In this review we will tell you about Lords of the Fallen, the new soulslike developed by Hexworks and published by CI Games
If you have been a big fan of FromSoftware games for a long time you will surely remember Lords of the Fallenwhat to all intents and purposes it was the first soulslike. Obviously, being the first of its kind, the title was far from perfect, but despite this he still managed to carve out a small slice of fans. Now after almost ten years CI Games has finally published Lords of the Fallen, a sequel with the same title as its predecessorand in this review we will tell you about it in detail.
The return of Adyr | Lords of the Fallen review
Lords of the Fallen is considered a direct sequel of the 2014 title of the same name but all things considered he can almost be classified as a spiritual successor. In fact, the game tells the story a completely new story which, except for the most important worldbuilding elements that distinguish the narrative universe, has almost no connection with its predecessor.
This Lords of the Fallen is in fact set in Mournsteada land under the direct control of Sanctified Sentinels. This faction is dedicated to the cult of god of light Orius and has the task of preserving the magical seals scattered throughout the region in order to avoid the awakening of the demon god Adyr, now exiled for eons. Over time, however, Adyr’s influence in the human kingdom has become increasingly stronger and stronger she managed to corrupt both the Sentinels and the seals, bringing the whole of Mournstead to ruin.
Now the complete awakening of Adyr is ever closer and to counter it the Dark Sentinels. These soldiers of Orius are tasked with eradicating the corruption from the Sanctified Sentinels and restoring the seals to their former glory, and to do so they will have to rely on their own Lanterna Umbral. This artifact allows its bearer to freely enter and exit the Umbral kingdom (a kind of beyond), thus allowing him to cheat death and exploit the powers of this dimension to your advantage. In the game you will take on the role of a Dark Sentinel and you will have to undertake a long and dangerous journey to stop Adyr’s return.
All in all the story of Lords of the Fallen is very classic but at the same time engaging. The game actually does a good job when it comes to the worldbuilding and, despite being based heavily on classical indirect narration typical of soulslikesoften allows you to understand quite well simple and direct some of the key events that shaped Mournstead’s past. We also quite appreciated the various ones NPC present within the game. They too are based on gods fairly classic archetypes but, thanks to good characterization, many of them they still managed to make us care about their stories.
Convergence of soulslike | Lords of the Fallen review
Being a soulslike obviously Lords of the Fallen presents all the characteristic elements of the genre. In fact, the game features the classic combat system based on stamina management and on the correct one alternating between attacks, parries and dodgesAnd. Furthermore, there are some here too limited cures resettable by interacting with the Vestigeof the specific checkpoints that, just like the Souls bonfiresthey will also bring back most defeated enemies to life.
Obviously there is also one currency usable both to purchase items and to to level up is that, in the event of death, it must be recovered from the enemy who defeated you or by going to the point of your demise. Finally, just like in all the most classic soulslikes, it is possible here too customize your build in many different wayschoosing between very different armor, weapons and spells.
Lords of the Fallen, however, is not only based on these extremely basic elements of the genre but it also draws on some more specific mechanics from other titles. For example, there is a life point recovery system very similar to the one present in Bloodborne. When you are hit by an attack of a certain attribute or while you are defending yourself, a portion of the damage will be applied to your HP in the form of withering. Withered life points they can be recovered by attacking enemies but, if you are hit by something, they will reset instantly.
Your PC, however, is not only subject to withering but he is also capable of inflicting it. There are some weapons and spells that take advantage of this type of damage but more you can also apply it thanks to your Umbral lantern. In fact, this artifact also has some offensive functions and you can use one of his charges to Temporarily separate an enemy’s soul from their body. In this situation the opponent will be stunned and you will be able to attack his spirit for deal massive withering damage to it.
Furthermore, there is also one attack deflection mechanic very similar to Sekiro’s parry. Simply by pressing the parry button at the right time in fact, you will be able to completely nullify the enemy’s attack while also dealing a lot of damage to his posture. When an enemy’s posture drops to zero you can use a kick or charge attack to stun him and then execute a very powerful lethal blow.
Although they are very derivative, these mechanics work and allow players to adopt different play styles with which to face your adventure. Unfortunately, the diversion system he failed to fully convince us. In fact, the feeling of the parry is not the best and it is often unclear which attacks can be deflected and which cannot. Also deflecting a shot perfectly you will still take some withered damage which will continue to accumulate with each deviation. This means that if you want to play using parries a lot you will be forced to invest a lot of experience to increase your life pointsas otherwise a single mistake could lead to frustrating instant defeat.
The Umbral Kingdom | Lords of the Fallen review
Let’s now move on to what is certainly the greatest peculiarity of Lords of the Fallen: the kingdom of Umbral. The Umbral realm is a kind of afterlife that it overlaps with the normal material world e, in the event of death, your protagonist will be catapulted there. Dying while in the realm of the living will in fact allow you to immediately return to life at the same location but within the Umbral realm. Being defeated while in the realm of the dead means facing a game over, but if you play your cards right you may have a chance to come back to life. In fact, throughout Umbal there are Idols of Emergencestatues with which you can interact to return to the world of the living.
This mechanic is really useful and well done, given that allows players to have another chance without being forced to start over from the last Vestigebut obviously it brings with it gods additional risks. In fact, while you are in the Umbral Kingdom you will not have to deal only with enemies from the normal world but even with those who live in the afterlife. These creatures can be very dangerous indeed and, unlike those in the living world, many of them will continue to respawn constantly.
Also while you are in this place there will be a bar called fear indicator which will constantly fill up. As this bar fills, more and more enemies will spawn in your surroundings and, once it is completely full, you will be attacked by an extremely powerful and almost impossible to defeat creature. This constant danger is necessary to prevent players from abusing the Umbral Realm too much, but at the same time forces them to move within it a little too hastily.
Exploration between planes | Lords of the Fallen review
Of all the elements of Lords of the Fallen, the one that struck us the most is certainly the level design. The title indeed boasts a very large and complex game world full of crossroads, intricate and secret paths. Also exploring the areas well you will always be rewarded with unique treasures and useful items which will give meaning to your exploration.
However, what contributes most to the level design of Lords of the Fallen is certainly the Umbral Kingdom. In fact, this dimension not only hides new dangers, but also new treasures and new paths. In fact, you will often find yourself reaching rooms that may apparently seem empty and useless but which entering the realm of the dead will reveal hidden secret paths. In fact, your PC cannot access Umbral just by dying, but he is also able to do it manually using his lantern. Passing from the world of the living to that of the dead is indeed a fundamental aspect of the game and often it will also be mandatory to do so to pass certain sections.
To make the transition from the material to the spiritual world more intuitive, the Umbral Lantern comes to your aid once again. By holding down the appropriate button you can in fact use the light of the artifact to illuminate the surroundings and take a look at what lies behind Umbral. Furthermore, Umbral’s points of interest are often marked by gods flocks of moths visible to the naked eye even in the normal worldthus making them even easier to find.
The paths of the Umbral kingdom will not always be simple and linear like those of the material world, but they will often require player intervention to overcome. In fact, in this afterlife there are many elements with which you must interact using your Lantern to continue. For example, you might find some mobile platforms to attract towards you or you might come across bodies to destroy with the power of the lantern to be able to continue.
Another feature of the Umbral kingdom that contributes to making the game’s level design even more interesting are the flower beds. These locations are scattered throughout the game areas and here you can plant a vestigial seed (a fairly rare consumable item) for create mini Vestiges. In Lords of the Fallen infatti checkpoints are quite rare compared to other titles of the genre and thanks to this mechanic you will have the possibility to decide for yourself where to place one.
Artificial difficulty | Lords of the Fallen review
Lords of the Fallen unfortunately suffers from a very serious problem: It’s damn frustrating. In fact, for its entire duration the game will focus on put the player in difficulty in an unfair and extremely unsatisfactory way. This problem is mainly caused by enemies and how they are placed within areas. Basically the creatures that infest Mournstead are simple enough to defeat and even the most dangerous ones use gods Very basic and easy to learn movesets. Furthermore…