Our test of the “Steelrising” video game: the French Revolution revisited by the mind

What if King Louis XVI had had an army of automatons at his service to stifle the beginnings of the French Revolution of 1789? It is in this context that immerses you Steelrising, the latest from the French studio Spiders. Here you are yourself a machine, sent by the queen, to put an end to the abuses of the soulless army of the king who sacked Paris at the time. In this new license, the developers have tackled the action-RPG genre, with the sauce From Softwarea famous Japanese development studio known for its Souls series (Dark Souls, Elden Ring…) and famous games with exacerbated difficulty.

And let’s say it right away: Steelrising does not reach the level of its “Soulsian” inspirations but the rendering is more than honorable and pleasant. So let’s get back to the story: you play as Aegis, an automaton in the service of Queen Marie-Antoinette, cloistered in the Château de Saint-Cloud while the “mad king” suppresses the popular jubilation of the States General. Worried about the turn of events, Marie-Antoinette sends you to solve the problem. Robots of all kinds, iconic characters from the History of France… A lot of encounters are available to you in this quest.

Atmosphere and immersion at the height

First point: the atmosphere and the immersion are largely successful. We can easily forgive the few technical and visual problems that can mar the experience as we find ourselves caught up in this ransacked Paris. Eight areas will be accessible during your wanderings, from the Luxembourg Palace to the Louvre via a Montmartre as you have probably never seen it. On this point, Spiders succeeds by immersing you in an unrecognizable French capital.

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Through the main quest, and a few small side quests, the areas to explore are quite large and allow for an overall pleasant gaming experience. If the level design (the way to design the levels of the game) can sometimes be risky, the artistic direction, whether in the design of the robots or of Paris, is a success.

The dark streets of Paris at the time of the French Revolution are particularly successful in Steelrising. © Photo: Spiders

Classic but works well

What about playability then? As said before, we are here in the presence of an action-RPG game. The RPG dimension is therefore confined to the improvements that you can make to Aegis, as well as to the weapons that you will recover during the adventure. You also have the possibility at the beginning of the game to choose between three different combat classes. During your adventure, you will have the possibility to switch from one set of weapons to another, since you can carry two different ones.

photo aegis can be regularly improved, either through her skills or through the weapons she picks up during the adventure.  © photo: spiders

Aegis can be regularly improved, either through her skills or through the weapons she picks up during the adventure. © Photo: Spiders

In the radius of the tools available to you, you will have the choice between equipment: close or distance combat. Weapons can inflict three types of elemental damage (fire, ice, electricity) with different effects. Each weapon can be used in three ways: a fast attack, a heavy and a special. Of course, each hit or dodge you perform will consume your stamina bar. Classic, but effective.

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A game for the general public as well as for players experienced in the challenge of difficulty

Question of difficulty, the developers have chosen to leave… the choice to the players. So you can set the bar at your level. Want to focus on the story? You have the ability to become invincible. Want to push the experience to its maximum difficulty? It is also possible, and the challenge will be present, especially in certain boss fights. The latter, called titans, each have their own style and the fights are rather pleasant to do, once the pattern has been mastered.

To conclude, Steelrising does not revolutionize the genre, certainly does less well than the masters in the field, but offers us a solid title and very pleasant to browse. Once the main story was over, we were surprised to restart the game to explore the different areas in their entirety and complete all the little quests.

This test was carried out on PS5 on a version delivered by the publisher. The game is also available on PC and Xbox Series.