Because of the obvious similarities, there was no way a room full of games journalists wasn’t going to ask the representative from CI Games at Bandai Namco’s Global Gamers Day if the upcoming action RPG Lords of the Fallen compared to the Dark Souls in terms of difficulty. The question came toward the end of the presentation, and it seemed like the man fielding it was expecting it. His response? There’s a similar learning curve in terms of dealing with enemies, but overall it’s not as unforgivingly brutal. And there are no environmental deaths, which certainly can’t be said about Dark Souls.
Be that as it may, it’s hard not to get a Dark Souls vibe from Lords of the Fallen, and that’s meant as a compliment. The clips and gameplay (from roughly halfway through the game) shown in Las Vegas back up the developer’s assertion that it’s a combat-focused experience, though one with plenty of options for your character. You can choose from three classes — warrior, mage or cleric — but there are no restrictions as far as what weapons or gear can be equipped for any of them. To reinforce that point, our guide used mostly rogue gear on his warrior to help take down a gigantic boss. The differences between classes will manifest themselves mostly in the use of magic.
The tradeoff between armor types is protection versus mobility, and weapons can be two-handed or dual-wielded. Choosing a one-handed main weapon allows the use of a special gauntlet in the off-hand, which can be crafted to utilize a number of special abilities. Loot shows up both as planned drops (in chests in specific locations) and random drops from enemies. Gear can also be crafted, though that system wasn’t shown.
Death leaves your XP waiting for you where you perished, though it will leak over time if you can’t fight your way back to it. Save points also have limited lifespans; they appear with formations of crystals above them, and one crystal is destroyed for each time you have to respawn at that point.
Enemies have been designed so that you can’t just hack your way through them without any thought, especially because familiar ones can learn new tricks or come in slightly different flavors the next time you run into them. Our gameplay slice featured a spider who was laying eggs that hatched if they weren’t dealt with in time, plus the aforementioned gigantic boss that took some doing to defeat.
The game world was created from scratch, and the story is that it’s a world whose inhabitants actually banded together and defeated its god. As a result, the society believes that evil can be banished for good, and a codex of deadly sins has been devised. Sinners are marked with facial tattoos so there’s no doubt about what they’ve done.
When the demon soldiers from the army of the fallen god start showing back up, the only solution is to find the person who’s committed the most sins to combat the new/old threat. That’d be your character.
Unfortunately, it could be a while until we get to play Lords of the Fallen on PS4, Xbox One or PC. It had the most vague release window of any game at the event: 2014. Expecting it later in the year seems wise, givng you plenty of time to brush up on your god-killing skills first.