intense when everything lines up correctly. Dodging and effectively reading the boss pattern creates a cinematic fight as you topple this titan and take your victory. Adding the presentation are NPCs that provide short snippets of information and you can gather items to unlock more lore. Since there are no other fights other than bosses these side objectives provide some life to the world.

The presentation and musical score are great. The 2D sprites for the bosses are well animated and the explorable world has decent environmental variety. With a forested area littered with pollen falling and houses buried in the dirt to the dark insides of a ruined castle. The hero is the low point of the game's design because he looks so plain compared to the other character models in the game, especially in his movement. Compared to the boss's movement and animations or even the NPCs who remain stationary the hero just looks basic.

Eldest Souls is a demanding game and is not for everyone. There's a great challenge here but often the game can feel unsportsmanlike due to the sheer benefits given by the bosses. Whether that's a small arena the boss can step out of, an attack that can only be countered by another attack by the boss themselves, or the mass debuffs they can inflict. There's a great sense of accomplishment to be had for beating these Gods but it'll be on a mountain retries before you can get there.

Review Copy Provided.
 

Adam Siddiqui,
Managing Editor, NoobFeed

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General Information

Eldest Souls

80/100

Platform(s): Xbox One, PS4, PC
Publisher(s): United Label, CI Games
Developer(s): Fallen Flag Studio
Genres: Role-Playing
Themes: Dark Fantasy, Action, Adventure
Release Date: 2021-07-29

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