Pharaonic - PlayStation 4 Review

Game Info: (Box Display)

The Egyptian Dark Souls

  • System: PS4, PC, Xbox One
  • Publisher: Milkstone Studios
  • Developer: Milkstone Studios
  • Release Date: June 28, 2016

Who it Caters to

Pharaonic is a side scroller that incorporates a lot of themes found in the Dark Souls series. Players will take their warrior and go forth trying to learn about a powerful pharaoh named Ahmosis I. Use various weapons and tools to survive against various threats and learn from failure if you should die. Pharaonic is for those who want a side scroller that is both tough but rewarding. Though like in Dark Souls, be ready to die…a lot.

What to Expect

Set in an Egyptian landscape, players of Pharaonic will be greeted to large landscapes with tons to discover and fight. Pharaonic offers players numerous ways to play such as using heavy armor that impedes movement but allows you to become defensively strong or light armor that allows for spry movement but at the cost of being easy to kill if an enemy should land too many hits. Pharaonic plays a lot like Dark Souls with death being more of a learning tool than a punishment and that means those who like a challenge should get ready for one. With a 10+ hour campaign, players can find not only the main story to enjoy in Pharaonic but can also dabble in side quests as well. Pharaonic aims to bring a new challenge to those who think side scrollers are too easy.

Story

Ancient Egypt holds for many beauty and danger in equal measure. Though for slaves, danger and pain seem to overrule the beauty found. You were a slave but a strange woman set you free and tasked you with helping her to save the lands from the Red Pharaoh named Ahmosis I. Standing before you there is a journey of epic proportions awaiting. However, each step you take can lead to your end and thus you must tread wisely and be prepared to fight if you wish to keep your life.

Gameplay

Here at Honey’s Anime, we like games that are tough. While some may consider this is a masochist ideal, we just think of it as making a game rewarding and fun to play. That’s why one of our favorite gaming series here at Honey’s Anime is the Dark Souls series. Tough, brutal and always rewarding, games like Dark Souls have always peaked our curiosity and made us run to our consoles or PCs to play. Thus when we heard of Milkstone Studios’ Pharaonic we thought this might be an interesting game for those need a break from the 3D medieval setting of Dark Souls and want something set in Ancient Egypt. What did we think of our time with Pharaonic? If you’re curious then read our thoughts in our review of Pharaonic.

Pharaonic is literally Dark Souls in almost every shape and form, that is an important statement to get out of the way. In fact, if you go to develop Milkstone Studios’ site and read the front page they even admit they were going for a Dark Souls feel in Pharaonic. This is both a blessing and a curse to Pharaonic as it removes some of the originality of it and also puts itself as a title that will be judged based on its various uses of themes and gameplay found in Dark Souls. Though before we just judged the whole game let us first talk about the gameplay and then move on from there. As the famous saying states, “every journey begins with the first step”.

It won’t take more than five minutes of playing Pharaonic before you realize this plays out like Dark Souls in numerous ways. Combat consists of light attacks and heavy attacks and players can even dodge and parry in equal measure. When your health is low, you drink from a canteen which is similar to the flasks in Dark Souls. Luckily Pharaonic uses this design well and the controls feel solid. Attack, dodging and even using magic all feel good and like Dark Souls can’t be spammed thanks to clever in game mechanics such as stamina and MP. Though at times we wished drinking from the canteen was quicker as it often led to our deaths when we found ourselves in dire need of healing.

Like in Dark Souls, Pharaonic’s idea of dying are also similar. If you die, you lose out on some of your experience and are forced back at the last shrine you stayed at. This is a mirror image of Dark Souls’ bonfire system but it works for what it is. Speaking of experience, unlike Dark Souls players level up and just see their stats increase such as health and stamina. Pharaonic really pushes equipment and weapons on your character and that in turn is your means of feeling stronger and weaker in equal measure. Are you the type of player that loves hitting hard? Well then, equip heavy armor and weapons but watch as your character moves slowly and is quick to drain of stamina. Likewise, if you’re into faster movement you can equip light weapons and gear but will do less damage and be easier to kill. Pharaonic may have copied a lot from Dark Souls but it did it in a smart way.

One thing we also loved about Pharaonic is the Ancient Egypt setting. Environments look great and have a cool cartoon-ish shading to them. The character models though are at times a bit weak and seem to be repeated time and time again. A little variety would have helped Pharaonic a bit but with the 10+ hour story it isn’t a deal breaker. Let us also mention some of the boss fights are pretty cool especially later in the game.

Alright we here at Honey’s Anime love to talk about games in the most positive light possible but as with any form of medium, there is always bound to be a few issues. Pharaonic is a solid game and there is a lot to love but we feel it really tried too hard to copy Dark Souls. While the setting and various mechanics aren’t all a clone of the Dark Souls series, most of Pharaonic is and that keeps it from being its own game. Another issue we have is sometimes combat can feel a bit stiff and that is regardless of what weapons you use. In the early game this can lead to numerous deaths but once you level up enough and gain better gear it becomes less noticeable as you’re just harder to kill. Plus, while there are tons of areas to explore and find, unlike the more open world of Dark Souls, Pharaonic feels confined and linear. These are small issues though and overall won’t be enough to turn away every player of Pharaonic by any means.

Honey's Gameplay Consensus:

We mentioned a lot that Pharaonic it’s like Dark Souls in many ways and while that is true that isn’t a terrible thing. Developer Milkstone Studios clearly loves the Dark Souls series and tried to mimic the best elements of it while giving it their own spin in Pharaonic. For the most part, this worked out well as the combat, setting and gameplay are pretty enjoyable. For the low price of $15.99, Pharaonic is easy to recommend to those who love games like Dark Souls and want a challenging but fun side scrolling RPG. While it may not have the most enjoyable story ever—though it’s not bad either—Pharaonic is a 10+ hour game worth the price of admission.

Honey's Pros:

  • Tough but rewarding gameplay
  • Impressive visuals settings
  • Different playstyles to enjoy
  • Awesome boss designs
  • Unique Ancient Egypt theme

Honey's Cons:

  • Maybe a little too much like Dark Souls
  • Combat can feel a bit off early on
  • Drinking flasks takes way too long
  • Forgettable story

Honey's Final Verdict:

Milkstone Studios put themselves in quite a predicament. From the gate, they decided to ty and mirror a lot of elements from the Dark Souls games in Pharaonic which means it was going to be put to the test when people both reviewed it and played it. Luckily we here at Honey’s Anime think Pharaonic isn’t a bad game by any means and is actually a rather enjoyable title. For the price of $15.99, Pharaonic won’t break your bank and thus is easy to recommend if you like games like Dark Souls but want a slightly different setting and overall aesthetic. Now then folks, what are your thoughts on Pharaonic? We’re curious to hear. Let us know in the comments down below and if you liked our review why not check out our amazing website for more game reviews and articles here at Honey’s Anime.
Aaron

Writer

Author: Aaron

Hey everyone I’m Aaron Curbelo or Blade as I’m called by my YouTube Subscribers. I’ve been an anime/manga fan since I was a young kid. In terms of anime I have watched nearly a thousand shows and have read hundreds of manga series. I love writing and honestly was so happy to join Honey’s Anime to get a shot to write articles for such a wonderful site. I’m a firm believer in respect in the anime community being the most important embodiment we should all have. We all love anime and we have varying opinions of series but we should respect one another for those differences! Life is too precious to spend it making needless arguments in a community that should be the shining example of loving an amazing medium. I hope as a writer for Honey’s Anime I can bring you folks some amazing articles to read and enjoy!

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