CI Games had a demo of its Lords of the Fallen title on display at PAX Prime 2014, which is a Dark Souls-like action RPG for the Xbox One, PS4, and PC that is releasing on October 28, 2014. I had a chance to give it a spin while covering the show, and during the demo I quickly found out that it’s a viscerally brutal title – both visually and technically – that should excite fans of the Souls titles who thrive on punishing gameplay. Lords of the Fallen requires skill, deceit, luck, a bit more luck, a whole lot more skill, and a heavy dose of planning to be remotely successful, but in a sick sense that is what makes it so intriguing to play, and why fans of this genre of video game should enjoy it when it ships in late October.
The demo featured an amazing prize to win for anyone that had the ability to beat it without dying, but I fell quite short of that lofty goal and had to leave the giant-sized war hammer hanging on the show floor wall back in Seattle. I only felt somewhat like a failure considering every gamer that went before and after me couldn’t complete the challenge either, so it’s safe to say that Lords of the Fallen will pack a serious challenge just like the Dark Souls and Demon Souls games it has been compared to.
Putting my incompetence aside, I must say that the game looks glorious running on a PC, and it really has a demonic feel to it with a splash of medieval chivalry and magic. Harkyn (main character) looks like a badass version of Dante from Dante’s Inferno, albeit with much gnarlier armor and gear. He’s also quite massive, but not as roided out looking as the characters of Gears of War. The framerate appeared clean and free of stutters, which is key because this game’s action moments get frenetic in a hurry, so if the screen constantly jittered around one could get quite sick, or be put off by the skips in motion. The game world also featured plenty of detail with all environmental textures looking clear and concise. The use of light is also expertly woven through the game’s dark, dank corridors, as well as its brightly lit open areas. There’s no doubt that Lords of the Fallen is a next-gen game when it comes to visuals, just be aware that the demo was running on a PC rig that was more than likely stacked for PAX Prime.
After soaking in the glorious visuals of Lords of the Fallen, I set out on my quest to win the coveted war hammer by not dying once during the demo. That quest quickly came to an end 30-seconds in as I was hastily dispatched with one heavy blow from a beastly looking bad guy that had a shield the size of Manhattan. Upon respawning I put more care into my moves and plotted a course of action that would get me past the massive shield having bad guy that just made me look like a noob in front of the PAX Prime crowd. Before heading out of the starting location for the second time I took a moment to learn the controls so I wouldn’t be wasted in under 30-seconds again, and found that I had access to spells, a fire throwing gauntlet, and a shield of my own that I could use both offensively and defensively. With this new information in hand I set out once again to tackle Lords of the Fallen’s challenging gameplay, but this time around I was able to beat the previous bad guy who made me look like a chump with a spell that knocked him back long enough for me to attack with Harkyn’s quick and heavy melee weapon blows. Unfortunately, I let my excitement get the best of me and got distracted long enough for another brute to make a charge and take me out with one fell swoop of his oversized weapon. The last time around I had no clue he’d be waiting for me because I didn’t get past the previous enemy, so wile I learned a few lessons to help me best the first bad guy, I hadn’t learned enough to ensure complete victory, so I had to start again and learn from my mistakes. Welcome to Lords of the Fallen.
This game will undoubtedly test your patience, but I never felt like it does so in a cheap way. You truly do have to learn the best strategies for each enemy encounter, which will require you to master all of Harkyn’s skills to be successful. The environment also plays a key role in being successful in Lords of the Fallen, as it can be used to cleverly dispatch enemies, which I discovered by leading the second hulking brute trying to kill me into a wood covered hole. Considering that the spell I used on the first brute couldn’t recharge in time to take out the second, the environment played a key role in progressing through the PAX Prime demo, and showcased the fact that you must use everything at your disposal for any chance of survival.
This third person action-RPG definitely is not a button masher, and if you try to make it one you will die repeatedly and brutally. Mind you that these two massive enemies I’m referring to weren’t even bosses, but just regular fodder looking to ruin my day. The bosses are in a league of their own, and I definitely didn’t have the time or patience to tackle the one I ran into during the PAX Prime demo, but I now can’t wait to get another crack at him because I thoroughly enjoyed the challenge Lords of the Fallen has to offer.
Lords of the Fallen definitely has much to offer to those gamers who pride themselves on beating punishing games that are known to make even the most calm of humans rage quit. Harkyn is a badass looking main character, and controlling him feels powerful thanks to his imposing size and looks, and that feeling of power is further bolstered by his devastating attacks with his scythe-like weapon of death. The game looks great and features solid controls too. The camera gets a bit too hyper-focused while battling in tight corridors, but overall Lords of the Fallen sports a pretty solid gameplay package. It’s violent, it’s manly (womanly too for you hardcore ladies of gaming), and it’s sure to give you more than a few fits while playing through it. If you’re up for the challenge the full game is set to release on October 28, 2014 for the PC, Xbox One, and PS4.
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