Lords of the Fallen is a third-person Action Role Playing Game (ARPG) in the same style as Dark Souls and Bloodborne. Released on October 28th 2014, the game was developed by Deck 13 Interactive and CI Games.
You are “Harkyn”, a convicted criminal who has been cast out of society and is the last hope for humankind. An evil race known as the “Rhogar” has come forth from their realm to exterminate mankind.
The graphics in this game are great, every backdrop and location has had a large amount of work and detail invested in it. Beautiful snowy landscapes, dark, narrow catacombs and large fortifications make this game an amazing sight, and exploring each new location is an awesome experience. One thing that detracts from the experience though is the backpedalling, you will be visiting some locations quite frequently, which can really drain you and quickly become repetitive.
Firstly, you need to choose the type of hero you wish to be. You are able to choose from one of three classes, Rogue, Cleric or Warrior, each with a preference for a certain armour and weapon type. You also need to choose your magic class, Brawling, Deception or Solace. Each class can be joined with whichever magic you want. For instance, if you wanted to go solely as a fighter, you would choose Warrior and Brawling for the heaviest and most protective build possible, or you could choose Rogue and Deception, for the stealthy person who appreciates a little bit of survivability and protection. Unfortunately, a few of these mixes do not work too well, you are better off choosing the magic that suits your class for the best outcomes, Brawling for the Warrior, Solace for the Cleric and Deception for the Rogue. The odd combinations just don’t seem to make sense or work very well, if you choose Rogue to be light on your feet and stealthy, why would you choose a magic set that gives you powerful and aggressive enemies?
There is a new game plus, but if the difficulty increases at all, it’s hardly noticeable, and there is no difficulty choice at the start of the game, so you are stuck with the base difficulty that the game is set in. The combat is very tactical and needs careful planning and timing. You have a stamina bar which is used for everything you do, such as blocking, attacking and evading. You need to manage your stamina effectively, because if you run out by attacking too much and are about to take a hit, you are done, as you will not be able to dodge or block effectively. Each weapon has its own stats, from damage, stamina use, hand required to use, sockets and magical abilities. Each piece of gear, however, has armour rating and weight, along with sockets and magical abilities. This gives a great range of play styles, as more weight on your equipped items means slower evades and general movement. So if you decide you want to be as armoured as possible, do not expect to be able to evade very well. Blocking is almost as good as evading, it requires less perfect timing, but blocking does not eliminate all the damage you would have taken, it simply reduces it. A well-timed block, however, can set an enemy off-guard, allowing for multiple attacks and combos.
A short time after the start of the game, you will pick up the Gauntlet, which fires magical projectiles at the enemy. This is useful for picking off some smaller enemies or weakening stronger enemies at a distance before, or as, you fight them. The spells are useful for helping you out in combat but do not have much offensive ability themselves, such as creating a decoy or going invisible for a short time. These spells can really change the flow and way you approach combat which gives the game a lot more variety in the way you can play.
The enemies have a lot of variation, such as blind mutants, crossbowmen, huge hulking creatures with weapons as big as your character and strange beast creatures with varying abilities and powers. Each enemy has their own fighting styles and requires you to think a lot about how you are going to defeat them, there is rarely a creature which you can simply run in and attack. You really need to make sure you approach each battle as if it could kill you because it can. You could be killed by even the lowliest of enemies with one slip up, so you must give each fight your utmost attention. When you die, you will re-appear at the closest checkpoint, but you will have also lost all of your current experience and multipliers. The more you kill enemies with the same life, the higher your multiplier will rise, giving you more and more experience from future enemies. You can go back and reclaim your lost experience once you die, which will start to drain if you take too long.
Unfortunately, the game suffers from a few problems with the enemies. Occasionally they do not seem to follow the same rules and can perform some really odd and unfair moves, like the flexibility and movement of the shield bearers, or the blind enemies who rely on sound to attack, who will attack you randomly when you have not made a single sound. These problems really break the immersion and flow of the game, which is a real shame as Lords of the Fallen really excels in other areas.
The boss fights have a strange feeling to them. Some can be really intense and require a large amount of thought and planning, whereas others are simple wait and attack battles. Some of the bosses require you to attack them a certain way or even with a certain damage type. There are bosses who summon minions, some who perform amazing spells, and, unfortunately, some who simply wind up a big attack and then leave themselves painfully open for attack. It just feels really odd how they put so much time and effort into some of the bosses, and others really just feel like a normal enemy with higher health. During the boss battles, there is a way to get special loot, which drops when you defeat the boss in a particular way, such as not taking damage, not letting the boss do something in particular or even something to do with the map you are on. There is no way to know this though without investigating online or through the achievements, there isn’t a quick message about it or anything. So the only way to find out is from outside the game itself, which again breaks the immersion and flow of the whole thing.
Lords of the Fallen is out on PC, Xbox One and PlayStation 4. At USD 50 (AUD 68) for the PC version (prices might change amongst consoles) this game is a fun action game which delivers a rewarding experience full of challenge and sweet loot. More hardcore fans of the genre, however, might feel slightly underwhelmed by this game, when they compare it to Dark Souls and Bloodborne. This game is going to receive a 7/10, unfortunately, falling flat in a few areas, but most of this game has well-crafted aspects and is a very enjoyable experience.
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