Lords of the Fallen first impressions

Lordsofthefallen pic

MCM Buzz was recently offered an invitation to a hands on preview of Lords of the Fallen, the new fantasy action RPG from CI Games and Deck 13 that is due to be released on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC this October. The game follows Harkyn, a convict who is released so that he might fight against the old Gods who are threatening to enslave humanity. Harkyn travels through the world in order to defeat these malevolent powers.

Easier said than done though, as this game is tough. We were unable to complete either of the two demo sections that we saw in the time that we had with the game, so make of that what you will. The immediate comparison is with Dark Souls; if you have ever been a fan of Dark Souls you will feel right at home with this game. Much of the combat elements are similar, such as the ways in which you have to time your attacks, the variety of available weapons and strategies and the importance of dodging and being aware of your surroundings. Not to mention the frequency of death. For those unfamiliar with this genre, be aware that this game is challenging and it rewards a slow and deliberate style of play. Encounters have to be planned ahead of time, enemy attacks must be memorised, the correct weapons must be chosen. If you remember all that, you’ll still die, but you’ll die a lot less.

However, Lords of the Fallen contains several idiosyncrasies of its own. The environment plays an important part in this game. In the section that we played, we entered a dark corridor, unaware of what we would meet there, when a huge knight and his even bigger shield emerged and towered over our character. Fighting in a tight space such as this corridor is unwise because you are unable to dodge and attack as you would like, so we ran back to a previous room and prepared to fight the giant. But as he came into the centre of the room, his weight caused him to break several wooden planks (which our smaller, lighter character could walk over normally) and fall into a pit, killing him. Of course, this meant we were unable to get his huge shield, which is a possibility if you kill him normally, introducing a risk-reward element to the gameplay. Some enemies that we saw were blind, so stealth is also a possibility as sneak attacks on enemies will cause instant death. Therefore, it is important to explore the environment and find all the secrets like this one before advancing.

In another section of the demo we were tasked with killing another enormous knight with a flaming sword in the middle of an enormous cathedral like structure, where the broken stained glass windows offered a glimpse of the desolate, stormy world beyond. The boss’s slow attack speed gave us many opportunities to damage him and it initially seemed abnormally easy, but as the fight progressed and the boss took more and more damage, more and more of his armour fell off. This resulted in him being able to attack much more rapidly, leading to our sudden death. This type of surprise will hopefully be an aspect present throughout.

The game looks gorgeous. Dust motes dance through the dynamic lighting offered by the sparse light sources and the darkness is enough to disguise the presence of enemies, leading to potential ambushes. The enemies that we saw tended to be heavily armoured knights, but we also saw others that suggest a wider range of enemies, such as slow shambling zombie-type enemies (whose screams also showed off the impressive sound design) and we were also promised some ‘huge’ bosses. The environments also seem to be fairly standard fare for a fantasy game like this, yet it was made clear to us the distinction between the in-game realm of the humans and the realm of the gods, as well as a third realm which is being kept under wraps until release because of how cool it apparently is. Hopefully three realms is enough to ensure enough environmental variety through to the end, as the general estimate seems to be that the game will take around 30 hours to complete.

At this early stage, it seems difficult to escape from the Dark Souls comparisons. The presence of the aforementioned original gameplay aspects as well as the promise of a much more immersive storyline give credence to the idea that this game should be considered on its own merit rather than a mere clone, but it remains to be seen. Anyway, even if it does turn out that Lords of the Fallen is a complete Dark Souls clone that would still mean it’s a hell of an adventure.

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