Lords of the Fallen - Preview Roundup #4
Here is the fourth round of previews for Lords of the Fallen.
Combat is most interesting. Hack & slash fans will have some re-learning to do as the combat here is based on enemy pattern recognition and knowing when to counter. There’s some resemblance to a fighting game in how a bit of strategy is required to dodge or block and then identify when to strike. Some enemies are quick, others are slow and strong, and boss characters are enormous. To help with the combat, each character class has a special skill that can be activated. The Rogue class, which was shown in the demo, has the Shadow ability. This ability stops time and allows the character to circle around the enemy and attack from behind. The combat has its own brutal (and satisfying) finishing moves, too.
The game world will be expansive and connected. There are secrets galore for players who want to take the time to explore the world, including audio tablets that share lore about the world and the characters in it, extra weapons and armor, and even full equipment caches to alter classes when desired. There are also multiple paths to reach certain objectives, which can allow players to skip potentially fatal areas with roads a bit less dangerous.
The key to this game, according to its creators, was to have a duel-based system, where you actually have to think about every fight, looking at your opponent's moves and figuring out counter-moves. The way it plays out, it's almost like a combination of button-mashing battles and turn-based RPG combat - though real-time, you have to calculate when and how to strike, with several of your foes - who look a lot like McFarlane Toys' Dark Ages Spawn - boasting one-kill hits in their arsenals.
Levels are also laden with secrets, many of which are unlocked by returning to prior levels after progressing further in the game and gaining knowledge as to what to do in the previous settings. Though there is a linear story, some of these secrets involve finding ways to take on bosses in a different order, or side-step others completely.
Taking a page from The Witcher and Dark Souls, the combat moves away from mindless button-mashing and peppers combat with hints of strategy. In the demo, we were shown several examples of how button-mashing with even the simplest of enemies gets you killed, so your best resource is to figure out a tell or be adept at dodging. The same goes for trying to separate packs of enemies. Again, this is something we've seen done before, but it's good to see the fluidity with which the combat occurs.
As far as graphics are concerned, there's plenty of next-generation flourish here. The character textures are highly detailed, especially the protagonist's facial tattoos, which are visible during in-game cut scenes. The environments also display this high level of texture without harming the frame rate. Like most of the next-generation offerings seen thus far, there's an emphasis on particle effects, and this game has them in abundance. The boss fight with the lava knight saw sparks as his sword hit the ground and a flurry of them followed his sword during the final stages of the battle. Even the introduction to the player is accompanied by swirls of smoke and particles that look like it came straight from an Nvidia PhysX demo reel. The fight included the natural shedding of his armor as it progressed. What made it more impressive was that this was all done with the company's in-house engine, showing that there's still room for custom-built engines in an era where such things are tackled by specialized development houses.
There's still a ways to go before Lords of the Fallen hits its wide-open 2014 release date, and there are lots of things for them to do, including figuring out which next-generation platforms they'll be hitting. What they're showing off, while not exactly revolutionary, is very impressive and shows lots of promise in how all of the gameplay mechanics are coming together.
Information aboutLords of the Fallen
SP/MP: Single + MP
Release: In development