Graphics:
7.2
Gameplay:
7.5
Sound:
7.7
Control:
7.0
Replay Value:
7.0
Overall Rating:
7.2
Online Gameplay:
Not Rated
Publisher:
CI Games
Developer:
Deck13, CI Games
Number Of Players:
1
Genre:
Action/Adventure
Release Date:
October 28, 2014


For the sake of argument, let’s say you love the dark fantasy feel of the Dark Souls games, but you find the difficulty too overwhelming. You wish such adventures were a bit more accessible. You wish another developer would adopt a similar theme and tone, but provide you with a quest that doesn’t seem tailored toward masochists. Then you need to try out Lords of the Fallen , a solid action adventure that tries to straddle the line between challenging and simple entertainment. It’s just not as polished as From Software’s productions.

Graphically, the game excels in the realm of atmosphere and ambiance. It’s not so much the detail or scope of the game that grabs your attention; it’s the deep fantastical style that permeates to the core. Everything, from allies to enemies to your environment, seems to have this otherworldly, supernatural aura, and this provides the player with an immersive landscape. The visuals can feel a little repetitive and uninspired; simply due to the multitude of shadowy corridors you traverse. However, if you gravitate toward this type of atmosphere, you won’t mind in the least.

The sound stays true to the developer’s vision as well. The protagonist’s gruff, gravelly voice fits the situation perfectly, and the haunting orchestral score adds the appropriate sensations. There’s nothing particularly special about the voice performances, soundtrack, or effects, but they all work together to mold a cohesive, formidable style that remains consistent. It’s a great game to play with a decent set of headphones, because you’ll appreciate the ambient audio that continues to draw you into the experience. Overall, the technical presentation is the epitome of “greater than the sum of its parts.”

You play as Harkyn, a powerful warrior who doesn’t take a Dante-like delight in slaying demons and monsters. In fact, he’s sort of forced into his role as fighter and protector and as such, he comes across as an almost indifferent – yet strangely forceful – character. Unfortunately, the writers don’t do much with Harkyn and for the record, they don’t do much with the storyline, either. Lords of the Fallen doesn’t aspire to the lore-driven literary heights achieved by From Software’s team, but that’s okay. While we don’t get a particularly engaging plot and the characters fall shy, the gameplay is worthy of your time.

Above all else, this world is dark and deadly. It’s a vision of combat hell, where only the strong survive, and the meek are instantly swallowed by a rapidly spreading evil. Whether you meet your ultimate demise at the hands of a horrid creature, or you simply succumb to the murky, poisonous air, a regular ol’ human wouldn’t last long here. Now, what I don’t quite understand is why the developers decided to hide much of this extremely effective world. I’m not asking for a big open-world structure, but we just spend way too much time working our way through cramped spaces. You can’t appreciate your environment that way.

Despite this drawback, the atmosphere is so wildly oppressive that you’ll still feel the taint of this infested, infected realm. This adventure will last you 15-20 hours, although there’s more fun to be had if you take your time and explore. Yes, you can explore a bit more as the game progresses; those cramped areas open up and give you more freedom. Above all else, though, the combat is the overriding focal point. You’ll swing an axe or a sword, dodge incoming attacks, and utilize special magic that can devastate even the most dangerous opponents. When your energy begins to fall, you won’t have access to certain skills and that’s when you’ll be vulnerable. Plus, you need to understand your weapons and standard movement speed before you really start to master the fighting.