Robot Souls – Strength Of The Sword: ULTIMATE

The Ivent boys don't like to overstate things

Right, say it very quietly so the grumps don’t get all antsy about it but this has some similarities with Dark Souls. Did they hear us? Did we get away with it? I think we’re safe.

Strength Of The Sword: ULTIMATE [official site] is a third person action RPG from tiny two-man studio Ivent Games. If that sounds familiar it’s because they previously made the Playstation-exclusive Strength of the Sword 3 which isn’t a sequel, that’s just how they named it. Ultimate is a Kickstarter remake/port of that game to PC and various consoles. It looks a bit like Dark Souls only more action packed, with the same focus on nail-biting, skill-heavy combat and a wide variety of viable customisation options when it comes to gear. Ivent provided a very early build for me to try out, details and trailer below.

While it’s one of the funniest Kickstarter pitches I’ve ever read, it is at the cost of a little clarity. It’s not made especially clear that this is at the base level a port, to the point where the version I was playing was still titled Strength of the Sword 3. It ran perfectly well, impressive for so early a build, but there’s all sorts of graphical improvements and options that will need to be added to bring it up to 2015 standards.

On the other hand, it plays wonderfully. Animation and style are on-point and the focus on devastating difficulty will be welcome if some of the money from Kickstarter – and a publishing deal with Team17 – can go on proper tutorials. Currently there’s a movelist accessible from the menu and selections will pop up on screen to give you something to aim for in the early game. They’re not tied to the enemies you’re fighting or the situation you’re in though, so beyond just providing information they’re not a lot of use.

It gets the action right though. You’re agile and powerful, capable of outflanking or tanking enemies, so long as you’re paying attention. Wrong steps are punished, a mistimed parry here and badly executed dodge there and a quarter of your life is gone in a flash. Even with just the base set of sword and shield there’s options in every scenario. It’s begging for the Kickstarted PvP, dedicated players trying to outsmart each other. It’s definitely an off-shoot, but the basic design elements and how it made me consider each individual situation reminded me of Dark Souls.

Thankfully the target and relevant stretch goals are all far behind, meaning if you’re worried what the final product might be like your money isn’t the difference between it existing and not. Release is scheduled for a reasonable November, though if you’re desperate and have a PS3 you can grab the original game on PSN now.

20 Comments

  1. Orija says:

    Christ, seems like they’ve promised the sun and the moon to the backers.

    • Bronxsta says:

      Thing is, they already have the core game made and completed. This is just expanding the game, adding new content, and console ports. A bit different than Kickstarters of games that are still in development

  2. Muppetizer says:

    I feel like an arse pointlessly disagreeing here, but I think two of the most quintessential Souls design choices are the surprisingly vertical level design and the minimalist-tight control and presentation of combat. Other than the GUI bars and there being a combat lock-on, I really don’t see the comparison here? This looks to be much more of an arcadey brawler than something focused on world exploration. Sorry for being a grumpy bum.

    • AbsoluteShower says:

      Nah, that seems valid. DS style combat is fine and dandy, but the series is more than that.

      Also, apologies for sidetracking, but will there be a Bargain bucket today?

    • Geebs says:

      Yeah, it seems more like God may Souls. OTOH: there is always room in my life for more Dark Souls….. and any excuse not to buy a PS4 is welcome at this point!

  3. mezron says:

    The game doesn’t really interest me all that much, but that image at the top of this article… I want that as my desktop wallpaper! anyone have that in 1920×1080?

    • AbsoluteShower says:

      Some bits and bobs here link to iventgames.com I don’t see the image above, but I suppose you could ask them, Im sure they’d be glad to know people are itnerested.

      • mezron says:

        Thanks, I’ll try that. I found it on their Facebook page, but it’s only 720×360

        • AbsoluteShower says:

          I found a 1080p version here link to iventgames.com

          Is that any good ?

          • mezron says:

            That ones a bit different, but good also. I found the one I want! Contacted one of the Dev’s directly, and he gave me a link. I asked him for permission to share link here, will post back if he give the ok.

    • mezron says:

      Here’s the link to the higher rez images
      link to t.co

  4. JohnXuandou says:

    I CAME HERE TO DISAGREE WITH YOU

    While there are some “Souls” elements, overall the game is MUCH closer to God Hand. Expansive “fighting game” movelist, adaptive AI, challenge arena, special attacks a la the roulette wheel, besides the stamina bar and having a shield with blocking, it doesn’t feel very Souls-y to me.

    • Grayman says:

      God Hand related is going to have me look out for this when it is finished. Although my favourite focuses of god hand where the dodge system and fact that it was hand to hand combat.

    • Wowbagger says:

      You’re not Alexander?!

  5. Christo4 says:

    “Wrong steps are punished, a mistimed parry here and badly executed dodge there and a quarter of your life is gone in a flash.”
    Only a quarter? Casual game right here

  6. Radiant says:

    PLEASE BE GOOD!

  7. Lachlan1 says:

    “Thankfully the target and relevant stretch goals are all far behind, meaning if you’re worried what the final product might be like your money isn’t the difference between it existing and not.”

    Shouldn’t that be: meaning THAT if you’re worried ABOUT what the final product might be like, your money WON’T BE the difference etc

    Not trying to be smart, it just took me three reads to make sense of that sentence

  8. Blackcompany says:

    This is pretty well a day one buy for me. Glad to hear its coming, and I hope they take their time with the port and nail it.

  9. AngoraFish says:

    Not my type of game at all, but I totally would pay to see this movie at the cinema.