Lords of the Fallen Review
The Souls series is something I hold near and dear to my heart. It combines action RPG elements with excellent fighting mechanics and some truly memorable moments. Yes it is definitely not for the faint-hearted or gamers that are easily filled with rage due to being incredibly tough but that it gives an experience that is more rewarding than most. I was obviously excited when news of a game that drew heavy inspiration from the series was on the horizon. CI Games, perhaps best known for the Sniper Ghost Warrior has released Lords of the Fallen, did it reach the lofty heights that the Souls series has achieved?
You play as Harkyn, a warrior who has committed many crimes and sins in his lifetime and has been imprisoned for eternity. With eternal imprisonment not enough punishment he has also had his face tattooed with each of his sins, I guess to make sure it is known in case he escapes? Well it just so happens he has been released, a man named Kaslo is his savoir and he has released Harkyn to save the world from dark Gods. Not the most original story but it fills the purpose as we witness Harkyn set on the quest to find redemption for his sins.
Harkyn is not exactly the deepest character ever written into a game but he is very good at what he does and what he does is kill. You have the choice of three different magic trees to use throughout your adventure. Harkyn is by no means a magician but these act as a secondary to his primary skill of chopping enemies into little pieces with a large array of heavy weapons. Doing so is definitely reminiscent of the combat established with the Souls series. Rolling to avoid impact, parrying, using your shield and placing well timed attacks are the keys to victory with each of these using a portion of your stamina bar which replenishes between moves. The common smaller enemy types are easy to beat in the first portion of the game as they have little to no defence and can easily be avoided. The bigger enemies are not exactly hard to beat either with mobility and keen awareness the key. The first few bosses don’t take long to work out and will offer some slight resistance but thankfully the games difficulty climbs after the first few hours. It is commonly said that Lords is not as hard as Souls, this is true but more so due to having save points close together and your death not feeling as important here. There is still some challenge present.
Early on in the adventure you find a magical gauntlet that opens your secondary skill, magic. The three classes to choose from are Solace, Brawling and Deception. Solace is a magic class that uses defensive type spells such as stun and shielding. Brawling as the title suggests casts spells that are used to inflict damage and Deception infuses assassin type abilities such as stealth. I chose Brawling which was really fun to use. Early on Harkyn also comes across a second magical gauntlet which is used as the games only ranged attack by firing magic bolts. Mana is required for both the gauntlet and spells and like the stamina bar it auto replenishes all be it a lot slower.
Lords of the Fallen also has a similar levelling system as Souls. XP is built and what can be collected multiplies as you get on a streak and ignore save points. However if you fall your ghost will linger for an allotted time and you need to collect your lost XP. At first this was an easy task, but as I became more or perhaps a little too confident I would miss three or four save points as to collect huge XP rewards. Upon death though there was no chance of me regaining what I lost so thought goes into the risk versus reward aspect.
There are plenty of different enemy types here and all look quite good especially the Lords themselves. Actually graphically Lords of the Fallen is quite impressive, it looks like a hybrid of Darksiders and Dark Souls but is prettier than both. The environments are good to look at but the character models steal the show. The sound was a little mixed. The orchestral score is marvellous and a copy of the soundtrack is included with the game. The voice acting however was a different story. The acting itself was not disappointing but every character sounded like their voice recordings were taken in a toilet or a tunnel. It sounds really strange, not detracting greatly from the experience but it is a shame as the rest of the game feels well-polished.
Lords of the Fallen is quite a lengthy adventure taking me around thirty five hours to complete. The length is aided by side quests to partake in for various non-player characters found within the story. These are quite fun to complete and the reward makes it them well worth pursuing, in fact the game as a whole has a really good array of loot to discover. This loot adds greatly to the game and the array of shields, weapons and armour is staggering. I found myself constantly changing my kit to adapt to the situation at hand, carefully balancing defence with power and agility. Likewise the skill trees are used to counter deficiencies and careful consideration is needed as to keep Harkyn balanced to compliment your play style.
All in all I was extremely happy with what CI Games has offered with Lords of the Fallen. There were a couple of small disappointments but for the majority Lords of the Fallen is a solid release and one well worth a purchase. It was more than a Souls knock off and I look forward to seeing if the franchise will expand, fingers crossed it gets the sales it deserves.
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