Stray Blade was revealed earlier today during the Xbox gamescom 2021 showcase. While it still looks very early in production, with ‘pre-alpha build’ splashed over its trailer, the game has caught my interest. Basically, Stray Blade is an action role-playing game where success stories may come with a darker consequence. Areas you complete change dramatically on a revisit, and death is never truly the end.
Stray Blade is being advertised as a Souls-like and roguelike rolled into one. With the behind-the-shoulder camera angle and hard-hitting combat, I can see the influences. Boss fights do exist, and you’ll have to dodge roll and swing at opportune moments to whittle away their health bar. Regular enemies seem to be crawling around its world of Acrea. Bosses, however, look to have some fancier moves that will leave you guessing. It looks like it’ll be a challenging game.
But there is something that makes Stray Blade stand out from the usual Souls-like collective. Typically, death carries some consequence in games of the genre. If you die, you start at a checkpoint and all the enemies return. However, in Stray Blade, clearing areas of enemies has consequences. As an example, in the Xbox livestream we saw something that looked like a bandit camp that got removed of its occupants (likely by force). However, over time the empty camp got invaded by stronger-looking monstrosities that made the place their new home. In other words, you can revisit older areas, but you should be prepared for tougher battles.
If you plant a seed
The choice and consequence system reminds me a bit of Fable, in a way. Of course, that game came with a lot of promises that weren’t kept. The one in my mind involves growing an entire tree from a seed you planted. Yeah, that didn’t happen. But for Stray Blade, I like the idea of time passing, giving you more of a reason to return to older areas. Hopefully, the extra challenge can result in new loot, instead of just stronger baddies. The function may also tie into the game’s story.
“Legends tell of Acrea the Lost Valley, a wild and overgrown place but unmistakably powerful,” reads the game’s description. “You found this forgotten land yet died. Time passes, and miraculously you are brought back to life. The price you pay: You are bound to this land.”
Stray Blade doesn’t have solid release date, but the developer expects the game to land sometime in 2022.