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Lords of the Fallen has a novel approach to trolling multiplayer invaders

Drop-in PvP, indeed

Armoured warrior fights with a spell caster in Lords Of The Fallen (2023)
Image credit: CI Games

I've been itching to play Lords Of The Fallen since I discovered that it's a closet Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver homage (see my bio), with a sorcerous lantern that lets you switch between the living and unliving worlds of Axiom and Umbral. Each realm has a different layout, architecture and ambience, and you'll need to alternate between them to expose routes and bypass obstacles, as indicated by clumps of ashen butterflies, making your way back to Axiom by means of an Effigy of Emergence.

You're also dropped into Umbral when you die, which gives you another chance to bump off whatever it is that slew you; die a second time, and you'll have to restart from one of the game's Vestige bonfires. Another thing to worry about: the longer you spend in Umbral, realm of death and despair, the more numerous the monsters that spawn from its shadows. I'm hoping the two-worlds mechanic will mutate the game's many debts to Dark Souls into a brand new playstyle (though as Ed Superior noted in his Lords of the Fallen hands-on, it stands up pretty well as a straight Souls clone). It already poses some fun possibilities for the ever-thorny question of multiplayer.

As in Dark Souls, players can invade each other's worlds for glory and plunder, with certain parts of the world specifically designed for PvP. The twist is that only the host player is in charge of world-switching. So if some wannabe saboteur appears standing on an Umbral-only platform, all you have to do is switch dimensions and treat them to a "date with gravity", in the words of Hexworks head of studio Saul Gascon and Creative Director Cezar Virtosu (thanks MP1st).

It throws up some interesting, and perhaps worrying possible dynamics for invasions. According to the devs, the gate-crashing player always spawns near to the host - will this mean that every invasion essentially consists of a headlong race to the nearest Effigy of Emergence? Can the host switch worlds for the enemy player when they're far away, and if so, can I build a defensive strategy around gauging the likelihood of the interloper stepping on something Umbral-only while they're out of view? And will all this make Lords of the Fallen a distinctive PvP community, akin to the underground fightclubs of Dark Souls 3?

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