PlayStation Reviews

SolSeraph PS4 Review

Review Code Provided

Getting Started

This spiritual successor to the cult classic ActRaiser may have been better off leaving its legacy in the past. SolSeraph is a hybrid of side-scrolling action and civilisation management but it doesn’t seem to do either particularly well, though to be fair the side-scrolling portion of the game is arguably its better half. You play as Helios the Knight of Dawn, half god, half man who is helping humanity reclaim the world from the forces of darkness.

Gameplay

SolSeraph is split into two modes, when the game starts you’re put into the side-scrolling portion of the game and have to make your way to the right. The enemies can come from the background and foreground as well as from behind or in front, the ones that come from the different perspective can be a bit annoying because it can be difficult to judge when they’re on the same plane as you and often leads to taking damage or wasted arrows.

Helios has a sword but it has such as short range that you have to be practically next to the opponent to deal any damage. The distance you need to be from the enemy needs to be so precise that even if you’re standing right next to them, you can still sometimes need to get a bit closer, because of this I tend to use the bow more often.

As well as the sword, Helios is equipped with a shield and a bow. The bow requires mana to use which you can run out of so you have to make sure you don’t overuse it so you still have it when you need it for a tougher fight. The shield can be used whenever it’s needed. Pressing R2 brings up the shield alone and pressing L2 will bring up the shield with the option of doing a backwards dash by pressing backwards. I find it a little strange why there would be two different button options that do essentially the same thing, it may have made more sense if L2 did a plain back dash and R2 used the shield, or if the buttons simply had the same function.

Helios himself is a bit sluggish to control, he moves slowly and doesn’t jump very high, there is a double jump but it doesn’t grant much more lift than the initial jump. Even in the water his movement is unaffected, it would have been nice if they changed his animations to make it look as though he was swimming. It doesn’t even allow him to jump higher.

One thing I find really annoying is that Helios has wings he doesn’t use, they flap when you execute the double jump but don’t allow flight. One level sees you climbing a tree and while I understand why he wouldn’t use them from a gameplay perspective, it still irks me that he doesn’t use them.

The main bulk of the game seems to be the strategy mode, at least it seems that way because I found that I spent longer doing that and the side-scrolling bits would only last a few minutes by comparison.

The official website for SolSeraph says the game has a strategy mode and an action mode but their strategy mode is more like tower defence. You reach the first strategy section after beating the initial action part and are given a bit of story about what the current state of the world is like and acts as a tutorial to teach the basics of this different mode.

You have a campfire in the middle, which is the part you want to protect and then you have to build some houses to gain settlers, the more houses you have the more settlers you can make use of but you have to have enough wood and food to make the houses. The settlers can be distributed between all of your other buildings and each one has a different number of people that can fit inside; the farms for example house one person and the barracks hold three.

The amount of buildings you can have is limited by the amount of lumber in the area, since there are only so many plots with trees, there’s only so much lumber you can collect. Fortunately once an area of trees is cleared away you can destroy the lumber mill and reassign the people. Destroying a building returns the amount of lumber used to construct it to the stockpile.

To start with, Helios has more powers in this mode than he does in the action parts. Rain allows you to fertilise the ground so you can build farms to get more food so you can increase the number of people you can have, it also puts out fires. There are also two offensive spells; lightning can be used to attack the enemies directly and sun will let you summon a warrior to fight alongside your people but it only lasts a short while. The final power you have allows you to speed up the time if you find things are moving a little too slowly for you.

When using your powers in the over world you’re still constrained by your mana meter, it’s easy enough to fill however though since all you have to do is fly through clouds.

The main goal is to build your settlement so you can reach the enemy areas covered in smoke and place a temple near them to clear it out, once the smoke is gone and the wave of enemies has been defeated you can assault the enemy base. As a reward for clearing the enemy base, you get an upgrade for your health or mana, or occasionally weather mana, which is the name for your over world mana bar.

Clearing the enemies from their base doesn’t stop them from attacking, the purpose of doing it is to chip away at the large crystalline structure that houses the areas’ boss. You can continue to fight waves of enemies before you fight the boss if you choose to but there’s no real reason to. After defeating the boss you gain a new power to use in the side-scrolling sections. You have to do this for each region and each one has different layouts, enemy placements and enemy types.

To Conclude

SolSeraph is an okay game at best, the worst complaint I have with it is that it’s boring to play. There are a few annoying moments, like how the tower defence gameplay is constantly interrupted so the characters can talk to each other but the dialogue adds barely anything to the story and only seems to try, in vain, to coax a smile out of the player. Also I noticed that you can simply run past most of the enemies, only the occasional ones force you to stay and fight but if you’re of a mind to, you could just skip through most of the action sequences.

My thoughts exactly, Xian.

The thing I liked the most about this game is that it looks pretty nice. The environments, particularly in the action segments are bright and colourful and well detailed. The 2D character portraits of the the main people in the communities are also well drawn. Another thing I really liked is the soundtrack.

I definitely wouldn’t recommend this game unless you’re a huge fan of tower defence style gameplay, play it for yourself if you’re curious, otherwise give this one a miss.

Take a look at some of our actual gameplay from our channel on YouTube;

Check out the official website for more information.

Chris Bracewell
Been a gamer for a long time, is my favourite and oldest pastime. Occasionally, when the mood strikes; I enjoy dabbling in games design, primarily the artistic side.
http://www.northern-gamer.com

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