- the idea for the game – a lighter, more accessible version Dark Souls;
- satisfactory combat;
- splendid and diverse boss encounters
- accessible and effective character and weapon development system;
- solid graphics and intriguing art style;
- inaccuracy of the combat system and AI issues;
- the camera;
- glitches and optimization issues.
Prior to its release, I have seen Lord of the Fallen in action a few times already. Every time, both excitement and suspicion arose within me. Will CI Games be able to pull through with such a project? Will they have enough resources and determination to do so? After all, the game co-created with the German studio Deck 13 is an attempt to cash in on the success of the Dark Souls franchise by integrating its’ ideas and building up on them with a new groundwork while at the same time…trying to be nothing like Dark Souls. That being a pleonasm, the suspicion was natural. Now I truly understand the creators’ intention. While finishing the Lords of the Fallen, the idea behind the endeavor becomes reasonable. Having completed all of the From Software’s ’Souls’ games, I must admit – Lords of the Fallen does not disappoint, but can cause… nausea.
A one-armed monk
Let’s make one thing clear: Lords of the Fallen is very similar to Dark Souls. Stating the obvious, it is a game with traversing a fantasy world, collecting better loot and encountering demanding foes. At a glance the location layout, the movement and the combat system seem identical. Similar to From Software games – besting both regular foes and the titular Lords, requires combining a tactical approach with dexterity of one’s fingers. If there still was any doubt, it is a game aimed at Dark Souls fans – so those who have ventured to the likes of Lordran or Drangleic will feel right at home. For such veterans, the playthrough will be less demanding, as Lords of the Fallen is based on a simple principle – to draw upon certain elements, and change them in favor of the player’s advantage - despite what is going on, a brutal death won’t be awaiting around every corner. Let’s take the plot for example, towards which From Software has an unique approach. In Dark Souls, the story is delivered fragmented and usually coded. In Lords of the Fallen however, everything is crystal clear, as our protagonist, Harkin, is the go-to person for those in distress. His task include: ‘taking care’ of a certain individual’s lab, undertaking a professional medical ‘operation’ and, brace yourselves… saving the world from an evil God and his demonic lords that threaten the human race. The first one is a side quest, the second a certain dialogue option and the last is the game’s main objective.
Firstly, I must admit that, at some point, I burst out laugh at (putting it euphemistically) the simplicity of the story. It is about the ‘cunning’ plan of the humanity’s leader, which basically comes down to… killing everything that comes his way. Truly brilliant! Harkin accepts those naive tasks with extraordinary humility, which is understandable under the circumstances. As a criminal convicted for numerous crimes, which every one of is summarized by a tattoo on his face, the anti-hero is in no position to question the orders. He is to act. Secondly, in spite of everything, plot twists are apparent. The game is salvaged by not favoring dramaturgy and not being overly poignant. The formerly mentioned provisional amputation is something of a variety in this world, compared to a similar scene in, for example, Telltale’s The Walking Dead. Similarly, as a variety, I have approached in-game choices leading up to side quests and even different endings. The game has several endings, and You can rest assured – in none of them does Harking rely on his diplomatic skills.