At its most basic, Lords Of The Fallen is inspired by the Souls games. In fact, if someone had told me while playing the demo that it was in fact a new entry to that franchise I would not have been surprised at all. It felt like a Souls game, it looked like a Souls game, and it played like a Souls game. However, Lords Of The Fallen is not part of that franchise and is its own title coming from Deck13 Interactive, and CI Games, formerly City Interactive.
The story follows the criminal Harkyn, whose crimes are represented by marks and runes on his face. He is freed from prison to fight the army of old gods in a war that takes Harkyn to Rhogar, the realm of demons. This premise allows for all sorts of monsters to crop up and appear, from quite fast moving beasts to more lumbering knights armed with sword and shield. Each has its strengths, and also weaknesses, which will be up to the player to work out.
In combat you’re not given any hints on how to take down an enemy, instead you’ll be relying on your own experiences. You will also die quite a bit while trying out different techniques, though I settled for the traditional sword and shield approach. The first enemy encountered in the demo was rather easy to kill off, but the next two were pretty troublesome. These wraith-like creatures were quite fast and powerful, with death not even enough to stop them. In fact if you didn’t leave quick enough at least one of them would resurrect and come for you again. After fighting these two the challenge only got more difficult.
The next enemy to step up was a huge knight armed with a very large shield and sword. The first couple of times I faced him I died almost instantly from the charge attack, as I didn’t get my shield up in time. The time when I beat him took a little while as it consisted of blocking his swings and trying to land one on him. You could press circle to try and dodge his attacks too, though since the fight took place in a rather small corridor, it wasn’t the most well advised move.
Keeping an eye on health and stamina was also key to defeating this knight, with a flurry of swings leaving Harkyn drained making him more susceptible to attacks. You could ingest a potion at the tap of a button to recover some health, but they were in limited supply, so using those should only have been done when critical. There was also a mana gauge as Harkyn can also equip and cast spells in the fight against the enemy, and the fire spell was the one that helped me kill this knight.
In terms of equipping weapons and shields, Lords Of The Fallen has a pretty simple design where accessing the pause menu will allow you to compare the different items you have on one screen against what you have in hand. A quick glance shows which might do more damage, but slow you down or vice versa thanks to little green and red arrows next to each stat. I liked that simple integration as it allows decision making to be quick so you can continue the fight.
Visually I found Lords Of The Fallen to look very good with a range of colours on show. There’s some good detail to the environment including the way the light flickers, and the clothing moves. However, I had one major problem with the demo and that was the camera. It really needs some work if Lords Of The Fallen is going to compete at all in the genre. There were countless times when during a fight the camera would just swing around and obscure what I saw, which led to me not being able to see what I was doing or where the enemies were coming from. In a game like Lords Of The Fallen the right angle is key, and a camera that swings way too far or moves too fast is not ideal. Players shouldn’t have to be contending against that as well as the game’s enemies.
Overall Lords Of The Fallen is shaping up to be a good Souls-style game, though I’m not sure there is enough to really differentiate it from that series. Then again I don’t know what else the game has in store past the demo stage. Though it does appear to play well and offers a challenge, the issue with the camera has to be addressed before launch, otherwise it really will detract from what could be a good game. If you’ve got an itch for another tough challenge, then keep an eye on Lords Of The Fallen.