The demo catalog of the Steam Next Fest it always hides some interesting news, some for games that will remain in development for quite some time and others, instead, dedicated to titles that are around the corner.
An example is what we talk about today, Asterigos: Curse of the Stars, a new adventure and action role-playing game that also takes inspiration from the world of soulslike, mixing everything with a fantasy aesthetic. inspired by Ancient Greece.
Until October 10 it will be possible to try the Asterigos Curse of the Stars demo and, from the day immediately following, the full version will be available for PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One and Xbox Series X | S. The first impressions of the latest effort by Acme Gamestudio they will therefore be fundamental to convince many to give this new game a chance or to ignore it without reservation.
If you want to know what we think, keep reading ours tried out of Asterigos Curse of the Stars.
A girl against the world
Asterigos Curse of the Stars it is not a soulslike, even if the developers (perhaps a bit out of fashion) wanted to put the dedicated tag on the Steam page. A first difference from the average soulslike is the fact that we cannot create our character: we will be Hilda, a girl from the Northwind legion who, after being left at home by the rest of the team as she is still too young, finds herself having to retrace their footsteps to help him.
Northwind’s legion is gone and everything points to the city of Alphes, a metropolis inspired by Ancient Greece on which a strange curse seems to have fallen. The demo doesn’t tell us much more, except that people in the city are turning into monsters and panic is rampant.
We know that Asterigos Curse of the Stars it will not have a linear texture, as it will be possible to make a series of decisions that “will alter the course of history”: how profound and varied will these choices be? Impossible to say for now.
What we can say is that the plot seems to be told in a more direct way than the soulslike of Miyazaki and FromSoftware. The protagonist speaks to give us directions, comments on what is happening and there are real purely narrative moments during which we will see echoes of the past left in the air inside the city. We can’t comment on the quality yet, but for those looking for an action game with one more classic and linear plotAsterigos Curse of the Stars meets the requirements.
Weapons of the trade
As mentioned, the demo is short, with just a few common enemy types and a couple of boss fight (of the 22 that should be present in the base game), but it is enough to get us an idea of what the basics of the game systems are.
Hilda has since the beginning of multiple weapons, which should remain fixed throughout the adventure (we will unlock elements such as fire and electricity, but not new weapons). There are also no real armor to find and equip, only cosmetic costumes and accessories that provide defensive bonuses. This means that there will be no deep RPG management of the equipment: the priority of Asterigos Cursew of the Stars is to make the whole structure leaner. Character evolution is also simpler, with only three stats to upgrade (without having to reach a “bonfire”, level up live and secure skill points to spend whenever you want). Then there are simple constellation-style skill trees, which give bonuses of various kinds, which can also modify some of the protagonist’s abilities.
The weapons available are sword and shield, double daggers, a spear, a hammer, a magic staff and magic bracelets. Each weapon has a three-hit combo, a special move (parry with sword and shield, parry with spear, offensive dash with daggers …) and can be used in combination with another weapon. Hilda can change equipment freely, but during the battle he has two weapons assigned to as many keys. If you start a combo with one weapon, however, you can finish with the second and thus activate a single shot.
There are therefore various combinations that can be used to get the better of every situation, also thanks to the fact that there are various attack skills that consume action points, which must be recharged mainly by attacking enemies. These offensive abilities can be very useful and activate special effects, such as additional defense, a kind of black hole that draws nearby enemies towards you or simply stuns and knocks opponents. In our short test we immediately realized that among those foul there was a very powerful one that we used to do massive damage against the bosses. The menu shows that there are many of these attacks: we must hope that they are all more or less effective, otherwise there is a risk that the player will fossilize on the two or three most useful and ignore the rest.
The combat system, in short, seems potentially very varied also because the attack moves are all available even if you do not have the dedicated weapon equipped. The pace of play is a mix of dodging, attacking, offensive skills, and repositioning. THE boss of the demo, of which only one was a formidable opponent, have various melee and ranged moves, with even special effects that make the combat area dangerous. We have seen too little to affirm that Asterigos Curse of the Stars is excellent, but the premises are good and if the level of the boss fights were at least equal to what we tried we would have faced some interesting battles.
We repeat, however, that Asterigos is not a real soulslike, for better or for worse. For the good because he proposes various levels of difficulty, to meet even those who are not particularly good at fighting. Good (again) because it is much more permissive with stamina, which is consumed only by dodging and special weapon attacks (parry, parrying, shooting daggers …), while it is not affected by normal attacks and attacks. aforementioned offensive abilities, thus allowing you to be aggressive without risking getting a sword in the face because the resistance ended at the worst moment.
Bad because it does not offer an Estus-style treatment system, that is, we will have potions that will be found especially in the environment and that will not be recharged at the checkpoits. To get more it is necessary to defeat common enemies: if the less skilled were to get stuck in front of a boss, there is the risk that they will have to spend some time to “farm” the heals; Bloodborne should have taught us that it’s not exactly a good idea. Bad (again) because the area we tested is extremely linear: we hope that the full game has a little more structured sections, with various passages and maybe the beloved shortcuts of soulslike.
Finally, a quick comment on the graphics and on the sound. As a demo we cannot consider what we have seen definitive, but considering that there are a few days left before the release, we assume that even in the best of cases the differences will be minimal. On a technical level, Asterigos Curse of the Stars is a simple game, with a pleasant cartoon style that did not show distinctive features in the demo. For the umpteenth time, however, we repeat that the demo is so short that we have seen too little (literally a forest and a secondary road in the city). What doesn’t convince us already now is the English dub of Hilda, a bit weak for what we hear.
Asterigos Curse of the Stars, after this tried, left us a good impression. His strengths are certainly the combat system, very varied right from the start, and a very lean role-playing structure, suitable for all types of players. We will have to understand if the plot will be interesting and if the level design will be less linear than what we have seen so far, but the premises are positive. The final judgment can only be given with the full version, coming soon.
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