Inspired by the Souls series, Mortal Shell is an unforgiving action-RPG game. It throws a lot at you at the beginning while saying nothing, so our Mortal Shell guide is guiding you through the initial process and beyond.
Going fresh into this action RPG title might be disorienting. We’re here to help you go through your first hour. Additionally, I’m giving you the info you need to understand, but remember that death and defeat are around every corner in Mortal Shell.
What is Mortal Shell About
“The Mortal Shells yearn for meaning”
Mortal Shell is all about blocking at the right time for the massive counterattack. It follows the acclaimed From Software formula we’ve seen on Dark Souls and Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice. Still, More than that, battles are slow and tiresome as you’ll never become an unstoppable machine akin of Jedi: The Fallen Oder.
If you’ve never played a parry/dodge/attack game before, I’m here to help you enjoy the experience. Our Mortal Shell guide will help you take your first baby steps into Fallgrim and survive.
We learned about this Souls-like title back in August 6 State of Play. We thought it looks like an excellent recreation of the acclaimed action RPG series. Now, though, we believe it’s even more than that. So, although it’s not nearly as vast as Demon Souls 3, it has enough challenges to disturb even the most formidable players.
Mortal Shell Info
|PS4, Xbox One, Windows PC||August 18, 2020|
|PlayStack Limited||Cold Symmetry|
If you want to play Mortal Shell on PC, it’s only available through the Epic Games store.
Mortal Shell Guide: is there a “class” system?
Mortal Shells get its name from its core mechanic, its “shell” class system.
The “Shells” are lost remains of fallen warriors you’ll find across the land. You can awaken the shells and occupy these bodies/armor to learn new skills.
Additionally, as you progress, you strengthen your connection to the Shell. It allows you to learn arcane powers and increase proficiency with your weapons.
You can go about the game without Shells for a more challenging experience, but I don’t recommend that. The default “Foundling” can survive a single hit.
However, there’s some unique NPC dialogue that happens when you’re not using a Shell. Maybe you can leave the challenge for a second playthrough.
As it is, once you find a shell, you can unlock Shell’s ability by talking to Sester Genessa and paying Tar. Tar is the game’s currency, and you earn it as random loot from enemies and chests.
You could even renounce all shells on the Strange Altar at Fallgrim. It grants you a Black Skin and sets you on a frustrating experience. Please don’t do it!
Now, fighting with a Shell gives you a fair amount of resistance. On top of that, once the armor reaches 0 health, the Shell will expel you so you can keep fighting. You can retrieve the Shell at any time, but if it gets 0 health again before you reach the next checkpoint, you will die and go back to the last checkpoint.
There’re four different Shells, each one with a different balance of stats. As for the stats, we’re looking at the following numbers:
- Stamina: the stamina is your green meter displaying your ability to attack and dodge. Run out of energy, and you’re helpless. You can recover stamina by avoiding attacks and dodges for a short time or consumables.
- Durability: the red bar displays your health or durability. Remember that your Foundling has one health.
- Resolve: the small bar on the bottom left displays you resolve. Each weapon’s ability consumes two bars of resolve, whereas each Shell and Seal abilities consume one bar of resolve. You can restore the stat by dealing damage and consumables.
Mortal Shell Guide: what to do first?
The game starts with an evil tutorial section where you’ll learn the basics of the game: heavy attack, light attack, evade, dodge, and Harden. You’re also getting your first sword.
In particular, the Harden ability allows you to withstand a single enemy attack while leaving them off balance. It’s a skill tied to a cooldown.
The tutorial segment is quite tricky in itself. Moreover, the battle gameplay is heavy, clumsy, and slow. That means your character is neither agile nor fast.
Once the tutorial ends, you wake up in a swamp with no explanation of what to do next. Reaching Fallgrim Tower is a top priority, though.
Reaching Fallgrim Tower
Fallgrim -the swamp- is the world’s hub giving you access to Mortal Shell locations. Even though Fallgrim looks intriguing, the Tower is your opening zone. Don’t go exploring anything else as you won’t survive.
Right after you spawn, be sure to grab your first Shell on the left before going right to the corridor. Afterward, visit the camp a grab every item you find on the right. Check the “Instinct” stone on the camp as instincts give you a hint on where you need to go. Soon enough, you’ll see Falgrim Tower on the left.
Run to the TowerTower, keeping to the left, so you go to the rear of the location. Then, look for a small door with a torch outside.
Also, avoid as many battles as you can. This first portion of the game is the hardest as you don’t have any extra abilities. In particular, you can’t parry just yet, and so fighting is more complicated than ever. On top of that, there’s no saving option in the game. Mortal Shell will only save your match once you reach Fallgrim Tower.
There’re going to be many enemies on the roads. In specific, there’re light enemies you can defeat with about five hits. And there’re heavy enemies you can beat with about ten hits.
Additionally, there’re archers that fall on three hits. You’ll hear when they fire the arrow, and you’ll also be able to see arrows coming at you. Be fast!
Try to engage in one-on-one fights as being surrounded means death. Moreover, remember that heavy enemies “charge” their hits longer, which gives you additional time to react.
If you die, though, you’ll go back right to the beggining. Either way, you’ll know you reached Fallgrim Tower when you see a lit torch on the wall.
Mortal Shell Guide: What to do when you reach the Tower?
Sester Genessa is the most important NPC of the game. She helps you learn the names of your Shells to unlock their abilities.
In the corner of Fallgrim Tower, you can also switch between Shells. It’s possible that you already found a couple once you reach the Tower.
There’s also a “Sense Instinct” on the mausoleum on the left, giving you a hint of where are the other Shells. Otherwise, that’s where you’d see the ones you’ve collected.
If you head upstairs, there’s a workbench where you can upgrade weapons and apply magical enhancements. The loot you find on the world is the material you need.
The workbench also has a spot for other weapons. Again, you can “Sense Instinct” to see where you can find other weapons.
Lastly, you can take the final stairs to find the Old Prisoner. He will reward you with the Tarnished Seal, which is what you need to parry enemies.
The Old Prisoner is also the primary quest giver as the goal of the game now becomes delivering Glands to him. You’ll find Glands in one of the three central locations of the game. I recommend the following order:
The Tarnished Seal: how to parry?
You place the Tarnished Seal emblem on your lower back. It grants you the ability to parry by pressing the parry button (F on PC) about half a second before the enemy attack lands.
Learning how to parry requires consistency and practice. Mastering how to parry is, therefore, rewarding. You can practice by pressing the parry button outside of combat to see how much time it takes your character to lift the emblem in front of him.
In other words, the character doesn’t parry with this weapon -like Sekiro or Jedi: Fallen Order. He parries with a much riskier, slower seal he wields in his hands. That makes parrying incredibly hard, so I don’t recommend using this defensive ability against the strongest monsters.
Lastly, you can’t parry unblockable attacks. Every enemy has an unblockable attack, and your emblem will make warn you with a red flash plus a harsh noise. You can still harden, evade, or dodge these attacks.
What happens when you parry?
After you perform a successful parry, you can spend resolve for a riposte ability. The counterattack depends on the Tarnished Seal you’re currently wearing at the back.
There’re three Seal Infusions in Mortal Shell’s world.
- Healing: allows you to perform a counterattack that heals you and staggers the opponent.
- Inflamed: your counterattack is charged with lava, which makes your enemy explode and hurt nearby enemies.
- Knotted: you can bend time and freeze everything around you for a short period.
Remember that the big area bosses give you the ability to craft these special Tarnished Seals.
Understand your stat meters
By now, you’d be on your way for the main quest, so it’s essential to understand your character’s meters.
- Red bar: health
- Green bar: stamina
- Yellow bar: resolve
- Circle on the left side: Harden cooldown
- Small icon inside the harden circle: displays the seal you’re using,
- White dot next to the Harden circle: shows the durability of the Shell. The dot disappears if you’ve been knocked out of the Shell for the first time.
How items work in Mortal Shell is pretty unique. As you pick things you’ve never seen, you’ll see there’s a “Familiarity” counter at the lowest level.
That means you have to use an item several times to make it usable. The familiarity level increases every time you use an item and unlocks special effects.
For example, Tarspores are poisonous at lower familiarity levels. Further down the road, though they grant poison immunity and even the ability to heal when you’re under poison effects.
Weltcaps can also heal you (40HP over 60 seconds). Raising the familiarity level of Welcaps allows you to save stamina during combat.
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In all honesty, Mortal Shell is one of the hardest games I’ve played. I haven’t finished yet, and maybe I won’t. And I’m the kind of person that played the whole Remnant: Through the Ashes campaing solo.
Either way, I hope our Mortal Shell guide for beginners helps you go through the initial setting and beyond. My goal was guiding you through your first hour and making you understand its mechanics. I’m going to leave you with an advanced combat guide.
If exceedingly hard is not your cup of tea, though, I invite you to check other game trailers. There’s probably something else for you up ahead.