Lords of the Fallen Review

A dark and challenging fantasy realm

No, Lords of the Fallen will not become the new Dark Souls And in no way will it harm the army of fans of the latter. It was not worth expecting anything else: Polish CI Games stays afloat only thanks to copying successful ideas, but the implementation of them is always lacking. Collaboration with Deck 13, developers of a similar category, did not fix their usual mistakes, but slightly smoothed them out.

Our journey begins… uh… well… with a bearded man of brutal appearance, who seems to be the main character, released, apparently, from prison, to, apparently, fight demons? The story here has no visible prologue and does not try to introduce the situation – things just start happening with a pompous voiceover. The game clearly has a certain universe, as evidenced by scattered audio tapes (lazy readers rejoice) and NPCs bustling in front of your eyes, with whom you can have heartfelt conversations on completely incomprehensible topics – but fragments of necessary information about it are given too late. And it becomes tedious to understand the plot, as soon as you delve into the gameplay.

Lords of the Fallen Hero: Becoming a legendary warrior

The name of the FromSoftware project is not in vain mentioned in the first paragraph. If anyone doesn’t know, LotF is the same thing for those who are very little familiar with the Souls series. It’s so much the same that it’s even slightly embarrassing for the authors, futilely scraping bits of glory from a more successful competitor, losing in the process the understanding of what they are doing. Playing, however, is still interesting.

The rules are familiar. There is us – and there is an infinite number of mobs capable of knocking us out in a few seconds. In order not to die a brave death prematurely, one should deliver accurate strikes, cast powerful spells, throw healing potions, skillfully dodge and cowardly run away. However, dying will still happen quite often.

The very first boss will already make it clear: if you want to live - know how to spin

The very first boss will already make it clear: if you want to live, learn to be flexible.

Of course, Lord of the Fallen, by its nature, could not help but inherit the insane difficulty from its ideological predecessor. Attempts to overcome the obstacles here with an arcade approach will most likely be cut off in the first few minutes – the game requires a thoughtful, cautious approach. And even following all the rules will not protect you from frustrating mistakes and damn frustrating deaths. This especially applies to battles with bosses that require perfect timing and instant decisions. Did you hesitate for a moment? Well, now you know that you won’t survive the next axe blow. Did you start attacking too early? Well, let’s start all over again.

Despite this, the game stands out in one main aspect – it is not annoying. Perhaps this is a side effect of the subjective perception of FromSoftware’s creativity, but Dark Souls literally radiates rays of hatred towards the player and does everything to make them feel as bad as possible. Survival quickly becomes a headache, and the tricks prepared on the long path between checkpoints are downright infuriating. Lords of the Fallen is much more forgiving in this regard, although it prefers to maintain a tough relationship: the cycle of “die, start over again” is perceived quite naturally and only motivates you to keep playing.

And in order not to resort to blatant copying, the developers have made several reasonable adjustments to the original mechanics. In addition to the main storyline, you can come across uncomplicated side quests and challenges with worthy rewards – a small thing, but pleasant, and you can never have too much experience. Just don’t rush to spend your precious XP points.

The design of armor is such that, regardless of equipment, your character will be bended steeply

The design of the armor is such that regardless of the equipment, your character will radiate coolness.

As in Dark Souls, leveling up occurs strictly at checkpoints. Unlike it, however, abstaining from leveling up here is rewarded with a multiplier for experience gained, which is reset when using a crystal that replaces the iconic bonfire. At first glance, this detail may seem insignificant, but the further you go, the more tangible and tempting the risk becomes. Is it worth rushing to the boss with pockets full of “exp”, or is it better, as they say, to have a bird in the hand? The decision is not an easy one, especially since in the event of death, dropped points wait for their owner for only a few minutes, after which they disappear without a trace.

Unfortunately, this fairly decent and somewhat interesting imitation sooner or later runs into some unfinished business, a lack in everything. Locations and enemies start to repeat, there is too little variety in magic, classes, and even equipment – and the situation is most eloquently illustrated by the staging. The story opens with mind-blowing CGI with an obvious claim to Blizzard-level quality – and this is the first and last similar cutscene in the game, soon replaced by a bunch of poorly executed scenes with spasmodic animation and primitive camera work. It’s like the creators have just made rough drafts for early access, but lacked either time or skill to bring the concept to completion.

If you wish, you can still dig into the plot of the Suvenue - and even you need to catch at least the essence of what is happening

The notes collected during the recording process are the only outlet for those who want to delve into the intricacies of the plot.

And yet the main problems of Lords of the Fallen lie in the technical aspect. The game’s graphics are simply superb and vibrant, but they are accompanied by unstable performance and shameless optimization. The first launch will surely end with the standard suggestion to search for a solution on the Internet. Maybe the second one too. Then, it will probably reach the main menu, where the system will freeze completely. For the particularly persistent, there are also crashes at the end of battles, inexplicable performance drops, and terrible camera behavior. The flaws are actively being patched, but there are so many holes that need to be patched.

However, it is not recommended to overlook Lords of the Fallen. The subtle differences from its obvious predecessor can attract an audience that previously couldn’t bear Dark Souls in any of its manifestations. In this case, technical issues, unattractive game world, and short duration combined with bits of content are forgivable. The main thing is not to expect great achievements from the project or attempt to overthrow FromSoftware from their throne.

Lords of the Fallen
PC, PS4, Xbox One
Action, RPG
CI Games, Square Enix
CI Games, Deck13 Interactive
Release Date:
Editor's rating:
Is it worth playing? (If the score is more than 70%)



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