Lords of the Fallen | Hands-On
Dark Souls has become one of the biggest cult hits in the industry, and understandably, many other developers want their next game to take From Software’s Rogue Like Crown. Lords of the Fallen has taken more notes from Dark Souls than most though, and both I and my fellow Editor Jose Estrella have played the game and put it’s Dark Souls-ness to the test and see if it rose above its contemporary in any meaningful way. We will proceed by making this preview one of past and present impressions of the game, where each writer’s opinions will be separated.
Jose: I saw Lords of the Fallen’s gameplay for the first time at a preview event held by Bandai Namco, the game’s publishers, earlier this summer, and it was easily one of our most anticipated games there. It was also the only game I wasn’t allowed to take any footage of, despite the fact that it looked and ran great. In the first few moments I questioned if it was a sequel to Dark Souls 2, as they are both visually similar, but the more fluid looking combat made it clear that Dark Souls this was not.
Eliot: While the combat may have looked more fluid, there was still a slight delay between a button press and a weapon being swung towards the most proximate fiend, which was very reminiscent of the ‘Souls’ games. It didn’t help matters that the halberd our heavily armored protagonist was wielding by default required long, slow and wide swings that both magnified the perceived input lag and due to the narrow hallway most of the demo took place in, my frustration. Without room to maneuver I was taking a great deal of punishment from somewhat diminutive-looking enemies. Not the best first impression, but I expect/hope there will be some more open areas and I admit that I may have not found the weapon quick switch button.
Jose: The preview build’s difficulty seemed very high, but it made the experience even better because the difficulty didn’t come from the fact that the enemies were health sponges but you had to strategize how you would approach every encounter. It seemed like the game was asking you: “hey you want to be a show off, well lets see you show off dodging skills.”
Eliot: In the demo I played I only encountered two different types of enemies, a scrawny member of the undead and a larger miniboss. As I mentioned, I was stuck in pretty tight confines throughout the demo, so strategy was reduced to dodging backwards in between the enemy’s swings. There was some relief from the linearity when I entered a courtyard and met that gnarly looking miniboss only to see him plunge through a wooden grating covering a bottomless well.
Jose: The way the gameplay difficulty had been designed made it great fun to play and made even the weakest enemies have a purpose. Little touches I saw instantly was the attention paid to the A.I. The character left an area with enemies hot on his tail, and when he entered a new area, and thought I was safe, until they burst back onto the scene. I didn’t get very far trying to defeat the majority of the monsters attacking so there were instances where I resorted to kiting the monsters back and forth until I regained enough health, which was very risky in and of itself as the monsters would regain health themselves if you backed too far away from them. I even exploited the checkpoint system, which gives you health when you cross through it. While that may seem like cheating, I found it immensely satisfying to just try and find any way to survive. There is no easy mode here, which makes it stand out and will help fill the void of a lack of a ‘Souls’ like game on current gen consoles. Lord of The Fallen definitely has some traditional RPG elements but they are well refined, you will also be collecting a ton of loot as usual, expect upgrading skills and equipment. Weapons featured at our preview were katars, a sword and shield, and hammers. Magic was also available but the only ability there that I recall was a laser shot. The laser itself was very slow and it also recharged at quite a slow rate as well, but it certainly packed a punch. It just didn’t seem practical once close quarter combat began, but I’m sure more effective magic will be available in the final game.
Lords of The Fallen’s story is still mired in mystery, but if it can complement the combat it will allow the game to stand apart more from Dark/Demon Souls. But either way, it seems like a little more approachable but equally satisfying iteration on Dark Souls and that isn’t a bad thing.
Lord of The Fallen will be released on October 28th on the Xbox One, Playstation 4 and PC.