Lords of the Fallen Previews

CI Games' upcoming Dark Souls-inspired action-RPG Lords of the Fallen, not to be confused with CI Games' Dark Souls-inspired action-RPG Lords of the Fallen from 2014, recently got an impressive technical showcase trailer. And while the new game definitely looked good there, you might now be wondering whether its gameplay can measure up to its visuals.

If that's the case, below you'll find several previews based on a hands-off demo showcased during this year's GDC.

PC Gamer:

As a puzzle device, the world-beneath-a-world thing isn't groundbreaking—an impassable gap in one world might be passable in another, for example—but I don't think I've seen it done with this kind of fidelity. The Umbral plane is absolutely everywhere, and can be inspected at any time with a magic lantern that not only lets you peer into the realm, but interact with it through a ghostly rift.

You can also dive completely into the Umbral realm, either on purpose or by dying. Once you're there, healing only gives you a block of temporary HP that evaporates with one hit, and if you die in the Umbral realm, you're dead for real and you lose a bunch of XP and return to your last checkpoint. If you find a special kind of altar, however, you can pull yourself back into the land of the living without sacrificing any progress.


Like the original game, Lords of the Fallen seems to closely follow the Dark Souls formula in its minute-to-minute gameplay. You've got your standard and heavy attack, parry and staggering mechanics, spells, and magical items, all of which you use to overcome a challenging world filled to the brim with monsters and bosses that want to kill you. Your only respite is a series of checkpoints that refill both your health and healing items, but resting at these locations comes at the cost of respawning enemies you've defeated. Paths twist and turn, snaking through every distinct area--some even doubling back to create a more interconnected world.


"When we started," Virtosu said, "the golden standard was Dark Souls 3. The Dark Souls paradigms were Dark Souls 3 and Bloodborne… we had Nioh and we had The Surge, we had examples. We had to do our own thing." At this point, he said, the team asked themselves, "what will be the place where people want innovation, three years down the line? The combat needs to be orthodox and correct, I think this is a place where we can innovate safely - thank god we didn't choose mounted combat!"


The game also introduces a hotkey system to allow players to combine physical strikes with any assigned magical abilities more seamlessly, so long as you can nail down all the button presses. Instead of a dedicated button for parries, pressing the block button right before getting hit will initiate a parry. If it doesn’t go through, the maneuver will default to a block, so this should make defense less risky. Furthermore, if you want to make your experience even easier, you can play the game with a friend in seamless co-op that won’t require you to fiddle around with summoning circles and co-op items.

Sports Illustrated:

While exploring this other world, your character slowly loses their mind. As that happens, enemies descend on you, and you’re faced with illusions and other hardships. Reach an anchor before you go completely bonkers and you can return to the real world with all your experience points intact. The team also added customizable anchors, which you can drop anywhere in the world. They only last for a set amount of time, but you can effectively create your own checkpoints in the more difficult areas and give yourself a halfway house in the belly of the beast. When you reach New Game+, these customizable anchors are the only ones that exist – don’t place any checkpoints and you simply won’t have any. Oof.