Review | Lies of P

A Beautiful Truth

Shutdown, aboard a train in Krat Central Station, Pinocchio is awakened by a magical blue butterfly made of light. As you step out into the world realization quickly settles in. This is not the Disney version of the character, instead, you are met with a Baroque style full of body horror, death, misery, and hope. Lies of P is a Souls game, through and through. Utilizing all the best parts of those titles, it stands toe to toe with From Software’s greatest pre-Elden Ring work by introducing excellent quality-of-life improvements and a style all its own. It’s coming to Game Pass at launch, and it is fantastic.

Krat, City of Death

There is no character creator in Lies of P, we all play as Pinocchio but how we choose to do so can change how the story of the game goes. Will you be a good boy and tell the truth, or will you be more human and lie when it suits you? This mechanic is the heart of the game, literally and figuratively. The twists that developer Neowiz puts on the classic tale are expertly crafted. There is familiarity with some of the characters, plot points, and settings. By the end of my 45-hour playthrough though, I had seen a wildly imaginative take on the classic fairy tale. One full of horror, gruesome scenery, and true heart.

Taking place in Krat, you are tasked with trying to save your creator Geppetto, and the residents of the Krat Hotel. This is your home base, where you’ll return to level up, upgrade your gear, and purchase items. To do this you’ll need the energy driving the “Puppet Frenzy” that has overtaken the city. Ergo is a glowing blue substance, and its origin lies at the center of the game’s mystery. This is a world where the rich and poor alike rely on the hard work of puppets to take care of all the manual labor. Out of nowhere the puppets go mad and start killing everyone, while at the same time, a Petrifying Disease has spread through the local populace. Slowly but surely all who catch it turn to stone, though some have started mutating into monsters by the time Pinocchio is awoken.

When I first started there were four locations listed and I foolishly thought that after 15 or so hours once I had cleared the fourth area I was approaching the end of the game. Lo and behold there were far more areas in Krat to visit, fight through, unlock brilliantly set up shortcuts, and then fight an incredible end boss in. Lies of P is an enormous feeling game, though once you’ve leveled up enough and run through the older areas again you see how tightly wound all of its clockwork parts truly are.

The secret sauce for Souls games is the level design, and far too often it is ignored in favor of a focus on being incredibly difficult. Here we get the best of every world, a game with brilliant level design that properly rewards exploration, and a finely tuned difficulty curve that you can over-level or use assists on bosses to help overcome. I always try to keep things as spoiler-free as possible, just know that there are a lot more than the initial four areas to fight through in Lies of P of varying scope and length. They are all fantastic, can look wildly different, and if you make sure to poke and prod every area the story and in-game rewards are always worth it.


Lies of P features some of the tightest, toughest, and most fair gameplay I’ve experienced in the genre. You start weak, barely able to take a hit even if you block it. Most Souls games relied on the dodge as your main way of avoiding damage. That can occasionally work in Lies of P, but enemies are far more accurate and magnetic with their attacks, so you will have to master parrying. To parry you hit your left bumper, which is also held to block, just before an attack lands. The game runs at a stable 60fps in performance mode and I found the timing on parrying to always feel fair.

Attacks are on the right bumper and right trigger, with the bumper being your main attack and trigger used for larger attacks that can stagger enemies and break their guard. Parrying enemies can also lead to stagger and guard breaks, which open up enemies for fatal attacks. This is a series of vicious blows that vary per weapon type and deal massive damage while restoring some of your meters (which we’ll get to in a few). The left trigger is your legion arm, these are a series of devices with various abilities. You start with an enormous punch but can quickly unlock a grappling hook that pulls enemies toward you, a flamethrower, a shield, and more. The legion arm works off of a meter which, initially, only refills when you use the game’s bonfire equivalent.

X is used for your heal, called pulse cells. B is your dodge when tapped or run when held. If you press in the left stick during a run you’ll leap which ends in a combat roll. Y is used for your Fable Arts. These are incredibly important and vary per weapon and handle. By the end of my first playthrough, there were a lot of various blades, handles, and full weapons in the game. You can mix and match blades and handles to get multiple weapon types, fable arts, and stat setups. You’ll need to successfully attack or use a consumable to fill up your Fable Arts meter. Once you do a press of Y or LB+Y will activate different arts depending on your setup and they can be extremely powerful. It is a deep system that is introduced slowly enough to never feel overwhelming.


Whenever you choose to level up you’ll have one of 6 various stats to choose from. These are:

It’s a familiar system, with a few name changes, for those familiar with the genre. Overall, combat is stellar with excellent variety allowing you to play how you want to. I ended up focusing on Technique and Advance, slashing, and burning enemies to give them constant status effects. I broke their guard less often, but I loved being fast, in and out, as I worked to learn the timing of all of their attacks. Successfully parrying in this game is one of the most satisfying things I’ve ever felt in a video game. Going up against the endgame bosses and parrying 15 attacks in a row when I had no HP left and delivering a killing blow just before I died is a rush that few other genres can match.

There are multiple meta systems at play for leveling up your character, the main of which is the hilariously named P-Organ. This is a series of choices you make to power up and customize Pinocchio to your liking. You’ll need to find or earn Quartz to unlock each part, there being five levels in total. I reached level five but hadn’t fully unlocked it by the time I finished this review, and I had searched every part of every level I could find. To start with you’ll have four areas, each with a couple of choices. Once you’ve filled in two areas with your upgrade decisions that unlocks level 2, which requires more Quartz overall to get to level 3, and so on.

There are dozens of options for each point as you unlock the various levels, from extra pulse cells (heals) to multiple passive buffs on attacks, more consumables, and so forth. It again is a deep system, but one introduced slowly enough that it all made sense the entire time. There are a few other meta-leveling systems, but I won’t spoil them, as most weren’t in the demo released a few months before the game was released in full.

Graphical Splendor

I played for my entire playthrough on Xbox Series X in performance mode, as the Windows Store version of the game wasn’t available before the embargo hit. Lies of P is one of the better-looking games I’ve played, with performance that never dipped when it mattered. The Baroque setting is stunning at the start, and as the locations open up the variety never leads to a dip in quality. Every part of this game looks fantastic, and there are a lot of them.

Excellent textures help bring a sense of the wonder of what Krat must have been like before the various disasters struck. Beautiful architecture, full of light and people early on is replaced by horrific scenes of death and squalor as the story progresses. Enemy models are easy to read while still being full of detail, both beautiful and terrifying. You’ll fight thousands of puppets, monsters, and even a few humans throughout your time with the game and each has a fighting style that is easy to learn but difficult to master.

Boss fights can be incredibly tough as they vary up their attacks and timing just enough to trick you until you’re fully locked in. Certain enemies take extra damage from particular status effects and weapon types, which promotes keeping a bevy of leveled-up options ready whenever necessary. Monsters don’t like fire, while puppets are weak to shock, and certain boss types can be melted if you have the right combo. Most bosses also offer you the option to use a drop item called a Star Fragment to bring in a Specter to fight alongside you. This ghostly apparition will deal moderate damage, but more importantly, take the bosses’ attention away from you so that you can deal massive amounts of damage from behind. It’s the game’s version of an “easy mode” and I found myself constantly utilizing it.

Boss arenas, models, animations, and particle effects progress slowly but surely to go from “damn this looks cool” to “Holy shit, this is AMAZING”. No matter how tough a fight was I never wanted to quit, as not only did it rarely feel unfair, but it also always looked and sounded fantastic. Loading times are short, which is good because you’ll be fast traveling a lot as you progress. You can always run through an area to get back to where you want, but when the loading times are this short there’s no need. You also have unlimited stamina whenever you’re not in a combat area, which makes running around the Hotel to level up and talk to people more bearable.

Audio & Story

The music in Lies of P is phenomenal, which was always a key to the Souls games for me. When grinding the same route of enemies for the 10th time to get a few levels up while I’m working on a new boss, the game always sounds good. Alongside its good looks the music, sound effects, and general ambiance adds to the sense of dread the world of Lies of P is trying to invoke. Voice acting is more of a mixed bag, with some fantastic performances from the main cast and a few high school drama-sounding ones from the smaller characters. It’s never terrible, and the translation team did an excellent job with the game’s English script and UI elements.

There is no “all your base r belong to us” to be found, though a few grammar slip-ups did pop up. There is a gramophone in the hotel, and you can use it to play various records you find in the game world. One of these was called “Memory of Beach”, and it sticks out to me because it was one of the only times the game made a grammatical error.

Audio queues for enemy attacks and sound effects in general are excellent. While I could still play the game well without headphones on, thanks to its great visual indicators, having a headset on for surround sound was a lifesaver. Like any good Souls game, they like to hide enemies around corners, and the excellent surround sound mixing, along with utilizing DTS:X on my Series X made it easy to know when and where an enemy was going to pop out after me.

As far as bugs go I didn’t have any. Nothing graphical, no crashes, nothing. I might have just gotten lucky but other reviewers I’m playing with are having similar experiences. I’m sure as potentially millions of people try out the game post-launch that there will be issues found, but for me, it was one of the most stable and polished experiences I can remember during a review period. The only major issue I ran into was with bosses who leaped up into the air, leading to a camera that had no idea what to do. It showed the area in between myself and the enemies which got my ass handed to me repeatedly. Hopefully, this will be fixed with a post-launch patch.

Lies and Love

Lies of P is an incredible game, and the best Souls-like I have ever played that wasn’t made by From Software. It stands to toe-to-toe with Dark Souls III, one of my favorite games of all time. They have figured out exactly what makes this genre so damned good. Thrilling combat, top-notch level design, gorgeous scenery, incredible music and more make this one a no-brainer to try out Day One on Game Pass.

Lies of P

Played on
Xbox Series X
Lies of P


  • Gorgeous
  • Great Combat
  • Fantastic Music
  • It Feels Fair
  • They Get “Souls”


  • Occasionally Wonky Camera
9.5 out of 10
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