After 90 minutes I had to rage quit for the first time in Flintlock – That probably means it is a good Soulslike

Flintlock: The Siege of Dawn is a new Soulslike that will be released in July for PC, PS5 and Xbox Game Pass. A free demo is currently running on Steam. MeinMMO editor Benedict Grothaus was able to play it in advance and wants to introduce you to the game as part of Find Your Next Game, even though he has kissed the ground more often than he would like.

I like hard games. Whether it’s survival games, RPGs or Soulslikes: it can be dark, dirty and sometimes exhausting. That makes every victory all the sweeter.

The Soulsborne games, Dark Souls and Bloodborne, as well as the Soulslike genre they founded, are exactly such games: extremely difficult, but with a feeling of reward like no other.

At gamescom 2022, the devs showed me Flintlock for the first time, a game somewhere between God of War and Elden Ring. I was already excited back then:

  • A Soulslike genre with a fantasy world and flintlock pistols, thus a certain pirate and pioneer flair.
  • Just as crazy characters as in Dark Souls, with some coffee shop owners who wear their faces on their hands.
  • Fight against awakened gods, because everything else would be too easy.
  • And finally a little fox god who accompanies me and supports me with magic.
  • Back then I was only allowed to watch. Now I finally had the chance to play Flintlock myself in a preview version for the first time. I don’t think I’ve ever pressed Alt+F4 so early in a game. And that was just the demo…

    Flintlock: The trailer for the demo launch at Steam Next Fest introduces the Soulslike

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    A Soulslike with pistols and… Gwent?

    With Find Your Next Game we want to show you games on GameStar, GamePro and MeinMMO that you can invest your time in next. I think Flintlock can do just that, because I know for sure that many of you are absolutely loving Elden Ring.

    So, to get you started: What is Flintlock actually? The story is pretty easy to explain. You play Nor, a pioneer in the war against an army of the undead, and inadvertently cause imprisoned gods to be released.

    Now you clean up, avenge fallen friends, kill gods and save the world from destruction. At its heart, the game is a Soulslike game with all the features that go with it:

  • “Souls”, which are called fame here and which you use to level up, shop and craft – and which are of course lost when you die
  • Action gameplay with a focus on combat and features such as combos, dodging and parrying
  • “Bonfires”, i.e. resting places that you have to unlock first and where you can rest and reset the world
  • lots of normal enemies that can be dangerous and of course huge boss fights
  • What sets Flintlock apart from the genre are its peculiarities. Despite the rather sinister story and the many undead everywhere, the game is not particularly “dark.” The sun is shining, there are many normal people, even some laughing people.

    The main difference, however, is the weapons and skills. You start with an axe and flintlock pistol, but later you get other variants and at least one musket (corresponds to the bow in Souls). The weapons are important because you use them to perform combos, interrupt enemies or take out targets directly with a headshot in order to control the course of the fight.

    Instead of building a build using attributes like in Souls, you learn new skills with the “souls”. For example, your companion gets more spells to choose from, you can suddenly strike while dodging or charge up shots. This way you can adapt to your playing style.

    In addition, there is – for whatever reason – a mini-game that almost every NPC wants to play with you: Sebo, a modified version of Nine Men’s Morris. It is very reminiscent of Gwent in Witcher 3, which I found annoying back then, but it makes for easy fame. If you have nothing else to do in a lost world…

    Even normal mobs deal hard blows

    What really captivates me about Flintlock is the gameplay. As in any good Soulslike, it’s all about timing and skill – and knowing your opponent. I have to study movements and learn when to use which counter.

    Now, in Flintlock, almost every enemy has attacks that cannot be parried and have an enormous range. This is not a problem in itself, because they can be interrupted with a quick pistol shot. The only difference is that:

  • Powder is limited and is recharged through close combat
  • the gun fires quite slowly, the animation takes forever
  • an already executed action such as an attack is not interrupted
  • I don’t know how many times I’ve died from a random mob, but it’s probably more than 20 times. My colleague Christoph Waldboth only failed in Elden Ring because of the bosses, and in Flintlock I even got beaten up by some cheap bandits.

    Is that frustrating? Yes, absolutely. Will that make me give up? No, absolutely not! Those bums stole my soul, my fame and I want it back!

    4 hours in the demo are enough to hook me

    I lost 5,000 fame (a hefty sum for the demo) twice – simply because of stupid mistakes. The worst: After a really close fight against the bandit boss, my Nor jumped towards an explosive barrel when she fired at it.

    I don’t know why she did that, but she blew herself up and cost me my entire fortune. This was my first rage quit after less than 2 hours of what was supposed to be a great run:

    I lose a fight against a barrel in Flintlock and lose a fortune

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    The place I was at that time, however, was already the end of the demo. I was in a “base” there, which are villages and places that you can liberate in order to unlock new traders, NPCs and quests. So it’s much more RPG than in Souls.

    After about 4 hours I was able to take over this base, although I needed over 2 hours just for this one location and its final boss – which by the way is only a mini-boss, not a real story boss. Thanks for that.

    You can now play the demo for free on Steam as part of the Steam Next Fest. The full release will be on July 18th on PC, Xbox and PS5. It will be playable on Game Pass from day 1.

    I’m going to use the demo to see a bit more of the world, because like in Dark Souls, there are tons of side quests, collectibles and hidden items to find.

    I’ll probably die several times, I’ll probably quit the game several times while cursing, and I’ll probably start it again the next day to continue. The crux of Soulslikes. Maybe Flintlock will push me far enough to go to the gym again: Lies of P made me so angry that I quit it in anger and drove to the gym at night