Lords of the Fallen: A Subjective Review (PS4)

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Alright, let me preface this review by saying that I am not a frequent RPG gamer. I never really got attached to the genre because, quite frankly, I am not very good at it. I lack the patience, skill, and fortitude that is usually required in this style of game. Take a baby that likes to watch Dora the Explorer, and ask them to analyze Kubrick — that’s basically me trying to review an RPG. If you’re a seasoned veteran to this style of gaming, move along — our princess is in another castle. However, if you’re interested reading my completely unbiased experience with Lords of the Fallen, then read on, brave warrior.

Basically everything I had previously heard about Lords of the Fallen compared it to FromSoftware’s Dark Souls games. But guess what– I’ve never played a Dark Souls game, so I can’t comment on that; so in that sense, my time with Lords of the Fallen is untainted.

The game has you take control of Harkyn, a convicted criminal with a chance at redemption. Pretty cook-cutter set-up as far as lead characters go. Along with his mentor Kaslo, Harkyn must embark on a journey to defeat an army of a demon species called the Rhogar.

When you start the game, instead of customizing a character, you select to equip Harkyn with one of three magic types. Then, you suit him with an equipment loadout based on your preferred playing style: warrior, rogue, or cleric. For my first at-bat, I selected the rogue class.

Players choose one of three magic types as well as their class equipment.
Players choose one of three magic types as well as their class equipment.

The opening cinematic sets the scene, and it’s clear you’re in for an epic fantasy adventure. The cut-scene graphics look nice, the characters look intriguing, and the atmosphere looks engaging. Once you progress, the in-game graphics look a little subpar for a next-gen console. Still, the world in which the game takes place is rich in its own right.

There’s a quick little tutorial on how the combat system works, and then it’s off to the races. Being successful in combat relies heavily on timing. Blocks, dodges, light attacks, and heavy attacks must be performed in a thoughtful manner in order to defeat your enemies. I thought this was an interesting concept as opposed to a button-mashing hack-n-slash, or turn-based combat system.

Then I encountered my first enemy, and it all went to Hell.

I died. A lot. It took longer than I expected to finally find my footing with the combat system, and the game offered little instruction or support in this aspect. I actually had to exit out of the game so that I could change my class because the rouge equipment just wasn’t working out. I switched over to the warrior class, and things went a little better there on out. I would recommend selecting the warrior at least until you get the hang of things.

First, the combat system was a lot more difficult to master than I had expected. On one hand I found it incredibly frustrating, but on the other hand, it provided a good deal of challenge to the game. However, the controls felt inconsistent. At times controlling Harkyn felt sluggish and cumbersome, and at other times it felt loose and fluid.

One of the bigger problems for me was the camera. It’s incredibly high-maintenance, and often ends up in a position that will get you killed due to not being able to see enemies behind you, around corners, or from any sort of “blind spot” created by the unreliable camera. This is can be especially frustrating during combat.

Still, once I found my footing, I began to like combat more an more. It encouraged a more “intelligent” playing style instead of just trying to use brute force to dispose of enemies. For more experienced gamers, it’s easy for me to see combat being on the slow side. For the most part, you battle just one enemy at a time unless you run around and activate other enemies nearby. Attacks and counter-attacks are executed a bit slowly, and I think that’s so players focus on developing a strategy. Just when I finally started getting the hang of things, I was thrust into a boss battle with the First Warden.

It was then that I realized I was less frustrated, and more determined. I still may not have known what the Hell I was doing, but through a process of trial and error, I was ultimately able to defeat the First Warden and continue on my journey.

The First Warden, right before he crumpled into a big steaming pile of dead.
The First Warden, right before he crumpled into a big steaming pile of dead.

Running around the game’s world, I started to notice some minor glitches and the bizarre physics of the world — I was able to slide what looked like a heavy bookcase across the floor like butter on ice just by walking into it, or making wooden pews burst into a million pieces just by bumping them.

Storywise, the game is pretty easy to follow and not concluded like I’d expect from other fames in the same genre. Dialogue is quick and unintrusive. However, the voice-acting isn’t all that great, and the script seems a little bit cheesy.

This dude was totally calm for having just had his arm chopped off.
This dude was totally calm for having just had his arm chopped off.

Atmosphere is something the game gets right. The world looks rich and detailed, and there’s a lot of great texture in the environment. A game that requires players to explore had better be worth exploring, and Lords of the Fallen delivers.

Overall, Lords of the Fallen seems to be the type of game I could learn to appreciate. While definitely flawed in some aspects, I think it does get a lot right, and makes for a challenging and fun experience. Early on, I thought it was a sucky game, but the more I played, the more I realized I was just a sucky player.

Lords of the Fallen is available now for Playstation 4, Xbox One, and PC

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