We got the opportunity to go hands-on with several of publisher 505 Games’ upcoming titles such as Stray Blade, from developer Point Blank Games. Stray Blade is an action RPG that combines a fast and tight combat system with Metroidvania elements in an exploration-focused world.
Stray Blade follows Farren, an anthropologist from another land that finds themself in Acrea, the Lost Valley after mysteriously dying and coming back to life. They have to embark on an unforgettable journey to discover the story of Acrea and its ancient legacy in order to get home.
Farren is not alone in their journey. The demo focuses on meeting companion Boji and exploring two areas. Boji will always be by the player’s side, either by reviving them after a battle or having something witty to say. He is a helpful and ancient creature who will also aid you in combat.
Stray Blade’s hyper-responsive combat system allows quick reactions and precise attacks to fully control the flow of battle. Every button press matters as it merges strategic anticipation of enemy attacks with split-second blade-to-blade reactions. One of the unique mechanics of the game is the fatality. Human enemies have another meter in addition to their health. Think of it as a stamina bar. Depleting that bar allows Farren to perform a fatality, a finisher that immediately takes out an enemy even if they still have health remaining.
Farren and Boji have individual talent trees. Farren is a fighter who gains experience through battle, while Boji is a craftsman who increases his experience by finding pieces of ancient lore.
Acrea is a world that you’d want to explore as they seem to be something lurking in every nook and cranny of the world. It could be a new enemy, resource, weapons, recipes, or a new shortcut. Once you get used to the combat and its focus on timing, every fight gets very tense. Plus, the world changes as the player defeats enemies. If you go to a location that you’ve been before, you may see new enemies there. One example of this in the demo was going to an area where human enemies were at the start. Visiting the same area later, animals were at the location instead.
Stray Blade is set to release in 2023 for PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S, and PC.