A star rating of 4 out of 5.

I wasn’t expecting to love Stellar Blade. From the overly sexualised outfits that dominated its pre-release discourse, to the boss battles that looked a bit too difficult for my liking, I wouldn’t have been surprised if I bounced right out of it after a few minutes.


However, once I started playing, pretty much the exact opposite happened. As I slashed my way through Stellar Blade's epic opening mission, most of my fears fell away and I found myself having a great time.

In fact, I’d recommend this to almost anyone that enjoys action games.

Yes, it is a bit strange that our hero Eve does a fair amount of her fighting in a figure-hugging space leotard. But the game doesn’t spend as much time leering over her as you’d think, and you can swap for less revealing clothing later on.

In terms of the difficulty level, I was thrilled to find that the game offers a 'Story' difficulty setting, which lowers the level of challenge but still doesn’t coddle you too much.

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Even if you opt for that setting, the combat is still really fun. Sword swinging has rarely felt this good.

The combat, in fact, is some of the best I’ve experienced in ages. It’s quite reminiscent of Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order and its sequel, last year’s Survivor, but with big anime-style swords instead of lightsabers. (By the way, if you love those games, I recently spoke to its composers!)

As you do in Respawn’s Star Wars games, here you’ve got to carefully block and dodge your enemies, waiting for the right opening to deploy a flurry of slashes. There’s a certain sense of flow to the experience, and it’s really satisfying when you get it right.

Stellar Blade isn’t just about the blade, either, with Eve soon getting equipped with a big wrist cannon for ranged attacks. As you work through the various skill trees, you’ll have more tricks at your disposal, with the game keeping things fresh throughout.

Unlike the Star Wars Jedi games, the one thing I’d say that Stellar Blade is lacking is a properly compelling story. Although the South Korean developers from Shift Up have clearly worked hard to dream up their own sci-fi universe, the world and the lore never really sucked me in, and the stilted dialogue didn’t provide much to cling onto either.

The story, if you were wondering, is all about an elite space warrior called Eve, who is on something of a revenge mission to defeat an alien race called the Naytibas. Earth is already in tatters from a wider conflict with the Naytibas, and Eve is trying to reclaim the planet and bring back some semblance of society. One beaten-up creature at a time.

The cast do an admirable job at trying to explain some of the more dense elements of what’s going on, and there’s no denying that Stellar Blade is a visually stellar game with some properly gorgeous environments to enjoy.

But still, I can’t help but fantasise about what the same team could come up with if they had a more established franchise of beloved characters to work with.

That being said, I had a great time slashing through the increasingly deranged-looking enemies, and it’s worth noting that the game has some fantastic music in it too. It has a weirdly chilled soundtrack, especially when Eve stops to rest, and that's a quirk that really jived well with me.

All in all, if you love action games, I think you’ll have a great time with Stellar Blade. You might find yourself zoning out during the cut scenes, but you’ll enjoy being in the zone during that flowing combat fun.

This was a pleasant surprise of a game for me, and it’ll be interesting to see what this team does next…

Stellar Blade launches Friday 26th April, exclusively for PS5. You can order your copy from Amazon now.


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