What’s that? You liked Dark Souls? Then you’re going to love Lords of the Fallen.
I don’t know that it’s necessarily fair to attach one game’s success to another, especially when there’s no direct association between the two, but Lords of the Fallen looks excellent and deserves the high praise that comes with being attached to one of the most revered games of 2012.
Don’t let the comparison to Dark Souls keep you away from Lords of the Fallen though. I wasn’t the biggest fan of Dark Souls and I knew that before I even set in on my doomed mission to try changing that feeling. Lords of the Fallen doesn’t carry the same impending sense of dread though, it’s exciting and new. It does things that most games wouldn’t dream of doing and boy does it do them well.
Let’s start from the beginning where you choose the kind of character that you’d like to play. You have your typical rogue, cleric, and warrior; but you can also choose which kind of weapon they have, almost as if it’s another layer of depth to the character that you’re choosing to play as. It’s not simple and this is only amplified by the somewhat readily apparent style of play that demands a change in the way that most players would typically handle an action game as such.
Combat is more tactical than in most games. You can’t just go up to an enemy while mashing the light attack button and hoping that everything will turn out alright. You’ll die if you do that in Lords of the Fallen. You won’t just die either, you’ll die quickly. You won’t even have time to think, “huh, maybe I shouldn’t have done that”. It’s already too late.
Lords of the Fallen requires a more tactical approach to combat. In order to take out an enemy, you have to defend against his attack, wait until he’s trying to recover, and then roll in for a few strikes before getting out of there. It isn’t something that you can rush through, you have to take your time with it, but it’s more engaging and thoughtful that way. It feels like the developers actually care that you engage with enemies rather than just running by them.
That probably has to be part of the reasoning behind the small number of enemies as well. You’re never fighting against large groups of enemies, it’s all small, close-quarters encounters that really make you feel like each action has a strong impact. Because of this, it gives you a reason to want to slow down.
Don’t rest on the fact that there’s a small number of enemies though, they’re brutally difficult, so each one is a challenge. It doesn’t make it easy, just less difficult. Then there’s the boss enemies. It isn’t apparent how often you’ll come in contact with these bosses, but I can only pray that it’s not often as you really have to calculate the best way to take them down and it sure isn’t easy.
Lords of the Fallen was my biggest surprise coming out of E3. I wasn’t expecting anything from it, but it blew me away with its impressive next-gen visuals, tactical combat design, and smart approach to a genre that can easily become stale. It managed to do all this –and convince me to spend hours with it when released– in the span of less than 30 minutes. That’s a hard feat and it did so without leaving a shadow of doubt in my mind.
Words by Alex Rubens.
Lords of the Fallen is set to release in 2014 for PC, PS4 and Xbox One.