Stellar Blade Review: Stylish Action Gaming Just Found A Queen

Y’all know we’re high as a kite for Stellar Blade, and today, we’re gonna tell y’all exactly why in our review. Yep, today’s the day we’re finally given’ our hot take, all prim-‘n-proper-like, ‘bout the game. The team behind Stellar Blade, Shift-Up Games, are receivin’ glowin’ praises throughout the industry. And why not? After all, the hype behind Stellar Blade is ginormous, given everythin’ we need to know before playin’ it. The marketin’ team deserves the biggest payday of their lives, too.

Hell, even the corporate stooges with the personality of a doorknob are tiptoein’ to find somethin’ bad to say ‘bout it. They know the backlash for comin’ after Stellar Blade. To the snowflakes with an affinity for moral-policing scrutiny for devs who love creative freedom of expression, we say: Suck it!. Is it obvious yet what our review score will be like? Heh, anyway, let’s break down this masterpiece.

The Story Of Stellar Blade Holds Surprising Amount Of Twists With Multiple Endings

Stellar Blade review of the story is... stellar!
Shhh, no judgments here, people. We just love the fashion show clashing with emotional moments. Nyuk, Nyuk~

Let’s get the most obvious pokin’-the-bear-esque point of our Stellar Blade review outta the way. We actually love what the devs manage to accomplish in the narrative. It was a pleasant surprise to see that the story wasn’t just a surface-level and by-the-numbers element. Sure, it’s not winnin’ any awards for plot complexity. But there is a huge degree of care in the story’s structure, pacing, and the multiple endings that you can get that’re massively different.

Spoiler Alert!!
Whoops~ Spoilers!!!! Hehe, without context, it won’t mean much, though.

The game actually awards you for takin’ the time to complete all the side missions, especially the NPC quests. You don’t feel like you’re grinding for the sake of grinding in the game, but rather, you’re doin’ things to help the survivors. Eve, the protagonist, actions impact the people of the post-apocalyptic earth in drastic ways. They’re given hope when there was barely any before. Some of these little deeds might not matter much in the grand scheme of things, while others do.

Once you make your own Stellar Blade review of the endings, you'll come to the same conclusions as us.
We will say, the true endin’ requires Lily’s relationship, so…. hint-hint.

Yet, when Eve’s true purpose and revelations are finally revealed, especially regardin’ the EVE Protocol, it is a shockin’ bombshell. The believers’ and non-believers’ pov clash for Eve. It is a thematic element of the game’s central conflict ‘bout Eve, the Mother Sphere, and the Naytibas. It hits our heroine with an existential crisis. We’re not gonna lie; we thought we were in for eye candy, style over substance, in Stellar Blade. Boy, howdy, we’re so glad we were wrong ‘cause this game knocks it outta the park in the story department. The New Game Plus, then, is the perfect way to unlock the other two endings and see what you missed. Trust us, it is absolutely worth checkin’ out.

The Combat In Stellar Blade Is The Highlight Of Our Review… Well, One Of Them

Welp, now we get to the meat of the gameplay review of Stellar Blade. We’re not gonna lie; when he first learned that this game’s shapin’ up to be a souls-like, we had some concerns. But! Here’s the thing, though: Stellar Blade is not gonna get y’all salty like the Souls-Borne games. No, Stellar Blade’s more in the vein of our top 32 greatest action games of all time.

In fact, there’re so many approaches and builds to the combat, which is the game’s core, that you’ll feel utterly satisfied. Let’s briefly go over the combat styles, yeah?

1.) Stealth Combat

Dang, girl.
Shhh~ don’t make a sound. Sexy, stealthy, and deadly.

Yes, you’re not seein’ things; stealth is definitely a good choice for Eve’s playstyle in Stellar Blade. If you know the layout of the map and enemy placement where y’all can see them, but they can’t see you, it is a perfectly viable option. Hell, we’d even go so far as to say that even if ya can’t one-shot enemies, this is still gonna give y’all the edge in combat.

However, we gotta be thorough in our review of Stellar Blade here, and tell it like it is. Y’all can’t use stealth every time. Sometimes, you won’t have the option to, either. Keep that in mind, before y’all think this is like some Assassin’s Creed type thing.

Related: Assassin’s Creed Mirage Review: A Forced Return?

2.) Dodge/Parry/Counter

Parry, dodge, and launch conterattacks.
The moment you learn to perfect dodge and parry is when the combat truly clicks.

Speakin’ of edge, let’s transition to the other style, which is gonna be the bread and butter of combat. We’re talkin’ ’bout the dodge/parry/counter-attack combo for Eve. Essentially, you’re gonna wanna master the perfect dodge/perfect parry timin’ window. Once you nail it, the counter-attacks will feel like such an elation for your efforts. They’ll be stun-locked, and you can hack away~

The one-handed sword combos are great for multi-hit strikes or powerful but fewer heavy blows, too. The trick is to learn when to use which. Just remeber y’all can’t go strikin’ blindly, as enemies will overwhelm you easily. Counter-attackin’ is the way to go.

3.) Beta Abilities/Burst Skills

Our review of the Beta/Burst abilities in Stellar Blade.
All flash, high class, as you absolutely wreck your enemies with the beta abilities and burst skills.

Our favorite build for EVE during combat was the one that focused on her usin’ the beta and burst abilities. This is like the combat mage-type style, and we’re still lovin’ every second of it. Not only are the visuals flashy, but the effects you can cause with’em are dope, too.

The beta meter requires fillin’ up for the beta abilities, and usin’ it ASAP in combat is a must. This is ’cause once the meter fills, the extra beta energy is wasted if the meter’s maxed out. So use it! The beta abilities give you plenty of room to overpower even bosses, too, after parrying.

Then there’re the bust skills, which are more offense-focused and require perfect parry and some breathin’ room to charge and unleash. But once you do… it is chef’s kiss~. The burst skills add plenty of variety for Eve to crowd control and deal serious damage to all enemies in her vicinity.

4.) Cinematic Action And Executions

Kill! Kill! Kill!
Yeah, get triggered snowflakes~ Eve’s beautiful, deadly, and isn’t afraid to get her hands bloody.

Finally~ we’re just gonna come out and say it, folks. Stellar Blade is one of the best cinematic action gaming experiences ever. Seriously, the presentation and gameplay sync, especially when in combat, is exhilaratin’. The God-Of-War-esque execution prompts and button-mashin’ feels rewardin’. The high of killin’ the bosses like the elder Naytibas after seein’ their forms and terrifying powers is unparalleled.

Stellar Blade’s Pacing, Level Design, And Game Structure Are Worth Mentioning In Our Review

Our review of Stellar Blade is gonna tell you that the game's pacing feels great.
Some levels are so awesome-lookin~

One other area Stellar Blade manages to bring its A-game to is the game’s pacing. You’ll see the game toes the line bein’ accessible and challengin’. It’ll first go ‘round easin’ you into new enemy types before leavin’ you to your own devices. The save point locations were well-placed, and even if they did respawn enemies, it was never bad.

In fact, it gave us an excuse to try out our new upgraded abilities on’em, so it worked out perfectly. The flow of the story keeps the action goin’ for those who just wanna focus on the main mission, but if you need a break, there’s plenty else to do as well. From fetch quests to fishin’ or even combin’ through areas to find lore-related logs, you can focus on exploration more. Like we said, the pacing’s just wonderful.

The environments truly depict the post-apocalyptic world in tatters and despair.

So, our review’s gonna cover the broad strokes of Stellar Blade, startin’ with the game’s level design sync with the structure. The environments range from the dryly mundane desert that stretches for a vast amount of area to the remnants of the civilian structure that’s decimated.

Sometimes, you’ll see sci-fi-themed areas with tech and color. There’re different missions and side-quests that you can take on that’ll make it worth your while to complete’em.

Spooky moments!
SHOOT!! SHOOT! TO KIL!!

There’s a definite shift in the gameplay when there’re these tight-quarter gun segments. Yep, EVE’s got a gun, too. It’s not OP, but it’s got tons of use, especially for peppering’ and kitin’ enemies before they close the distance.

No joke, these segments felt almost horror-esque, kinda like if you’re playin’ Resident Evil, which is awesome. Now, we wanna see Shift-Up flex their muscles and do a horror game!

Gears, Exospines, And The Progression System Motivate To Find The Best Build In Stellar Blade

Exospines help.
No wonder the devs said they focused on Eve’s back~ hehe, good choice; we approve.

Now, let’s talk ‘bout the three-fold aspects of Stellar Blade’s gameplay in our review that’s a huge plus for us. The exploration missions that require you to go the extra mile and search every nook and cranny are well thought out. You’ll probably won’t have much trouble, but some are pretty tricky to find.

One of the things for makin’ life easier in combat are the Exospines for EVE. Seriously, they’re not only for lookin’ pretty, but they’re pretty practical, too. They’re for providin’ boosts for several beta abilities and givin’ EVE some much-needed combat upgrades. Later on, you can unlock two Exospine slots, openin’ the door for more combo shenanigans.

Gears for Eve provide additional stat boosts.
Okay, bae~ you gotta stop; our hearts can’t handle the cuteness with those glasses!

Meanwhile, Gears in Stellar Blade give Eve some nice perks for her stats and status effects. Things like increased defense or double damage, and sometimes there’re some trade-offs, too. So, you gott abe careful with what you pick.

These Gears come with some sort of prerequisite, like staying at max health to trigger or landin’ hits without takin’ one. But don’t be afraid of’em. You’ll slowly get better, and once you do, these gears are must-haves. Especially for the cosmetic reason for EVE.

Skill tree system in Stellar Blade.

Finally, the skill trees in Stellar Blade are worthy of praise in our review, too. Seriously, the amount of playstyles and builds for EVE ‘cause of the progression system is amazin’. You can finetune your build by cherry-pickin’ the upgrades you want. They’re not redundant, either, as each one’s unique and enhances EVE in ways that make the gameplay feel easier.

They come in 3 different categories. Attack, Beta, and Survival. But as you progress, there’re burst skills and Tachy Mode skill tree, too. These’re the temporary Devil Trigger/Super Saiyan modes that give EVE short bursts of powers. Best we can explain it in a short way.

Excellent Sound Design, Funky Music Tracks, And Jaw-Dropping Graphics Make Enemy Encounters Feel Epic

Music for the game.

On the musical front, we gotta say, the relaxing themes feel so soothin’ and peaceful, we could fall asleep to’em. But when the action gets goin’, the melee counters, when they connect, produce some super satisfyin’ sounds. You feel like a straight-up badass, and the accompanying spectacle of the attack animation feels like the cherry on top.

Related: The 100 Most Iconic Video Game Soundtracks (100-81).

Seriously, we did not expect the K-pop beats to drop durin’ the game, despite knowin’ that a freakin’ K-pop actress and singer was part of the promotion. It was such a pleasant inclusion and unexpected surprise.

Related: The 100 Most Iconic Video Game Soundtracks (80-61).

Graphics are jawdropping in Stellar Blade.

Gettin’ into the technical side of the review of Stellar Blade, we gotta say. The visuals hold up astonishingly well. Especially whenever there’s a cutscene or a boss fight encounter ‘bout to happen. The grotesque enemy designs really make them stand out.

Plus, the contrast between their abominable forms to the humans, and, in particular, EVE, is really fascinatin’ to see. On a philosophical and story-themed level, the game hammers home the point of not judgin’ something’ by their looks. Ironic since its visuals are in your face. Also, EVE is hot, yeah, we said it, and there’s no shame in admitin’ this fact. Otherwise, it’d be the same ugly designs we’ve seen in most recent video games.

Related: The Worst Female Characters In Video Games Of All Time.

Extra Outfits For Eve, In-Depth Customization For Her Appearance, And New Game Plus!

Aha! The moment y’all have been waitin’ for, the thing that’s gonna rile up the morons. It has been rilin’ up the possum-bellies who wanna hate on Stellar Blade and review bomb it for. We’re talkin’ ‘bout the extra spicy stuff of cosmetics and costumes for Stellar Blade. Yep, and we’re proud to say we got all of’em, too.

The effort was definitely worth it, too. Seriously, not only is EVE such a hottie badass but she’s got some serious fashion icon vibes, too. It shows in her extra costumes. Thank you, Shift Up Studios, for this game.

Related: 7 Unique Games With Hot And Cool Female Heroines.

This is the perfect transition to talk ‘bout the other part of the cosmetics in the game. EVE doesn’t just change her costumes, folks. Y’all can give her a make over, too, for her hairstyles, addin’ different shades of color, too. These kinds of extra touches are so much fan service, especially if you’re an anime die-hard like us.

The light RPG elements give enough tools to players to tinker around and find the perfect look for their EVE. The Western gaming studios should seriously take notes here. This is how to build trust and goodwill with your player base. If you’re into awesome JRPGS that’re so addictive you’ll lose yourself in them, Stellar Blade is gonna give off similar vibes for y’all.

New Game plus mode is a game-changer.

Finally, the huge praise-worthy feat of Stellar Blade that we’ll highlight in our review is the new game plus mode. This was so necessary, and we’re super pumped ‘bout it. The reason we’re sayin’ this is ‘cause havin’ to start over from scratch after one playthrough felt jarring.

But now that with the new game plus mode, our currency, upgrades, and skills, as well as unlocked costumes carry on over. It is the perfect way to enjoy the game, too. With the multiple ending routes, y’all can fully explore the world and this time ’round try different decisions that get you the alternate endings. Slight advice… prepare for mind-blowin’ epilogues.

The Action Assist Mode And Difficulty Adjuster In Stellar Blade Are Positive Additions

Action Assist Mode in Stellar Blade is positive for inclusiveness we'll see it as a good thing in our review.

Look, there’s no shame in sayin’ that some gamers might not be good at a particular genre of games. Like say, we dig the underrated action games that deserve remasters, but others might find them too challenging. It’s perfectly understandable. So, then, what’s the solution? Well, other than the Souls-Borne elitists that tell you to ‘git-gud.’

Lo and behold, here’s the answer that Shift Up Studios came up with. The action assist mode allows players who’re strugglin’ with parryin’ and dodgin’ to perform them with much more ease. The action slows down to a crawl, givin’ players plenty of time to react.

Adjustable difficulty.

Another feat of Stellar Blade that we really appreciate and is gonna factor into our review is the adjustable difficulty slider. This is truly an inclusive game, people. If you’re havin’ a tough time in the hard mode, there’s a fix. You can do this anywhere, by the way. So, the particular area or enemy that’s givin’ you trouble, just pause. Take a breather, and then head into the settings, pick the story-mode difficulty to breeze through the game.

That’s all there’s to it. You don’t gotta start all the way back from the start of the game for this. This forward-thinkin’ game design is one of the reasons many gamers are signin’ its praises. Sure, it’s skill-based, but there’s the option of experiencing the game without stressin’ yourself out.

Minor Nitpicks

Minor nitpicks of our Stellar Blade review.

So, before anyone has a meltdown, there are some things that Stellar Blade could have done better. Or at least differently. We’ll briefly mention’em, and y’all can then rage ’bout it, too. We kid, of course, these’re just personal pet peeves. So, here they are:

  • Look, as much as we loved the graphics of the game, gotta admit the environment loses its luster after a while. The same kind of blandness that’s everywhere, whether it’s the desert surface or urban locales, feels mundane. We realize that is the point of the post-apocalyptic aesthetic, but we’re just sayin’. Playin’ non-stop, you could feel burnout, and the game could have included better, more luscious environments.
  • Another issue is not that big of a deal, but when you rest at a save point. Your health is restored and everythin’, right? But your default ammo slugs do not. While you could pick up more in the environments or buy them from stores, you can’t stack them infinitely. So this feels like a waste that could be fixed even now.
Platforming problems exist.
  • The platformin’ of Stellar Blade… is not stellar… let’s be honest here. There were plenty of times when the traversal felt… stiff and not smooth like it’s supposed to. The tower climbin’ ,in particular, was infuriatin’ to get through. Nothin’ deal-breakin’, we’re just tellin’ y’all our experience with the game where we didn’t have as much fun.
No gun exclusive build for EVE.
  • Lastly, and we’re reachin’ here, it’s fair to say that. But we feel like a ranged build for EVE usin’ her guns alone would have been dope. So… the lack of it and only one melee weapon type kinda saps the fun.

Our Final Verdict Rating For The Stellar Blade Review

So, with all the extensive but precise coverage of the highlight of Stellar Blade in our review, let’s summarise everythin’, then clock in our own rating.

+ Moving and engagin’ story with unexpected twists.

+ Good graphics and awesome soundtracks.

+ Great Replay Value with New Game Plus and extra costumes.

+ EVE’s physical appearance, costumes, and skills make her a top-tier badass beauty.

+ Combat is satisfying, parrying makes you feel like a pro, and the assist mode and difficulty slider make the game accessible.

+Character designs are really incredible to look at.
Lack of an exclusive ranged weaponry build for EVE.

Environments tend to feel bland in extensive playthroughs.

Platforming feels off.

Game could have included unique death animations for EVE.

The gun slugs need to be restored at save points.

Now, our review score: [4.5/5] Bloody Stellar!

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Welp, that’s gonna do with the base game coverage and the new game plus mode goodies for Stellar Blade. We waited for it to come out, then did a full completionist run to 100 percent the game before giving our review. So, then, how would y’all rate it? Honestly, this was a long time comin’, and we’re super glad we got to partake in this beautiful gem from Shift Up Studios. If this is a sign of things to come, we’re super glad that Korea is investing more in console gaming. We honestly cannot wait to see a sequel for Stellar Blade, a spin-off, or even a new game, for that matter.

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Rafi Ahmed
Rafi Ahmed
Retro(and modern) gamer, proud comic geek, anime connoisseur, and opinionated peach without a filter. I'm bringing you hot takes, recommendations, and what-if fantasy scenarios and championing the gamer cause against corporate greed. You're welcome!

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