Lords of the Fallen is an example of a lower-budget game that takes risks and tries unique concepts that work in its favor.
Developer – HEXWORKS, Defiant Studios, Deck13
Publisher – CI Games
Platforms – PC, PlayStation 5 (Reviewed), Xbox Series
Lords of the Fallen is a souls-like game that takes the aesthetics of Warhammer 40K and Lord of the Rings and fuses it with the gameplay of Demons Souls. You can create your own custom character with a robust character generation creator and there are several classes that you can choose from such as the Dark Crusader, Cultist, or Stalker just to name a few. Each class is equipped with a variety of weapons, spells, and armor styles that offer unique gameplay for beginners and advanced players alike.
The combat in Lords of the Fallen is smooth and responsive. The movement felt so fast-paced almost to the point where it felt too “floaty” which may be a turn off to some. Not only that, Lord of the Fallen offers plenty of platforming which can be an issue at times since the movement is a bit too quick. If you are not careful, there were times where I died more to falling, than to the enemies. I guess in that sense, it lives up to its name, because I definitely fell enough.
The world is varied, with a few different areas that make up the world such as a swamp, mines, and castles. At any time you can also enter an alternate dimension called the Umbral. This is a hidden world that you can view with a special lamp, while using this lamp you are able to see secrets and hidden monsters that are invisible to the naked eye. In this alternate dimension, the longer you spend in the realm, the harder it gets. Eventually, after a certain amount of time has passed, you will be chased by a very dangerous Death-like enemy, that will kill you with ease.
One aspect that I love about Lord of the Fallen is the variety of weapons. There are halberds, short swords, long swords, great swords, spears, daggers, crossbows, and a variety of spells that allow you to complete your arsenal. There is also a wide variety of different armor styles that all look amazing from dirty prisoners to powerful wizards, and even a knight in shining armor. You can truly make the character how you want. The starting class that I chose was the Dark Crusader. The class features a mix of holy powers and melee combat. I decided to level up my spellcasting abilities so that I could augment my melee abilities with holy damage and also be able to drop a healing aura. If you were a fan of the Lord of the Rings, you would be right at home with Lords of the Fallen.
Boss, fights, and design are fairly decently done. There’s everything from Seraphim to knights with fire-imbued swords and a giant demon that spits fire and floods the arena with lava. Each boss has a unique weakness that requires creativity and observation to take advantage of. I had a great time with most of the boss fights that I encountered so far after about 20 hours. As you play through the game and defeat enemies, you collect currency that you can use to level up your character in several different stats, such as strength, agility, endurance, and radiance. These are the stereotypical stats that you would find in any other soul-like game, and if you have knowledge of the systems, it will be easy to pick up in this game.
You can also upgrade weapons with crafting materials which will increase the damage of your weapon. At higher levels, this will also add rune slots to your weapons. These runes will allow you to increase the capabilities of your weapon, such as scaling better damage with your preferred stat or increasing your base stats. This is a layer that is often missing in soul-like games that I quite enjoy. If you have played Lies of P, you will be familiar with this system as it is similar to how you could modify your weapon handles to change the weapon’s stats scaling.
I can’t remember the last Souls-like game that I loved the aesthetics of the world. As you progress to the game, you will encounter a wide variety of different locals, such as swamps mines, and castles. This really scratched the itch that I have for this type of world. In terms of difficulty, Lords of the Fallen can be quite difficult at times. Not only the bosses, but even common enemies can do quite a lot of damage in a short amount of time. To make the game easier there are plenty of rest points that you can make use of throughout your travels. One difference between this game and other souls-likes, is that you can use an item in certain locations throughout the world to create your own rest points. This comes in handy when reaching difficult-to-pass areas, so you aren’t resorting to treading through massive amounts of the game every time you die. They are very charitable with the amount of flowerbeds that you can plant the seeds which I really appreciated. I think more Souls-likes should implement the system, as it provides players who aren’t as good with these sorts of games an easier time without forcing it on players who like to challenge themselves.
Lords of the Fallen is an example of a lower-budget game that takes risks and tries unique concepts that work in its favor. While it stays true to its roots, it doesn’t shy away from these new concepts which is just commendable. I really enjoyed how deep the detail of the world is. The references the game draws from are used to create a unique world that is fun to explore. However, the pathfinding or ability to navigate this world can be very confusing and maze-like. There were a few times when I spent the better part of an hour just retreading previous areas to find where to go next.
I haven’t beaten the game fully yet, but I can rest assured in saying that this is a well-made Souls-like that people will enjoy delving into. However, the price is quite steep for some of the performance stutters and the patching that has been required on certain platforms. On the bright side, they are working diligently to patch the game and fix issues such as enemy swarming, difficulty spikes, and New Game+ mechanics that have divided the player base. Please keep in mind that this is a review in progress and I will update the review as I finish the game.