In the captivating world of Lords of the Fallen, my initial 45 minutes surprised me as I faced death, a departure from the unforgiving Dark Souls legacy. This review delves into the game’s attempt to balance accessibility with thrilling combat and the ensuing challenges faced by its protagonist, Harkyn.
Lords of the Fallen Overviews
Lords of the Fallen, an action RPG that proudly wears its Dark Souls inspiration on its sleeve, offers a gripping experience filled with both triumphs and pitfalls. In the initial 45 minutes, the game surprises players by defying the punishing nature of the Dark Souls series, providing an unexpected window for exploration and combat enjoyment without the constant threat of imminent death.
However, this deviation comes at a cost, as the game occasionally sacrifices depth at the altar of accessibility. The narrative follows Harkyn, a gruff ex-convict, on a quest to save the world from interdimensional monsters known as the Rhogar. The storytelling, unfortunately, treads the path of predictability, with characters lacking the depth needed for players to truly invest in their fates. The attempt at narrative twists and impactful choices falls short, leaving players with a sense of indifference towards the unfolding events.
Visually, the game boasts a captivating world, although the lack of diversity in landscapes, predominantly featuring crumbling castles and snowy peaks, leaves room for improvement. Nevertheless, the attention to detail in the design of characters and weaponry, adopting a bulky, comic book aesthetic, adds a layer of intrigue. Lords of the Fallen Combat, the heart of Lords of the Fallen, blends the necessity of blocking and rolling with the arcade pleasures of hacking and slashing. Encounters, especially in the early stages, are tailored for those who may find Dark Souls’ unforgiving difficulty a deterrent. The Diablo-style loot system introduces an element of excitement, rewarding players with ever-improving weapons and gear from chests and fallen enemies.
Yet, the game stumbles in its attempt to balance challenge and accessibility. Class spells, while providing a sense of freedom in playstyle, can become overpowered, diminishing the intended difficulty. The risk-reward system, initially engaging, loses its edge as the protagonist, Harkyn, progresses towards quasi-godhood with relative ease. Boss battles, while strategically demanding at times, succumb to the might of overpowering spells and gear, eroding the sense of accomplishment. Lords of the Fallen, despite its flaws, manages to deliver an entertaining hack-and-slash experience that caters to those seeking a more accessible entry into the realm of Dark Souls-inspired RPGs.
Harkyn’s Odyssey Unraveled
Lords of the Fallen introduces us to Harkyn, a gruff criminal thrust into the role of savior against interdimensional monsters known as the Rhogar. The narrative, however, falls prey to formulaic storytelling, leaving the depth of Harkyn’s past and the nature of his crimes shrouded in mystery. The story’s attempt at a shocking twist lacks the emotional impact needed to elevate it to greatness.
Visual Appeal vs. Landscape Diversity
While the game presents a visually appealing world, it leans heavily on the familiar trope of crumbling castles and snowy peaks. A brief exploration into the Rhogar homeworld offers a refreshing change, but the overall lack of landscape diversity leaves much to be desired. Despite this, the eye-catching gear design steals the spotlight, exuding a comic book aesthetic that resonates more with “let’s kick some ass” than the ominous atmosphere of “prepare to die.”
Combat Adventures in Arcade Fun: Lords of the Fallen
Blocking, rolling, and unleashing powerful attacks are the essence of Lords of the Fallen’s combat system. The game prioritizes arcade-quality fun over the punishing difficulty of Dark Souls, offering encounters balanced for those intimidated by Lords of the Fallen hardcore gameplay. The diverse creatures encountered, such as Cthulhu-type figures and venom-spewing spiders, add intrigue to the combat dynamics.
Loot Galore and Class Spells
A Diablo-style loot system ensures a rewarding experience, with chests and enemies yielding ever-better weapons and gear. Weapons like customizable magic gauntlets and impressive scythes and staves enhance the overall enjoyment. However, the introduction of class spells brings a challenge. While playing as a Warrior, overpowering spells like Rage and Quake can potentially trivialize encounters.
The Rise of Harkyn and Quasi-Godhood
Lords of the Fallen seeks to augment challenge through indirect means, reminiscent of Dark Souls. The risk-reward system, tied to recovering lost XP, introduces a timer that adds urgency. However, as the game progresses, the protagonist’s journey towards quasi-godhood becomes apparent. The once-challenging risk loses its edge, overshadowed by overpowering class spells and looted runes that tip the balance in favor of the player.
Boss Battles and Absurd Power
While the game boasts strategically demanding boss battles, a significant portion becomes a mere spectacle as overpowering spells and gear can turn even the toughest encounters into routine victories. Heavy armor further amplifies the drive toward absolute power, diminishing the satisfaction of overcoming challenges. The game’s consistent toughness only materializes in New Game Plus territory, creating a wait for those seeking heightened difficulty.
Pros and Cons Recap
Pros: A captivating risk-reward system, diverse loot, and an arcadey combat experience.
Cons: Balance issues overshadow the challenge, and the inability to adjust difficulty is a notable drawback.
The Verdict: In summary, Lords of the Fallen delivers an entertaining hack-and-slash experience with its alluring combat and enticing loot. However, its risk-based reward system loses its edge as the protagonist effortlessly ascends to godlike status. While successfully catering to a more accessible Dark Souls-style experience, the game teeters on the edge of overindulgence. Note: Lords of the Fallen is also available on Xbox One and PlayStation 4.
As you embark on your journey with Harkyn, be prepared for a rollercoaster of combat joys and the occasional frustration of unbridled power. The delicate balance between accessibility and challenge makes Lords of the Fallen a worthy contender for fans of the genre, despite its occasional missteps.