LORDS OF THE FALLEN

Unintentionally comedic, a ‘souls’ game, that isn’t quite there sadly; but with excellent visuals,and at the end of the day, quite entertaining nevertheless, yes. When I played Dark Souls&...

Unintentionally comedic, a ‘souls’ game, that isn’t quite there sadly; but with excellent visuals,and at the end of the day, quite entertaining nevertheless, yes.

When I played Dark Souls I made a note of how sparse the plot was, with the game focused entirely on giving the player something with no frills attached; pure game that was a treat out of nowhere at the time, challenging the way games were made and twisting those notions upon themselves, successfully. Deck 13 Interactive and CI Games’ Lords of the Fallen tries to take it a step further, and throws you into a blitz you have zero understanding of, without the souls game difficulty and punishing atmosphere to leave you with razor sharp focus required to stay in the moment itself rather than whatever else comes next.  This is why it pales, and loses out, when your attention wanders, and you realize it’s emptier than you’d like, because it most definitely wants to be a souls game.

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There is a brief introduction telling you what’s happening, and why Harkyn is being chosen for this particular task (it involves the demonic Rhogar). Your existence as Harkyn though, has become vapid in the process, because even the portentous boss battles aren’t anything demanding; not easy, but not really packing a punch either. There’s also the fact that you feel nothing for these characters, including Harkyn himself, simply because you never really get to know them, who they are and what their motives might be (the bland boss names don’t help, really); if I am to fight a cool boss who’s got no sting in combat I need some personality suffused in him, else it gets hard to differentiate him from the thousand other checkpoints I find in the game.

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This could’ve been done, and it would’ve given the characters the same lustre the world you inhabit does. You’re left in an undeniably colourful world, and yet, it remains strangely redolent of architecture from the Dark Ages, with gloomy gothic undertones. Good stuff, because Dark Souls looks like a page out of hell plastered onto your screen. This is more scenic, and it works for this game.But here I go, making it sound all bad. It’s not. Quite frankly, it can be fun, just tone down the sense of competition you have going when you think of Dark Souls each time you think of this. Nobody is blaming you, yes, it’s definitely more than a nod, but it does gameplay really well, and mimicking the best still makes it better than a lot of the rest. We’re now going over it with a fine toothed comb, only because it’s above the required benchmark.

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There’s XP, which you can lose if you die (recover if you find your body fast, because there’s a timer), but you get buff very fast so this might not hurt you all that much (which seems to be the central theme for the game, ‘tough, and fluff too’).  You have some truly stylized weapons and armour set pieces that you’ll like to use (I love the staves, they’re wonderful, and the feel of them, their range and damage suits me nicely), but they poured all their imagination into coming up with environment appropriate names for the weapons which is why they most likely ran out when they got to Rhogar themselves. To all the people who’re put off by Dark Souls this can be a ‘gateway game’ for you, because it’s got all of that and stuff of its own, which makes it a nice(r) game to play. If the hardness was all that was keeping you away, then this game entertains you the same way, with less punishing gameplay.

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