Lords of the Fallen Preview: Dark Souls Lite?
Again, this is very Dark Souls in style, just not nearly as tough. Even though I didn’t get to play Lords of the Fallen myself, I’m confident in saying that because I saw the Dark Souls 2 demo – a demo in which one of the From Software developers died multiple times. My impression is that you’ll have to learn from your mistakes in order to progress in Lords of the Fallen, but you won’t have to die for every mistake you make.
Not very Dark Souls-like are Lords of the Fallen’s core RPG systems. There is a single set character players become – the somewhat generic bald, bearded male human, Harkyn – and there are only three different classes available: Cleric, Warrior, and Rogue. Sorry magic users and ranged fighters, it appears this will be a strictly melee affair. The classes are primarily differentiated by their weapons – war hammer, sword, and daggers – but each class also has their own special ability that’s tied to a cooldown timer: the cleric can create a clone of himself, the rogue can become invisible, and the warrior can go into a rage.
Not being able to create my own character and the limited class choices are disappointing, but similar to Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, players will not be locked into a single class’ skill tree. We’ll able to add points earned by leveling up to each of the three trees, sticking with one class or creating our own hybrid. Gop said Harkyn will also be able to swap between each class on the fly, creating further options in combat while allowing players to create a character that suits their particular style. Well, as long as that style isn’t ranged fighter or magic user.
Like the classes, it appears gear will be similarly limited, with only variations of the three main weapon types and three types of armor – warrior, cleric, and rogue armor. Gop switched between the Cleric and Rogue during my demo, and I was disappointed to see only a very slight visual difference in the armors between the two. So while the look, vibe, and combat of Lords of the Fallen is a sibling to Dark Souls, my initial impression is that the RPG systems will be a distant cousin. A smaller, much less interesting cousin. (It’s worth noting again Lords of the Fallen is in pre-alpha and not expected to launch until sometime in 2014, so much of this is subject to change.)
Hopefully, secrets and backtracking will make up for what appears to be a lack of RPG depth. Gop said that while Lords of the Fallen is not an open world game, levels will be large, with multiple paths to take and secrets hidden throughout. “Exploration is a key element,” he said. “We’re going to make it worth your while to return to areas you’ve already been through to find hidden items like new weapons and armor.”
Visually impressive and aptly atmospheric; tough combat that rewards skill; large levels that encourage exploration. That’s a nice initial checklist for Lords of the Fallen, but it could very well turn out to be a fourth feature that makes it an RPG that gains a foothold among fans in 2014: challenging, but not Dark Souls hard.
Mike Sharkey is a former GameSpy (RIP!) editor. He’s currently contributing to IGN and Game Front while catching up on a sizable gaming backlog. Follow @mjsharkey on Twitter.