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Action RPGs have always been very popular, but especially recently. Moreover, games in the Soulsborne genre have only gotten more popular. That is where Asterigos: Curse of the Stars, Tinybuilds newest title comes in. Adding in some action RPG to their diverse lineup with this unique take on the Soulsborne genre. Having gotten to go hands-on with the game early here is my Asterigos review.

SPOILER WARNING:

Note that there will be some explanation of the story elements early on. If you wish to go in completely blind then you read at your own risk. Ok, are we all good? Then let’s proceed with the Asterigos review!

Asterigos Review Forest

Story:

Asterigos: Curse of the Stars has an interesting premise with its story. We take on the role of Hilda, a young warrior in the Northwind legion, A force from Anbaris. She was sent to investigate the cursed city of Aphes. Her father and another party were sent to investigate the city, but they had lost communication with them. Now it is up to her to find the missing legion and the status of their mission.

However, upon her arrival to the outer rim of the city, she is knocked unconscious due to the known curse of the city. Shortly thereafter regaining consciousness and recovering her weapons. She fights a large monster alligator. After a rather tough encounter, she finally makes her way into the city. However, she is met with a man who stops her.

Asterigos Review Ravenous Alligator

In the City:

After being bested by the man she awakens in a hidden shelter run by a group calling themselves the Adherents. They are a faction vying for control of the city, however, their leader, Minerva, seems to have good intentions. She tells Hilda, that she has information on her father, working with a Man known as Eumenides. He is the cause of Asterigos, the curse of Stars on Aphes.

The people are immortal however when they die, they turn to stardust. Minerva strikes a deal that if Hilda should help the Adherents with missions throughout the city, she will provide info she has on the Legion. And as we explore each of the districts of Aphes, we learn of its history. The tragedies, and the struggles of those who still somehow survive in this cursed city.

Asterigos Review Minerva

Living in Aphes:

Like most Soulsborne games, the story is told through the discovery of the world. however, Asterigos takes a more cinematic approach. Having an actually voiced protagonist instead of a mute character allows for more conversations with NPCs. Even if not all of their lines are voiced. However, it still gives more in-depth explanations, while also allowing for cinematic moments to drive the story.

This helps to build a sense of understanding of the world as well as the impact Hilda plays. And while there are some quests that also help to expand the impact the curse has on the city, it’s that sense of interaction in the world that makes it feel special.

Asterigos Review Black Street

Now while there is much to discover, it does also feel like the story has a bit of an issue with pacing. As for the first two areas, it feels super fast to get through, relatively. However, when the player gets allowed the freedom to do several missions at once, the pacing for those areas, feels a bit slowed or more drawn out. Overall the story is an interesting one with many layers of inspiration and mystery to draw players in.

Visuals:

Playing the game on the Xbox Series X is simply stunning to put it simply. The game’s framerate is very stable at 60fps. While there has been no official statement if the game runs at 4K or 60fps, this is what I observed, as the game felt fluid.

A lot of this is by very strong use of lighting in the game, and wonderful use of colors. The game looks both breathtaking and also very mysterious in certain areas. This adds a unique level of depth that simply makes the world feel so vibrant. The attention to detail makes the world pop.

Not to mention the design inspirations of the world. Using a mix of Roman and Greek architecture, the world is a mix of mythologies and styles. The architecture has a very strong Roman feel, down to the designs of some of the Soldiers. While many of the districts in the city, and appreciation for art and the citizens’ attire is reminiscent of ancient Greece. There is such a wonderful mix of cultures and styles that it makes the game truly stand out.

Asterigos Review Archon Statue

Now, of the things that can be a detractor visually, is that while the game is optimized for next-gen consoles. It still isn’t full next-gen as textures aren’t rendered at 4K or high resolutions. And while the particle effects can sometimes clip or not properly display where a damaged area is. This visual glitch will hopefully be fixed during certain boss fights, but overall, it wasn’t a major issue.

Audio:

Now the sound design is one thing I thoroughly found myself enjoying the most in the game. Simply due to the music choice. They say good background music can simply captivate and entrance an audience. As well as, really bringing feelings and ambiance into one’s own being. And the music truly captivates so much it helps to really sell the feel of each area. Every district in the world has its own theme and sound.

this makes each expansion in the player’s quest feel different as the music constantly changes to help keep the atmosphere where they are. Nothing feels reused or simply there to be there. At times I even found myself simply sitting back to enjoy the music. And that is not counting the time when you meet a certain musician in the game who will play the music you find at your shelter, much like Orpheus in Hades. This only further adds to the game’s inspiration for culture and love of the arts of a time long lost.

Now the voice acting in this game is truly well done, all of the characters have very unique personalities. This is captured eloquently in their tones and mannerisms of speech. Now there are times when the voices can sound off if a little bit forced or the way they talk in a certain situation seems weird. However, while there is odd writing that sometimes can come off weird when spoken; the work in the sound design is simply superb. That’s not even noting the sound from attacks and weapons in the game which can sound amazing, even if at times there is the desync.

Gameplay:

Now for the biggest part of the game, the action gameplay. And this is where I really enjoyed it, but also found myself having the most bit of frustration with the game. That’s rough as they say gameplay is always king. Now let me first break down what I mean a bit more. The game very much sells itself as an action RPG and it definitely has the traits for that style of gameplay.

The game is heavily inspired by soulsborne style gameplay, with resting waypoints that reset enemies in an area when you rest. Or that respawn when you “die.” However, unlike the punishing gameplay of souls games, where you lose all your currency, here you only lose a small percentage. Moreover, the currency is not necessary for upgrading stats, as there is an actual level system. It is great there is a level-up system and stats and skill points, to use and distribute as well as perks to acquire. The currency is used for purchasing goods from the merchant NPC, upgrading your weapons, or crafting trinkets, which act as a type of armor.

Combat:

This helps with the aspect of being able to make a build focused on how the player wants, along with having multiple weapons to choose from. There is the standard Sword and shield, spear, hammer, daggers, and staff. As well as, a unique bracelet weapon that can control elemental attacks up close, with the ability to drop traps.

This gives combat much flexibility to play styles as players can choose any two weapons. And each weapon comes with a secondary ability. Now it’s the combat where I do have some complaints. As the combat at times feels very stiff. It really tries to lean heavily into the fact it wants to be very action-oriented like souls games. However, there are times when attacks feel super clunky. Dodging in the game feels off like it’s really hard to understand timings and invulnerability frames and windows. And in games where you are trying to be souls-like; understanding those windows are absolutely key.

Complaints:

Along with that, it felt like enemy attacks often were either delayed or their choreographed attack ranges often betrayed their actual range. There were times I died in rather frustrating ways. One notable was against a fire boar early on who had this fire breath attack. I dodged and started to run with the fire a good foot away from me to randomly fall over dead. Not noticing that my health was going down when I was nowhere near the fire.

Not to mention that enemies seem to rather quite often recover from attacks easily, while Hilda gets stun-locked easily even with increased poise, and once you are attacked there is no recovery. It can be frustrating at times especially when you’re in big fights. Not to mention that the control scheme didn’t feel natural to me. Often the B on the controller, or O for PS players is a dodge. Not in this game, it’s A which is also to confirm, with the sprint on the X button. No, the B button brings up your Skill ability menu that then needs to be used in conjunction with trigger inputs. And there are very few customization options in the menu.

Now, this can seem nitpicky, but it does play a major part in how natural a game will feel and how players will react. I did get adjusted to it over time, but my deeply ingrained muscle memory would take over often. This often leads to many deaths. However, not it is not entirely without merit. The game is fun, and the combat can be rewarding, and even challenging. For fans of the soulsborne genre, or for those wanting to play a fun ARPG without difficulty; Asterigos does offer a few different options for difficulty settings.

Closing Thoughts:

Asterigos Review Aphes

Overall my time with the game was wonderful and I found myself to be entranced with the world. I loved my entire time learning about the wonders and secrets of what is left of Aphes. The characters were enjoyable, and the side stories add nice touches.

Not to mention some of the weapon’s abilities were beyond fun to use and made you feel badass. Plus, Hilda as a character is both endearing and strong. She is truly a fierce fighter, and as we see more diversification and representation, we get to see a proud and noble girl. Simply following her mission and wanting to do good, we see how she sees both the beauty and horrors of what happened in Aphes but never lets it get her down.

Asterigos: Curse of the Stars is well worth the play, and check out whether you’re a fan of the ARPG genre or not. And coming from Acme games and Tinybuild, it is another wonderful addition to the indie publisher’s diverse roster.

Thank you all so much for checking out my Asterigos Review, and thank you to Tinybuild for providing us with a key. We hope you enjoyed this breakdown. And if you want to read other reviews you can find them all here.

-Jess (Bloodieknux)

Hey everyone hope you enjoyed my thoughts and breakdowns in the article above. You can keep up with my thoughts & shenanigans by following me on all my social media: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Twitch, & Youtube.

Asterigos: Curse of the Stars

8.1

Story

8.5/10

Visuals

8.5/10

Audio

8.0/10

Gameplay

7.5/10

Pros

  • Wonderful Story
  • Acessible Action RPG
  • Great Voice Acting
  • Visually Stunning and Vibrant

Cons

  • Pacing can drag on in areas
  • Combat can be Clunky
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