Soulslinger: Envoy of Death – First Impressions – Brutal FPS action meets roguelite fundamentals

Gare – Thursday, August 24, 2023 5:59 PM
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With Gamescom currently underway, tons and tons of games are being announced, showcased and generally talked about, so it’s easy to miss a few here and there. Which is all the more reason for us to talk a bit about Soulslinger: Envoy of Death, a fast-paced first-person shooter that takes the familiar formula of classic run-and-gun shooters and spices it up with the well-known characteristics of modern roguelites. So, now that I’ve spent roughly an hour and a half shooting baddies in this highly promising roguelite-FPS, I’m ready to give you some brief initial impressions.

Now, when I said fast-paced, I meant it. Soulslinger immediately reminded me of two FPS games in particular: Serious Sam and Painkiller. Whenever you enter a level – or an arena, if you will –, you’re going to be swarmed by a massive number of enemies out for your blood. The way you tackle them is by swiftly moving across the stage, dodging enemies and finding ways to take them down from a safe distance, almost never stopping for a breather. Constant movement is indeed the name of the game and is one of the main things that defines Soulslinger, in my experience, as staying in one place for too long is going to be very hazardous to your health, to say the least – thankfully, you do also have a very speedy dodge move at your disposal, which allows the protagonist to zoom past enemies and perform daring air dashes to take unexpected shortcuts. With this being a roguelite, you’ll also be hunting for various beneficial upgrades that come in all shapes and forms: some will allow you to deliver powerful lightning or poison attacks, others will give you incendiary bullets, and again others will let you place down a decoy of yourself to temporarily distract enemies, just to name a few. Yet even with these powers, staying alive is not always simple, and you really do have to use the environment and the layout of each arena to your advantage in order to stay in the game, which I really enjoyed.

There were a couple things I wasn’t super thriller with. For example, the lack of weapons. I spent most my time in the demo with a very basic revolver, and later ended up collecting enough crafting materials to build myself a shotgun, but that’s about it. Additionally, unless I’m mistaken, you can only carry one weapon at a time, so for example, once I unlocked the shotgun and equipped it, it became the only weapon I could use for that run. So that was a bit of a bummer. Some more variety in terms of enemy design and behavior would’ve also been nice (the demo had me fighting generic demon dudes and skeletons running blindly at me while occasionally shooting fireballs), but I’m assuming, or at least hoping, that this is something that will change as you progress further in the story.

All in all, though, Soulslinger definitely shows promise and I had a pretty good time with it. The controls are tight, the fundamentals are solid, and the world, once fleshed out, could hold plenty of gruesome surprises. If you’d like to give it a shot as well, I recommend grabbing the Gamescom demo currently available via Steam.

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