Stellar Blade Review

Although it’s well known for hit mobile games, Korean video game developer, SHIFT Up, has branched out with its latest release. That is, Stellar Blade; a game you’ve probably heard a lot about due to its particular assets, shall we say. Now, the question shifts to whether this was a good decision and gamble, and if this game is something you should spend your valuable time and money on.

The short answer is yes. Here’s the long answer:

For those who haven’t been following it closely, Stellar Blade is an action game that borrows elements from other genre efforts, as well as the likes of Soulslikes. The result is a game that is its own fun, challenging, immersive and well made beast. One that is well worth playing if you like combat focused experiences and crave a challenge. Thankfully, though, there is a story mode, which is what I played on. Though this is the first time I’ve ever done so, I’m not too proud to admit it, because I’m not great at these types of games with their challenging combat. Plus, as I continue to get older and deal with health problems, my skills have lessened.

I’m happy to report, too, that — unlike Rise of the Ronin — this easy mode is accessible and fair. There’s definitely still some challenge, but I haven’t had much of a problem. Sometimes, I wish it were tougher, but the only other option was a difficulty that said it was for people who like a good combat challenge. It scared me off, haha.

This game centres upon a young woman named EVE, who’s part of the Seventh Jump Squad. Along with her attractive peers, this ‘Angel’ is tasked with using her impressive sword skills to cleanse a post war Earth. One that just so happens to be littered with devilish monsters called Naytiba.

Upon landing, the proverbial shit hits the fan. EVE loses friends, and vows to defeat the Alpha Naytiba that is responsible. To do so, she will have to explore a damaged (and dangerous) world, gathering hearts and materials to both progress and make herself stronger.

By searching off the beaten path, one can find cores that help upgrade EVE’s sword, her battle suit and more. You’ll find many different basic and rare materials in crates and chests, too, and these can be used to craft new suits, purchase new hairstyles and more. Yes, there’s even a hair salon in this game, and it’s something you must unlock by completing a side quest for a resident of the hub city. After you find his tools, he will cut and dye your hair for an expensive price. Unfortunately, EVE’s ponytail never goes away, and it can look weird attached to a short haircut. You can, however, go into the settings and change it from a long pony to a better looking ‘short’ one.

There are lots of ability upgrades, too, and these come in the form of new combos, additional talents, improved energy (for special attacks), and new special attacks in general. You’ll be able to unlock them at camps, using experience points.

Along the way, EVE encounters other survivors who are trying to do the right thing, and teams up with them. One is named Adam, and it’s his ship that you use to get around. Adam also accompanies EVE on her journey, as a drone which can be turned into a gun with different types of ammo. This is one way in which Stellar Blade differs from your typical action game or Soulslike, although it’s easy to forget that the gun — which isn’t available right away — exists.

Of course, the combat is the highlight and focus of this game, and it’s sword based. Interestingly enough, EVE uses her sword one-handed, but is very successful at doing so. You’ll spend most of your time with Stellar Blade exploring environments and doing battle against the Naytibas you come across, using a fun and engaging combat system that prioritizes blocks, parries and watching enemies to see when you can teleport through them in order to stun them. At times, the combat system can look and feel a bit basic, but it’s actually well crafted and thoroughly engaging. Granted, I did also play on easy.

This game truly excels at one-on-one combat, but sometimes struggles when there’s more than one enemy on screen at once. The lock on system can be annoying, and can make it hard to deal with more than one foe. It seemed like the lock on would even activate randomly, without me pressing the button.

It’s also important to mention that throwables are an option. You’ll pick up things like grenades and special mines, which can also be purchased from vending machines. I didn’t find these too helpful, and often forgot that I even had them. The only consumables that were important were the different types of health potions, which can replenish at camps. Some have to be purchased though.

There is also a purchasable consumable that lets you come back to life after death. I admittedly used a couple of those.

If you’re hoping to play Stellar Blade for the story, know that it’s not bad but is definitely also not great. Combat is the main focus here, as is exploring some semi-open world environments. They can be barren, though, and can get a tad tedious. This game is best when it’s more linear, which it often is.

The semi-open world areas help add length to the game, because there are hidden chests, bodies carrying notes and passcodes, and optional boss(es).  Plus, you’ll have to venture through these regions to complete the numerous side quests that can be found on a billboard in town, or by talking to NPCs with green dots. Some of these additional quests have good depth and help to flesh out the game world, its story and its history, but a lot of others are “Go here, find this or fight that.”

I’ve tried to do a thorough play through and have attempted to complete most of the side quests found within. It’s helped me gain experience, find materials, upgrade EVE and unlock new suits.

As you probably know, EVE is also hyper sexualised.  She’s got bit breasts, a ‘thick’ behind and very revealing outfits, including a ‘skin suit’ which makes the game harder. This wasn’t a draw for me, and was something I tried to ignore. I did, however, enjoy changing her hair and checking out the different suits. I’m just saying that she could’ve been  a nun and I would have enjoyed the game the same.

There’s no denying it, though: Stellar Blade is a stunning game, and one with some really nice character models. It’s beautiful in action, and has some really nice environmental detail, though some of the open world areas can look kind of bland. It’s also got really nice monster designs, and the battles against them aren’t half bad either.


It ran really well on our PS5, and had no issues.

The sound and voice acting are also quite good, although some of the performances feel a bit wooden. You can visit camps (these are numerous, and are where you heal, save, refill items and ammo, etc.) which make me think of Soulslikes (which I normally do not enjoy), and there you’ll find a record player. It allows you to change the songs that play in the background. Most are good, and I guess some could be considered Kpop.

Going in, I was admittedly unsure as to whether or not I’d enjoy Stellar Blade, based on things I’d heard about the demo. However, I was very pleasantly impressed by what turned out to be a really solid game. I’ve enjoyed my time with it, and can recommend it wholeheartedly. It’s got some flaws, but it’s a good game.

This review is based on a copy of the PS5 exclusive, which we were provided with. Read our reviews policy here.

Stellar Blade Review
Reader Rating1 Votes
The Good Stuff
Really good combat
Interesting encounters
Impressive enemy designs
Lots of unlocks
Challenging, for those who care. Accessible for those who do not.
Immersive and engaging
Good character customization
Some solid side quests
The Not-So-Good Stuff
Some bland side quests
Doesn’t deal with multiple enemies as well as it does with one on one combat
The story isn’t great
Grenades and mines aren’t too helpful