Lords of the Fallen Won’t Hold Your Hand (and That’s Why We Love it)

“Challenging” is the key term for developer CI Games’ awesome new action-role-playing game “Lords of the Fallen,” where players will face tough enemies, even tougher bosses, and plenty of branching pathways. While comparison’s to From Software’s “Dark Souls” series are probably inevitable, “Lords of the Fallen” Creative Director Jan Klose emphasizes that this is a very different game, built on a very different ethos and that it (terrifyingly enough) should be even more challenging – and rewarding – for players. This is one challenge we can’t wait to take on headfirst.

We sent one of our writers – who has more than 400 hours of combined “Dark Souls” and “Dark Souls 2” experience on Xbox 360 – to play a hands-on demo of “Lords of the Fallen” at CI Games’ E3 booth, and despite having similar control schemes, said writer definitely agreed that this game is even more wonderfully challenging than those two. The controls are very responsive, but the enemies are unforgiving. The level we played was claustrophobic and tight, with timing and range of attacks being at an absolute premium.

Several weapons were at our disposal, including a staff (which offered good range but slower attack recovery time), a dagger (which had high speed but low damage), a huge sledgehammer (which took forever to swing), and a sword (which was the most balanced weapon we got to try). Each weapon had its own move set, the option for two-handed wielding (or one hand with a shield), and its own unique feel in battle.

The environments came into play, as well. “Lords of the Fallen” rewards smart, careful gameplay; Klose showed us one sequence in which the player faces off against enemies who are fast, but also blind. Sneaking quietly behind them allows you to get the drop on them and back stab – while a rushed, frontal approach means a much tougher fight. In another sequence, a massive armored foe could be easily defeated by luring him over a lightly covered hole in the ground.

Branching pathways are present in each level as well, offering their own treasure, equipment, and new discoveries in the game’s storyline. Finally, a more generous save system than its peers ensures that players are challenged, but never truly punished.

“Lords of the Fallen” is definitely not for the faint of heart, but that’s why we already love it. If you’re up for the challenge, it’s coming to Xbox One later this year.