Let It Die is Like A Free-to-Play Dark Souls for PS4

And it’s one of the best free-to-play games of 2016. 

Let It Die is a new IP developed by Suda51-founded Grasshopper Manufacture, and is one of the most intriguing (and brutal) free-to-play experiences available on the PlayStation 4.

Let It Die introduces you to the post-apocalyptic landscape of 2026, where a major tectonic disturbance has decimated most of the planet, causing it to split apart. Let it Die takes place on one of these remaining islandsspecifically, South Western Tokyo. 

This new Tokyo-island appears to be the epicenter of destruction, as a Tower of Babel-like landmass has extended out of the ground and into the sky. This growth is known only as the Tower of Barbs, a structure so tall that no one has seen the top, despite numerous attempts.

The Tower of Barbs consists of hundreds (if not thousands) of individual floors, each filled with basic mob enemies and grotesque bosses that must be defeated in order to unlock the tower's many secrets.

The Tower of Barbs
The Tower of Barbs

This is where you come in. In a similar fashion to Dark Souls, Let it Die sets you on a journey through a hellish landscape as you attempt to stay alive and piece together whatever clues you can find regarding the world around you. Here, you'll fight increasingly difficult, unique-looking monsters that could only stem from the brain of a man like Suda51.

Uncle Death, a skateboarding Grim Reaper.
Uncle Death, a skateboarding Grim Reaper.

After selecting your gender, a train drops you off at the base of the Tower of Barbs, where Uncle Deatha cool, skateboarding Grim Reaper with a scythegives you an Underworld Rolodex. This is the game’s version of an Index or Almanac and is something you'll use to store important information recovered from floating red and blue balloons. 

The story setup is undeniably a Suda51 creation with all the zaniness and over-the-top violence you'd expect. However, it feels more polished and focused than the craziness players encountered in games like Lollipop Chainsaw. Fans of games produced by Grasshopper Manufacture (and new players who've recently discovered the developer) will undoubtedly be pleased with Let It Die.

It looks hack-n-slash, but there are refined core mechanics like stamina management.
It looks hack-n-slash, but there are refined core mechanics like stamina management.

While the art style lends itself as your typical hack-and-slash game, Let It Die is more akin to Dark Souls than a button masher brawl. You are required to manage your stamina, which is represented by your character’s beating heart. Each movement you makes causes your heart to beat faster and faster. When your heart becomes overexerted, your character will become exhausted and forced to recuperate.

Though the game presents combat that requires strategy and thought, there is still a hack-and-slash element present in the combat such as the Rage move which can be activated by holding Triangle whenever your Rage Gauge is full. Your Rage Gauge is something that gradually increases whenever an attack successfully connects with your opponent. Once your Rage Gauge is full, activating the move will cause your character to perform an excessively visceral attack—resulting in geysers blood and gore.

The weapons are part medieval, part cyberpunk, and entirely brutal.
The weapons are part medieval, part cyberpunk, and entirely brutal.

You start out in Let It Die with only your underwear and your fists. Nevertheless, littered throughout the world are all sorts of weaponry that fall into one of six weapon types: Slashing, Blunt, Piercing, Fire, Lightning, and Poison. Weapons are collected from defeated enemies and can be equipped in the left, right, or both hands. Enemies also drop armor (clothing) when killed which can be used to increase your defense, in addition to Kill Coins which act as Let It Die’s form of in-game currency.

We suggest not getting too attached to your weaponry or gear, because Let It Die includes an extremely aggressive durability feature whereby every item you use or equip will eventually break and disappear... including your clothes. If you want to save a powerful weapon for later, you can store it in your Death Bag, allowing you to access at any time down the line.

Figuring out what weapon type suits your playstyle is half the challenge.
Figuring out what weapon type suits your playstyle is half the fun.

There's a host of discoverable collectibles in Let It Die that can be used to increase your power. As you progress up the Tower of Barbs, you’ll discover across animals and mushrooms, all of which can be used immediately or stored in your Death Bag for later use, much like your weapons and armor.

Skill Decals are another collectible that can be attached to your character, giving them a temporary buff. These Skill Decals can be purchased from the Mushroom Magistrate, a lady at the base of the tower who runs the Mushroom Club, a store where you can cook your collected animals and mushrooms, altering their effects.

We could only scratch the surface during our time with Let It Die, and there will no doubt be far more secrets to find hidden around the higher floors.

Exploring the floors is important as you'll want to ensure you get all the collectibles before a Hunter finds them.
Exploring the floors is important as you'll want to ensure you get all the collectibles before a Hunter finds them.

As for the free-to-play nature of Let It Die, don’t let those three little words sour your mind because Let It Die is definitely not a pay-to-win game.

One aspect of microtransactions comes in the form of the Express Pass purchasable through the PlayStation Store. At the moment, we do not know the price of the Express Pass, though we do know a few of the features it grants. You will receive a daily Limited Edition Skill Decal, an increase to the number of slots in your Death Bag, and access to the Royal Elevator.

In order to reach the higher levels of the Tower of Barbs in Let It Die, you will have to ride an Elevator. Players holding the Express Pass will be able to ride the Royal Elevator which can take you to any floor you’ve unlocked for free, whereas everyone else has to use the Normal Elevator that runs on Kill Coins.

Another element of microtransactions in Let it Die comes in the form of Death Metal. Death Metal is a form of currency that can be used to expand your storage spaces and revive you. Alternatively, you can trade 1 Death Metal for 5,000 Kill Coins. As it stands, Kill Coins can be used to purchase most items in Let it Die from Skill Decals, upgrades, and rides on the Elevator.

Watch out for other player's Fighters that can appear in your world as AI-controlled
Watch out for other player's Fighters that can appear in your world as AI-controlled "Hunters". They're tough but if you kill them, the rewards are worth the challenge.

In Let It Die, you will have access to numerous Fighters all with varying abilities. Some Fighters focus on HP, while others have HP and Strength, HP and Dexterity, or specialize in collecting materials.

These Fighters can be sent out to “attack” other player’s bases in the form of AI-controlled combatants. Once a Fighter is sent out, it becomes a “Hunter”. These Hunters will track down another player’s base with the goal of stealing loot and bringing it back to you. Be wary if a Hunter pays a visit to your base, as they're very hard to defeat. Because of this, it’s important to upgrade your Fighters so they can defend your turf while you’re out clearing floors.

Dying in Let It Die is to be expected. Whenever your character dies, their body remains where you died and with transform into a “Hater” whose goal is to simply kill whomever it comes across. Interestingly, if your own Hater finds and kills another player, you will receive a portion of their treasure. But just the same, your own Hater can very easily kill you. 

With no weapons and no armor, surviving the first few stages can be difficult.
With no weapons and no armor, surviving the first few stages can be difficult.

There are six different stats that can be leveled in Let It Die: HP, Strength, Dexterity, Vitality, Stamina, and Luck. With a maximum of 20 points per attribute, we’re thinking it’ll take quite a while to level all of these.

For a free-to-play game, Let It Die is looking thoroughly polished. The world and mystery surrounding the Tower of Barbs will certainly draw in a lot of users, with the engaging combat ensuring they stay for quite some time. PlayStation 4 owners should check out Grasshopper Manufacture’s latest creation, as it is free making it easy to hop right in and start playing. I know I’ll be racing to the top of the Tower of Barbs, and am hoping the secret at the top isn’t another No Man’s Sky fiasco.

Sam Chandler

Australian writer who has a penchant for Souls games, an addiction to Destiny, and a love for the indie.

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