One year on from its initial 2020 launch, Mortal Shell has become something of a fan favourite thanks to its grimdark style and uncompromising "Souls-like" combat, not to mention an impressively featured photo mode to capture your trials and tribulations. As a form of appreciation for that support, Cold Symmetry are back and ready to dish out punishment in a whole new way with a brand new DLC expansion, The Virtuous Cycle.
Following on from Mortal Shell: Enhanced Edition on PS5 & Xbox Series X|S that was made available as a free upgrade for owners of the original, The Virtuous Cycle is completely free for the first 5 days (18th - 23rd August), after which it will be available for £6.99 / €6.99 / $7.99 on PC, PlayStation and Xbox stores.
- MORTAL SHELL // THE VIRTUOUS CYCLE -
While the Enhanced Edition brought technical upgrades such as 60fps gameplay, 4K visuals and enhanced textures, along with haptic feedback through the PS5's DualSense controller, The Virtuous Cycle focuses on adding new content.
Refreshing the whole experience is a new "roguelike" mode that tests players with procedural challenges in which enemies shuffle after each death to ensure that no two runs are ever the same, and a small selection of new gear to assist with the task. As well as new skins for the existing Shells and exotic weapon upgrades, this includes access to a fifth Shell as Hadern turns from teacher to companion, over 125 new skills & abilities, and a transforming weapon called the Axatana which that combines a heavy axe & katana blade. You see what they did with the name there...
- AXATANA // THE SEAT OF INFINITY -
On top of this, Cold Symmetry haven't neglected that final part of what has resonated with fans, the impressive, if a little rough around the edges, photo mode. As part of the new game-version that enables The Virtuous Cycle content, a host of updates will address issues within the camera tools and generally improve the photographer's user experience. There is even rumour on the grapevine that additional features might make their way into future updates and, given the pattern of technical improvement followed by new content that the studio have followed for the game so far, I see no reason why not.
At the time of writing, the photo mode updates are not fully included in the console versions of the game, and I will update the Mortal Shell Photo Mode Review to reflect them when they are available, but for now you can check out a list of the changes made on PC below:
Camera crane remapped to L2 / R2
Manu UI navigation remapped to L1 / R1
Hide Post-Process Effects option now properly applied to poison, freeze and harden
Borders adjusted to include 21:9, 4:3, 3:2 and 1:1 crop ratios
Improved workflow ordering of certain photo mode options