Lords of the Fallen Review for Xbox One

Lords of the Fallen Review for Xbox One

Not Quite Hardcore

Lords of the Fallen , the new action game from Deck 13 and Bandai Namco, is an interesting creation. On the surface, it looks a whole lot like a “ Dark Souls ” style game, a slow and plodding action game that relies heavily on well-timed blocks and dodges along with incredibly slow attacks that need to be used at opportune times. However, if you stick around and watch the game for a while, you’ll notice some key differences. Specifically, you’ll notice that you don’t die nearly as much. The game forgives you for button mashing more than Dark Souls would. The game also has a deeper focus on plot and no multiplayer elements. It’s then that you realize that Lords of the Fallen isn’t really just a Dark Souls clone, but is rather a marriage between the hardcore Dark Souls style of action gameplay, and then frantic button mashy gameplay we have come to expect from games like God of War . Even though the game stumbles at times, the strange fusion of gameplay styles works and creates a likeable, if not slightly forgettable experience for the action crowd.

The weakest part of Lords of the Fallen is the story. You are Harkyn, a former criminal who was released from his imprisonment to defend the world from an interdimensonal scourge called the Rhogar. And… uh… yeah… that’s about it. The game tries to throw some plot twists your way, saving details about Harkyn’s past until the very end of the game, but plot details drip in at a slow pace and by the time you are halfway through the game’s 15 hour run time, you will likely have forgotten all about it. The game even tries to include elements of a moral choice system and dynamic dialogue, but none of the choices you make matter, and the dialogue feels forced. It feels like a pretender, playing at being a “serious” game with a “mature” plot, while really wanting to focus on gameplay first and foremost.

And, to be honest, the gameplay does not disappoint. As I said before, it is very reminiscent of Dark Souls , right down the management of your stamina bar. Everything you do, from attacking to dodging, uses up your stamina bar, so button mashing is discouraged. Like with Dark Souls , playing the game effectively comes down to this delicate dance of offense and defense, and mastering that dance is what makes the game fun.

Lords of the Fallen excels in offering you different ways to master this dance as well. The weapons that you can equip are many and varied, from axes to scythes to swords to warhammers and more. Each handles a bit differently, although each is decently slow.

Lords of the Fallen Screenshot

You also get three sets of spells to choose from for warrior, rogue, or cleric classes. This set of options isn’t nearly as expansive as Dark Souls ’ options, but they also feel slightly more distinct than Dark Souls ’ offerings. As you level up and increase your power, some of these skills become broken, removing stamina requirements, reducing damage to nothing, and generally letting you break the rules of the game. But that’s actually what makes Lords of the Fallen feel like so much fun. It’s kind of like playing Dark Souls with cheat codes turned on.

Lords of the Fallen Screenshot

This feeling extends to Lords of the Fallen ’s experience system, which is this interesting little risk reward game. Basically, as you continue to kill enemies without dying, you earn experience multipliers. These multipliers stack up quite quickly, allowing you to become absurdly powerful absurdly fast. However, there is a catch. If you die you lose all the experience you have collected up until that point. The experience is then stationed at your ghost, which you have to get to in order to pick it up again. However, this experience is on a timer, and will disappear after a long enough time, so now you have to make a mad dash through an area that just killed you in order to get all of it back. This is actually fun, if not a little frustrating, as you constantly have to gauge how risky you want to play the game. However, even if you do find yourself dying and losing experience, you can always play a little more risky to rack up a multiplier and catch up to where you were before. Since enemies don’t respawn unless you die, this is basically the only way to rack up XP. You effectively cannot grind at all.

“Risk” is perhaps the most fun part in Lords of the Fallen . In games like Dark Souls , you can’t afford to take any risks. You have to play ultra-conservatively to tackle the games ultra-hard difficulty. Lords of the Fallen , however, just doesn’t have as much at stake. You aren’t playing with anyone, you aren’t losing your items, and even if you do lose your XP you can get it back just as quickly. It’s a Dark Souls type game that you can play a bit more fast and loose, and for that reason it is quite enjoyable.

Lords of the Fallen Screenshot

It’s a shame, then, that all other aspects of the game come up short. The voice acting isn’t that great. The character models look like they are dragged out of an eighties medieval comic book. Animations can feel stiff at times. Environments are wholly uninteresting swapping back and from castle to mountain to dungeon to mountain to anything else that the game can render in a muted shade of grey or brown. The most interesting place you’ll get to go is the home dimension of your enemy, and even that is a short and wholly unimpressive romp.

But even with its bland environment and uninteresting story, Lords of the Fallen is fun. The combat is enjoyable, leveling up is a blast, and when you beat the game you unlock New Game Plus which is a great treat. In a game that seems to build itself off the ability to be broken in a format where you feel underpowered, New Game Plus is just the icing on the overpowered cake.

For a next-gen game, it’s not too impressive, but that’s mostly due to the world design. 3.5 Control
The controls feel tight, though the movement is slow. 2.5 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
The voice acting leaves something to be desired, but that’s also because the plot is not all that interesting. 4.0 Play Value
As a casual styled Dark Souls type game, it’s quite fun. 3.5 Overall Rating – Good
Not an average. See Rating legend below for a final score breakdown.

Review Rating Legend
0.1 – 1.9 = Avoid 2.5 – 2.9 = Average 3.5 – 3.9 = Good 4.5 – 4.9 = Must Buy
2.0 – 2.4 = Poor 3.0 – 3.4 = Fair 4.0 – 4.4 = Great 5.0 = The Best

Game Features:

  • Medieval fantasy world: Filled with chaos and lethal danger, where player never feels safe; The full history of both world and the player character unveils and dramatically changes throughout the gameplay
  • Fighting against the formidable Lords and Generals: Even regular opponents make up a challenging duels; Over 15 boss encounters including giant beasts; Opponents include both supernatural beings and humans
  • The combat system with many complex skills: Large variety of tactical medieval based weapon fighting techniques; Powerful and spectacular supernatural skills
  • Large variety of items and gear: Classes of gear: Warrior, Rogue, Cleric; Tons of hidden objects and locations; Freedom of mixing different classes for both gear and skills

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