Eve in her Planet Diving Suit

I wasn’t sure if I was going to pick up a copy of Stellar Blade. I didn’t pre-order it, but I was intrigued by some of the controversy surrounding the title1, as well as how well such a game would look with Sony’s adjustments2. I managed to get a physical copy on opening day. The initial few hours were filled with intense and challenging combat, making me wonder if this would be the first game I started on the PS5 that I wouldn’t finish. I pushed through the early bosses and was met with some very interesting characters, beautiful game art and excellent world-building. It’s a game that has its flaws, and a steep skill curve. Yet, it still ended up being an entertaining game as I stuck with it.


Stellar Blade is a combat brawler. You fight and acquire skill points, which can be spent at base encampments. Many abilities you learn are activated by button combinations, which you can train for in a practice room. The base encampments are also the only locations where you can save, and where you return after you die.

Base Camp Save Point
Base Camp Save Point

Certain things are not lost when you die and return to a camp. One-time chests, secrets and pickups will still be in an acquired state after you die, but your consumables will not be restored. Enemies will respawn, but boss fights you’ve won won’t have to be retried. I can understand the reasoning behind why items, boss fights and consumables are treated differently at save points. It’s probably to maintain game balance and reduce frustration. However, I still really hate the inconsistency.

Character Defending Level Entrance

At first, I thought the entire game would be linear, as it was for the first few hours. However, the world does open up later on with new locations and side missions. The opening few levels are incredibly frustrating. Losing a boss fight returns you to a previous save point, and there is almost an expectation of grinding in order to acquire necessary skills, so the opening bosses aren’t impossible. Animation delays need to be accounted for when healing and making attacks, and much of the evasion in combat revolves around learning very precise timings. There are upgrades that affect the windows for dodges and parrying, but mastering both skills are not optional. The boss battles revolve around precision in evasive combat, like Eternights.

Eve Attacking Monster

Approximately five hours into this game, I was terribly frustrated with one of the opening bosses. The fighting does get more balanced, but some of the boss fights are incredibly difficult. It’s like the final boss from Lithium City, but half a dozen times. Eventually, I got more confident with the battle mechanics and even began to enjoy mastering the different battle styles of each enemy. There is variety in sword versus gun combat, as well as simple puzzle dungeons. Be warned; it’s a difficult game. Don’t go in expecting the modern God of War.


Stellar Blade is inspired heavily from NieR:Automata. The music, save points, camps and robots all seem to be inspired directly by Nier. The combat mechanics are substantially better, but much more difficult. The overall story is much more interesting as well. There are deep philosophical questions surrounding the various life forms, and what it means to understand who and what you are.

The Great Desert
The Great Desert

The story’s themes seem to revolve around naivety about the world. The main adventure focuses on finding cores and power sources. They feel like MacGuffin quests, but the story elements within each mission gradually reveal a complex history. Confusing parts of the world become clearer as the story challenges the core beliefs of the characters living in it. The lore and backstory are built creatively, and the characters are interesting and memorable. The world-building is very well done.


From day one, there was some accidental game art that upset some easily offended people3. It was likely patched out, but I decided this would be the game where I would leave my PS5 disconnected from the Internet. I wanted to see what the gaming experience was like with the game shipped as it was on disc. I’m growing more upset with companies shipping unfinished titles riddled with bugs, with the expectation they can issue patches after release.

The Hard R Shop
The Hard R Shop

Stellar Blade’s day-one release feels complete. The game feels frustratingly difficult at first, but I’m sure that’s as intended. There are a couple of spots throughout the game where the frame rate drops noticeably. It has some amazing graphics, and it does tax the PS5 in at least a dozen or so places, occasionally affecting combat.

Eve in front of a Propaganda Poster


I started off very frustrated with the opening chapters of this game. I was afraid it was going to be another RPG filled with grinding. However, the skill curve did get better. Side quests were okay, not too boring, and did provide significant upgrade points that made combat much easier. It took me 36 hours to play through Stellar Blade, spread over the course of 8 weeks.

Eve in Hero Pose

The music and settings were all amazing. The characters were well developed and voice acted. The story was surprisingly thought-provoking. Some of the main character’s design might feel like fan service, but the combat was not a joke. It felt very intense. Some of the levels felt like they dragged on a bit, but overall, I am glad I did eventually finish this game. It’s entertaining, but might be a bit much for those who don’t enjoy fighting games with very precise moves.

  1. Stellar Blade is out, the tears are in. 24 April 2024. Hero Hei. 

  2. The Sony Check Effect. 11 March 2024. Ethnic Weeb. 

  3. Sony Removing Stellar Blade’s Unintentional N-Word Reference. 24 April 2024. Gach. Kotaku. 

Sci-fi robot sword combat with beautiful music and art, stifled by aggressively difficult combat, yet still worth the memorable characters and enduring story.