The combat itself is similar to the Souls series of games crossed with Kingdoms of Amalur : The Reckoning. You have an energy bar which dictates your attacks and defence, do a heavy attack and it can almost drain your energy early in the game which could leave you open to some major damage from an incoming heavy attack or even stun you for a few seconds if completely drained. You cannot simply chain numerous attacks together as if playing Devil May Cry. Much like the Souls games combat has to be managed and has a strong tactical element, do you use your last bit of energy trying to defend yourself from an incoming attack or are you going to try to finish off that opponent? Or are you going to pull back a bit and drop your guard for a few seconds to replenish some energy so you can defend and maybe pull off a heavy attack? Standard and heavy attacks are assigned to RB & RT and LB & LT are your shields block & parry, if you don’t have a shield equipped the parry becomes a kick.
There are numerous enemy types within the game, ranging from weird looking spore laden type creatures (very reminiscent of the spore laden creatures in The Last of Us on PS3) to fast nimble small sword and shield enemies to the heavier fully armoured dual wielding and shielded types. There are also ranged enemies who have a crossbow and later in the game they use fire bolts instead of just standard type bolts.
There are also additional enemies that appear once you have visited the demonic realm for the first time, you have these strange looking large beasts that have huge barbs all over them with multiple arms that can slingshot barbs at you similar to a crossbow bolt, breath fire and jump on you! There is also a new heavy dual wielding enemy that can heal himself if you don’t destroy the pot that holds his demonic heart and collect it. I have also took out a good few big fat type ranged enemies who at a distance shoot at you with fire bolts, lob fire pots that set the ground alight and throw down bear type traps to stop you in your tracks, these enemies usually have mutated type dogs nearby them and will call upon these dogs if you don’t manage to kill them quick enough, to top it all off they can also heal themselves! The enemies all have different tactics depending on their weapons, a large heavy enemy will do a sweeping like attack with a huge two handed axe, the lighter sword & board enemies will try and strafe you and if you don’t time a heavy attack just right will evade by rolling of jumping back. The heavy enemies will literally march towards you and then give a boost of speed and try and skewer you for high damage hidden behind a shield. Lords of the Fallen certainly keeps you on your toes! The beauty of this is each enemy requires a different tactic, much like in the Souls series; however, you ideally need to be avoiding their attacks in From Software’s games. Lords of the Fallen the combat is faster and flows much like Kingdoms of Amalur and you can expect to be hit by enemies and bosses. Thankfully even the boss fights you can take a few hits before actually dying.
These enemies once you get used to them can be taken out with timed attacks to get past their defences but in comparison to the bosses they are kittens!
The bosses or Lords as they are named in the title are huge, heavily armoured (in most cases) hit sponges! Their health bars are usually split into 4 sections; once you knock down their health and it reaches one of these markers the boss will change their tactic making each battle a bit more dynamic. The First Warden for example (your first boss encounter) on the first 2 markers will shed his armour allowing a larger move set and faster attacks, removing the 3rd marker he ditches his now broken shield and 2 hands his fire sword. His main attack now is a spinning helicopter motion which kind of reminded me of Darth Maul in Star Wars Episode 1 : The Phantom Menace. Once again you have to be on your toes to overcome these battles; the 3rd boss I encountered took me over 10 attempts to work out the best way to kill him as his tactics changed, I was trying to take him out in the same way as I did the Tower Knight in Demons Souls by circling round behind getting a few sneaky hits in, this just led to me getting killed as he kept doing an area of effect stun and then pounded me into the ground. I finally worked out a tactic and once he fallen I REALLY felt like I had achieved a goal and was rewarded by moving the story forward and my first trip to the demonic realm!
The game systems and mechanics are also very similar to the 2 Dark Souls games; you get checkpoints which are large floating red crystals. At these crystals you can level up your character and save the checkpoint. If you die then you go back to the checkpoint with all the enemies you defeated back in their normal positions and you leave a ghost where you died. Your ghost holds all the experience points that you had gathered (since your last level up) up to that point, now this serves a few purposes, once you reach your ghost you can leave it there and while in its vicinity it gives you health, magic & energy recovery which can be handy if you are in a bit of a tight spot, it can be just enough to help you get past a tough section in the game. You could also just grab it immediately incase you think you are going to die again! The thing here though is if you decide not to grab it you essentially have a timer, the more experience the slower the timer drops, once it hits zero then you have lost that experience for good. There is an item you can collect during your travels though where you can retrieve your ghost and the experience immediately if you don’t want to head back to that area till a bit later on and levelling up, these items though are in short supply so use them wisely!
Another thing you can do when at a checkpoint crystal is bank your experience if you wish, this plays on the whole risk and reward system. If you hold onto your experience then you get a multiplier added to your experience gain from killing enemies, once banked though the multiplier is then reset to normal levels. Levelling up you choose whether you want to add points that will up your magical abilities or add points to your stats. As an example say you want to increase one of your spells you will add to the magical stat points selection, now what you need to bear in mind here though is that the magic does require certain levels of faith so regardless you have to have updated that particular attribute or it won’t allow you to level up the spell. The same can be said for strength requirements on weapons and shields and your equipment burden which determines movement speed and how you roll to evade an attack.
Go to page 3 for more thoughts on the game.
Retro at heart and lover of all things ’80s, especially the computers, the music and the awesome movies and TV shows! Crazy huge retro gaming collection spanning the ’80s and ’90s with hundreds of tapes, discs and carts for various machines on top of a 600+ strong Steam library that is ever-growing. No I am not a serial hoarder, just a dedicated retro gamer!