Gamescom 2023 was all about Soulslike games. next to Lords of the Fallen, P readings And Black Legend: Wukong It was with Enotria: The Last Song Another game of this type is presented. Italian developers of Giamma games Don’t be afraid if you want to create “Summer Souls” with Enotria. At the Gamescom meeting I was told that developers who had previously worked on well-known games Ubisoft, Red CD Project And Techland They were all fans of From Software’s Souls games. In Enotria, unlike the dark game Bloodborne, the goal is to create a sunny, colorful world that still retains its secrets and dangers. You can find out in my preview what special features the developers have come up with and what role the Italian origin of the development studio plays in this.
Made in Italy – Folklore as a story model
The world of Enotria: The Last Song is based on Italian folklore. The so-called “Canovacchio” prevails. It is an enchanted landscape that forces the inhabitants of Enotria to play a predetermined role. As Maskless, it is the player’s task to defeat Canovaccio’s powerful authors, lead the land of Enotria to its ancient beauty and earn its self-determined destiny.
The game doesn’t just show its Italian origins in terms of content. He also explained to me that Enotria is entirely developed in Italy and that no ingredients are outsourced to foreign colleagues. You are proud of what game developers from your ranks have achieved. I have also been informed that even the textures that appear blurred in the background are closely linked to Italy. So I was shown a mural in a room painted by an Italian artist and displayed in collaboration with a museum. I think it’s interesting to see how Italian pride is incorporated into the game.
It remains to be seen how much substance the game’s story will ultimately offer. I couldn’t see any classic scenes while playing. It seems as if Enotria is telling his backstory on the game world here, similar to the Souls games. The premise looks interesting and I’m curious to see if the narrative can captivate you throughout the entire playtime.
Typical Souls game mechanics as a solid basic framework
Gameplay is presented in a third-person perspective, which is typical for Souls. The moveset is based heavily on the From Software template. Enotria doesn’t control herself very well, running and dodging (rolling or fast-stepping) generally feels good. Maskless can jump at any time during exploration and combat, which also provides more movement. The results look solid, though successful reactions remain unparalleled in a Souls game. Combat maneuvers that can be linked together look promising. I can only give a first impression here, as I only held the gamepad in my hand for half an hour.
As usual in this type of game, normal enemies are not to be underestimated, but they are usually easy to spot. I was also able to try out the boss fight, but I really struggled with it. Although I could only reach a fraction of the life bar on several attempts, I always felt motivated to try again after dying, which is a good indicator of how fun the game is. What I really liked: A respawn break point was placed right in front of the boss fight. Additionally, the title appeared almost devoid of loading sequences in the demo. This means that after just a few seconds of failure, you’ll move on to the next attempt.
Personalize gameplay through masks
Masks should not only play an important role in the story, but also be the focus of the game. Instead of the classic equipment, Enotria asks its players to choose the appropriate mask. Each mask brings unique advantages and disadvantages, which are further improved with talents. Masks can be found in battles against enemies and in treasure chests, and talent points can potentially be unlocked by leveling up. Respect for talent should not be necessary, but rather it should be possible to hire them freely. In this way, the goal is to enable highly personalized designs and encourage experimentation with different ways of playing. Three downloads can be saved, which we can switch between at any time using the control panel. This concept looks very promising on paper. In my short time with the demo, I wasn’t able to look at the system in detail, but I was happy with the option to switch between the three versions previously created by the developers.
Masks come with elemental damage. Masks or talents in them make it possible to add certain racial effects to the weapons of the maskless person. It was explained to me that some enemies are particularly weak to certain items. So, it helps to have a wide range of elemental attacks ready in all three loadouts. I was also given the possibility of using items as well in the game environment. The developer told me about the swamp area where the swamp affects players and enemies alike. The swamp has a hallucinatory effect and makes all characters in it move faster. As a result, players can experience variable and chaotic gameplay. Such ideas should be spread across the entire game in order to provide variety in gameplay on a regular basis. There is also the potential to cause environmental damage. In certain places, columns or floorboards can be destroyed and enemies can be buried.
Explore and uncover secrets through secret power
A person without a mask has the “Power of Ardore”. This allows him to change reality in the world of Enotria. We can find places in the area where we can use this ghost power. This makes invisible platforms visible, destroyed bridges accessible again, and makes new paths possible. There will be mysteries surrounding these environmental conditions, and secrets can also be revealed through the Force. During the conversation, I was told that great importance is given to the fact that not every player necessarily has the same experience. Depending on how you use the power of Ardore, the game world and gameplay changes. There are supposed to be three final versions, one of which will supposedly be completely hidden and even offer a secret boss battle. While we realize that few players will watch all of the content, we want to applaud those who explore every corner of the game.
Despite the relatively low budget, you want to deliver an average runtime of 15 to 20 hours. For the technical implementation, the developers are relying on Unreal Engine 5. The gameplay looked very nice in the demo, and the performance seemed solid. It remains to be hoped that this applies to all platforms upon release.
Fans of Soulslike games should put Enotria: The Last Song on their watchlist. The RPG made it clear at Gamescom that it still needs some fine-tuning. But the ideas that the Italian developers want to put forward here make me optimistic. The game’s combat mechanics feel pretty solid. The system around integrated masks and talents as a deciding factor for appearance, damage, values, and defensive abilities feels refreshing. Providing three full loadouts, which can be changed at any time even during combat, is a feature I would like to see more often. I also imagine that affecting the environment to reveal new paths and secrets would be fun. Ultimately, it remains to be seen whether the ambitious systems will work well and harmonize with each other. It’s also unclear how much substance Enotria’s story will offer and what the technical implementation will look like with UE5.
Soul-like innovation made in Italy: I’m excited to see what the full version of Enotria: The Last Song has to offer next year. The game is for Computer, PS5 and the planned Xbox Series S|X. Jyamma Games has not yet announced a specific release window.
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