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Stellar Blade Review

Stellar Blade

Developer: SHIFT UP
Publisher: Sony
Platform: PlayStation 5
Release Date: April 26, 2024
Price: $69.99 USD – Available Here


When someone hears about the developer SHIFT UP they likely either don’t know who they might be, or know exactly the type of developer the South Korean team is. The development team became known for their over-the-top Destiny Child mobile game that, despite being censored initially, was given a fully uncensored release after some time. Then the company brought out their second mobile game and kicked the jiggles up a notch with Project NIKKE. Primarily known for their mobile games that offered plenty of fan-service, it came as something of a surprise that the developer would be taking a step into the console market with Sony at the helm no less but here we are with Stellar Blade. There’s been plenty of talk about Eve”assets” and various costumes but now that Stellar Blade has arrived to deliver its own take on post-apocalyptic/future action, does it have more to bring to the table than a pretty face and SHIFT UP’s signature jiggle?


Humanity has long been driven away from Earth after the powerful and seemingly endless creatures called Naytibas appeared and overran their defenses. Most of humanity has fled to a space colony by the bidding of the “Mother Sphere” in an attempt to keep humanity alive but that doesn’t mean that they have abandoned the planet. Eve is deployed as part of a special airborne squadrone in an effort to help eliminate the Naytibas to the best of their abilities and try to drive the monstrous creatures into extinction only for nearly their entire team to be eliminated before they barely reach the ground with the Naytiba forces quickly slaughtering most of the team members. Eve, despite the damage she’s received, manages to struggle to the end with the help of the best member of her squad, Tachy, only for Tachy to sacrifice herself in an attempt to keep Eve, and hope, alive.

Eve is rescued by the scavenger named Adam who helps her track down the nearby “Alpha Naytiba” and supports her with his drone only to rescue a long-waiting drop-squad member from three divisions prior, Lily. Lily, who serves as a mechanic and support unit, eagerly joins Eve as Adam reveals that humanity is still doing its best to eke out a living in the city of Xion and that their elder, named Orcal, might be able to help her accomplish her mission to slay the Master Naytiba in an effort to reclaim Earth, but he’ll need plenty of help from Eve to be able to point her in the right direction, the only problem is, the more Eve explores and experiences the world left behind and digs into the past, the stranger and darker things become.

Stellar Blade tackles a number of philosophical questions over the course of its roughly forty hour runtime (dependent on skill level and side-quest thoroughness of course) while also detailing the various origins of the Naytiba, why Earth is the way it is now, and much more. Anyone that happens to be a fan of science-fiction will likely be familiar with these elements but it must be said that Stellar Blade handles the way these elements are told incredibly well thanks to Eve being the naive “Angel” that has descended from the sky to save the remaining members of humanity but knows nothing about the world other than that she should kill Naytiba and the solid feed of information that continuously reveals new and darker elements of the intriguing narrative that is told throughout the game. 

Some of this is hidden away either through side-quests that players will need to complete to unlock tidbits of information about the world, including it appears an entirely missable stage if players end up rushing, and inside journals or “memorysticks” that are found during exploration. This creates an entertaining and highly memorable plot that, despite maybe being a bit similar in theme to a certain Yoko Taro game, has more than enough legs to stand on its own. Combine this with the solid character interactions and the fact that the game actually offers a number of different ending options depending on player choice, including some that require extra effort be put in, and Stellar Blade tells a stellar story that really manages to stick the landing.


Stellar Blade may have an interesting storyline that will keep players going through a variety of locations and even revisit areas to try and complete side-quests that appear later in the game, taking advantage of the game’s feature that allows players to automatically return to the quest-giver once completed or making use of the pay-phone fast travel system but where the game truly shines is its combat system. It is worth noting right off the bat that despite having a pretty face Stellar Blade isn’t afraid to put Eve through the ringer.There are difficulty options available and even an assist of sorts for “Easy” mode that occasionally pulls up properly timed dodge or parry prompts but the game can be crushingly hard if players don’t take the game seriously. Players have a limited number of healing items that refill when resting at camps (though some extra potions can be carried and used, though these cost gold to replenish) though the ever familiar feature of having all standard enemies respawn when resting may make things difficult sometimes.

In combat Eve can unleash a number of combos mixing together light and heavy attacks in various combo chains with different animations and damage output though players will need to make sure that they are always on the move as the Naytiba rarely flinch from taking standard damage and will power through Eve’s attacks do deal out their own punishing attacks. This creates a sense that combat is almost always fast-paced feeling, even against individual enemies as stronger simple foes still can be a threat and properly timing a “Perfect Parry” rather than simply blocking or a “Perfect Dodge” other than avoiding an attack can lead players to dishing out the punishment instead, this includes even destroying an opponent in one blow if they happen to be parried enough. Along these same lines, players will eventually gain access to additional combat abilities such as Blink and Repulse, with Blink being an ability that allows Eve to snap behind a foe unleashing an undodgeable attack to punish them from behind or Repulse them by kicking them away to create some space and leave their weakness exposed. Oddly enough, despite pressing the timing exactly, it seemed like both Blink and Repulse only worked around three quarters of the time, the others either simply seeing Eve dodge normally or take the, often grappling, blow right to the face.

It must be said that, while standard enemies are often a delightful dance of death where players balance their skill against a set of normal foes, and the lesser mid-range bosses are a challenge that they can struggle to overcome, the main bosses of the game are absolutely outstanding. The first one players battle against barely holds a candle to any of the other major boss battles that players will find themselves taking part in throughout Stellar Blade and each one of these is not only incredibly challenging but feels amazingly rewarding once they’ve been overcome. Obviously, we cannot go into the specifics regarding these bosses to avoid spoilers but these combat encounters are some of the best players can ask for.

Besides Eve’s hair-accessory turned sword that is generally her main weapon, the drone that Adam pilots can be used as a handheld firearm with various upgrades allowing different types of ammo to be used, this can include firing a chargeable ray beam, shotgun shells, explosive rounds, standard slugs, and even mini-rockets. These may seem a bit less effective at times, especially since ammo must be gathered or bought, but targeting weakpoints with this can be quite effective and, since the game does feature a few areas that force players to only use the firearm, it is good to get used to the mechanic even if it isn’t the most exciting.

Back to the sword fighting, Eve has a number of skills that she can also use by building up a “Beta Meter” through standard fighting, perfect parrying, and perfect dodging, with these four skills offering useful effects of their own, such as firing off energy blades, crushing a single target, dealing sweeping damage to the area, or even focusing on crushing an enemy’s shield. Activating these Beta skills aren’t quite as easy as one might think unfortunately thanks to it requiring a trigger and face-button to be pushed and this is an issue in other areas as well. Swapping ammo types requires aiming the drone gun and holding down, leaving Eve open to attack, and even the eventual Rush Gauge that players unlock late in the game with its own set of unique abilities features the same similar mechanic that is a pain to use effectively in combat. Trying to do a bit too much with too few controls to work with. Of course, this doesn’t even touch upon a certain “overdrive” style mode that players can unleash that gives Eve a massive boost to her power and abilities that we won’t spoil the details about here.

As players battle it out against the Naytiba, complete side-quests, and solve little puzzles to gather collectables ranging from literal Cans that unlock additional item slots when players gather enough to the countless costumes players can dress Eve up with to more vital items like upgrade materials for Eve’s stat-affecting equipment, players will earn SP. These Skill Points can then be applied to obtain some of the aforementioned skills, though a few unlock naturally, and improve the effectiveness of other skills. It is worth noting that while players can use in-game items to reset their skill point distribution, playing through the title normally and completing nearly every side-quest saw my Eve unlocking every skill before a certain story point. As for the aforementioned gear, players can eventually unlock up to four gear slots that provide various boosts such as increased combo damage, reducing incoming melee damage, boosting Beta energy received, etc. Changing these up before a difficult fight can be vital, especially if a foe ends up being far too challenging. This is especially true when it comes to Exospines that are not only rarer but also provide a number of extra boosts even if it takes near the end of the game to actually unlock the second slot. Exospines can offer additional extra boosts such as boosting damage of firearms, combo damage, having critical damage radiate out to hit other enemies, increase the effect of healing items, and more. 

All of this, including Eve’s “Tumblr” that serves to contain her refillable healing item, can be upgraded and often these come as a result of exploring the world and seeing everything that it has to offer. In an interesting sense, some of Stellar Blade’s more open world aspects and puzzles are designed to ensure that players actually have to commit to solving them properly. Need a code to open a locked door? Can’t even guess unless you’ve found the actual code. Have to catch a fish? Better find the proper bait and fishing area to actually do so. That being said, some of the world exploration could use a bit of extra work and most of this involves the platforming and climbing aspects. Not too far into the game Eve gains the ability to double-jump and, besides unlocking the ability to reach areas in previous areas that weren’t previously accessible, can be rather floaty at times. This means that there are times that a jump should have worked just fine and ended up with Eve slipping off the side to her death as fall damage is incredibly punishing in Stellar blade. Even climbing ledges or swinging on bars can sometimes send Eve jumping in a random direction for no strange reason. 

It is also worth noting that, while not a major issue in and of itself, Stellar Blade shockingly lacks a New Game+ option. Considering the game features multiple endings, multiple costumes players have to actually put the work into to unlock, and missable side-quests, this comes as a surprising oversight for an action RPG such as this, especially since, beyond upgrading Eve’s blade and overall Exospine, going through old stages as a powered up Even isn’t as simple as one might expect.

Audio & Visuals

Now, one of the biggest talking points for many leading up to Stellar Blade was Eve and her character presentation and it is a real shame that this happens to be the case as the game is visually impressive. Yes, Eve does wear skin-tight costumes and even playing the game as intensively as we did we located outfits ranging from a bunny-girl swimsuit, a bikini, racing queen uniform, and others, most of these costumes are shockingly less-revealing than one might expect, including baggier clothing and a full body costume that anyone will struggle to find offensive. Sure, there are jiggle physics but they are realistic, ironically with some of the more supportive costumes seeming to keep things in place better, and some of the costumes can be quite “baring” but since they are completely cosmetic players can choose whatever option they feel like at the time, especially since the crafting material to make Nanosuits as they are called are completely separate from everything else. Players can also obtain various types of eye-glasses and earrings for Eve that are also strictly cosmetic. Both Adam, Lily, and the drone are also given a few extra costumes here and there though these are far rarer and don’t have to be crafted. It is also worth noting that there is still plenty of gore here and there including some cutscene gore occasionally as well as plenty of chunks of Naytibas flying apart when they are defeated in combat.

There is also quite a lot of variety when it comes to the various Naytiba that players do battle against. Some make frequent appearances even in other zones but almost every zone has their own unique set of Naytiba to battle against and tactics that players will need to employ to take them down. This includes some incredibly impressive looking boss-designs, with a few in particular being downright stunning in presentation. This means that players will rarely feel bored as they battle throughout these numerous new enemies types. Since Stellar Blade is set in a post-apocalyptic world it makes sense that most of what players will explore happens to be ruins, deserts, or a mix of the two but the game does a very solid job keeping things varied. There are smaller more streamlined stages that are separated by larger more open locations, where most side-quests take place though a few also do appear in the more linear ones as well. It is also nice to note that, both as rewards for completing these side-quests and simple exploration, there remain spots of beauty even amongst the rubble of civilization.

The English voice work throughout the game is handled quite well with Eve’s voice actress handling the role nicely as the naive “Angel”, especially during some of the bigger revelations, as well as the other two primary characters, Adam and Lily. The rest of the cast is also handled fairly well though are a bit less memorable. It is also a bit unfortunate to say that there is something of a missed opportunity to only have perfect parry and other combat sound effects play through the PlayStation 5’s DualSense controller speaker when the drone and either Adam or Lily could also have spoken through it. As for the soundtrack, fans of vocal background music will find themselves in for quite a treat here in Stellar Blade. Not only does nearly every single stage, with the exception of a few dungeon-like locations and a bonus area, feature its own unique background music with a vocal track to support it, even the bigger action sequences feature incredible pieces of background music, making Stellar Blade’s original soundtrack one that fans will likely find themselves listening to long after completing the game.


Stellar Blade feels like it had an uphill battle against it thanks to Shift Up’s previous works and the general conversation surrounding Eve but not only has the developer proved that they can put out a console quality game, they can do a… stellar job at it.  While perhaps not the most innovative, the story throughout Stellar Blade is an engrossing one that combined with its slick and challenging action combat is highly entertaining all wrapped together in a gorgeous looking package with plenty of fan-service and eye-candy that fans can enjoy if they so wish. It might have a few rough edges here and there and surprisingly lack a New Game+, but this serves as an impressive step into the console market for Shift Up and anyone sleeping on Stellar Blade is doing themselves a disservice.

Capsule Computers review guidelines can be found here.


Stellar Blade combines slick and challenging action combat with an engrossing, albeit not wholly original, story wrapped together in a gorgeous package with plenty of optional eye-candy.
Travis Bruno
Travis Bruno
After playing games since a young age and getting into anime a bit later on its been time to write about a little bit of everything.
<i>Stellar Blade </i>combines slick and challenging action combat with an engrossing, albeit not wholly original, story wrapped together in a gorgeous package with plenty of optional eye-candy.Stellar Blade Review