Developed by Cold Symmetry, Mortal Shell is a brilliant love letter to the Soulsborne series and free on PS Plus this month. In my recent journey through this bleak yet charming world, I found that the photo mode has no boundary – which could lead to exploring ahead with no risk at all.
Extremely minor spoilers ahead, in the form of screenshots of settings
I hadn’t noticed this function until I was roughly 3/4 through the game, while exploring one of the game’s “temples”. The setting was so jarring yet beautiful, truly making you feel like an insignificant trespasser in an alien land. I wanted to capture that scope, that gravity, so I opened up photo mode and started zooming out. And I kept going. and going. and going. AND GOING. I started chuckling, thinking I had glitched the game somehow.
I snapped my shot and moved on. Soon after, an enemy hiding around a corner ambushed me – as it happens often in Mortal Shell – and again a minute later. Then a devilish thought struck me.
“Let’s see if I can look around the next corner in photo mode”
So I did, and found my next encounter hiding as expected. I kept floating forward, feeling like a spirit exploring a world frozen in time. Then I moved straight up into the sky and got the birds-eye view, taking in the lay of the land. This function was no bug. I could fly around this frozen world all over. The lack of boundary was definitely intentional, and I was NOT using it as I imagine the developers intended it to be used.
Feeling like I just accidentally became an omnipotent god, I couldn’t help but revel in my newfangled ability for the next hour or so of gameplay. I foiled many an ambush, and plotted my routes rather than relying on pure reaction and whim. After that hour, a feeling washed over me. Or rather, a feeling ebbed away from me. I was having way less fun.
The surprise, mystery, adrenaline, were quickly dissolving at the hands of my newfound power. Every triumph now felt hollow. Each victory now a shadow of its former glory.
I stopped abusing the photo mode for nefarious purposes, cold turkey. My skeletal avatar trudged forward as the game intends – slowly and steadily conquering the bleak and otherworldly obstacles ahead. And as I journeyed on again, satisfaction and fun returned in spades. Play how you will, but this was the experience I found most rewarding.
Thanks for reading my fellow players!
I highly recommend giving Mortal Shell a shot, and will release a full review in the coming days. After recently beating the main game, i’m sorely tempted to purchase the full version to experience all that the DLCs have to offer.