How Stellar Blade Pays Homage To Gaming From Early 2000s

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Nostalgia-Fueled Blast From The Past!

Story Highlight
  • Stellar Blade offers a breath of fresh air for gaming, bringing in many necessary changes.
  • It borrows from 2000s hack-and-slash titles and even combat aspects from newer releases like Sekiro.
  • Above everything else, Shift Up focuses on a fun experience, a common philosophy from the early 2000s.

Stellar Blade brought much-needed change to the gaming industry in 2024. Asian studios, in general, avoid replicating the success of Western releases and take their own route, innovating with new concepts.

The game has faced a lot of controversy due to its character design and graphics, the latter of which many feel are outdated since the game is based on Unreal Engine 4. However, graphics aren’t the end-all-be-all; rather, the gameplay, narrative, and combat matter most.

Stellar Blade excels in the gameplay department. In my opinion, the game has a nostalgic feeling, especially its hack-and-slash elements, which bring back memories of when I first started gaming in the 2000s.

Why it matters: In this era, plagued by new releases forcefully incorporating RPG elements and open worlds, it was great to see Shift Up breaking away from the norm.

A Blast From The Past

YouTube video

When I say the game has every element of early 2000s titles like Devil May Cry and even features puzzles that remind you of classic adventure titles like Tomb Raider, I mean all of it in a good way.

Stellar Blade is the exact answer to the phrase, “They don’t make games like this anymore.” It’s not perfect by any means, but it’s still a solid title in all the ways that matter, considering Shift Up is a mobile developer delving into the console world for the first time.

Stellar Blade doesn’t exactly copy older titles but brings its own twist to the formula. Take it this way: If you want to experience your childhood favorites from a modern perspective, Shift Up’s latest offering is exactly what you need.

I see a lot of Capcom influence in the game, considering they played a huge role in making some of the biggest hack-and-slash hits of the 2000s. Even the likes of God of War have had a huge influence on basic combat.

The game seamlessly borrows the dynamic combat of Devil May Cry, blending it with Sekiro’s parry system. Character designs and models draw inspiration from classics like Final Fantasy and Bayonetta, while the post-apocalyptic world will remind you of the gritty atmosphere of Mad Max.

This combination works extremely well. I would even say Eve’s controversial design can be considered a callback to various older classics from a very different era of gaming.

Staying Light On RPG Elements

Stellar Blade Features Many Incredible Bosses | Image Source: Tech4Gamers

Unlike most modern releases, Shift Up decided to keep RPG elements minimal. I have found modern titles bloated with loot, gear, skill trees, and other RPG systems, ultimately detracting from the experience.

These games try to dip their toes into the genre but never fully commit. The result? Titles that fail to master any element and act as jacks of all trades. Meanwhile, Shift Up refrained from emphasizing its RPG elements.

Stellar Blade features the typical unlockables, side quests, a main hub, a skill tree, and more. However, the game belongs to the hack-and-slash genre through and through.

This genre hasn’t been at its best since the PS3 generation, so this is a welcome change of pace.

The Combat Does Not Disappoint | Image By Tech4Gamers

Pure Fun Above All Else

From my experience, Stellar Blade’s biggest strength is just how fun it can be. The story might not blow you away, and the atmosphere might not be the most immersive, but I can promise the enjoyment factor will keep you hooked.

As stated earlier, Stellar Blade is refreshing to play.

This is exactly why I’m so happy that the team is considering a PC port and a sequel. Following its excellent first attempt at console gaming, I can’t wait to see where Shift Up, in addition to the entire Korean gaming industry, goes next.

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