Mortal Shell developed by Cold Symmetry. Mortal Shells promises us to enjoy the Dark Souls style games with the power of Unreal Engine 4. I have to say that this mission is challenging. Because Cold Symmetry has to maintain the Dark Souls style but they also have to have original ideas for not being a boring copy of the genre. Mortal Shell seems to achieve this in a good way. So here is our Mortal Shell review.
Mortal Shell Review
So let’s start our Mortal Shell review. We start Mortal Shell controlling a humanlike character. Our character doesn’t have a name, gender or any skills. We scout around in a humanless world, to help to a chained creature. We also try to bring back the precious objects hidden in the forgotten sanctuaries.
Souls-like games come forward not with their story but with their gameplay. Of course, there is a story and a goal, but to learn them is all up to the players. There is a similar situation in this game. Our main character, Foundling, has no idea about the current condition in the world. We start to know about the world by using the memories and bodies of the dead warriors who died on these grounds. Sometimes, we are getting the chance to have some small details from the non-attacking living creatures.
I can say the story is pretty enough for a short game like this. I had a good playing experience even though the story isn’t that interesting. Additionally, it is a cool detail that there are NPC’s reacting differently depending upon our body selection.
We are steady as a rock against the dangers
Let’s come to the main point. In many ways, Mortal Shell reminds us of the Dark Souls. I felt like I’m playing Dark Souls while I was trying to hit a monster with my two-handed sword. But I’m not saying this in a bad manner. I liked the combat system of Mortal Shell, it is very entertaining. It is possible to fight with monsters one-on-one or crash them all with our huge mace. But I don’t recommend the second way.
The enemies have high damage potential and we don’t have any health potions around. We can revitalize our health from the surrounding mushroom-like plants or some food. But our main saviour in combat is our parry ability. Thanks to the seal we received from the chained one when we stop the attack of the monster with parry and counter-attack the monster, we restore our health. Parrying is not so needed but you should get used to parrying mechanic if you don’t want to stress yourself.
“Harden” skill separates this game from other Souls-like games. As there is no shield in the game, we have two options to defend ourselves. Parrying restores some health but it is nearly impossible to parry all attacks. So we have “Harden” in that kind of situations. Harden transforms our hero into stone and even the strongest monsters cannot deal damage to us. We can “Harden” at the start of our attack and after parrying the monsters attack with our rock-like skin, we can continue our attack. It is even possible to finish the game without getting damaged if we can get uses the cool-down times of Harden skill. But I should say that we shouldn’t trust Harden skill that much. Because some of the monsters can also use Harden.
We control an ambiguous creature in the game. After we get well beaten in the foggy realm ( we can call it a tutorial realm), we found ourselves in the real world with a little health. The first thing we met in the real world is the body of a dead warrior. Our hero can slip into the dead bodies and reveal their memories like ours. With that ability, we learn their past and we also can learn their skills. These bodies are called “shells”.
New Shell Means a New Hero
There are 4 different weapons and Shell in the game. We also have a ranged weapon. We start with only a single Shell and one weapon but with the help of the “sense instinct” that can be found in tombs, we can see the equipment and bodies. Shell selection is pretty important. Because all shells have their unique memories and skills. That skills and memories shape our gameplay style.
There is no character development system in Mortal Shell. Even though every pattern has its durability, stamina and strength points, we cannot change them. The only option is to regenerate your pattern’s memories and to use its skills thanks to the “tar” and “glimpse” that we collect from the enemies. Weapons are practicable with every Shell but every weapon isn’t suitable for every pattern. So, I strongly advise you to make a proper combine.
You can choose “Eredrim” that has high durability and stamina but low resolve to use the special skills. You can also choose “Solomon”. It is unstable but expert on special skills. Or you can decide on speedy “Tiel”. There is also “Harros” for the gamers who want to play with a balanced character. Keep in mind these pattern’s names to use them.
We are stuck in swamp…
Let’s talk about the world of Mortal Shell. The game starts with the tutorial showing the basics of the control system. We arrive in a swampy area for the first time. Some people are playing the lute, eating or wandering. The sound of the lute misguides you, this is not a peaceful atmosphere. Some can attack you at any moment here. We meet a mask-wearing woman called Sister Genessa and we start to proceed by getting the first mission. The key point is to grub around every region. I have failed to search the environment, I found parrying skill after 3 hours, the skill is that I took from NPC’s at the beginning of the game. I am not alone in the matter of missing some items or skills while playing the game. Moreover, it is difficult to find other patterns without searching.
Every area has unique specifications and none of the areas seems like each other. For example, Obsidian Tower is full of icy caves and interesting temples. The atmosphere of the game is also interesting that challenged me because I couldn’t find my way. There are some shortcuts but no area has a distinctive characteristic. So, you can easily lose your way, but finding the location gets difficult especially during darkening just after boss-fights.
For example, you see an icy cave and enter it. You kill your enemies in the cave and enter the second cave. You realize that you go back in the hole that you missed beforehand. I mean, you want to proceed but you cannot. But it doesn’t matter, the main struggle starts with the ending of the boss-fights.
After killing a boss, you get a valuable item and all the area becomes dark in an instant. The area gets foggy and the scary creatures appear instead of the former enemies. The quick enemies are following you but you cannot see anything. I can say that the foggy atmosphere is cool but bein not able to find the direction makes me crazy.
It is not enough to search and find the items, you should also find their functions. As our hero knows nothing about the world, we gain experience via the collected items. We even understand whether the mushrooms we collected are poisonous or not. The items may not be efficient in the beginning but we can use them efficiently afterwards. For instance, we develop immunity to the poisonous mushrooms by stopping their poisonous effects. And all we can play an instrument very good while we are bad at playing it at first.
The item searching system is good and interesting. While I was writing my Mortal Shell review, I feel the tension about misusing the items. I experienced to leave the mission incomplete as I chose the wrong weapon and I had no chance to recall the previous one. So, I recommend you to try your items in safe areas. Nevermind fear of wasting the items, just try them…
In general, Mortal Shell worked smoothly on the PC. The game is graphically well-done, I experienced infrequent FPS drops. Additionally, some animations are problematic. All the animations appear as designed for Hallowed Sword. You use a hammer but it looks like thrusting through the enemy like a sword. Every time you leave the cave, you can see that your character the small hammer. Taking into consideration that there are few weapons, I would like to see a different animation for every weapon.
I was about to say the game had no bug. When I nearly completed the game, I discovered a bug that I couldn’t solve. The key point “Harden” skill is no longer to be a part of the game when renouncing to attack after parrying the enemies. I am bad at defencing, not using “Harden” skill made me unsuccessful in the game. It is an annoying detail even though it is rarely seen.
In contrast with some irritating details like the attacks just when leaving the caves and to die because of screening animations, I had no serious problem while playing Mortal Shell.
Mortal Shell Review: Conclusion
Mortal Shell is a good game. It is a good example of souls-like series’. It is not possible to say that the game is unique and original. The game is a little short, you can easily complete in maximum 7 hours if you don’t waste time in the game areas. Also, I expressed my opinion on places. The game has no multiplayer support. This may be a negative thing for some of us. However, bear in mind that the game is created by an independent studio founded in 2017.
It gives the impression that ‘it looks like Dark Souls but it is the different and great game’ that we couldn’t witness in other games like Lords of the Fallen. I can say for you as the person playing many souls-like games; Mortal Shell is the best Dark Souls copy that also has unique qualifications. This game’s success implies us the developer crew have the capacity for creating more successful works.
Hope you enjoyed reading our Mortal Shell review. Stay tuned, enjoy.