Review: Lords of the Fallen (PS4)

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Title: Lords of the Fallen
Format: Blu-ray Disc / PlayStation Network Download (4.7 GB)
Release Date: October 28, 2014
Publisher: CI Games
Developer: Deck 13 Interactive and CI Games
Original MSRP: $59.99
ESRB Rating: M
Lords of the Fallen is also available on Xbox One and PC.
The PlayStation 4 disc version was used for this review.
A copy of this game was purchased by the reviewer.
PS Nation Review Policy

Gameplay:
Above all of the individual parts of Lords of the Fallen, combat takes center stage. Watch just a few seconds of the game and you’ll quickly realize the heavy influence of the Dark Souls series. Death is your friend, patience is a virtue, and being quick on those button presses is a must. Just as in that brutal series, Lords of the Fallen requires you to focus heavily on the enemy in front of you – learning its moves, tells, and openings. The more observant you are the better you’ll fare. Though the combat of the two games resembles each other, Lords of the Fallen does have its own distinct feeling in that mainly it’s more arcade-y. This arcade feeling results in a slightly “easier” sensation during combat, though be warned it is JUST a feeling, nothing more.

Harkyn, our main character, has been released from prison to fight against a group of old gods that have come back to the world. The markings on his face give him, and the world, a reminder of his heinous crime and why he was imprisoned though that is something which is never explained to us. Similarly we are introduced to a wide group of characters but we never learn much about them other than their names. Honestly though in a game that is so focused on combat and killing you do story/characters really matter? No. No, they don’t.

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To begin Harkyn’s journey you have to select what class you would like to play as – a fast and agile rogue, a hard-hitting tank, or something in between. Each play style will drastically change the difficulty of the game but thankfully you can customize your character’s stats as you go. This customization allows for any character to be fast and agile or a hard-hitting tank. Additionally any weapon can be used with the only restrictions being on specific level requirements. The giant number of weapons available along with the level of customization that is present provides a strong replay value. It gives you ample reason to take a second or third stroll through the campaign.

Upon selecting a starting class you’ll also have a choice between three distinct magic pools to use during your playthrough. Each one offers different spells that aid you in battle. Without telling you which spell pool to pick there is one that I found which made the entire game, from beginning to end, easy. As you approach the end of the game you’ll even be given the chance to choose spells from the other beginning pools to add to your death-dealing prowess.

Leveling up comes from the experience you gain in slaying Harkyn’s foes. Lords of the Fallen introduces a unique twist on the Dark Souls leveling system as you can store the experience you’ve gained for use later. When coming across one of the many save points throughout the world you’ll have a chance to store the experience you’ve gained as either Ability Points or Spell Points. Additionally if you want to take a chance you can pass up the ability to bank your points and take a risk by pressing on taking on more enemies. The appeal here comes into play when you realize that the more experience you are carrying, the more experience will drop from the enemies.

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Visuals:
Lords of the Fallen boasts its own unique-style that separates itself from Dark Souls even further. Whereas Dark Souls had a horror vibe to basically every aspect of it Lords of the Fallen has those moments but sits more firmly in the realm of just pure fantasy. Above everything else in the game the armor and weapons take center stage and they’re beautiful.

What Lords of the Fallen might lack in sheer number of armor and weapons it makes up for in ornateness (I’m going to say that is a real word) *Editor’s Note: And it actually is!. Each set of armor, each weapon, is designed with a full fantasy aesthetic even to the extent of making armor or weapons completely unrealistic. That same aesthetic is even given to the world itself. Where Dark Souls was crafted to instill fear/horror into gamer’s hearts as they played I never felt a sense of dread from the surrounding world, instead I was just impressed with the look. Add in the fantastic creatures you’ll meet and, for the most part, Lords of the Fallen is a great looking game though it does have its flaws.

Noticeable graphical issues are most apparent during the many cutscenes throughout the game. More than once did I notice pop-in, screen tearing, and aliasing.

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Audio:
The game boasts a decent audio offering. Characters are, for the majority of the time, voiced well giving a believable performance. It does feature a decent soundtrack but honestly I couldn’t even tell when or if there was music while I was playing as my attention was more on the enemies I was fighting than the background music.

My biggest complaint about the audio in the game is the sound level of the voices. It took me a long time to find the right sound settings so I could actually hear what characters were saying over the other noises in the game.

Online/Multiplayer:
This game is single player only with no online or co-op components.

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Conclusion:
While I have compared Lords of the Fallen quite a lot to the Dark Souls series, to only consider this game an easier rip-off of the other wouldn’t be offering Lords of the Fallen the respect it deserves. Lords of the Fallen is a fun romp through a strikingly beautiful world full of enemies filled with the single thought of killing you.

If you’re looking for a fun, deep RPG that balances well on the edge of being fun and outlandishly difficult then Lords of the Fallen deserves your attention. I cannot wait to re-start Harkyn’s adventure again, killing countless enemies and learning new ways of dying.

Score:
8.5

* All screenshots used in this review were taken directly from the game using the Share functionality on the PlayStation 4.

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Written by Kyle Jessee

Kyle Jessee

Your lone Kentucky writer on staff. Loves the Big Blue Nation, rock music, and Resistance 2 (the best in the series).

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  • London Rhodes

    Most of the sites that I visit were giving this game very “blah” reviews. I think it’s because of the popularity of the souls games. I did not enjoy the souls games very much. Not because they’re difficult but because they are very obtuse. Contrarily Lords of the Fallen was straight forward while still remaining challenging. I would much rather play LotF than any of the souls games.

    • I’m drawn between with I like better; LotF or the Souls series. Both offering things that the other doesn’t and both are good in their own way.

      • London Rhodes

        Though for some reason I can’t help but be excited about Bloodboune. Is that weird lol?

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