Lords Of The Fallen is an action RPG, developed by Deck13 interactive and CI games. It was released in october of 2014. The game was met with some positive reviews, but was passed off by a lot of people as a Dark Souls clone. IGN even called it “Lite Souls” in their review. However it seemed to have mostly positive reviews regardless of the overwhelming Dark Souls comparisons. I’m going to avoid these comparisons because I feel they downplay what this game does right. It really does the game a disservice to be just that one Dark Souls imitation. This game is really good and deserves to be known as something other than that one dark souls clone.
The plot revolves around a former criminal named Harkyn. He’s been released by a wizard named Kaslo who’s recruited him to battle the Rhogar, monsters from a parallel dimension. The plot may be a little vague, and characters one note, but it creates a great level of atmosphere and ambiance. It’s easy to get lost in the world that the game has created, what the game lacks in actual plot, it more than makes up for in tone and atmosphere, which is fine for this kind of game. However there are plot points I wish the game would devote more time to, like what exactly Harkyn’s crimes were.
Lords is a nice looking game, especially for 2014. The visuals go a long way into adding to the overall tone and feel of the game. This game runs pretty well. I didn’t encounter too much lag in my three playthroughs. I did notice there is a glitch on the Xbox One port of the game that makes it so you can’t hear any dialogue however, but I really only experienced this once in all my playthroughs.
The controls will feel very familiar to Dark Souls players. They were pretty easy to get the hang of, the small opening tutorial explains everything you need to know, so there’s no confusion. I never found them to be unresponsive, or sluggish. The only sluggish thing I found was trying to roll while wearing heavy armor, which is obviously supposed to happen.
The gameplay is mostly split into three separate classes, Warrior, Cleric, and Rogue. You aren’t completely locked into these play styles though, magic trees and equipment can be mixed and matched into different classes to best fit your play style. For example, if you like the heavy armor and weapons of the warrior class but prefer the more defensive magic abilities of the cleric, you can combine the two in the Paladin class. This mixing and matching certainly makes it more accessible and I enjoyed playing around with the different combinations.
There are also a good variety of enemy types, like low level infested, the tanky Marauder, The elusive demonic spider, The Vanguards, and a lot more. Some enemies require you to just hit them until they’re dead, but others like the Bulwark will have you using a specific tactic to defeat them. You may have to wait for them to lower their shield, or destroy an object that revives them. The game always finds a way to push you to your limit in a good way.
The bosses in this game are pretty distinct and at least a little different mechanically. Each boss will drop a unique weapon or shield upon defeating it. What’s great though is that the game adds hidden challenges which if completed will add a special perk or ability to your weapon making it even more powerful. The later bosses will require more thinking and adjusting to their mechanics for victory. This can be somewhat frustrating at times, but it never becomes too frustrating to play.
There is also a pretty good risk reward system in the game. Of course killing enemies gives you XP, you can spend the xp on spell or attribute points, or you can save your XP which allows you to build up an XP multiplier. Holding off from leveling up could help you progress faster in the long run but enemies become stronger with or without you so beware. This risk reward system is also in gaining loot. Throughout the map there are different portals you can access after clearing the area of enemies. This dimension is dark and hard to see, but if you follow a small orb of light it will lead you to loot. But there are monsters lurking in this dark dimension and they range from weak enemies to high level enemies. Sometimes you’ll get lucky and it will present you with three chests, with no enemies. Sometimes if you survive a gauntlet of enemies before you can get loot. However upon returning to the world the enemies you killed will have respawned so there’s always a risk to gaining loot. This risk reward system is great and adds a new layer to this RPG.
The music I need only describe in one word, epic. The music is on a cinematic level, the choir goes a long way in making the music feel epic. The sound effects are also really satisfying. The sound your sword or axe makes when it connects to your enemy is a simple one but it was oddly satisfying to hear especially when fighting a tough enemy. Each boss fight was heightened by an impressive soundtrack, and simple but effective sound effects.
I played this game three different times, my first time, then new game plus, then again for this review. Starting the game over didn’t feel like a chore but a new opportunity. Replaying let me pick up new items I missed, experiment with different classes, and find hidden secrets. New game plus was especially fun, having double the magic abilities and defeating older bosses using your high level gear. The abundance of secrets goes a long way as you can find interesting audio logs, special weapons, new armor. And quest items that unlock hidden areas. There’s no shortage of things to do and you won’t do all of it in your first playthrough.
This game is so much more than a Dark Souls clone. The world crafted by the characters and landscapes are immersive and great to look at. The enemies are varied and keep you on toes. The bosses are also varied and rewarding to defeat. The play styles are easily accessible and bolster the replayability. However some enemies and bosses can be frustrating at times and the levels are easy to get lost in, figuratively and literally. The true strengths of the game lie in its atmosphere and its great risk reward system. This game has been dismissed as a Dark Souls imitation but it proves to be so much more than that.