Wot I Think: Lords of the Fallen

Lords of the Fallen is the first of what will surely be many clones of the Souls games – which is great! I adore the Souls series and think the action-RPG genre could learn a tonne from them. Lords of the Fallen, unfortunately, is not the brightest child in the class, and more to the point the PC version is currently in a right old state. Hero Harkyn faces tonnes of nasties, but the worst of the lot is the game itself.

I’ll get to the technical stuff in a moment, but suffice to say that it stopped me from completing Lords of the Fallen – my Steam profile says I’ve spent 15 hours in-game, but I’d estimate just under half of that was actually playing. So these impressions are based on the opening half of the game, all of which take place in an extended fortress complex that so badly wants to be Boletaria from Demon’s Souls.

Not-Boletaria has turrets with arrow-shooting soldiers, it has switch-operated gate mechanisms, it has minor divergences in routes, and it has an extremely confusing underground maze. The environment is heavily inspired by what the Souls games did with 3D architecture – that is, twisting it around itself to create dense configurations with surprising shortcuts and many secrets. LotF’s locations are gorgeous if a little samey, but despite some nice use of shortcuts they never feel as intelligently-designed – multiple paths tending towards the same goal, and myriads of rooms feel like little more than distractions.

LotF’s nicest touch by far is the experience system, which rewards you for not ‘banking’ your XP by increasing the multipliers and drops you get for defeating enemies – after a few hours I had more armour and weaponry than I knew what to do with. This is a great way of allowing a player to set their own challenge and take risks, and possibly even an improvement on its inspiration. But in this light it’s bizarre that one of the attributes you can upgrade is ‘luck,’ which also improves your drop rate. I’m not a fan of an upgrade path that simply changes a background number generator rather than improving my character in a tangible way, especially when the game already features a ready-made alternative system.

The story in LotF, so far, is one of the most forgettable I’ve ever played through. Harkyn’s just a gruff cipher and the NPCs are barely any better, with the only interesting pieces of world-building existing in the audio diaries scattered about. But this doesn’t matter enormously in a game that’s all about the fighting, and LotF has both good and bad.

The combat system’s elements are straight from the Souls series – a stamina meter, a dodge-roll, a parry, and refillable potions – but the overall pace is slower. The game offers three classes and I played through the opening hours as both Rogue and Warrior, with the latter so much more capable of dealing damage and weathering attacks that it seemed almost unbalanced. Of course I accept that a Rogue should feature a different playstyle and be weaker than a Warrior – but the fact that combat is actually quite simple, with little room for unusual tactics beyond strafe-then-backstab, meant that this felt like playing the game on two wildly different difficulty modes.

The combat does get some things right, in particular its incorporation of magic – available to all three classes – which acts as distractions and buffs rather than simply mana nukes, and a gauntlet that once upgraded acts as a powerful ranged weapon. Better even than this is the idea of charging attacks, which allows you to knock enemies flat out of their stride or get extra damage in on a recovering boss, and which rewards perfect timing on combo strikes with reduced-stamina consumption. These last two ideas, in particular, feel like they’re adding something to the Souls formula rather than slavishly imitating.

Overall, though, the combat and particularly the bosses end up underwhelming. The combat may have its own character, but it also features several noticeable compromises in execution. Problems have simply been fixed in a quick-and-dirty manner – for example, spacing. Let’s say you’re fighting an enemy and deliberately keeping it at a range where a swing won’t hit you. It will swing and magically zoom a few feet forward while doing so in order to make that blow connect. The hitboxes on enemy weapons are highly questionable, particularly with horizontal swings. And with the second boss, he’d sometimes stop moving and then hit me out of nowhere with an invisible attack. The latter might be fixed in a patch, but don’t hold your breath about the others.

As for the bosses, none of them so far has killed me. Not one. In fact most of them don’t even fight you, preferring instead to cast spells, use the environment, or summon in NPCs to do their bidding while occasionally taking a swing. A huge part of the Souls series is the satisfaction you get from defeating an enemy that, at first, seemed unassailable. There is none of that here. To add insult to injury, some of them even copy attacks from Souls bosses – earlyish boss The Worshipper uses a scythe, shoots giant blades from the ground, and summons melee NPCs to distract you. That’s pretty Nito, and in another context might be classed as a tribute, but in a game with such an overwhelming Souls influence it both accentuates the lack of fresh ideas and suffers terribly in the comparison.

It all adds up to a combat system that’s great in theory but in reality feels terribly average. This superficiality extends across LotF. While the visuals are impressive technically, for example, it would be remiss of me not to point out that the aesthetic stinks. This is generic fantasy with a heavy dash of Diablo III, all smoking red eyes and ridiculous shoulderpads, and its pus-monsters and demon-knights and fat fire-throwers just lack any subtlety in their design. A brief digression encapsulates this: in Dark Souls there’s an undead dragon, and this is how its designer Masunori Waganai described the design process:

“When I was drawing the Undead Dragon I submitted a design draft that depicted a dragon swarming with maggots and other gross things. [Director Hidetaka] Miyazaki handed it back to me saying ‘This isn’t dignified. Don’t rely on the gross factor to portray an undead dragon. Can’t you instead try to convey the deep sorrow of a magnificent beast doomed to a slow and possibly endless descent into ruin?’”

Lords of the Fallen doesn’t have an undead dragon, that I’ve seen anyway, but if it did the thing would be swarming with maggots.

So now we come to the real horror. The Lords of the Fallen preview build worked fine for me, and my PC hits the recommended specs (albeit using an AMD graphics card) – with the exception of framerate drops, which I put down to it being a preview build. The review build on the other hand got worse as time wore on. It began with extreeemmee frame drops, slowdown, screen-tear, dodgy collision detection and so on – these would come and go, but at a certain point I decided to check all my drivers, uninstall the game, and start from scratch.

After this point Lords of the Fallen was never the same again, with the loading times lengthened enormously and multiple crashes the order of the day. Then things got worse and on three separate occasions it bluescreened my PC (don’t say I never do anything for you). At that point I gave up. I looked around to see if anyone else had experienced issues, and it seems this is not uncommon – I can’t test different hardware, but others have, and the results on high-end cards are not encouraging.

There is apparently a 5GB patch incoming for Lords of the Fallen, which may make a difference, but at this point I’d advise steering well clear unless you’re rocking an absolutely monster rig. Even then, is it worth it? From the not-inconsiderable amount I’ve played of LotF it feels like a game that lacks the finesse and precision of its inspiration, lacking any kind of multiplayer element and offering only a Diablo-esque quantity of loot to keep you coming back. Presuming that the game is patched to a workable state RPS will return to take another look in a week or so’s time – but until then, you’d be better-served replaying the Souls games.

Lords of the Fallen is out now on Steam for £30/$50. Don’t buy it.

85 Comments

  1. Meat Circus says:

    I’m not surprised that Lords of the Fallen is a mess. You can’t make a Souls game just by half arsed cloning some if its parts.

    No game is the sum of its parts, but it’s least true for Souls games, whose very existence is based upon all its parts working together holistically to produce a glorious, emergent gestalt.

    • zaphod42 says:

      Other than the technical problems though the game is quite brilliant. It controls exactly like dark souls and they should be commended for this. Most people I’ve seen are being a bit too negative on it, holding it against all three demon’s and dark souls games at the same time, and through rose-colored glasses.

      The technical problems are significant and I won’t try to defend them.

      But comeon, lets not pretend like Dark Souls is perfect. Do you remember how much people complained about Dark Souls 2 compared to 1 when it first came out?

      This game is fun, and deserves to sit next to Demon’s and Dark Souls.

      They just really need to patch out all the bugs first :(

      • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

        We need the ultimate souls-like game, something that does everything undisputably better, a total masterpiece.

        Before then, any “clone” will actually reinforce how any souls game is better and even help hide all the imperfections, which are many, but mostly forgotten about as you say.

        The Souls series has achieved Half Life status, which is funny because if you really think about it, a hypotethical Half Life 3 would probably turn out as a disappointment, no matter how much everyone keeps salivating about it.

        I have the feeling Valve knows this all too well, i’m pretty sure they have no idea how to pull it off, and indeed they are precisely doing nothing, which is most profitable since they have their godlike standing intact.

        • Stimpack says:

          Bread is delicious. There’s just something about freshly baked bread in the morning that really makes my day. I also love the many variations in which bread can take form.

          What wouldn’t be delicious is Half-Life 3. I can’t believe it’s taken so long for Valve to announce anything about it. As if they’ve not been working on it this whole time! Ultimately I agree that it would probably end up as a disappointment to most.

      • Tacroy says:

        VaatiVidya over on YouTube pointed out that this game is more like the second or third 3rd party entry in a new genre that From Software invented with Demon’s Souls – I guess you could call it a third-person slash-em-up?

        It’s also similar to Half-Life, in that Half-Life in a lot of ways was one of the first-ish games to make an FPS with a genuine story, leading to games like Halo.

  2. Anthile says:

    Until today I never quite realized how much I hate overly large shoulder pads. Look at them! Awful.

    • Meat Circus says:

      Presumably it’s so Gamergaters and their kind can shamedly fap to homoerotic Chris Hemsworth Shoulders power fantasies.

      • amateurviking says:

        Actually it’s about ethics in games journalism.

        • Jamesworkshop says:

          actually it’s nothing to do with lords of the fallen

          true story

      • Unclepauly says:

        Oh cool now we get to call down entire groups of people sexual preferences based things that don’t have anything to do with sexuality. Can we lump race, religion, and physical appearance in also? We could have a field day with those.

        • Jamesworkshop says:

          I enjoy long walks on the beach and paying hookers to kick me in the junk

    • Renevent says:

      I love this art style, bad ass warrior wielding grievous looking weapons encased in impressive armor. Looks cooler and makes more sense (in a fantasy sort of way) than weebos with hair gel and delicate (oh but so emotional!) features.

      To be honest though Dark Souls has the best aesthetics IMO. Love the look of Knights armor set for instance, and how awesome they were able to animate it.

      Regarding what Meat Circus said, sounds like a personal fantasy.

    • lowprices says:

      This is aimed at superhero comics, but is pretty relevant to RPG armour design.

      link to skullpanda.com

    • zaphod42 says:

      I actually like Warhammer and 40k so…. I kinda like it :P

    • Dances to Podcasts says:

      Simple solution: shrug.

    • Tram says:

      But… But… Tai Kaliso

  3. adamacuo says:

    Was really hoping that the game would come together. I’ll take another look post patch – maybe wait until a Steam sale.

    • zaphod42 says:

      I think RPS was being a little harsh, but then again I haven’t had the crashes that they have.

      Ignoring the technical problems (which are serious) the game is super fun, and extremely close to dark souls. I disagree with most of the gameplay criticism, its super fun, and dark souls isn’t as flawless as most people seem to be acting like. I say that as a HUGE dark souls fan, I love them, but they’re not perfect either.

      Hopefully a patch will fix the crashes and then this game will be pretty good.

  4. TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

    I still stand by my idea that “luck” is nothing more than a “challenge” stat.

    Raise it and you’ll get something in return, just something little that doesn’t boost your character too much, but still welcome. You’re not getting stronger and probably that luck increase is nothing really gamebreaking, but you’re still spending on something.

    I’m totally going heavy on luck while trying for some big exp multipliers ( and risks ). Maxed Luck and Charisma was my route in Fallout aswell. All this “Make your own challenge” is probably the only thing they have that can beat their source of inspiration.

    Well, other than graphics, off course, although purely from a technical standpoint. Artistically speaking i still prefer the souls games.

    I’d love to see those guys try again though, this time with a character generation system in place, a more realistic focus on what matter and what doesn’t and no overly superbadass stuff.

  5. WiggumEsquilax says:

    A bug filled mess. Repetitive mazes. Threadbare plot. Questionable hitboxes. Derivative bosses. Massive patch that should have been included in the initial release.

    LotF is Diablo 3 in so many ways, not just the aesthetic.

  6. Renevent says:

    Technical issues are being reported by lots of sources, so that’s obviously concerning. I usually don’t have any issues playing games though so I’ll probably be fine…well…guess I will find out later today lol. Anyways overall the review was good and sounds pretty on par with what I was expecting. Basically Dark Souls lite, which isn’t a bad thing itself. As for the some of the other complaints (such as the aesthetics), that’s actually a pro in my book.

  7. aliksy says:

    Who else is absolutely sick of journals in games with voice overs? All the bioshock games, the new tomb raider, borderlands… I am so sick of that cliche, and I’m displeased it’s here too. Often it doesn’t even make sense for the journal to have been written. “Dear Diary: I’m stranded on an island being chased by cannibals, but let me take the time to write one page in a book and leave it someplace I’ve never been.”

    Also, this game has diablo loot? That’s terrible. One of my favorite things about Dark Souls is the equipment. Specifically, how pretty much all of it is viable. You can play the whole game with a starting broad sword and shield.

    • skyturnedred says:

      I’d much rather listen to the story playing in the background while still actually playing. Even if it might make little sense in the grand scheme of things, but gameplay should be first. The alternative is often presenting the same information in a cut-scene, and that is just bollocks. I want to play, not watch!

      • Hex says:

        It worked for Bastion, it could work for others. I’d like to try it.

    • Renevent says:

      I’m not a fan of cut scenes or forced story elements…so If the developer wants to give me some story bits and I had a choice between sitting there listening to some NPC talking, or finding a journal and being able to listen to it as I prod along in the game? Journal all the way.

      Best is something more like Dark Souls or Grimrock though…I like it when the game worlds themselves are the stories and there’s just small clues/notes/etc to add flavor.

      • jonahcutter says:

        The Souls series does have the “forced” story-telling though. Each NPC has several lines of dialogue that you need to stand there and listen to if you want to glean all the story the game has to offer. These lines will even change depending upon your place and progression through the story, requiring repeated listenings. And that’s no small task, considering how slow-paced most of their delivery is.

        The environmental story-telling is great in the series. But it also does rely quite a bit on the traditional “stand there and listen” format.

        • Renevent says:

          It does if you ignore the “forced” part and if you are willfully ignoring the spirit of what I am saying. I don’t think there’s a single NPC you actually have to talk to. If there is, it’s like a handful of lines. Kind of a silly point on it’s face if you ask me. A handful of NPC’s that maybe say a few lines of dialog, aren’t for the most part required/forced, and can be mostly ignored isn’t at all what I was comparing it to.

          The way Dark Souls does NPC’s is almost eerily light to the touch, and because of this really adds to the bleak, alone feeling of the game.

          • jonahcutter says:

            That’s why I said if you want to glean all of the story from the game, you’ll need to listen to the NPCs as they tell their tales.

            If you’re satisfied with only parts of the story you can ignore them. Or simply skip their dialogue. But the game certainly does rely upon the traditional method of the player standing still and listening to them, to tell its entire story.

          • Renevent says:

            There’s probably around 1% of amount of dialog in Dark Souls vs other traditional story focused RPG…almost all of it optional and practically none of it more than a few blurbs. The majority of lore comes from the world and stuff like item descriptions. To pretend that the game relies on the stuff I mentioned in my original statement (lots of cut-scenes/forced dialog sections/etc) just because there are a handful of NPC’s that say a few lines of dialog is silly to put it politely.

            It’s clear that Dark Souls get’s it story across in a much different way than something like Dragon Age. I don’t know how anyone can argue otherwise.

          • Scrape Wander says:

            You know what’s strange about Dark Souls and its dialogue? How much it changes when you turn the subtitles off.

            When I first played Demon’s Souls and Dark Souls, I had subtitles on and kind of just X’d on through all the dialogue. It didn’t really “sink” in at all, since I was just merrily skipping through it during my playthroughs.

            The second time I played, I turned the subtitles off. That’s when I noticed the extremely odd quality of the delivery in these games. I don’t think I’ve ever played an RPG (or perhaps any other genre, really) where the characters speak so methodically and patiently. The NPCs aren’t in a rush at all, with lots of dead air in their script, patience, chuckles to self before pauses, etc. To be honest, I don’t think this is a specific design quirk – it’s meant to demonstrate how, in any of the Souls games, no one is in a rush. All this has happened before, will happen again, and will probably end horribly.

            Oddly, the “waiting around while people talk” thing isn’t a bug, it’s a feature. To me, anyway.

    • fish99 says:

      In the right game and used well, it’s a good system, letting you get some optional backstory while letting you carry on playing. Without the logs in System Shock 2 you’d have little idea why you were in that situation. The alternative ways games tell backstory are more intrusive.

      • Haborym says:

        I agree about the logs in SS2. They made up a big chunk of the story and without them you’d have a hard time understanding some of what was going on.

  8. Wowbagger says:

    Will I be stoned in the street for saying I’m enjoying it? Are my tastes not complicated enough? I haven’t had any tech issues as yet but I’m not very far in. The story does seem decidedly meh but the combat is pushing my buttons in a similar way to DS1, maybe playing the rogue is giving me an artificial difficulty level but it feels great.

    • Renevent says:

      No, well at least not entirely. The good people of the world will recognize you for the happy well adjusted person you are. The other 95% of the internet, well, I hope you don’t bruise easily :)

      • Wowbagger says:

        Update to this: I’m still finding it enjoyable and I got molested by a boss a few times before learning his patterns. It is entirely playable as a twin daggers rogue with very little armour and dodgy Mc Dodge tactics.

  9. Antorus says:

    All I could think of when I saw it: link to i.imgur.com

  10. Lobotomist says:

    Finishing review with : Don’t buy it. – is unprofessional.
    Especially for a site that was proud not to give ratings. And even branded their reviews “Wot I Think”
    Maybe you should re-brand it to : “What I command” ?

    Rating the game based on its buggy performance on launch. Very bad practice.
    You may mention the game is bugged , but the rating should reflect the game not bugs.

    Finally shooting the game down just because there is another very popular game that inspired it , is also very unprofessional.

    Shame to see the quality of this site degrade so much lately …

    • derbefrier says:

      Is this fool actually serious? I just can’t tell anymore….

    • SMGreer says:

      When games with this particular brand of aesthetic come along, a friend and I have a ratio which basically goes: just how good would the game have to play to counteract how awful it looks? It seems LoF had a long way to go before escaping its visual weaknesses.

      • SMGreer says:

        Whoops! Didn’t mean to reply to your comment but whilst I’m here…

        Don’t buy is a RECOMMENDATION. Hardly unprofessional from someone who’s job is to review games for out benefit.

        The games technical issues are not separate from the game itself. They are very much capable of detracting from the intended experience. I sure as hell would want to know about them before I drop money on a buggy game.

        And Rich is not shooting the game down JUST because there is another similar game. He’s shooting it down because there’s another similar game which it steals from quite liberally and then fails to live up to. A perfectly fair and valid complaint. If you’re going to copy one of the best games of the past decade so blatantly you’d better hope to come damn near close.

    • Premium User Badge

      Craig Pearson says:

      Reviews are buying guides, even under the guise of “Wot I Think”. Also, he rated the game in front of him, one that people will consider buying – if it’s buggy and buyable, warning people off it is exactly what he should be doing.

    • fish99 says:

      TBH I’m not a fan of the ‘don’t buy it’ comment either. Some people may enjoy it, some people may like the art style, some people may not have any technical issues with it, some people may prefer that it’s not as hard as a Souls game. It’s a bit of a blanket statement. I’d rather see ‘in it’s current state I don’t recommend it’.

      I’m seeing around 8/10 user score average on metacritic, so I’m not getting the imrpession that everyone hates it or that the technical issues are universal.

      Also Demon’s Souls had a luck stat.

    • Christo4 says:

      I kinda agree with you, but if you actually read the whole thing and not just the last words you can see that rich says “don’t buy it” because it has a ton of performance issues. He even said they’ll review it again in 1 or 2 weeks if they solve those problems. In this case “don’t buy it” seems fair enough.

    • Hex says:

      Furthermore he provides a link to where you can buy it. He’s not your mom. If you’re going to buy it, you’re going to buy it, whether someone smarter than you tells to you or not.

      Fuck.

    • Lobotomist says:

      Its a debut game of new studio. So many hard working dedicated people have their livelihood dependent on the game sale.

      And than influential game review site blatantly posts : DONT BUY IT

      Not only its completely unprofessional and irresponsible ( and I will explain in a moment ) – But its downright mean.

      —-
      A friend can tell you : dont buy it. It is his personal opinion. A reviewer must take a broader and objective look.

      For example I might be writing a review of Civilisation:Beyond Earth. I dont hold any love for 4X genre. So automatically the game is downright boring for me. “Dont Buy it !” I would conclude.
      But reviewer takes in account that there are people that love this genre. And tries to think as them. Would they like it ?

      That being said. Lets look further.

      Why should I listen to such extreme suggestion and not buy the game?

      1. Reviewer had performance problems – Will I have same problems ? Is it something patch will not fix ?
      2. Reviewer thinks Dark Souls is better game – I agree , but i played Dark Souls and now i want a new game with similar gameplay – why am i forbidden to play this ?
      3. Reviewer thinks game has bad story and bad voice acting – Is it worse than Destiny ( hehe ) Is it so bad i should shut down the game ?

      Why should I not buy the game ? Why should I applaud the ruining the livelihood of so many talented people ?

      Would an advice not to buy the game in its current state and wait for a patch suffice ?

      Last but not least.
      As far as game journalism agendas go.

      This site reviewed Witcher 1 as terrible. ( considered cult rpg hit)
      Than Witcher 2 was ridiculed in review. ( considered game changer for rpgs in general )
      Now the game made by offspring studio is branded “Do Not Buy”

      Almost like they could expect they will be reviewed bad by RPS

      • jezcentral says:

        One day, in a few years time, Lobotomist will be walking along the street, and this post will just pop back into his/her memory.

        He or she will drop the shopping bag they are carrying, raise their fists to their temples, fall to their knees and scream into the void: “I posted WHAT?”

      • iainl says:

        Reading the rest of the article puts the “don’t buy it” recommendation in an obvious context. That context being the paragraph before:

        “There is apparently a 5GB patch incoming for Lords of the Fallen, which may make a difference, but at this point I’d advise steering well clear unless you’re rocking an absolutely monster rig. Even then, is it worth it? From the not-inconsiderable amount I’ve played of LotF it feels like a game that lacks the finesse and precision of its inspiration, lacking any kind of multiplayer element and offering only a Diablo-esque quantity of loot to keep you coming back. Presuming that the game is patched to a workable state RPS will return to take another look in a week or so’s time – but until then, you’d be better-served replaying the Souls games.”

        Don’t buy Lords of the Fallen until RPS (or someone else) has confirmed that the game’s in a playable state, and even then think about whether “doesn’t crash or drop frames like an incompetent glazier” is enough. If you’re so impatient that you can’t see what this patch does to fix things, you’re not patient to put up with a broken game.

      • mrwout says:

        Talking about ‘agendas’ …..

        Final lines of the The Witcher 2 WIT …
        “The Witcher 2 is flawed in some ways, and a paragon in others. I cannot recommend everyone play it, because it simply won’t satisfy everyone in the same way, and will frustrate and off-put many with its bizarre little quirks of difficulty and moments of poor design. But I will recommend everyone buy it, because I want to play another one. And another one. And many more after that.

        Well done, CD Projekt, you’ve just brought the fantasy RPG back to life. It’s still twitching from the electricity, but it’s a beautiful thing.”

        • Lobotomist says:

          At that moment in time Witcher already had great following. And people complained about previous Witcher review a lot. So they didnt close it with “Do not buy”. But overall review was negative in tone, largely focusing on bugs and lack of production quality.

    • Scrape Wander says:

      Strange that you mentioned this…it felt weird when I read that line. I haven’t been kicking around RPS in a while, is the “Don’t buy it” statement that was dropped here a common thing? I feel like I haven’t read it before.

      It’s not that I think it’s highly unprofessional or anything like that, I just feel like it’s so pointed, and the plainness of it contradicts the earlier statement that RPS will revisit the game after a week or so.

      Probably just semantics, but I think the idea was more a “Don’t buy it, for now, we think, maybe.”

  11. Jamesworkshop says:

    the nvidia gameworks look quite nice

    link to dsogaming.com

    but yeah the game just never sold itself to me

    • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

      My dedicated 670 physx mule is seeing up to 60% usage with this game, that’s pretty rad. With that and the various Borderlands, Batmans and you name it i’m pretty happy i didn’t sell it, takes a lot of grunt out of my main card too.

  12. baozi says:

    I’m not sure if I remember correctly, but I vaguely remember spacing-BS occurring in Dark Souls as well, like that optional Scorpion Boss in a castle room hitting you through the wall when you walk out of the room, or enemy attacks generally rotating automagically to hit you.

    As for unassailable enemies causing satisfaction, that has never been the case for me in Dark Souls. I would gladly play a Dark Souls without bosses because they’re just so tedious. So maybe I’ll like this.

  13. Michael Fogg says:

    So the concept artist ended up with a MUCH more dignifiied Dentata Dragon. And history was made.

    • Jakkar says:

      You’re thinking of the wrong one, I think?

      Gaping Dragon, with the vertical toothy ribcage, was a sort of distant mutant offspring, it wasn’t undead. The undead dragon was one of the finest pieces of game art I’ve seen. Although one might say there were at least two, that I recall – I didn’t finish the game.

      • Haborym says:

        I remember seeing two separate Undead Dragons, one in the Valley of Drakes and one in the Painted World Ariamis. They looked more or less the same to me though.

  14. merbert says:

    Good review Rich, I really enjoyed it, thank you.

    Forgive me if I post the final paragraph of the Eurogamer review of LoTF by Dan Whitehead, but to me it summed up everything we needed to know about the game so succinctly;

    “I just wish it wasn’t so happy to sit in another game’s shadow, and made more of the few fresh mechanisms that might distinguish it and move the genre forwards. Instead, it hews so closely to a proven template that it’s basically a pretty good action-adventure by default. Yet as the game clock ticked towards 20 hours and beyond, I could never quite shake the feeling that I’d still rather be failing in Dark Souls than succeeding in Lords of the Fallen.”

    Beautiful.

  15. Bobtree says:

    BSOD means you have a hardware or driver issue. It’s ridiculous to knock the game for this.

    • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

      Aye, most of the times it’s just instability issues that never pop up otherwise, only showing when something really demands a lot of juice, exposing the problem ( along with added heat, which never helps ).

      Some GPUs are not good with factory overclock either, it wouldn’t be the first time, both them and even the CPU can degrade over time if heat is not in check, and despite any manufacturer’s claim, you CAN’T allow either of them to go above 80 degrees, no matter how much AMD screams that their cards are “designed” to run at 95 degrees or how many internet dudes assure you that a CPU can take 100+ degrees.

      If my OC’d CPU ever went above 70 degrees i’d PANIC. Then again i never had a BSOD after the stability testing times ( and it’s safe to reinstall windows once you’re done with BSODs and testing ).

      • Awesomeclaw says:

        I actually recently fixed a BSoD-causing problem that was to do with my ‘rated for 800MHz’ RAM not meeting timings. It was an incredibly intermittent problem that wouldn’t always be detected by memtest and friends. I had bluescreens but only in certain games, and I have kind of a weird GPU setup so I always suspected that. But turn the RAM clock down to 667MHz and now it’s fixed.

        • fish99 says:

          Similar issue here, I’d been blaming Adobe Flash for blue screening my laptop for months while watching twitch streams. Turns out I had a dodgy ram stick and only streams were pushing the memory usage high enough for the problem to show (the dodgy section was around the 3GB point). Flash can still occasionally crash when there’s too many instances open, but the blue screens are gone with that stick removed.

          It may still be the games fault in this case, but I’d like to see the reviewer test the game on more than one system when technical issues crop up.

    • Jakkar says:

      I’ve run into my share of games which can uniquely trigger a hardware crash.

      • jrodman says:

        That’s easily true, but it’s still a driver bug.

        You KNOW there’s a driver bug in this case. Whether the game ALSO has a bug is unclear.

  16. Spacewalk says:

    Are these the Elder Souls?

  17. Greggh says:

    Loot in a souls-esque game seems daft – you could pretty much use the same weapons throughout the whole game, so long as you learned and mastered the game’s mechanics.

    Also, THIS CAME OUT FOR PC?!?! Wow, dunno why, but I thought it’d be only a PSn thingie… hmmm…

  18. Morcane says:

    It’s the usual Eastern European scruffy buggy stuff, and for some reason I like it. Perhaps because I couldn’t really get into Dark Souls 2, and I wanted a dungeon romp with big hammers like this. Buyer beware though, it certainly has some technical issues.

  19. Buuurr says:

    Oh well! Looks like another week of waiting. Sad to say it but its COD for me!

  20. His Divine Shadow says:

    I only played DS1 and I my takeaway point is that it’s *massively* overrated. The combat is clunky, overloaded with redundant and obscure stats that even the veterans don’t know the exact mechanics of, and of course the main feature is the jacked up damage, both of which create a completely fake illusion of “depth”. The magic system is simply a joke (and an embarrassingly poor one).

    Similarly, the story is just lazily vague, but the abundance of random details and obscurity create the same illusion.

    The style is mostly ok, but every now and then it’s ruined (for me anyway) by the trademark “Japanese” quirkiness, like a boyband-looking protagonist, ridiculously disproportional armour, the dog dragon, etc.

    • Jakkar says:

      Disproportionate armour? Dog dragon? Boyband protagonist?

      I think you’ve mixed up a few games – with some extreme exceptions the Souls games are very good at realistic historically referential armour suits and combat that respects the limitations of armour, by using a whole other set of dodge animations for the clumsiness of wearing armour that exceeds 50% of your maximum burder for equipment.

      A ‘dog dragon’ can only be a reference, I assume, to the unreleased ‘The Last Guardian’, by Team Ico?

      While ‘boyband protagonist’… You realise Dark Souls is a game in which you design your own character using a fairly rich editing tool? And your character is actually a wizened zombie-version of that character unless you choose to take a considerable risk and join the PVP-vulnerable side of the game by resurrecting yourself?

      • Eglath says:

        Still can’t believe I and His Divine Shadow have played the very same Dark Souls game.

      • His Divine Shadow says:

        dog dragon = Frampt. Ok, he’s not a dragon technically, I suppose.
        Are you sure you can design your character? In Dark Souls 1? I wasn’t able to find that option then. I have some screenshots of the armour at home; will post them when I get there

        • damoqles says:

          “Are you sure you can design your character? In Dark Souls 1? I wasn’t able to find that option then.”

          Dude…
          Boyband protagonist? Google “ugly dark souls”.

          • His Divine Shadow says:

            ok, really don’t know how i missed it; i was actually expecting it to be there.
            anyway, here’s the screenshot i promised, though it’s too late probably
            link to mtcelestia.org

        • fish99 says:

          You’ve been able to design your character in every souls game, and most of the options end up looking quite plain and actually pretty realistic. That armour is for an overweight character, which is why it’s so fat. Also I can assure you people do know what every stat does.

          As for your opinion of the combat, well you’re in a small minority, but I would like to know which 3rd person action RPG games you think have better combat, or indeed any RPG. The combat is not clunky, it’s about decision making rather than twitch skill. Also magic has to be slow because being able to use it at range is such an advantage.

          • His Divine Shadow says:

            it’s not that the combat is downright *bad*, but rather that mechanics-wise it’s decidedly average. your main tactic in 95% of cases is to make the opponent open up by starting an attack/ thwart the attack/ counterattack. the *only* thing that’s unique is the jacked up damage, and suddenly it’s super-rich, every decision matters, etc.

            the magic, otoh, *is* way below average. speed is not the problem, the problem is that you only have 2 spells for the entire game – weapon buff and magic missile.

            the armour on the left is not for an overweight character, it’s a standard “Katarina” armour (unless of course everyone in Katarina – that’s a country – is overweight, but i don’t think the game cares to explain). the one on the right is just ridiculously disproportional without any good explanation. i honestly don’t see how it could have passed the rigorous design approval stage mentioned in the article.

          • baozi says:

            Yes, realistic, with blue hair and huge clubs.

            That onion armor isn’t realistic, it’s as impractical as the often discussed female armor, leading swords in.

            While I was playing Dark Souls 2, a lot of people where discussing a supposed side effect of a particular stat (was it adaptability?), whether it made you roll faster. Nobody really knew.

            If you think that twitch skill isn’t about decision making, you’re wrong. It just happens faster. See Counter-Strike.

          • kyrieee says:

            “it’s not that the combat is downright *bad*, but rather that mechanics-wise it’s decidedly average. your main tactic in 95% of cases is to make the opponent open up by starting an attack/ thwart the attack/ counterattack. the *only* thing that’s unique is the jacked up damage, and suddenly it’s super-rich, every decision matters, etc.”

            That is the essence of the combat yes, but what makes it good is all the nunace that you convieniently ignore by being so reductive. A shooter is about putting a cursor on enemies and clicking, sounds boring.

          • His Divine Shadow says:

            I actually have a, possibly a bit provocative, theory about the secret of DS’s success. First it intrigues the players with its unusual difficulty, then “sunken cost fallacy” (you’ve invested a lot of effort) and “stockholm syndrome” (you were abused by the game a lot) kick in, and the players start to see depth in the deliberately obscure and under-explained mechanics and story.

          • Jakkar says:

            I loved Demon’s Souls for its art style, its world, and the fact that rather than frustrating me, the combat felt like a legitimate challenge to my skills, both ‘twitch’ and observational. A deep stats system with a rich combat system in a compelling and interesting setting… Basically; a good, if old-fashioned game, in so many ways.

            Dark Souls didn’t quite hit the spot the same way, the world was better-designed and the visuals richer but something in the style was missing, here and there. Something more colourful and vibrant about it that lost the tragic stillness of the original.

            For me, Demon’s Souls is one of those *special* games, like Shadow of the Colossus, System Shock 2, Fallout, or Vampire: Bloodlines – the ones that left a deep emotional impression while also providing an excellent gameplay experience.

          • kyrieee says:

            If you need to construct theories for how other people are (in your mind) deluding themselves into loving something you don’t like then I don’t know what to tell you. It seems awfully myopic.

    • LacSlyer says:

      I mean no offense by this at all, but every time I read someone commenting on a Demon/Dark Souls game being overrated due to having clunky combat I feel inclined to inform them that it’s not the combat that’s the problem but how they’re playing the game. The combat is purposely designed to be slow and strategic, not button spamming oriented like most action RPGs are, and that’s why you feel like it’s clunky.

      As I said, I mean no offense, but you’re just flat out wrong. It’s popularity has nothing to do with everyone but you being ignorant to the game design.

  21. Cortes says:

    I played in Lords of the Fallen only a few hours and I have a long way to finished it but I can tell this action-RPG game is very good challenging game with awesome combat styles. Armor, weapon and location looks so good and this grat possibility to change weapon and gear during combat:) I like it:P