‘Lords of the Fallen’ promises an interesting tomorrow

Lords of the Fallen 1

Burly warriors carrying swords and war hammers are not scarce. Neither are the fallen gods they usually do battle with, or the big ass demon knights jealously hiding all the treasures those warriors can put to good use. Snow-covered, dilapidated castles and epic mountain ranges are a dime a dozen. Part of what made fantasy precious back in the day was scarcity, but now we’re spoiled for choices. The Elder Scrolls Online, Dark Souls II, and thousands of others have it covered, and newcomers usually live a short life. Just look at poor, poor Kingdoms of Amalur.

That isn’t stopping City Interactive of Warsaw, Poland and Deck 13 of Frankfurt, Germany from trying their hand with the PC, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4 action role-playing game Lords of the Fallen. It’s got all those token fantasy trimmings in bulk, but an E3 demo of a super early version of the game shows that the game isn’t an imitator, but rather a testament to the team’s particular loves.

Story/Concept

Lords of the Fallen 2

Blasphemy? City Interactive’s Tomasz Gop, executive producer on the game, loves the lore in Lords of the Fallen, and described the following with some glee: The population in the game’s Nordic fantasyland don’t have a loving relationship with their deities. 8,000 years ago, the people went to war with their god, ultimately toppling the omnipotent blighter and remaking the world in their own image. Imposing mountains can be seen in the distance, the form of what’s said to be god’s hand jutting up from the earth where he fell. Today things aren’t much better, with demons called Rhogar popping up to rough folks up. The player creates their own character to battle them back.

Gameplay

Lessons learned. Lords of the Fallen learns the lessons of its contemporaries well. Environments like the abbey featured in the E3 demo are open to exploration, but the game isn’t open world. (The team actually hasn’t finalized how many explorable areas there actually will be.) The player is meant to return to them again and again, to discover hidden secrets and access areas that were previously blocked off because they lacked certain skills.

Old school and new. Combat is typically slow and methodical, with the big Rhogar (boss baddie Lords) capable of downing the hero in one swipe. Gop openly compared his game to Dark Souls, which engages in the same environmental and combat play, but also cites old one-on-one fighting game Tekken as an inspiration. Every death, he says, and every conflict should feel fun and like something the player earned by learning how to play steadily.

Choices+. The characters you create are broken into three classes: the hammer-wielding cleric, the speedy rogue, and the tank warrior. You’re not locked into these roles once you start playing, since you can change up provided you find a full set of each class’ armor and weaponry. There are also three skill trees for leveling up your character as they fight and earn experience: intelligence, vitality, and endurance. It’s basic stuff, but it also accommodates different styles of play. If you like to be agile or a bruiser, it’s easy to change that up on the fly.

Lords of the Fallen 3

Presentation

And again. At first blush, Lords of the Fallen just looks like a nice modern PC game. The abbey’s architecture, symphonic score, and fiery red demons are all pretty generic, as is the broad-chested, shiny-armored character in your control. It’s all competently done and nice, but not particularly memorable or demonstrative of next-generation technology.

That makes sense, though. This is a pre-alpha build, meaning that even though the game’s been in production for two years, it’s still a world away from being finished. All of this can change as the game is further developed, and as Gop said, the visual style was entirely different when they started.

Promises. There were some flourishes. After whittling down the health of the big boss of the demo, the muscley Lord started doing a berserker dance with his huge sword, a spinning ballet of fire and metal. The sparks wooshing off the monster looked like nothing you’d ever see on Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3.

Takeaway

Lords of the Fallen is planned for 2014, but it’s anyone’s guess if the game will actually make it out by then. Games like this, though, are what make a new console cycle exciting. It’s familiar, built out of old tropes, but it’s made by people who love what they’re doing. “If you love what you do, that shines through,” said Gop. And it did in this demo. One to look forward to.

Gaming

Annual game releases are boring. Try a quirky indie game for the PS4 instead

While big budget games rely on practical innovation, indie games dive head first into new, unexplored territories. If the quirky and unusual appeal to you, take a look at our list of the best indie games on PS4.
Gaming

Your PlayStation 4 game library isn't complete without these games

Looking for the best PS4 games out there? Out of the massive crop of titles available, we selected the best you should buy. No matter what your genre of choice may be, there's something here for you.
Gaming

These are the best Xbox One games out right now

More than four years into its lifespan, Microsoft's latest console is finally coming into its own. From 'Cuphead' to 'Halo 5,' the best Xbox One games offer something for everyone.
Gaming

The hottest Nintendo Switch games you can get right now

The Nintendo Switch's lineup started off small, but games have steadily released as the console continues through its second year. Here are the best Nintendo Switch games available now, from Super Mario Odyssey to Fortnite.
Gaming

Dinner is cancelled! How to keep Call of Duty's zombies from eating your brain

New to Call of Duty: Black Ops 4's Zombies mode and don't know how to succeed? We've got the tips you need to blast away at the undead and keep yourself alive for longer, even without other players helping.
Gaming

Who needs a sharpshooter when you have our 'Fortnite' shooting gallery guide

Fortnite season 6, week 4 challenges are here and with it comes the shooting gallery challenge. We show you where to find the shooting gallery locations and what kind of guns to use.
Computing

'World's best gaming processor'? We put Intel's new i9 through the ringer

Intel has launched the first Core i9 for the average gamer. Despite some controversies around its release, it’s the fastest gaming processor we’ve yet tested.
Deals

The best Nintendo Switch deals and bundles for October 2018

Looking to score Nintendo's latest hybrid console? We've smoked out the best Nintendo Switch deals right here, including discounts on stand-alone consoles as well as bundles that feature games like Fortnite and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.
Gaming

Rockstar Games employees defend work culture following controversy

Rockstar Games employees have taken to social media to speak out about working conditions following the controversial comment about 100-hour work weeks made by co-founder Dan Houser in an interview.
Home Theater

They’re not just for gaming: Watch Blu-rays on the Xbox One S and Xbox One X

While the Xbox One S and Xbox One X boost the visuals of your games, they also can pull double-duty as Blu-ray players, but there's a bit of set up needed. Need help? Here's our guide on how to watch Blu-rays on the Xbox One S and X.
Gaming

More days gone: Sony moves zombie exclusive ‘Days Gone’ to April

Sony has delayed the PlayStation 4 exclusive Days Gone to April. It was previously bumped from a 2018 release window into February, 2019, but Sony Bend apparently needs more time to add polish.
Product Review

Huawei’s monster Mate 20 X makes the Galaxy Note 9 look small

The Huawei Mate 20 X has a 7.2-inch screen, but is surprisingly manageable to hold, yet still a little too big to carry around. Huawei’s pushing the phone’s ability as a mobile gaming handheld, challenging the Nintendo Switch.
Gaming

Here's where Xur is and what he has for wares this week in 'Destiny 2: Forsaken'

The weekly vendor in Destiny 2: Forsaken always brings Exotic weapons and armor, some of the toughest loot to find in the game. Here's everything you need to know to track down Xur: Where he is, when he shows up, and what he's stocking.
Gaming

‘Call of Duty: Black Ops 4’ adds Black Market system to dress up your soldier

Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 added the Black Market system to PS4 today, giving players new ways to unlock and acquire additional customization items, such as outfits for Specialists.