In the half an hour I was given to finish my Lords of the Fallen demo, I couldn’t complete it.
That’s a great sign.
I’m beyond tired of the inaccurate comparisons to Dark Souls, but as someone who spent over 400 hours with it, I feel comfortable making this one: Lords of the Fallen is, well… It’s a lot like Dark Souls. Maybe not in the way it subtly delivers a story, and maybe not in the way its environments are connected – I simply haven’t seen that much of the game yet. But the way the combat feels, the power of healing items, the importance of timing and learning, all of it alludes back to From Software’s 2011 masterpiece.
My character started in a dingy hallway holding a shield and sword. I also had a fiery gauntlet that launched a flaming damage over time spell. Sword and board is my style, so I went to work the medieval way.
Locking on is important, and combat is a dance of blocking, rolling, strafing, and getting hits in when the enemies’ defenses are down. Circling behind some foes opens up a devastating backstab, so positioning is important to keep in mind. Don't let yourself get cornered.
Continuing with the Dark Souls comparison, timing your swings and rolls feels important because it's not hard to run out of stamina. Once it's gone, your combat options are much more limited, and you're open to attacks that you can't block or dodge. Some enemies, like giant spiders, are more susceptible in certain areas, so rolling behind them is better than tanking their attacks toe to toe.
It’s very easy to be overwhelmed by multiple enemies, so charging in and slashing away isn’t usually a great idea. Instead, it's best to pull one of them toward you, quickly analyze its move set, and fight with that knowledge in mind.
When progress is earned at such a deliberately slow place, it’s important to know how death is handled. A glowing collection of stones acts as a spawn point, and you can activate it at any time to refill your health bar and healing potions. Enemies you defeat won't respawn when you activate the shrine, meaning you can constantly leave the checkpoint, kill enemies, come back, heal, and repeat until you slowly chip your way to a boss. Die, however, and everything comes back.
My time with Lords of the Fallen ended in a showdown with a huge, hulking champion boss. When I struck it with my most powerful fiery abilities, it became enraged and attacked even more ferociously. Its punishing charge attack trounced me at first, but before long I was dodging it every time. Unfortunately, I didn't have quite enough time to figure out how to avoid his counter attacks. I fell five more times, doing more damage with each encounter before I had to put the controller down.
It may have won for now, but I'll be back. And I know its tricks.
SOURCED VIA IGN