For all the soul-crushing difficulty that the Dark Souls franchise has, it has certainly done a good job of sparking the genre to life. The upcoming Lords of the Fallen is the newest entry into that genre and is slated for this fall. I played it at E3 2014 and checked out how the game is coming together. It wears its inspiration on its sleeve, but Lords of the Fallen seems like it wants to make its own mark on the genre.
The game intends to be a bit less punishing than Dark Souls, but Lords of the Fallen is still no cakewalk. The second-by-second tactical decisions you'll make are also ones that can separate dodging an attack versus taking a ton of damage, and you can only maneuver around for so long before you get tired. Your character has three primary stat bars: health, mana and stamina. Stamina quickly recharges but powers almost every action, while mana slowly recharges and is used for magical attacks. Health does not regenerate on its own and only refills at checkpoints or via the use of potions.
The story is of an angry, evil god that the humans killed a long time ago. As this god died, his last furious act was to ascend from the depths, with his hand forming a mountain range where he almost broke through. The story of this turned to legend and then myth, but now, there are forces that are fighting to resurrect him.
At the start of the game, you can choose your class: cleric, rogue or warrior. All three classes can use all equipment in the game, but some are better suited and have greater effect when used with their intended class. As you gain experience, you can continue to enhance you character by spending points on their attributes, but this is something we didn't really have a chance to delve into.
Like Dark Souls, there is a penalty for death: dropping your hard-won experience. It sits on the ground where you died, but after a time, its value begins to degrade should you wish to go back and retrieve it. The checkpoint system also is very similar, with checkpoints refilling your potions and health but also respawning all enemies that you've killed.
The combat is very fluid and requires constant situational awareness. Enemies have no problem ganging up on you, and as such, you need to position yourself where you can hit them while reducing how many can hit you. Blocking and dodging all take stamina, with the former taking varying amounts, so you need to learn which hits you should dodge and which you should block. You can also modify your attacks by sprinting or rolling to give you more tactical choices.
We didn't get the deepest look into Lords of the Fallen, but we got some insight into how the development is progressing. It's very similar to Dark Souls, but we won't know how much the game manages to set itself apart until we get our hands on the final build. It's certainly great to see the genre get some competition.
More articles about Lords Of The Fallen