Thursday, September 8, 2016

Sweet, sweet torture - Lords of the Fallen Ryview

Lords of the Fallen, by Deck13 Interactive and CI Games.

Lords of the Fallen is a punishing RPG in the style of the Dark Souls games, where you lose all XP when you die (unless you bank it or make it back to your XP ghost before it dissipates into wasted time and shattered dreams). The game itself is about a convict who is fighting a bunch of monsters who are invading, for some reason.

I enjoyed the classical RPG feel to the game. You run around hacking and slashing your way through hordes of enemies while leveling up your skills and acquiring better gear. There's a small mechanic to upgrade your equipment with runes, and there is magic available to all classes that actually radically alters the game.

The beginning was extremely difficult (just like when I first started Dark Souls, I must say) because you aren't able to level up anything before the first boss fight. So, if you can't beat him, or if it takes 15 tries, then you're kind of fucked. Once you do that, though, you can grind your way to success for as long as you want.

The game unfolds in a very nonlinear fashion, forcing you to fight through fairly circular maps that hold dozens of secrets if you aren't carefully scouring or using a walkthrough. I realized halfway through the second area that I was missing basically everything, so I had to backtrack quite a bit. That had the added benefit of letting me grind for awhile, but I would have liked a bit more help in game rather than having to jump to the internet so quickly.

I'm supposed to do what to this guy?!? [2]

The gear system is moderately strange, given that there is no selling mechanic, and therefore not duplicates. Most magical items required some sort of particular enemy killing or secret finding, and that didn't exactly happen in a linear fashion as you progress through the game. I found my favorite weapon when I was about 30% finished, so I ended up using the same axe throughout the entire game after that. Especially with the rune system, you can help a weapon like that power up enough to be on par with the endgame weapons (which were much slower than this anyway).

There's a gear weight system that I rather liked, which added a bit of strategy when outfitting my warrior. Occasionally I had to wait to use that awesome armor or shield because I had to upgrade my endurance to raise my max equipment load tolerance. And your movement speed is tied to what percentage of that tolerance you use, so it adds quite a few layers.

The magic kind of broke the game. The intent for most fights is to study your enemy and block/perry/strike your way to success through patience and skill. That is,  unless you have the fire hammer spell (real name not included) which will down most opponents in about 2 hits without leaving yourself particularly vulnerable. I used that on pretty much every enemy, boss, creature, and shadow that I saw. It was great. But it definitely was way too overpowered for a game where I'm supposed to be calm and collected.

How are there no pictures of the gigantic awesome flaming hammer on the internet? [3]

Now, let's talk about the difficulty. I'm no greenhorn when it comes to RPGs. I'm not the best, but I can certainly hold my own. So when I chose a fairly easy difficulty setting, I assumed this would be a nice break game I could breeze through. Nope. Even on low difficulty this game is intensely challenging. And my fire hammer only gets me so far. At the time of this writing I have yet to kill the final boss, and I've tried 5 times already. It's a nightmare. And I've reached a pretty damn large plateau for grinding. It takes me a solid half hour to get one skill point, and that barely raises my damage 2%.

Seriously, game. Stop being so fucking hard.

The plot also left something to be desired. It was a garbled mismatch of poorly explained exposition and utterly meaningless dialogue. There was no character development whatsoever and for the life of me I still have absolutely no idea when anyone did anything in this game.

At any rate, it's a very enjoyable game for any fans of RPGs who aren't afraid to die a bit. It's very challenging, but during lots of the fights there is a very real sense of accomplishment when you finally down your foe.

Even if you used that fire hammer 16 times in a row.

Let me know what you think of the game!

Until next time,


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